Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

One of the best sugar cookies out there, these soft sour cream sugar cookies are thick and ultra-soft and amazing for any occasion!

two sugar cookies with pink frosting and white sprinkles on parchment paper

Listen, I love sugar cookies as much as the next person. Probably even more.

If we’re being honest with each other, a super soft, thick-cut, lightly frosted sugar cookie is my kryptonite. 

I have another favorite roll-and-cut sugar cookie recipe that is fantastic, but these soft sour cream sugar cookies are right up there with any other favorite.

It’s my grandma’s recipe. And it is a keeper.

pink frosted heart shaped sugar cookie broken in half

Perfect Sugar Cookies

These soft sour cream sugar cookies are unique in the mixing. 

The flour is added before all the wet ingredients leaving you with a crumbly, sandy dough. Don’t panic! That’s how it should be. 

The sour cream is added at the very end of mixing. It brings everything together to form a perfect, soft sugar cookie dough.

mixing sugar cookie dough in kitchenaid mixer

To Chill or Not to Chill

Although the recipe states the sugar cookie dough should be chilled, I often live on the impatient wild side and cut out the sugar cookies right away. 

These cookies puff up a lot while baking. I still like to cut them pretty thick – at least 1/4-inch. 

Thin, crackly, crumbly sugar cookies do not belong in my life. Thick-cut, soft sugar cookies all the way. 

cutting out sugar cookie dough with heart cookie cutter

These soft sour cream sugar cookies might look a little wrinkly or pockmarked after baking. Again, totally normal! 

That’s due to the rising and puffing that happens while baking thanks to the sour cream + baking soda reaction. 

four heart shaped sugar cookies stacked on each other

Keeping Their Shape

Sugar cookie sometimes lose their defined shape while baking. 

On a scale of how well these sour cream sugar cookies keep their shape, I’d say they are about a 7 1/2. 

They definitely keep the shape they were cut in but not with super crisp, clean lines. They puff and spread enough in the oven to blur into soft lines around the edges.

If you want super crisp sugar cookie shapes, this recipe may not be the one. But if you want really, really soft and super, super yummy sugar cookies, the search is over.

spreading pink frosting on soft sour cream sugar cookie

In the category of Best Overall All-Purpose Sugar Cookie (I just made up this category), these soft sour cream sugar cookies reign supreme. 

They are perfect for any occasion. 

I’ve decided I’m very much into rustic, homey sugar cookies that taste amazing over beautifully and intricately decorated sugar cookies that taste bland and crunchy. 

These sugar cookies definitely fit into the category of cookies I love. I hope you love them, too!

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Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 9 minutes
Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) butter, softened
  • 2 cups (15 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 cups (27.5 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

Flour Amount: there have been a lot of people reporting back about crumbly dough. The original recipe called for 6 1/2 cups flour but after making this over and over, I've changed the amount to 5 1/2 cups. I apologize for the issues (related to an automatic recipe conversion that happened a year or so ago). If you've had good luck using the original amount, stick with it, but I think the lesser flour amount will work better for most people.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (passed down from my grandma)

Recipe originally published December 2015; updated December 2020 with new photos, recipe notes, etc.

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies