Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Are frosted sugar cookies on your timeline to make this season? Whenever we get those neighbor cookie plates, I always try to sneak away with the sugar cookies, if there are any. Especially if they are soft-baked, thick-cut and smothered in frosting. Sprinkles don’t hurt either. Yum. So what I’m trying to say is, if you bring frosted sugar cookies to my house, I won’t turn you away.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

I have a favorite sugar cookie recipe (this one) that’s been my go-to for years and years. But last week when I was flipping through my tattered recipe binders, I found the recipe my grandma used to always make, and I remembered how much I loved them. I knew the risk in remaking them would be that my fond memories were with the sweet grandma part of the equation and not the actual sugar cookie, but wonderfully, they were as delicious as I remembered: very soft, just lightly sweet, and they keep the shape of the cookie cutter which is always a bonus. And I loved the nostalgia as the rush of loving grandma memories swirled around on baking (and eating) day.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

One of the reasons these cookies win me over is because of the very slight hint of nutmeg. It makes the sugar cookies extra special without overpowering the classic sugar cookie flavor. (But it’s definitely an optional component if you are a nutmeg naysayer.)

I almost always use this quick vanilla buttercream for frosting sugar cookies (this whipped cream cheese frosting – bottom of the post – is sinful, too, but a bit less sturdy than the buttercream); the combination of sweet, creamy frosting and buttery, tender sugar cookies is…just…too delicious.

I prefer these cookies baked with very little, if any, golden color on the bottom or sides. Soft and yummy. It’s the only way to go.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake Truffles
Two Years Ago: Homemade Thin Mint Cookies
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Shortbread Fingers

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Yield: Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on the size

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) butter, softened
  • 2 cups (15 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (3.5 - 3.6 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 1/2 cups (32.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer (or in an electric stand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar for a minute or so. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well-combined.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg (if using) and salt. Mix until combined; the mixture will be in little pieces.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the sour cream and baking soda. The sour cream may foam a bit - that's totally normal.
  4. Add the sour cream mixture to the cookie dough and mix until combined. Don't overmix - just until it is smooth and looks like sugar cookie dough.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Roll the dough on a lightly floured counter to about 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes, using additional flour on the counter or rolling pin as needed. Place the cutout cookies on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet a couple inches apart and bake for 9-11 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies. Don't overbake. They'll be puffed up a bit and should be lightly browned (or not browned at all) on the bottoms; they'll be softer if there's no browning on the sides and top.
  8. Let the cookies rest a minute or so on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (my sweet grandma’s old recipe)

36 Responses to Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

  1. Deirdre says:

    Hi Mel! I’m on the hunt for a new sugar cookie recipe this season and found some great ones on your website. For this particular recipe, at what temperature should I bake them? Thanks!

  2. Jackie says:

    My son Caleb said, “Yum. I think she posted this recipe just for me.”

  3. Bess says:

    I have a nutmeg sugar cookie recipe that tastes amazing but I can’t get the texture right so I’m really excited about trying these. Sugar cookies with a hint of nutmeg taste like Christmas to me.

  4. Laurel says:

    I love sour cream sugar cookies. These look yummy can’t wait to try them with my fresh nutmeg. Yay!! Thanks for another home run!!

  5. Heather M says:

    My mom’s little sister used to make this type of sugar cookie, cut into trees and slathered in green frosting, every Christmas and bring them to our family Christmas party. She passed away 5 years ago and now I can’t eat a cookie like this without thinking of her. To me they will always be Holly’s sugar cookies. They are yummy!

  6. Aunt Laurie! says:

    This is the recipe I use to make my raisin filled cookies for your dad ( minus the nutmeg). I must have got it from Mom because I’ve used it forever!

  7. Sally says:

    I’ve made a very similar recipe — including mixing the baking soda and sour cream — for about 45 years. It is the one cookie I MUST make for Christmas. What I like about the recipe I have is that I can make it a drop cookie or add more flour and make it a rolled cookie. Since I have somewhere next to no patience in rolling and cutting out cookie dough, I usually make the drop cookie. It’s not a particularly sweet sugar cookie, so it definitely benefits from frosting and sprinkles.

  8. Nancy H. says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! My mother used to make a soft, fluffy sugar cookie that had a hint of nutmeg. I am hopeful that this is the one I remember. I will be baking these this weekend!

