What’s the secret ingredient in this Soft Sugar Cookies recipe? It’s sour cream! Keeps your cookies soft for days on end! Decorate with icing, or eat them plain if you just can’t wait!
If you are looking for a no-fail soft sugar cookie recipe, you’ve just hit the jackpot. This recipe doesn’t use any shortening (just real butter and sour cream), and these cookies are better than anything you could buy at the store!
These cookies are great on the day you make them. But they’re still great the next day, and the day after that!
Full disclosure: I left one of these cookies out overnight and expected it to be hard and stale the next day. To my utter delight, it was still soft and delicious! If you need to make cookies ahead of time, these are the perfect cookies, because they retain their moisture and tender crumb.
You can decorate these cookies with buttercream or with royal icing. However, since the edges do expand and slope, royal icing needs to be kept away from the edges.
If you are looking for cookies that are the perfect canvas for royal icing, may I suggest my Sugar Cookies for Decorating.
Here’s a comparison shot so you can see the difference between this recipe for Soft Sugar Cookies and Sugar Cookies for Decorating. Both of these cookies were cut out with the same cookie cutter.
You can see that the one on the left (Sugar Cookies for Decorating) has sharp edges and a completely smooth top. The one on the right (Soft Sugar Cookies) has expanded more in the oven, has a bit of a crackly top, and slightly sloping edges.
Here’s a picture of some Soft Sugar Cookies I decorated with royal icing. You can see I tried to keep it away from the edges. (You can’t really tell, but on the top right cookie, I got too close to the edge, and the icing ran over the side).
After the icing in the middle had hardened a little, I went back and did the decorations around the edges.
O.K. Now let’s get to making these Soft Sugar Cookies!
How to Make Soft Sugar Cookies
- Mix up the cookie dough. You’ll need butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, sour cream, flour baking soda, and salt.
- Roll out to 1/4″ thick (or slightly thicker, if desired).
- Cut out into desired shapes.
4. Place the cut out cookies onto a parchment-lined or silicone mat-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerate for at least one hour. You can put the cookies close together, because you’ll rearrange them before baking.
5. Once cookies have chilled for at least an hour, place them at least two inches apart on parchment-lined or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. Bake in a 350-degree oven for eight minutes. They may not look brown at all, but that’s o.k. Take them out anyway. They’ll finish cooking on the baking sheet.
6. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for about five minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
That’s it! Now you can eat them plain, or decorate them to your heart’s content!
Store in an airtight container. They will stay fresh and soft for up to a week.
Can You Freeze Soft Sugar Cookies?
Yes! Just allow them to come to room temperature. Then place them in an airtight container and place in the freezer. If you are worried about the cookies sticking to each other, you can separate them with pieces of waxed paper.
Allow to thaw at room temperature for several hours before you plan to eat or decorate them.
Can You Decorate Soft Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing?
Yes! You can find a recipe for royal icing with my Sugar Cookies for Decorating recipe. As mentioned above, you may want to stay away from the edges of the cookies, lest your icing run down the sides. However, if you are careful, you can outline near the edges, then start filling in the cookie from the middle, giving the edges just a teeny chance to solidify a little and hold the icing in.
For tips on decorating with royal icing, be sure to visit my Sugar Cookies for Decorating post. I have links to several videos that demonstrate some gorgeous techniques!
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- 1/2 cup butter (1 cube), room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together, about two minutes on medium speed.
- Add the vanilla and egg and blend well.
- Add the sour cream and blend well. The mixture may look a little lumpy, but that's o.k.
- Add all three cups of flour (measured properly--see notes below), the baking soda and salt.
- Blend on low speed until all the flour disappears. The dough should be soft and only slightly sticky. If the dough is super sticky, add no more than 1/4 cup extra flour.
- Heavily flour a large cutting board or clean countertop. Place the ball of dough on top and sprinkle liberally with flour so your rolling pin doesn't stick.
- Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick, or slightly thicker. Cut into shapes using desired cookie cutters.
- Place cut-out dough onto parchment-lined or silicone mat-lined baking sheets. You can put the cookies close together. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour to chill.
- When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for eight minutes. They will not brown.
- Remove cookies from the oven and allow to sit for five minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To measure flour correctly, spoon it into a measuring cup and then level with a knife or the handle of the spoon.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 132mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g