These Cut out Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are a holiday favorite! They’re crisp and golden on the outside, but soft and fluffy in the middle. Topped with the BEST cream cheese frosting.
These cut out sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting recipe is a riff of the sugar cookies my mom made when I was growing up. I LOVE her version, but who would I be if I didn’t try to play with it a little bit?
If I’m really being honest, hers ALWAYS look better than mine. I guess frosting isn’t my forte while my mom is a frosting master. My version is still delicious though…and that’s what matters, right?
These sugar cookies are crispy, yet soft and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting!
- Unsalted Butter – adds a rich, warm, buttery flavor.
- Granulated Sugar – sweetens the cookies.
- Egg – helps bind the ingredients together, allowing the cookies to hold their shape.
- Milk – adds a little extra moisture for perfectly chewy cookies.
- Vanilla – adds warmth.
- Almond Extract – my secret ingredient to add flavor and sweetness! I find sugar cookies without almond extract to be very bland.
- All-Purpose Flour – gives the cookies structure.
- Baking Powder – our leavening agent. Baking powder lightens the cookies to keep them fluffy.
- Salt – cuts the sweetness and enhances other flavors.
- Cream Cheese, Powdered Sugar, Salt, Milk, and Vanilla Extract – make up a thick, sweet, and delicious cream cheese frosting.
How to make
This recipe is so easy to make and so delicious!
- Use a stand-mixer or hand-mixer to cream together butter and sugar then add in egg, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until fully combined.
- Mix in flour, baking powder and salt until fully combined then cover with saran wrap and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.
- Form a ball with all of the dough then use a rolling pin to roll it out on a clean, lightly floured surface.
- Cut the dough into whatever shape you like then bake on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
- While your cookies are cooling, make your cream cheese frosting! Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar and salt, then milk and vanilla.
- Once your cookies are completely cooled, frost and enjoy!
Should the frosting be firm?
The frosting will be firm, but not hard. Technically frosting never gets super firm. That would be an icing.
Can you stack sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting?
Yes! Since this frosting firms up pretty well, you should be able to stack them without it smooshing all over the place. Let it set completely and you’re good to go! Be sure to place wax or parchment paper between the layers, this will help keep the frosting on the cookie and off the bottom of another!
Why is my cream cheese frosting runny?
If your frosting is runny before frosting the cookies, you under-measured your powdered sugar or over-measured your milk/cream. If it’s too thin, simply whisk in more powdered sugar.
If your frosting is melting after frosting the cookies, chances are you tried to frost the cookies too soon after baking. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before adding the frosting!
These sugar cookies are topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting and your choice of toppings — here are some ideas!
- Decorating Sugar
- Crushed Oreos
- Melted Chocolate
How to store
These cookies will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer (unfrosted) for 3 months.
To enjoy again from frozen, remove from the airtight container (there’s likely condensation from the freezer), thaw at room temperature for 2 hours, then frost and serve!
Happy Holiday Baking!
Cut out sugar cookies or drop sugar cookies? If you’re not a fan of cut outs, check out Trevor’s grandma’s best sugar cookies!
Cut Out Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk/half-half/heavy cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream together butter and sugar using your stand (or hand) mixer.
- After the butter and sugar mixture is fluffy, add in an egg, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until combined.
- Add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) and mix until fully combined.
- The dough will probably be extremely sticky, but that's ok. Cover with saran wrap and let chill for at least an hour in the fridge.
- If you let it chill for more than an hour, you may need to let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, or it'll be too hard to roll out.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.
- Once the dough is ready, form it into a ball the best you can in the bowl. Then roll it out using a rolling pin. *Make sure your surface and rolling pin are both well floured.*
- Roll out the dough until it's about 1/8 in - 1/4 in thick.
- Cut the dough into whatever shape you like. You may want to flour your cookie cutters as well.
- Bake on a silicone mat in a preheated oven for 8 - 12 minutes.
- Mine were perfect at 10 minutes: a slightly golden, crunchy exterior with a soft middle. If you want a crunchier cookie, roll these out to about 1/8 in thick and bake for a little longer.
- Cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In your stand mixer, place cream cheese and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. You may need to stop and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Now add in the milk and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Frost and enjoy!
- Let the frosting completely harden before storing these at room temperature in an airtight container.
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published November 5, 2016 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.