This is the ultimate frosted sugar cookie recipe! These large bakery-style sugar cookies have a tender, fluffy texture and a big swirl of frosting on top. They stay soft for days, so they’re a great make-ahead recipe as well.

Five big soft sugar cookies with red, white, and green sprinkles and Christmas lights in the background.

The Best Recipe for Frosted Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are the little black dress of the baking world–endlessly versatile, customizable, and they go with everything.

They can be dressed up with colorful royal icing designs, or topped with intricate fondant plaques. They can be decorated with romantic watercolor paint and gold leaf, or kept super-simple without any toppings at all. They can be rolled into pinwheels, cut into stars and stripes, twisted into candy canes, or shaped into grotesque witch fingers.

Hand with red fingernails lifting a Big Soft Sugar Cookie up from a plate of cookies.

With the huge variety of sugar cookies out there, it might seem ridiculous to claim a favorite…but if you promise not to tell the other cookies, these soft and fluffy frosted sugar cookies are my all-time #1.

But you don’t have to take my word for it! These have been a beloved reader favorite since they were first published in 2017, and if you try them, I think you’ll agree with all the 5-star reviews. But if you need a little more convincing, here’s why I think you’ll love them!

  • These cookies have a tender, pillowy texture that stays soft for days. No stale sugar cookies here!
  • They’re topped with a thick swirl of vanilla frosting. It’s creamy and smooth, but it crusts on the top, making these cookies easier to stack and package.
  • They don’t require any chilling, rolling, or cutting. Just make and scoop!
  • They’re freezable, giftable, perfect for any holiday, and — oh yeah — SERIOUSLY delicious.

If you’re now craving cookies (like me, 24/7) then check out our full list of cookie recipes, from crispy pastel Meringues, to zesty Clementine Cookies, to indulgent Raspberry Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Five big soft sugar cookies with one missing a bite out of it on a white plate.

Table of Contents

🧾 What You’ll Need

Ingredients for Big Soft Sugar Cookies measure out and labeled.

Ingredients

This recipe uses standard baking ingredients, so chances are you have most of the necessities on hand. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you gather ingredients. (Links are affiliate links and I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.)

  • Unsalted Butter: Your butter should be at room temperature to make these cookies. This means it’s soft and pliable, but not greasy and melty. I always recommend unsalted butter in baking, so you can control the precise amount of salt. If you only have salted butter, use that but omit the additional salt in the recipe.
  • Sour cream: Adding sour cream to the cookies makes them extra-soft and tender, and I love the very subtle tang it gives to them. Make sure your sour cream is at room temperature so everything blends together nicely.
  • Milk: Have your milk at room temperature. Any fat percentage of milk should work, or you can even use half-and-half.
  • Egg: Use a large egg at room temperature. Either let it sit out for 20-30 minutes, or submerge it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to warm up quickly. 
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla is the classic sugar cookie flavor, but you can experiment and add other extracts in addition to or instead of vanilla. Try almond or lemon extract, or use vanilla bean paste for a really intense vanilla vibe.
  • Powdered Sugar: It may seem strange, but I am very picky about my powdered sugar. Some brands have too much corn starch, or are too coarse, leading to a rough, gritty texture in frosting. This is my powdered sugar of choice! It’s made from cane sugar instead of beet sugar, and produces smooth, consistent results.
  • Sprinkles: Add color and texture to any dessert. Use different colored sprinkles to make these cookies festive for any holiday!
Frosted sugar cookies on a plate with colorful sprinkles.

Equipment

Just a few important tips to make sure your cookies turn out perfectly.

  • Baking sheets:to get tall, puffy cookies, you’ll want to use uninsulated aluminum baking sheets like these. Dark cookie sheets cause over-browning on the bottom of the cookie. Insulated sheets will give you pale bottoms, but the cookies are flatter and spread more. Uninsulated, light-colored sheets are just right!
  • Cookie scoop:For these big cookies, I use a #24 disher. (This is culinary talk for “big ole cookie scoop.”) This size holds about 3 TBSP / 1.75 oz of cookie dough. For smaller cookies, I recommend a #40 disher (1.5 TBSP, 1 ounce of dough) and bake for about 12 minutes — this produces 2-inch cookies.
  • Mixer:You will need some kind of mixer to properly make the frosting and dough. Either a stand mixer or hand mixer will work fine.
  • Parchment Paper:Save time and cleanup by using silicone liners or parchment paper when baking cookies.

📋 Instructions

Here’s an overview of how to make Big Soft Sugar Cookies! Full instructions are included in the recipe card down below.

How to make soft sugar cookies

Process collage showing butter and sugars being mixed in a glass mixing bowl.
  • In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Process collage showing eggs and vanilla being mixed in with butter and sugars.
  • Add the egg, vanilla, sour cream, and milk, and mix until well combined.
  • At first it might look crumbled or broken (R picture), especially if some of your ingredients were not room temperature. But if you keep mixing, it will smooth out.
Process collage showing dry ingredients for Big Soft Sugar Cookies in glass mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, stream in the flour until almost combined and just a few streaks of flour remain.
  • Stop the mixer and finish mixing by hand, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula.
Process collage showing big soft sugar cookie dough balls being placed on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Scoop the dough out into large 3 TBSP balls onto the baking sheets—you should get about 18 cookies from this recipe.
  • Bake at 350 F for 16-18 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and just starting to take on color around the edges. The tops should still remain virtually colorless.
  • Let them cool completely before frosting.

How to make sugar cookie frosting

Process collage showing butter being mixed in a glass mixing bowl.
  • Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute, until creamy and light in color.
Process collage showing butter and powdered sugar being creamed together in a glass mixing bowl.
  • Add the powdered sugar, 2 TBSP of milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix well, until light and fluffy.
  • If the frosting is too stiff for your liking, slowly stream in the remaining spoonful of milk a bit at a time, until you get a texture you like.
Comparison of 3 flat sugar cookies in a stack next to three puffy sugar cookies in a stack.

🍪 Tips for making soft sugar cookies

How to get fluffy cookies

If a recipe claims to be for “big soft” cookies, you’re gonna want to end up with big soft cookies! There’s nothing wrong with flatter sugar cookies, but that’s not what we’re going for here — we want puffy big boys, like the cookies pictured above on the right.

My #1 tip for getting the kind of cookies you want is to use the right equipment! (Well, #1 tip is probably follow the recipe, but #2 tip is definitely use the right equipment.) You want to bake these cookies on an aluminum, non-insulated baking sheet. The cookies above are from the same batch of dough. The ONLY difference is that the ones on the left were baked on an insulated baking sheet, and the ones on the right were baked on a non-insulated sheet. You can see how much of a difference the baking sheet makes! Insulated cookie sheets cause the cookies to spread more, and you’ll end up with pale bottoms, non-crispy edges, and flat cookies.

You can also chill the dough before baking. This is not necessary, but cold dough will give you a little more height to your cookies.

How to keep sugar cookies soft

These cookies are great “keepers,” and they’ll stay soft for days as long as they’re stored in a container and not left exposed to the air. The frosting layer also helps keep them soft, so if you’re looking to store them, I recommend frosting them, letting them sit at room temperature for several hours to give the frosting time to crust over and harden, and then storing them in an airtight container.

One of my favorite cookie tricks is to store them with a slice of bread or a soft roll. The moisture from the bread adds humidity to the storage container and keeps the cookies from drying out as fast. Pro tip: Hawaiian rolls are my favorite to use because they’re super moist!

The best cookie flavor ever

Vanilla cookies are tasty, but if you want to go for extra credit, pick up some Princess Bakery Emulsion. I often use Princess emulsion in my yellow and white cakes, frostings, and sugar cookies – it gives them a “fresh-from-the-bakery” taste that’s instantly recognizable but hard to put your finger on. I would describe it as a mix of vanilla, almond, and lemon, and if that sounds delicious, it absolutely is!

Five big soft sugar cookies on a round white plate with scalloped edges.

💡 Tips and FAQs  

Six big soft sugar cookies on a white plate with scalloped edges.
Candy Cane Cookies standing up in a clear glass with gold and silver dot accents.

Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies are a classic, must-make Christmas cookie recipe. Peppermint-flavored sugar cookie dough is formed into red-and-white candy cane shapes. Perfect for holiday cookie plates or a treat for Santa!
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Hand with red fingernail lifting up a Christmas Pinwheel Cookie from a stack of cookies.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

These festive Pinwheel Sugar Cookies might be the best Christmas cookie recipe ever! They’re made with a simple sugar cookie dough formed into a beautiful red, white, and green spiral design.
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Leave a review!

If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe below, and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram @elabau, or use #sugarhero on IG!

Plate of frosted sugar cookies with Christmas lights in the background.