  9. Paige says:

    These cookies look amazing! I love how well they held their shape! That’s sometimes hard to come by in a sugar cookie recipe!


  10. Jen T says:

    Oh yes this looks like the perfect sugar cookie. Yum! Thanks Mel!

  11. Shawnda Mills says:

    Could I sub plain greek yogurt for the sour cream?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried that substitution in these cookies so I don’t know for sure. Good luck if you experiment!

    • Sally says:

      The recipe I have is similar but not identical to this one. I’ve used yogurt, buttermilk and a combination of what I have on hand with good results.

  12. Michelle says:

    I have used this (almost) exact recipe for 20+ years; ingredients are the same but they bake at 425 for 5 minutes. They are the best sugar cookie ever!!

  13. Christine Hull says:

    I know this is off topic but I want to say thank you for not bombarding me with ads and popups and begging me for my email address. I LOVE food blogs but it seems that lately a lot of them are so distracting I have to leave. So thanks Mel for having not only really yum recipes but having a peaceful website. You rock!!

  14. Aunt Laurie says:

    I just looked at recipe closer to see if it was just like mine and I realized you use a whole cup more flour than I do. Does that have to do with altitude? I do have to use flour when I roll them out. Just finished making a batch of raisin filled for your some of the family. Too bad your dad doesn’t live closer

    • Mel says:

      Hey Aunt Laurie – it might simply be the way we measure flour. Plus I also wanted the cookies to really keep their shape – I did use a little flour for rolling out but not tons. Do you have to use quite a bit? I think the dough can be quite a bit softer with the raisin-filled cookies but for cutouts it probably needs to be a bit firmer so the cookies don’t spread. My dad will be so jealous about those cookies!

  15. Kathi says:

    Do you keep these in the fridge because of the cream cheese in the frosting?

    • Mel says:

      Usually I frost them before serving so they don’t need to be refrigerated. I’d say longer than 8 hours, they should probably go in the fridge.

  16. Maureen says:

    Looking forward to making these! Do you think there would be any harm in refrigerating the dough for a longer period of time before rolling, cutting, and baking? A day or two perhaps?

  17. Amanda says:

    Aside from halving it, I made this per the recipe. SUCH a good cookie. On its own, dipped in coffee, with frosting and thousands of sprinkles, (the joy of letting a 4 year old decorate them!)

    I cannot stop eating them. I’m glad I made a half batch! Haha!

  18. Liz says:

    I’ve made these twice now (1/2 recipe as I don’t have a bowl large enough for the full recipe!). They are wonderful.

    One thing I did as I wasn’t sure whether to let the dough warm before rolling or ?? and went searching “rolling out sugar cookies” … one result said to use powdered sugar instead of flour for non stick rolling. That worked very well for me and no excess “flour” taste on the cookies.

  19. Mara says:

    We made these yesterday – they are delicious! And the dough was the easiest to roll out of any recipe I’ve made in YEARS. So easy that my 6 year old did almost all of the rolling and cutting herself! My only note is that it made a TON of cookies – I’ll make a 1/2 batch next time unless we’re sharing! THANKS!

  20. Kelty says:

    These cookies were perfect! I was looking for a softer cookie and this was it. I love how they are not terribly sweet so that when you decorate it with very sweet icing, it’s not complete sugar overload. The dough was a little tricky at first, but I finally learned that you couldn’t be shy with the flour. I second Mara above in that I got a TON of cookies as well. Definitely a keeper!

  21. Davy Yee says:

    Mel, I can’t wait to bake these cookies with my girls today! Do we roll the dough right after we take it out of the fridge or do we need to wait a little bit? Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!!

  22. Valerie says:

    Not sure what I did wrong – but seemed too dry – possibly too much flour? It barely came together. Have any suggestions for me? Santa will love them, I’m sure.

    • Mel says:

      Sounds like the dough was overfloured, Valerie – try measuring with a lighter hand next time (or use the weight measures if you didn’t already). Hope they tasted ok!

  23. Jenae Parker says:

    These were a hit!!

  24. Eliza says:

    Hey! I was wondering if we need to refrigerate the dough? Is it super important? If so, why is it? Just interested. I am just making them for my family. If the recipie is as good as everyone claims, I will for sure feature this on my blog!

    • Mel says:

      Chilling the dough for this particular recipe helps the sugar cookies hold their shape – and also makes it so it isn’t a sticky mess while rolling them out.

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