Creamy bright pink frosting and sprinkles cover these easy drop cookies. Be sure not to over-bake them!
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❤️ Why you'll love it
- Tastes better than from the grocery store (and cheaper, too)
- A big batch of nostalgic, thick cookies that just melt in your mouth
- Say "goodbye" to chilled dough—skip that if you need cookies ASAP
The perfectly-sweet buttercream frosting uses just a touch of cream cheese for balanced flavor both kids and adults love—just don't forget sprinkles!
This is the best sugar cookies recipe, and I'm basing that on the fact that we never have any leftovers. (I swear, these cookies make you lose self-control!)
However, if you have a few remaining, storage is easy. Place the buttercream-frosted sugar cookies in an airtight container, or cover your platter with some plastic wrap.
Since there's just a little bit of cream cheese in the frosting, you can freeze leftover cookies.
They'll stay good, frozen, for about a month. Be sure to wrap them extra well with plastic, and let them thaw at room temperature until gloriously soft again.
You'll find more information on storing buttercream frosted cookies in this post.
- If you have some pastry flour, feel free to use it instead of all-purpose flour—the soft sugar cookies will turn out even more tender. Cake flour will work, too!
- If you don't have sour cream and can't get to the store, use buttermilk.
- Chocolate buttercream tastes just as good on these classic sugar cookies. Feel free to make it yourself or buy premade.
- Instead of regular sprinkles, top the cookies with mini chocolate Easter eggs for a festive touch. Or, use crushed peppermint candy if it's Christmas time!
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: Sift your powdered sugar before adding it to the butter. This easy step makes your frosting so, so, so much smoother!
- Once you add the flour and the other dry ingredients, don't mix too much. Otherwise, your cookies will lose their signature soft texture.
- Rather than scooping the flour out of the package, it's best to fill the measuring cup with a spoon. Then, level off the top with a knife.
- Room-temperature butter is important for both the cookies and frosting, so pull it out in advance!
- If you need to microwave the butter to speed up the softening, be careful. Use the half-power setting, and don't let any of the butter melt!
- Only chill the sugar cookie dough if you plan on using a rolling pin. Otherwise, just drop the dough in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.
- Use a cookie-dough scoop to portion the dough more evenly.
- After adding the heavy cream and coloring, replace the whisk (if you used it) with the paddle attachment. Turn your mixer to low speed and let it run for a few minutes. This will remove any air bubbles from your vanilla frosting so that it looks as smooth as it tastes!
- If you want your cookies to have a polished appearance, let them cool before frosting. If they're warm, your buttercream will melt.
- Feel free to use a piping bag to apply the frosting, or simply swirl it on with a spatula or butter knife.
This is a baking term that means to combine or mix. Once properly creamed, the butter/sugar mixture will look paler in color than when you began, and it may even have grown a little in volume. It takes about 5 minutes.
Great question! Once the baked cookies have cooled, you can store them at room temperature for one or two days, tightly covered. Or freeze them.
This sugar cookie frosting has a touch of cream cheese in it for extra creaminess and flavor balance. However, it doesn't crust quite as much as a classic American buttercream. You could probably get away with stacking after they're chilled, but I don't recommend it.
I can't stop you, now, can I? However, this recipe creates a fluffy sugar cookie, which is perfect for vanilla buttercream. You'll have better luck using royal icing on cut-out cookies, like these. (That's the best sugar cookie recipe to use with cookie cutters, too!)
Yup—since this frosting has a bit of cream cheese, it does. However, not all buttercream needs refrigeration. You can learn more about the different types of buttercream here.
Only the best soft frosted sugar cookies known to humankind! (Well, maybe after this recipe, of course.) They're an old-fashioned, store-bought cookie with a cake-like texture and ultra-fluffy, smooth frosting. Don't run to the store, though. You can make them at home!
📚 Related recipes
- When you're craving fragrant, chewy sugar cookies with just a slightly crisp edge, these Bakery-Style Cookies are what you need.