Big Soft Sugar Cookies

4.58 from 21 votes
This is the ultimate frosted sugar cookie recipe! These large bakery-style sugar cookies have a tender, fluffy texture and a big swirl of frosting on top. They stay soft for days, so they’re a great make-ahead recipe as well.
Prep40 minutes
Cook18 minutes
Total58 minutes
Yields18 cookies

Ingredients

For the sugar cookies:

  • 12.5 oz all-purpose flour (2 ¾cups)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter (¾ cup), at room temperature
  • 7 oz granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 2 oz sour cream (1/4 cup), at room temperature
  • 2 fl oz milk (1/4 cup)

For the frosting:

  • 4 oz unsalted butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
  • 12 oz powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Sprinkles to decorate

Instructions 

To make the sugar cookies:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. For the best results, I recommend using uninsulated aluminum baking sheets.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside for a moment.
  • In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg, vanilla, sour cream, and milk, and mix until well combined.
  • Turn the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Stop the mixer and finish mixing by hand, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well with a rubber spatula.
  • Use a #24 cookie scoop (3 TBSP, or 1.75 oz) to scoop large balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheets—you should get about 18 cookies from this recipe. Bake at 350 F for 16-18 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and just starting to take on color around the edges. The tops should still remain virtually colorless.
  • Let the cookies cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting and decorate:

  • Beat the butter with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until creamy and light in color.
  • Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix well, until light and fluffy.
  • If the frosting is too stiff for your liking, you can add more milk, a bit at a time, until you get a texture you like. If it is too soft, add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar to adjust the texture.
  • Put a generous dollop of frosting on top of each cookie, and spread it around evenly over the top. Finish with a big pinch of sprinkles or other decorations.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container. They can be kept for about a week, but the taste and texture is best if enjoyed within 3-4 days.
  • The cookies and frosting can both be made in advance, and the cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months, while the frosting can be frozen for 2 months or refrigerated for 2 weeks. Make sure to store it with plastic pressed tightly to the top so it doesn’t form a crust. Allow it to come to room temperature and re-whip before using.

Recipe Notes

  • If you want to make smaller cookies, you can use a 1.5 TBSP scoop (like a #40, 1-ounce scoop) to get about 27 cookies from the recipe. Bake them for about 12 minutes at 350 F. 
  • This recipe has been modified and revised from its original version. You can find a copy of the old recipe here.

Measuring Tips

Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.

Want to learn more about baking measurements and conversion?

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 436IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and hashtag it #SugarHero. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @elabau.
Pinterest collage with a photo of big soft sugar cookies above and below text that reads "Big Soft Sugar Cookies".

Meet Elizabeth!

Hi, I’m Elizabeth — a trained pastry chef, cookbook author, video instructor, and your new Baking BFF! I’m going to teach you everything you need to know to be a sugar hero. ❤️

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79 Comments

  1. What can I use as a substitute for the coffee creamer? Living in Germany, and we don’t have that at the stores (I think…)

    1. Hi Tegan! You can substitute an equal amount of milk or whipping cream if you don’t have any coffee creamer. Happy baking!

    1. Hello Andrea! Great question! You can substitute any other flavor of creamer, or an equal amount of milk or whipping cream. The possibilities are literally endless! Happy baking!

  2. I appreciate all the tips, especially the comparison between baking on an insulated and non-insulated cookie sheet. So helpful. Excited to make these. Do you have a link where I can buy the sprinkles you used?

    1. Hi Jill! This is going to be a most unhelpful response . . . I have a huge sprinkle collection and I made my own mix for these cookies. However, I can tell you that I bought the multi-shape metallic sprinkles from Sweetapolita. I’m not sure if they are still available, but there is a great selection of sprinkles on their site. I’m sure you could find something there to love. Good luck!

  3. I absolutely love super soft sugar cookies, and these were totally delicious! My kids loved decorating them for the holidays!

  4. My family’s FAVORITE cookie recipe! The kids ask for them every year. This time I tried your updated recipe and we liked it even more than the old one (and I like not having to try and find the creamer hahah.) Have you tried turning them into cookie bars, do you think that would work?

    1. Hi Margaret! I’m so glad this has become a family favorite for you. I’ve never tried making them as a bar cookie, but I do think it would work. I can’t really advise you on the baking time, but I’d recommend checking it frequently for doneness. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  5. I would have to agree with many people…these looked like drop biscuits and had the same texture inside. They taste great but its a shame that you go through the trouble and the price of ingredients to have this outcome. I believe that if this many people are having the same result, that should be a red flag that the recipe might need a few tests and tweaks.

    1. Hi Vanessa, I’m sorry to hear you had disappointing results with the recipe. Because people do sometimes have this problem, it is addressed in the FAQ section. The most common cause is when the butter/sugar are undermixed – either because the butter was too cool (very common in winter time!) so they couldn’t mix properly, or the creaming was not done for enough time. This can absolutely produce a cookie dough that bakes up shaggy, lumpy, and coarse. Thorough creaming of the butter/sugar is the way to avoid this outcome. Depending on the mixer you use (low-powered hand-mixer vs high-powered stand mixer, for instance) the mixing time may need to be adjusted from the recommendations, but you are always looking for the butter/sugar to have lightened considerably from yellow to off-white, and to have a more voluminous, light and fluffy texture. Hope this helps!