Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are easy to make and perfect for cut out sugar cookies. The cookie dough is easy to work with and the baked cookies never disappoint!
For a classic firm (not hard) cookie that’s perfect to cut into shapes and decorate, these Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are just the ticket!
The flavor is delicious undecorated. The texture is sturdy with a nice bite.
They are the go to for decorated holiday cookies.
Great Cut Out Sugar Cookies
This is my go to recipe when making cut out sugar cookies. It’s very forgiving and easy to work with.
When working with the dough cold the shapes are easy to cut out and very easy to transfer them to the baking sheet.
As the dough begins to warm up using a very slim spatula slid underneath the shapes allows moving them with no problem.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
Cut out sugar cookies are a Christmas tradition for many families. It’s disappointing when the cookie dough doesn’t cooperate!
This recipe is perfect for holiday cookie making; any holiday!
One key is keeping the dough cold.
Once the cookie dough is made it is divided in two balls that are flattened.
Each is sealed and chilled for at least an hour. This solidifies the fats so the cookies won’t spread and flatten.
Also the sugar absorbs the liquids giving great flavor.
When it’s time to roll out the dough one dough disc is used at a time.
This makes it easy to get great shapes and move them easily to the baking sheet.
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
All Purpose Flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour work great. The gluten-free brand we use is in the recipe card Notes below.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder. Helps with rising and the cookie texture.
Salt. A little salt makes the flavor so much better! We use Kosher Salt which is less salty tasting.
Unsalted Butter. Be sure to start with room temperature or softened butter! We use unsalted butter for the rich flavor. We prefer unsalted to salted butter to control the saltiness of the dough.
Cream Cheese. Gives the cookies a wonderful flavor and makes the dough so easy to work with.
Granulated Sugar. Can’t have sugar cookies without the sugar! This is the classic sugar to use for this type of cookie.
Vanilla Extract. Gives flavor. If you would like to flavor the cookies swap or add another extract (almond, lemon, peppermint, etc).
Egg. Helps bind the ingredients and provide structure for the cookies.
Plastic sealable bags or plastic wrap. This is for chilling the dough in the refrigerator.
Baking sheets. I prefer rimmed baking sheets so nothing slips off the sides when the baking sheet is being transported.
Parchment paper. For lining the baking sheets.
Rolling pin. To roll out the dough.
Silicon pastry mat (optional). I use this to roll dough onto and it works great. It keeps the counter top clean and the dough doesn’t stick to it.
Cookie Cutters. Any shapes can be used. I find that metal tend to cut more cleanly than plastic cutters.
The Best Sugar Cookie Frosting
We always use this Sugar Cookie Frosting recipe. It’s quick and easy to make, has a wonderful texture and sets so the cookies can be stacked.
But it still stays soft too!
If decorating for a holiday and needing multiple colors, divide the uncolored frosting into bowls and add gel food coloring per bowl.
Tried and Tested Recipe
This recipe has been tested with regular all purpose flour, gluten-free measure-for-measure flour, at altitude and sea level. Delicious results every time!
How to Make them – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Mix the Dry Ingredients.
In a large bowl combine the flour baking soda, baking powder and salt (photo 1). Whisk to fully mix together.
STEP 2. Mix the Wet Ingredients.
In a separate bowl using a hand mixer or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the sugar, butter and cream cheese. Add the egg and vanilla extract (photos 2 and 3).
STEP 3. Make the Cookie Dough.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients (photo 4) beating on low speed until a dough forms.
STEP 4. Chill the Dough.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Create a ball then flatten it slightly. Place each in a separate sealable plastic bag or wrap with plastic wrap (photo 5).
Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
STEP 5. Make and Bake the Cookies.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator. Place on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough 1/4 inch thickness.
NOTE: the dough will be stiff to begin but will soften as you roll it.
Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet with a few inches between them (photo 6).
Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are just golden on the edges.
Repeat with the remaining dough until all the cookies have been made.
STEP 6. Cool and Decorate the Cookies.
Allow the baked cookies to sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then remove and place on a wire rack to fully cool before frosting.
Sprinkles and decorations can be added too!
How to make them without using Cookie Cutters
- Roll about 1.5 tablespoons of dough into balls.
- Place on a baking sheet and press down slightly with the bottom of a flat glass or the back of a spoon.
- Bake until the edges begin to turn golden (10-12 minutes).
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully.
Recipe FAQ’s + Pro Tips
Chilling the dough is key to the cookie results. This step makes all the difference in how the cookies turn out. Don’t skip it!
Keep the cookie dough cold. The dough is divided into two quantities so one can stay chilled while the other is being rolled out and cut into shapes.
Then the second part is used. This makes rolling and cutting shapes easy.
Be sure to flatted the top of the dough balls. After the dough is chilled it will be stiff and hard to roll at first. Having the top be flat allows a surface to push down on for easier rolling.
Storing Sugar Cookies
How to Freeze Sugar Cookies – Unfrosted
Allow the cookies to cool fully after baking.
Place in an freezer safe airtight container in single layers separated by wax paper.
Seal and freeze up to 6 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator (still in the airtight container) and decorate.