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These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are to DIE for. They’re perfectly moist, ideal for cutting out and decorating, and have a tangy sweetness that will leave you coming back for more.
Much thanks to my sister-in-law Emily, for the great recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The cream cheese produces a richer, softer, and creamier sugar cookie. Above all else, it adds a little tang.
- They are perfect for cutting and decorating. Do a Christmas Craft while they bake!
- Either vanilla icing or cream cheese icing will work with cream cheese sugar cookies.
- You can make the dough in advance and refrigerate or freeze it.
The ingredients are incredibly simple.
- Salt – omit if using salted butter
- Almond extract – This adds such great flavor. If you don’t have any substitute with more vanilla.
- Vanilla extract – Here is how to make your own vanilla.
- Egg yolk – Using only egg yolks makes them more tender.
5 Tips for Great Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
Chill the Dough
A big part of the success of this recipe is letting that dough chill. (Same goes for our Snickerdoodle Cookies!) Not only does it help it hold up better during baking, but it makes the dough much easier to work with when rolling out and cutting up.
Mixing too long after adding the flour will create a dense, tough cookie. Mix until just combined and then turn off the mixer.
Go Easy on the Flour
When you roll the dough out on a floured work surface, do not over-flour. It will make the dough tough and dry.
Lightly flour the work surface just enough that the dough will not stick. Then, lightly flour the rolling pin.
Bake on Parchment Paper
The parchment makes for an easy removal of the cream cheese sugar cookies. Not to mention it makes cleanup a breeze.
Don’t Over Bake
There is a fine line between when they are perfectly done and when they are overdone. When you see them start to get a touch of brown around the edges, take them out! They shouldn’t get brown on top.
They will look undercooked but, once they cool, they will solidify. Don’t overbake!
Time to Decorate!
Either vanilla icing or cream cheese icing will work with cream cheese sugar cookies.
You can easily make your own (instructions included in the recipe card) or opt for buying a can of frosting.
After adding a layer of icing, the possibilities are endless! If you want to get really detailed with your cookie decorating, try using royal icing.
Make Ahead and Freeze
There are a few make ahead options with this recipe.
Making the dough in advance
Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. If freezing, place the wrapped dough in a freezer bag, too.
When ready to use, be sure to thaw it fully in the fridge and then let it sit on the counter until it’s close to room temperature.
Make the cookies in advance
Another option is freezing the unfrosted baked cookies for up to 3 months. Seal tightly in a freezer bag or container, squeezing out as much air as possible.
Yes, you can make the sugar cookie dough in advance and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
While the almond extract brings a delicious flavor, you can substitute vanilla extract if you need to.
Sugar cookies are often best stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Use layers of parchment paper if you need to layer the cookies.
Yes. Sugar cookies (undecorated) will freeze and thaw well. Be sure to let them fully cool and separate layers with parchment paper to avoid them sticking together and breaking.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
For Sugar Cookies:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces (about 6 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk, room temp
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (to taste)
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Make the Sugar Cookies:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all the sugar cookie ingredients EXCEPT the flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low until ingredients are light and fluffy.
- Add in flour slowly, about 1/2 cup at a time. Continue mixing just until the dough forms as one solid ball.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On lightly floured surface, roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time to 1/4-1/8″ thickness. Using lightly floured cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place cookies 1″ apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake each batch for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. (They will not be brown on top. Do not over bake!) Remove cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In a medium bowl (or in the stand mixer), stir the softened cream cheese and softened butter together until smooth and creamy. Stir in the vanilla.
- Gradually stir in the confectioner’s sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- There is no baking powder or baking soda in this cookie recipe. It works, I promise!
- The cream cheese produces a richer, softer, and creamier sugar cookie. And, above all else, it adds a little tang.
- Parchment paper makes for an easy removal of the cream cheese sugar cookies. Use it!