This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Please read our disclosure policy.
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.
My sister-in-law, Emily introduced me to this recipe which finalized my quest to find a go-to sugar cookie recipe that I will use over and over again. Thanks, Emily!
The Story Behind the Cookies
“I know this is a loaded question but can I get the recipe for those cream cheese sugar cookies?”
After my sister-in-law, Emily, served these up at a family gathering, I couldn’t stop thinking about them.
I told her I’d be happy to give recipe credit to whatever genius concocted such an amazing recipe, but she told me she didn’t know the original source.
She had copied down this recipe on a card once upon a time in her teenage years and the creator has since been lost.
I told her in that case, the recipe is officially hers and she’s getting all the credit!
Why Add Cream Cheese?
Adding cream cheese produces a richer, softer, and creamier sugar cookie. And, above all else, it adds a little tang.
While a down-the-pipe sugar cookie is delicious, it can overly sweet–especially after the addition of frosting and sprinkles. Not this one…it’s just right thanks to the cream cheese.
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
The ingredients are incredibly simple.
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Salt (omit if using salted butter)
- Almond extract – this adds such great flavor
- Vanilla extract – how to make your own vanilla
- Egg yolk – using only egg yolks makes them more tender
- All purpose flour
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. 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.
Another option is to roll it out on parchment paper and skip flour altogether!
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 Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
There is a fine line on 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 over bake!
Time to Decorate!
Both 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.
First, you can make the cookie dough, wrap tightly 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.
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.
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)
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
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!