Soft Sugar Cookies

February 9, 2020  ·  Published January 28, 2017

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These Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies are one of my all time favorite treats! They have a delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture and a sweet satisfying flavor. They’re always one of the first things to go at parties and I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t love them!

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

I’ve made these Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies countless times. These irresistible cutout cookies are addictive!

Once you try one bite you’ll crave them forever more.

They have a texture like the Lofthouse cookies but they aren’t full of the strange flavor from preservatives and artificial flavors.

Plus these are fun to make and decorate. The kids love to help too!

What makes these so soft? They’re made with that secret ingredient of sour cream, it gives them the perfect texture!

This soft sugar cookie recipe is easily worthy of having a space in your recipe box! What’s not to love?

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies cutout into heart shapes

Ingredients Needed to Make Frosted Cutout Sugar Cookies

  • All purpose flour – a staple ingredient to build up the structure of the cookies. I don’t recommend substitutes.
  • Cornstarch – this helps give the cookies a delicate melt in your mouth texture, it also makes the dough easier to work with.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – these help the cookies rise.
  • Salt – a crucial ingredient to keep the cookies from tasting bland.
  • Unsalted butter – I don’t recommend using salted butter (while it could work in the cookies and you could reduce the salt to 1/4 tsp) it would make the frosting taste salty. No margarine or shortening substitutes here.
  • Granulated sugar – while the cookies themselves don’t come out very sweet once you add the sweet frosting they’re perfect.
  • Sour cream – this ingredient keeps the cookies moist and also helps give that signature cake-like texture. Use full fat for more rich and tender cookies.
  • Vanilla and almond extract – these boost flavor in the cookies. If there’s an allergy the almond extract can be omitted.
  • Powdered sugar – the fine texture of the powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) makes for a silky smooth frosting.
  • Half and half – in a pinch milk or heavy cream will work fine too. Or use a blend of both if you have both.

Showing first four steps of making soft frosted sugar cookies.

How to Make Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients.
  2. Blend butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl.
  3. Mix in egg then blend in sour cream and extracts.
  4. Shape dough into two disks, cover and chill.
  5. Roll dough and cut into rounds or hearts.
  6. Bake in preheated oven on lined baking sheets.
  7. Let cool then frost.

Steps 5 - 8 of making soft frosted sugar cookies Steps 9 - 12 of making soft frosted sugar cookies.

How to Make Sugar Cookie Frosting

Sugar cookie frosting is super easy to make. It’s very similar to a buttercream but not as much whipping is required and the ratios are a little different. To prepare it:

  1. Blend together butter, powdered sugar half and half and vanilla in an electric mixer bowl until well blended and fluffy.
  2. Tint with coloring (drops, gel, natural coloring, beet powder etc if desired.
  3. Thin it with more half and half as needed.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

How do You Keep Sugar Cookies Soft?

  • When cooling I like to let cool about 10 minutes on a wire rack then transfer to an airtight container to finish cooling to trap in moisture and soften the otherwise lightly crisp edges.
  • For the frosting I like it to be just a littler more wet then traditional buttercream so that moisture soaks into the cookies and makes them even more moist and soft.
  • You can also try adding a slice of bread to the same container with the cookies to keep them soft, just don’t place it on the cookies.

How Do You Keep Them Fresher Longer?

If you want the cookies to keep longer then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 6 days, bring to room temperature before serving), or freeze for a few months.

Lofthouse style cutout frosted sugar cookies close up image.

Tips for the Best Frosted Sugar Cookies

  • Whisk dry ingredients for about 20 – 30 seconds to evenly distribute ingredients.
  • Use a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients for the most accurate results if possible.
  • Don’t skip the chill time or dough won’t be workable for rolling and cutting.
  • Be careful not to over-bake or cookies will be dry!
  • These cookies are actually best the next day, they become super soft after resting a while and absorbing some of the moisture of the frosting.

Cutout sugar cookies in heart shapes on a baking sheet shown frosted with sprinkles.

More Sugar Cookie Recipes You’ll Love

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

5 from 5 votes

The BEST sugar cookies! They have the best melt-in-your-mouth texture and such an irresistible flavor! They're just like Lofthouse cookies without the strange preservative flavor.

Servings: 24
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups (330g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2 Tbsp (19g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream** (full fat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp half and half, then more as needed
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar until blended. Mix in egg then blend in sour cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. 
  3. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. 
  4. Divide dough into 2 fairly equal portions. Place each portion on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape each into a round disk about 6-inches. 

  5. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill 1 1/2 - 2 hours until fairly firm for rolling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 20 minutes of chilling.
  6. Dust a work surface with a fair amount of flour. Remove one portion of dough from refrigerator, remove from plastic wrap and transfer to floured surface. 
  7. Dust top with flour, then using a rolling pin, roll out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into rounds (about 2 3/4 inch) or hearts. 

  8. Transfer to an 18 by 13-inch baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gather scraps (shake excess flour off) and press together then re-roll dough and cut into shapes. 

  9. Bake in preheated oven for 9 - 11 minutes until cookies are nearly set***.

  10. Let cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool (after about 5 minutes of cooling on a wire rack I transfer to an airtight container to finish cooling to seal in moisture). Repeat process with remaining dough in refrigerator. 
  11. Once cookies are cool frost with the vanilla frosting and store in an airtight container in a single layer.

  12. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer) blend together butter, powdered sugar, half and half and vanilla until well combined and fluffy. 

  13. Add in a little more half and half as needed 1 tsp at a time to thin. Keep covered until ready to use.

Recipe Notes

  • *To measure flour scoop flour with a measuring cup and sweep top using a butter knife. If you are in high humidity you may need to fold in a couple more tablespoons of flour at the end if the dough is super sticky.
  • **If there is a pool of liquid (whey) on top of the sour cream be sure to stir the sour cream well or even drain off the liquid before measuring.
  • ***Be careful not to over-bake or they can be dry, but don't under-bake or they can be doughy and won't be as fluffy.
  • Note that this dough does puff up so I don't recommend using detailed cookie cutters.
Nutrition Facts
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 226 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 30mg10%
Sodium 103mg4%
Potassium 37mg1%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Sugar 23g26%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 280IU6%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 17mg2%
Iron 0.7mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Soft Sugar Cookies
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe originally published January 28, 2017. Photos and text have been updated.