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.
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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, topped with fondant decorations, decorated with watercolor designs, or kept super-simple without any toppings at all. They can be rolled into pinwheels, cut into stars and stripes, or twisted into candy canes – in short, they can do it all!

Table of Contents

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

💗 Why You’ll Love These Cookies

These fluffy frosted sugar cookies 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. Here’s why you’ll love them:

  • They 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.

More Cookies To Try

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.

🧾 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. In the winter, rooms are sometimes very cool, and even if your butter is “room temperature,” it is firm and difficult to cream. If this is the case, microwave it for 5-8 seconds before beginning so that it is truly soft (but not greasy or melted!) before you begin.
  • 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. You can substitute full-fat, thick Greek yogurt for the sour cream if you’d like.
  • 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. 
  • All-purpose flour: It’s best to use a scale to measure ingredients, but if you don’t have one, make sure you’re measuring your flour using the spoon-and-scrape method. Spoon flour into your measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to level off the top of the cup. This method is better and more precise than just dipping your measuring cup in the flour bin to fill it.
  • 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: I decorated these with a Christmas theme, but of course you can 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 notes to make sure your cookies turn out perfectly:

  • Baking sheets:this is important! 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.
Comparison of 3 flat sugar cookies in a stack next to three puffy sugar cookies in a stack.

🍪 Tips for Making Puffy Sugar Cookies

The most common issue readers have is that their cookies either spread too much and are not as tall or puffy as they’d like them to be, or they don’t spread enough and are domed like scones. Here are my top troubleshooting tips for perfectly puffy cookies:

  1. Follow the recipe exactly. If you make substitutions, or skip steps, or change the method, I can’t guarantee your results. This includes making sure your ingredients are the right temperature, that you’re using the right equipment, and that you’re paying attention to mixing and baking times.
  2. Measure with precision. Either use a kitchen scale (the best!), or be attentive when using measuring cups and spoons, especially when it comes to flour. Measure your flour by spooning flour into your measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to level off the top of the cup. This method is better and more precise than just dipping your measuring cup in the flour bin to fill it. When you dip your cup in to fill it, the flour gets compacted and you end up with more flour per cup than the recipe calls for. More flour = dry cookies that don’t spread.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes, until it has lightened in color and has a fluffy texture. Under-creaming = cookies that don’t spread and have a coarse texture. Over-creaming = cookies that are too flat.
  4. Use the right baking surface. You want to bake these cookies on parchment, on an aluminum, light-colored, non-insulated baking sheet. Don’t grease the parchment, and don’t use insulated sheets or dark-colored baking sheets.

The cookies pictured 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. Dark-colored sheets prevent the cookies from spreading enough, and your cookies are more likely to be tall and domed.

If this is all you have, of course, feel free to use them – just be aware that your cookies might not look like the ones in the photos.

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

💭 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. Hawaiian rolls are my favorite to use because they’re super moist!

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

Pro Tip: The Best Cookie Flavor Ever!

Vanilla cookies are tasty, but if you want to take these cookies over the top, 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 it is absolutely delicious.

💡 Troubleshooting FAQs  

CAN I ROLL AND CUT THESE SUGAR COOKIES?

No, this dough is not a roll-out cookie dough–it’s too wet and soft, and you’ll just end up frustrated. If you want a roll-out dough that holds its shape, here’s my favorite cut-out sugar cookie recipe.

MY COOKIES ARE FLAT, NOT PUFFY

If your cookies spread too much and are too flat, the most common reasons are:

– the butter and sugar were creamed together for too long
– your baking soda is old and not as effective
– not enough flour was used
– insulated baking sheet was used
– oven runs cool (temperature not high enough)

Check my equipment recommendations and puffy cookie tips above, and also consider chilling the dough before baking for extra insurance.

MY COOKIES DIDN’T SPREAD AT ALL

If your cookies didn’t spread after baking, or have a lumpy or coarse texture, the most common reasons are:

– the butter was too cold
– the butter and sugar weren’t creamed together for long enough
– too much flour was used
– dark baking sheet was used
– oven was too hot

It is important that any refrigerated ingredients be at room temperature before beginning, and that you cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Under-creaming the butter/sugar can result in a coarse cookie that doesn’t spread properly, and ingredients cream together easier when they are not cold.

MAKE-AHEAD AND STORAGE INFO

Both the cookies and frosting can be made in advance! The cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months, while the frosting can be frozen for 3 months (or refrigerated for 2 weeks). For the frosting, 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 to restore the creamy texture.

To store frosted sugar cookies, I recommend 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 between layers of waxed paper.

These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They can also be frozen for a few months.

Where are the sprinkles from?

The sprinkles pictured are from a few different holiday mixes, but I suspect most people are asking about the eye-catching metallic sprinkles – those are from Sweetapolita.

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

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

4.64 from 25 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. Be sure to read the tips in the Notes section to get the best results!
Prep40 minutes
Cook18 minutes
Total58 minutes
Yields18 cookies

Ingredients

For the sugar cookies:

  • 12.5 oz all-purpose flour, (2 ¾ cups)
  • 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
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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 non-insulated, light-colored 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 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg, vanilla, sour cream, and milk, and mix until well combined. It is normal for it to look a bit broken at this point – don't worry! It all comes together when the flour is added.
  • Turn the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix here– stop the mixer just when the flour is incorporated. After you stop the mixer, give the dough a few good stirs by hand with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so everything is well-mixed.
  • Use a #24 cookie scoop (3 TBSP, or 1.75 oz) to scoop large balls of cookie dough —you should get about 18 cookies from this recipe. Roll the balls between your hand and place them a few inches apart on the parchment-covered baking sheet.s
  • 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.

Video

Recipe Notes

Tips for perfectly puffy cookies:
  • Creaming the butter and sugar together properly is a very important step. If they’re not mixed enough, the cookies won’t spread and will have a coarse texture, more like a biscuit or scone. If your “room temperature” butter is on the cooler side (very common in winter months!), soften it in the microwave for 5-8 seconds before beginning, and/or be sure to cream it a bit longer, so that the mixture is truly lighter in color and fluffy. 
  • While you can under-mix the butter and sugar, you can also over-mix, which is equally undesirable.  Over-mixing means too much air gets incorporated into the dough, causing the cookies to spread too much.
  • When measuring flour, either use a kitchen scale, or measure it by spooning flour into your measuring cup, then use the back of a knife to level off the top of the cup. 
  • Don’t use an insulated baking sheet. Insulated sheets results in the cookie bottoms being slow to cook and “set,” so they have more time to spread out during baking. 
  • Don’t use a dark-colored baking sheet. This results in cookies that don’t spread enough and have dark bottoms.
  • Don’t butter, grease, or spray the cooking surface. Use ungreased parchment paper for best results. 
Other 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
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📋 Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s an photo guide to making Big Soft Sugar Cookies. You can find full instructions and a tutorial video in the recipe card.

Make the 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 3-4 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.

Make the 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.
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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Close up of a Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookie.

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These Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies are the perfect combination of a deep rich chocolate cookie and crunchy sweet candy cane pieces topped with a striped Hershey's Kiss.
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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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4.64 from 25 votes

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99 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!