The Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

5 / 5 ( 5 reviews ) 13 Comments

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies for Christmas Sugar Cookies or Valentine’s Day!

I decided that I must figure out my favorite old fashioned sour cream sugar cookie recipe. Sour cream sugar cookies are the kind that you get from your grandma and remember from your childhood. There are so many recipe variations out there and so many people love their recipes. I wish I could try them all, but I had to narrow it down to four to test out.

So I used 4 different recipes to make 5 batches of sugar cookie dough, which meant I baked over 150 cookies in a matter of days. I really wanted to be able to compare and discover what worked best for me. The final recipe ended up being the clear winner for me and my taste testers!

how to make sour cream sugar cookies

The sugar cookies are soft and flavorful. Some people think sour cream sugar cookies taste like the Lofthouse sugar cookies you can buy at the store, and I can see why, but these homemade sugar cookies are so so much better! The Lofthouse ones are way to dry for me (and I think the frosting is gross). Ha.

sour cream sugar cookie dough

At first, I thought, “How could this recipe work with so many eggs?!” But somehow this recipe does work and it works well. Use full fat sour cream. We’re not going for low-fat cookies here! If your butter is salted, you can just reduce the amount of salt added in the recipe.

sugar cookie chill time

While the cookies hold their shape, they do still puff up while baking, so detailed cookie cutters are not ideal with this recipe. If the sugar cookies are over-baked, they will be more dry and less soft. The longer you bake them, the more puffed up they stay. Otherwise, they puff up while baking, but will flatten out a little bit while they cool. Honestly, both ways taste pretty good, so you’ll just have to figure out what you prefer.

If they are over-floured while rolling out, they will be less soft too. So just be mindful of that and use as little flour as you can while rolling out the dough scraps, but you will probably need at least some flour at first because the dough can be pretty sticky.

the best sour cream sugar cookies

I’m a huge fan of cream cheese frosting! And I don’t like it when the frosting tastes mostly like a bunch of powdered sugar. I think this frosting recipe is just the right balance of flavor and is absolutely perfect on these soft sugar cookies. But if you prefer frosting without cream cheese, simply replace the cream cheese with more butter and you are good to go.

Use clear vanilla in the frosting, if you want it to be as white as possible. And for adding color, I prefer to use gel food coloring for more vibrant colors than the liquid food coloring drops.

old fashioned sour cream sugar cookies

You can make the dough up to 3 days ahead and chill. FYI – They are still delicious after baking, frosting them, and leaving them in the fridge overnight too.

Bake some up and dip them in Dulce de Leche Fondue, you don’t always have to frost them! Grab some heart cutters and make a batch!

We also have more delicious Valentine’s Day recipes you’ll want to check out here!

Want to skip the sugar this year? We have several fun and frugal Non-Candy Alternatives the kids will love to help do, or receive! Have them help you out with a fun craft project as well! 

The Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

5 / 5 (5 reviews)
Prep Time: 50 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 dozen cookies | Serves: 48

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the sour cream, sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla or almond. Beat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Dough will be thick and sticky. Divide dough in half and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Press and flatten the dough into a disc, then wrap and cover it with the plastic wrap. Another option is to place the dough between two pieces of parchment or waxed paper, then roll dough out to ¼-inch thick while between the paper. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  4. If not rolled out already, flour the working surface and rolling pin. Roll dough to ¼ inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes. Carefully place cut-out cookie dough on prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with the dough scraps, until dough is used up. Keep other half of dough chilled until ready to use. Be careful not to over-flour, especially as you are rolling out the scraps. The less flour you use, the softer the cookies will be.
  5. Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes. Edges will be set and middle of cookies will look uniform and set as well, but still be light in color. Let cool on the pan.
  6. Frosting:

  7. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla for about 3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing to combine.
  8. Start with 2 tablespoons of the milk or heavy cream and add the salt, beat for about 3 minutes. Add more milk until desired consistency is reached. (3 tablespoons works for me.) I usually use milk because it is easy and convenient for me, but heavy cream will result in a more rich and creamy frosting. For more of a buttercream frosting, replace cream cheese with an additional 1/2 cup butter, for a total of 1 cup butter. Makes 4 cups frosting.

Notes

Unfrosted cookies may be frozen up to a month.
These cookies puff up while baking, but will flatten out a little bit while they cool. We don't recommend detailed cookie cutters with this recipe.
Careful not to over-flour while rolling out, otherwise they'll be more dry and less soft.
Use clear vanilla in the frosting, if you want it to be as white as possible. If adding color, use gel food coloring for more vibrant colors.

