These are the ultimate Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies! Soft cookies that melt in your mouth, with a tender crumb and buttery flavor, topped with a simple yet divine frosting. As pretty as store-bought, but they taste SO much better!

Small plate of soft frosted sugar cookies with multi-colored sprinkles.

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There’s just something about those soft sugar cookies at every grocery store, with the generous layer of buttercream and sprinkles, often color coordinated to the season or nearest holiday. They often tempt me, but with this recipe in my back pocket, I can resist because I know the homemade ones are so much better, and let me skip out on the processed stuff you can barely pronounce.

Why You’ll Love These

  • The cookies have a soft, almost cake-like texture.
  • Real butter and almond extract gives the cookies a rich flavor and enticing aroma.
  • The frosting is no-fuss and still looks amazingly pretty.
  • They’re easy to make and keep very well.
  • SPRINKLES, obviously!

Ingredients & Common Substitutions

To make these cookies, you’ll need:

  • Butter. This adds so much more flavor than oil or shortening, and is a key ingredient in both the cookies and the frosting.
  • Cream cheese. A secret ingredient for adding body and richness to the cookie dough.
  • Granulated AND powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Adding both to the cookie dough is another secret to achieving the soft, cake-like texture, and of course powdered sugar is key to the frosting.
  • Egg.
  • Almond AND vanilla extract. I love using almond extract in the cookies and vanilla in the frosting. However, if you don’t have and don’t want to buy almond extract, you can use vanilla in both. Pro tip: if you want truly white frosting, use clear imitation vanilla extract. I keep a small bottle of it with my baking supplies for just this purpose.
  • Milk.
  • All-purpose flour, baking powder, salt. I have not tried making these with gluten-free flour (yet!).
  • Food coloring. Gel colors last a long time and are the best way to achieve vibrant colors without thinning out frosting, but standard liquid food coloring will do the job here, as well.
  • Don’t forget your favorite sprinkles! I used these multi-colored jimmies for the batch of cookies pictured here. Literally any sprinkles will look charming on these!
Close-up of multi-colored jimmies.

How To Make Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

  1. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, and extract.
  2. Mix in dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, & salt. The dough will be very soft.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes or so. This is necessary!
  4. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface. Cut into circles or other shapes.
  5. Transfer and bake.
  6. Beat butter, powdered sugar, milk, and extract together to make the frosting.
  7. Frost cookies as desired. A small offset spatula really makes this easy!
  8. Add sprinkles and try not to eat them all at once. 🙂
Stack of soft frosted sugar cookies, one with two bites out.

Tips and Tricks

  • Add more flour as needed while rolling. Don’t hesitate to liberally sprinkle the work surface, rolling pin, and dough with flour to minimize sticking.
  • Using a bench scraper and pastry mat can really help make it easy to lift the cut cookies and transfer them cleanly to the baking sheet. Neither is necessary, but both are super helpful, and once you have them you’ll start to find all kinds of uses for them in the kitchen!
  • Don’t worry about what shapes to use. You can use a fancy cookie cutter to make any shape that you like, but don’t overthink it. I cut out these with a kid’s plastic cup from Ikea!
  • Take care not to over bake. You want to remove the cookies when the edges and undersides have just the slightest tinge of golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool completely before frosting. If the cookies are still warm, the frosting will literally melt and slide off. Not a good look.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the dough *really* need to chill?

Unfortunately, yes. This dough is designed to be very soft, so that you can incorporate more flour as you roll it out and still have a very tender cookie when baked. The down side of this is that the dough is too sticky to work with and will spread out too much while baking if it’s not chilled. 30 minutes in the fridge is all it takes.

Can I make these as drop-style cookies?

Yes! It’s still best to chill the dough, to prevent spreading, but you can scoop this dough out into mounds of about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons each, roll into balls, flatten slightly, and bake.

Can these sugar cookies be made ahead?

These cookies actually taste even better the day after they’re baked and frosted, so yes! Somehow they become even softer, and the frosting sets into the perfect texture, with a tender, sweet inner layer and an ever-so-slightly crisp coating on top.

You can also make the cookies in stages, baking one day, frosting the next.

What’s the best way to store soft sugar cookies?

Store these cookies tightly covered at room temperature for up to 5 days. If not exposed to much air, they will hold onto their soft, tender texture without a problem. If you care about keeping the frosting as pristine as possible, stack with sheets of waxed paper or parchment paper in between layers.

White plate filled with soft frosted sugar cookies, ready to share.

More Sugar Cookie Recipes To Try

If you try these Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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Small plate of soft frosted sugar cookies with multi-colored sprinkles.
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Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Tender, soft, almost cake-like cookies with a delicious swipe of frosting and sprinkles. Just as pretty as store-bought, easy to dress up for any occasion!

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • 1/3 cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract see note
  • food coloring if desired

Sprinkles, to finish!

    Instructions

    • Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper; set aside.
    • In a large bowl, using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, egg, and almond extract until light and fluffy.
    • Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, and salt over the mixture, and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms. (The dough is meant to be soft, because you’ll be working in some extra flour later as you roll out the cookies.) Chill the dough for about 30 minutes.
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 3/8” thickness. (Thinner dough=less soft cookies.) Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter or drinking glass and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Don’t hesitate to sprinkle more flour as you go to make the cookies easy to roll out and transfer.
    • Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are the tiniest bit brown. Let cool briefly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
    • To make the frosting, use a stand or hand mixer to combine all ingredients, beginning on low speed and then whipping in high speed until smooth and light. To make it slightly thicker, add more powdered sugar; to make it thinner, add a tiny bit more milk. Frost cookies, add sprinkles, and enjoy!

    Notes

    • Chilling this dough is necessary. If you skip chilling, you’ll likely find the dough too sticky to work with and prone to spread out too much while baking. 30 minutes in the fridge is all it takes.
    • If you want to keep your frosting bright white, use clear imitation vanilla extract.
    • Using a bench scraper and pastry mat can really help make it easy to lift the cut cookies and transfer them cleanly to the baking sheet. Neither is necessary, but both are super helpful, and once you have them you’ll start to find all kinds of uses for them in the kitchen.
    Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

    This post was originally published August 29, 2016, and has been overhauled with an improved recipe, new photos, and more detailed instructions and tips for success.