Classic, soft sugar cookies, perfect for cutting into shapes and sprinkling with sugar, or covering with frosting. These cookies are so delicious, they'll disappear quickly!
When I need a go-to, soft sugar cookie to roll and cut, this is my recipe. Soft like a Lofthouse cookie you find at the grocery store, loaded with flavorful butter and a touch of sour cream for fluffiness, they are truly the best.
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This was the classic sugar cookie we made as children at Christmas. They'd make their way into the cookie jar on Valentine's as well, in the shape of hearts, with perfect pink frosting on top. I use my Fluffy Vanilla Frosting for these cookies, and it is hands down the best combo.
My other sugar cookie recipe yields a crisp and buttery cookie that holds a perfect cookie cutter shape. It is a great option for decorating with Royal Icing and I use it for my Santa Face cookies at the holidays.
This recipe is for softer, fluffy sugar cookies that are at their best with a buttercream frosting.
What makes soft sugar cookies?
These soft sugar cookies are versatile and delicious, and pretty perfect for any occasion. I've made a few changes to the original, and I'll note it in the recipe. Sour cream was added a few years ago to make them more like Lofthouse-style sugar cookies. A little more puffy, cake-like and soft than the original.
You can still make them without sour cream and get a soft, buttery result. Adding the sour cream allows you to roll the dough a little thicker and get a more cake-like cookie.
Either way you are destined to have a soft sugar cookie that looks good, tastes good and even gets better after a day or two!
How to make soft sugar cookies:
- A classic sugar cookie starts with butter and sugar. I like to use unsalted butter (because I can control the amount of salt in the recipe). Your cookies will be fine if you use salted butter.
- The sugar and butter are beaten together, either in an electric mixer or with a hand mixer. This beating is imperative because it's part of the leavening. Mixing the butter and sugar together creates air pockets (that's why the mixture turns light and fluffy), and these air pockets help the eggs and baking powder puff the cookies up for a soft texture.
- Adding sour cream makes the dough cakey and keeps the cookies soft and moist. My recipe only needs a few tablespoons to make a difference.
- Don't forget the salt. It brings out the butter flavor and balances the sugary goodness.
Rolling dough for soft sugar cookies can be done immediately or after chilling.
If you like a crisp and chewy cookie, try my other sugar cookie recipe HERE.
Love cookies? Try some of my other favorites:
My tips for making roll-and-cut cookies:
Typically roll-and-cut cookie dough needs to be chilled first, then quickly rolled out on a floured work surface, cut into shapes and baked. To make this easier, I divide my dough into 2 to 4 pieces, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm. I roll it out quickly and cut my shapes so they are still cold and firm when I transfer them to a baking sheet.
If your arms are getting tired from working that cold dough into an evenly flat canvas, try this method:
Divide newly mixed dough into about 4 pieces. Roll each piece between two sheets of parchment paper to desired thickness. Slide onto a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Peel top sheet from cold dough, replace and flip over. Peel bottom piece from cold dough and quickly cut shapes and transfer to a baking sheet.
Soft Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons sour cream optional
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar well. Add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream. Mix well.
- Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten and chill until cold (about 2 hours).
- Heat oven to 400ºF. Roll dough to about 3/8-inch-thick on floured parchment. Chill rolled sheet of dough before cutting if necessary (dough gets soft quickly). Cut cookies into shapes and bake until just done, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and frost.
- Adding sour cream to the cookies makes them more cakey and soft. You can leave it out for a thinner, buttery soft sugar cookie.
- Leave cookies in oven a few extra minutes if you like a little golden color on them. This will change the texture slightly (they will be a bit dry but have a caramelized flavor), and they will still be soft.
Recipe and food styling: Tara Teaspoon. Photography Ty Mecham.