Recipe Adapted From: The Girl Who Ate Everything

Ingredients: Almond Extract, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Butter, Cream Cheese, Egg, Flour, Food Coloring, Milk, Salt, Sour Cream, Sugar, Vanilla Extract
Meal Type: Desserts, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day
Categories: Cookies and Treats, Oven

Comments & Reviews

    Can I substitute nonfat plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

      Hi Judi, I do that same substitution in many other recipes, but haven’t tried it on this one… I’m guessing it will work out? Please come back and let us know how it goes!

    must you use this to dough for only cut out cookies? Can your roll them and flatten them instead?

    I need to 1/2 this recipe since we are just 2 and do not want to eat so many.

    The good news- I found this dough tasty, in the raw state. It was also very easy to adjust the amounts to half.
    That aside, it is very hard to work with- sticky is an understatement- and requires too much flour to be able to roll out. The most disappointing thing is that the cookie in its lightly baked state just tastes “meh.”
    Fortunately, I only made a half recipe last evening. After baking half of the dough this afternoon, I have put the rest of it into compost.
    Verdict- find another recipe.

    My daughter just made these. She didn’t roll them out for cut out cookies but just formed them into balls and baked them. They are frosted now and I just ate 2. I usually am not a fan of sugar cookies but these are amazing!

    My grandma made the BEST sugar cookies ever… they were so good to eat with and my favorite, without. Over the years, her recipe was lost, and I have never found one that came close to it… until I stumbled upon this one scrolling through Pinterest! I was leery of the amount of “liquid” ingredients. I used SRF, and added the baking soda in with a little salt. The batter itself was so easy to mix up, and was super good in its raw state…lol… I wrapped it in plastic wrap (2 layers) and put it in the fridge for 2 days, until I was able to actually roll them out. Well… the batter being “sticky” is definitely an understatement, and I tried to not add too much flour, as the recipe said, but it couldn’t be helped… I think I probably added another 1 to 1 1/2 cups just to roll them out! By then I was really worried how they would bake 🙁 Anyway… after baking for exactly 8 minutes in our oven, on cookie sheet lined with Silpat, they were beautiful, puffy clouds of cookies… that didn’t fall at all! When they cooled enough to taste test… I was NOT disappointed! I was instantly taken back to my childhood, and grandmas cookies. Seriously…. THE BEST SUGAR COOKIE recipe I have made…and I have made tons……. lol Thank you for sharing! This will now be my “go to” for years to come… and I’ve already shared the recipe with my whole family!

      What a great story! I’m happy to hear it turned out well for you! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience… AND for sharing the recipe!

    Being snowed in in the south has not been our idea of ‘fun’. So in an effort to make lemonade out of lemons (with a house full of displaced family folks in need of utilities and heat), I made this dough last night before we went to bed. I sealed the raw dough tightly (after all of us enjoyed a bite or two each of the raw dough – wowzers delicious!) in a container before placing it outdoors in anticipation of overnight snow. This was my version of ‘chilling the dough’. When my kids were little and we lived up north, I always used a sugar cookie recipe and we did this, calling them ‘snow cookies’.

    By mid-afternoon today, I dug out the container of quite chilled cookies from under the pile of fresh fallen snow, brought them into the house and set the dough on the counter for 5 mins and proceeded to work a portion of it into a log. Circle cookies, of course, aren’t as pretty as cut out cookies, but slicing 3/4 inch slices and placing on the parchment lined pan rendered nice sized circle’ish cookies when baked for 8 minutes.

    I followed this recipe to a ‘T’ with the exception of using mexican la crema (only type of sour cream left of the store shelves) which tends to be a little thinner. I was nervous about it – but, honestly the raw dough and the baked versions were incredible! I am not sure if it was because my dough was super super chilled in freezing temps and snow all night, but I did not use any extra flour to roll them out – I put the dough between two parchment pieces and worked it into a log. The baked cookies were perfectly light and melt in your mouth. And while we are not huge on super sweet cookies, a little sour cream icing on each really rounded out the flavor in them.

    I HIGHLY recommend this recipe! Even my non-sweet eaters found themselves quickly 3 cookies in! 🙂

      Crazy weather down south this winter! Stay safe and well. Thank you for your comment and review, Leah. I’m so glad you all loved the sugar cookies and that you would recommend this recipe. 🙂

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