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Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie Recipe | Perfect for Cut-Outs | [UPDATED: December 2023]

Difficulty Easy

Cream Cheese Cookie Recipe: Sugar cookies are iconic when it comes to holiday baking. Sprinkle ’em! Frost ’em! Glitter ’em! This simple recipe makes one super soft and easy cookie. Adding cream cheese to makes these cookies pillow-y soft and tender. Bake up a batch for the holiday baking season or whenever you are craving sugar cookies.

Cream Cheese Cookie Recipe | The Basics

Sugar cookies come in two forms:

Drop method –> No chilling required. Scoop out the dough with a cookie scoop and bake.

Cut out method –> Chill dough. Roll out and use cookie cutters to cut dough into shapes and bake.

This cream cheese cookie recipe can make both. I recommend it’s best for cut outs. It keeps the edges sharp and shape in place.

Need a vegan sugar cookie recipe? Make these from Minimalist Baker.

Common Questions | When Baking Sugar Cookies

Q: Why cream cheese?

A: Fat. More fat = more tender and soft. Fat softens gluten strands making the final product super soft. Treats like cookies, cakes, biscuits are soft because of the excess amount of fat ingredients, like dairy products such as cream cheese. Eggs, butter, shortening, and full fat yogurts also make baked goods more tender.

Q: How long do I need to chill the dough?

A: Overnight is best. At least 2 hours in the fridge.

Q: Can I not chill the dough?

A: Yes you can. The cookies will turn out like plain sugar cookies, nice and round. Coat ’em in sprinkles or sugar before baking. Also, be sure to “flatten” the cookie dough a bit, or else it will be come underbaked in the middle.

Q: How thick do you roll out the dough?

I roll it out to 1/4 inch because it holds the shape very well and is less likely to break. I roll out cut out cookies similar to pie dough, between parchment paper. Learn how to do it, here.

Q: How long is baking time?

It varies depending on the cookie size. If you are using drop cookies, bake for 8-10 minutes. If you make cut outs, smaller sizes will take 7-10 minutes. Bigger cookies will take 11-15 minutes. Look for a slight golden brown color on the edges.

Q: How do you frost the cookies?

A: I like to top ’em with royal icing and sprinkles. Make my royal icing recipe, here. First, I cover the cookie with royal icing and dry overnight. Next, I finely pipe more royal icing on top to add more detail and depth. Lastly, I add sprinkles, chopped nuts, and chopped chocolate as decoration. You can frost ’em however you wish!

decorative and holiday sugar cookies; cream cheese cookie recipe
Cream cheese cookies with royal icing and sprinkles

Tips | When Baking Sugar Cookies

Craving something extra for your cream cheese cookie recipe? Add lemon, lime, or orange zest when adding in your dry ingredients.

Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar very well! Set the kitchen mixer to medium speed and time for 10-12 minutes. You want it super light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle attachment and sides 3x when mixing. This helps makes the cookie dough uniform.

Planning on icing your cookies? Bake these one day ahead and store in an air tight container or plastic bag on your kitchen counter. Or, bake and freeze these cookies for one month.

YES, you can freeze sugar cookies with royal icing. Learn how to do it, here. Do this to save you time during the busy holiday baking season.

Cream cheese sugar cookies with royal icing, previously frozen.
Cream cheese sugar cookies with royal icing, previously frozen.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies: Perfect for Cut Outs

Recipe by Kimm Moore Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

24

servings
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Resting time

2

minutes
Total time

35

minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups + 4 tablespoon all purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups unsalted cubed, soften butter

  • 8 oz cream cheese, soften

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Sift dry ingredients in a medium bowl: 6 cups + 4 tbps all purpose flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt. Set aside
  • In a standing kitchen mixer with the paddle attachment, cream: 8 oz soften cream cheese, 2 cups soften cubed unsalted butter and 2 cups white sugar until super light and creamy. About 10-12 minutes.
  • Stop mixer and scrape those sides 3x when mixing. This helps combine the sugar and fat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk: 2 eggs and 1 tbsp vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add it.
  • Stop and scrape those sides.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 30 seconds – 45 seconds.
  • If making a drop cookie: scoop with dough and roll in demerara sugar or sprinkles. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 -12 minutes.
  • If making cut outs: wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Roll out dough, on a rolling mat, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes, depending on shape.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Notes

  • When adding the cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla, it might curdle because of the excess amount of liquid. That is OK! Be sure to scrape to ensure all the liquids get evenly distributed
  • If making drop cookies, roll in colored sugar or demerara (thick coarse crystal, sometimes called decorating sugar) to make it pretty
  • Bake times for cut outs really depend on time. Small-ish (candy cane, small circles, wreaths) 8-10 minutes. Medium and big-ish (stocking, snowman, mittens) 10-12 minutes. Look for a light golden brown color.

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