- Old-Fashioned Snickerdoodles have the perfect balance of sweet, cinnamon-brown sugar flavors. There's a reason they're a classic!
- Extra frosting? Use it up in these Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. The frosting goes in the batter and is key to its delicious flavor and texture.
🍽️ Serve with...
- Traditional Southern Coffee Punch is a great way to make any small gathering feel like a party! It goes great with buttercream sugar cookies.
- Patriotic Fruit Salad is fun and festive, no matter the season. Plus, fresh fruit is the perfect complement to cookies on a cookout dessert table!
- Hamburger Noodle Casserole tastes like childhood, and it's super easy to prep. Voila—you just planned your nostalgic dinner for tonight!
📞 The last word
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy - about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg, and beat until it's all mixed in.
- Stir in the sour cream and vanilla on low speed just until combined.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure none of the mixture is sticking.
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix together until just incorporated.
- If you're going to roll them out then stop here and chill for at least an hour.
- Drop by rounded teaspoons on the prepared baking sheets - for bigger cookies use a tablespoon.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are set and just barely beginning to turn golden - do not overbake!
- Cool completely before frosting.
- Beat together all ingredients except cream and food coloring until smooth.
- Add cream and food coloring last to achieve the desired thickness and color.
- Frost cooled cookies generously and add sprinkles.
Nutrition information is estimated as a courtesy. If using for medical purposes, please verify information using your own nutritional calculator. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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First published February 9, 2012. Last updated for readability and editorial corrections May 1, 2023.
✍🏻 A note from Marye...
I know y'all don't always like the stories bloggers tell so when I have one I try to put it at the very bottom so you can read or skip as you like.
When I was little Dad got transferred to a different office and we moved from Dallas to just outside of Philadelphia for a few years.
RIght smack in the center of probably one of the most historic areas of the United States.
You couldn't drive a mile without passing stone houses that were built in the 1600s and had witnessed war, peace and everything in-between for over 300 years.
I didn't have to learn about the mules that pulled flatboats along the canals because I visited those canals many times, and viewed the faded trails that the animals trudged along day after day.
History was a living thing to me, sometimes more real than the world I lived in and I escaped to the woods more than once to hunt for arrowheads, musket shells, and other relics of those who had walked those woods before me.
I was, as you probably figured out, quite a loner - content with my one best friend, my thoughts, and my books. I loved living there and when I think of home those woods are one of the two images that come to my mind.
You know how you always fondly remember the foods you ate when you were a kid?
Soft pretzels smeared with bright yellow mustard, hot from the cart and wrapped in crisp paper that crackled with every salty bite - these were not the pretzels you find in the malls today.
They were a unique texture and flavor, a flavor that could not be reproduced without the crisp autumn air, the dirty hands of the grinning vendor, and the sounds of downtown Philadelphia echoing past the tall buildings.
The frosting was creamy and I always remember it being pink, although perhaps it wasn't.
And looking backward 55 years those cookies seemed to have a magic all their own; one which ( if I could only remember the secret code) could whisk me back to that time and that place.
As many times as I tried to make these I could never get them right - or at least I could never get them the way that I remember them.
That's probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when you are recreating a flavor from childhood. It doesn't have to taste the way it really did, it only has to taste the way you remember it.
The frosting was always too sweet, or not creamy enough... the cookie was too cakey or too crumbly... maybe it had too much vanilla or not enough butter. Whatever the problem, the recipes never ever were right.
These are exactly as I remember them. I won't guarantee that they are exactly as YOU remember them but only that they are crumbly, tender with a delicate flavor and a perfect almost-salty aftertaste, and that the frosting is creamy and not too sweet.
You can roll them out if you like - just chill the dough first. I prefer them rolled into balls and placed on the cookie sheets without chilling at all. They puff slightly as they bake but instead of getting cakey the insides become honeycombed with air bubbles and crumbs...and flavor.
I don't know if this is your memory but it is mine - and I'd love to share it with you. Don't forget the frosting - pink.