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These are the best homemade Soft Sugar Cookies ever! This simple recipe has a life-changing hack to make the sugar cookie dough so easy to roll out.

healthy sugar cookies on a cooling rack
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Today you can mark it as the day you learn how to roll sugar cookie dough that isn’t rock hard and makes you want to scream.

Each and every year I dread the process of rolling out that stupid cold cookie dough. So we hacked the problem!

This cream cheese sugar cookie recipe has you roll out the dough while it is still easy to work with, and then refrigerate it. I mean really.

We include these soft sugar cookies in our neighbor and friend’s goodie plates, along with My Nana’s Almond Roca, Fantasy Fudge, S’mores Bark, Candy Cane Bark, and Old-Fashioned Fudge.

Equipment Needed

  • I use a stand mixer, but a food processor with a (plastic) dough blade, a hand mixer, or a bowl with a wooden spoon (and some patience) will get you there.
  • Cookie cutters – use your favorite!
  • Baking sheets – I love these large ones with rims so that no cookie will accidentally slide off.
  • Parchment – you can use a Silpat but you’ll need multiples if possible.
  • Cooling racks – to free up sheet on the baking sheet to make more cookies, and to make sure the cookies are fully cooled before storage.
  • Microplane – this is a “good to have” item for the orange (or lemon) zest. No microplane? Use the smallest holes on a cheese grater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You have to Chill Sugar Cookie Dough?

Yes, it’s a vital step in making the perfect cut-out sugar cookies. If the butter is too warm when the cookies are baked, they will flatten and spread on the baking sheet.

Refrigerate sugar cookie dough for at least 1 hour, but 2-3 is better.

How to Reroll Sugar Cookie Dough Scraps

With floured hands gather all the scraps in a ball and roll on a well-floured surface. Then cut out your shapes as desired.

I prefer to pop the cutout cookies made from dough scraps on a baking sheet and place them in the fridge for a bit while the other cookies bake. Even just a little time back in the fridge will help keep the dough from flattening in the oven.

What if I like Crunchy Sugar Cookies Instead of Soft Ones?

No problem! You can still use this same recipe, but roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick instead of 1/4 inch.

You’ll also bake them longer, for 9-12 minutes. You can do a “test cookie” by baking just one in the oven to find your perfect baking time.

When to Decorate Sugar Cookies

If you want to use frosting, the cookies must be fully cooled. Warm cookies + frosting = hot mess express.

Prefer sprinkles or flavored sugar? Add them to the hot cookies fresh out of the oven.

How to Store Sugar Cookies

Make sure the cookies are fully cooled before you store them in an air-tight container. I store mine at room temperature.

Depending on the toppings/frosting used, you may need to store iced sugar cookies layered between pieces of parchment in the fridge.

If you like powdered sugar on top, check out my tutorial on How to Make Powdered Sugar.

How to Freeze Sugar Cookie Dough

You have two options – freeze the dough in discs so they are ready to roll when thawed, or freeze cutout but unbaked sugar cookies.

Freezing sugar cookie dough – flatten the dough into discs and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer covered dough to freezer-safe bags. Freeze for 3-6 months.

To use: place the dough in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. Thaw until the dough is workable.

Freezing unbaked cut sugar cookies – place cutout sugar cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 4-6 hours. Transfer frozen cookies to freezer-safe bags for 2-3 months.

To use: place frozen sugar cookies on a parchment-lined baking tray and allow them to thaw for 1-2 hours. Then bake as directed in the recipe card below.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • You can reduce the sugar down to only 1/4 cup without impacting the texture.
  • Since the dough is very sticky at first, please follow all the notes in the recipe about flouring the parchment and the dough.
  • Take these soft sugar cookies to the next level with homemade vanilla extract.
  • Use round cookie cutters and make cookie sandwiches with Mocha Frosting or Peanut Butter Frosting between them.
  • If you prefer using sprinkles or flavored sugar, add them to the warm dough after they have been baked.
  • Will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week. 
  • Cookies need to be stored in an air-tight container to avoid getting stale. If the cookies get left out, check out my tips on how to soften cookies.

sugar cookies on a white plate

5 from 2 ratings

Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 9 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total: 2 hours 9 minutes
sugar cookies on a white plate
These are the best homemade soft sugar cookies ever! This simple recipe has a life-changing hack to make the sugar cookie dough so easy to roll out.


  • 3/4 cup butter {1 1/2 sticks, room temperature}
  • 4 oz cream cheese {1/2 "brick", room temperature}
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose plus more for dusting and rolling
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs {room temperature}
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp orange zest


  • Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 3-4 minutes.
    3/4 cup butter, 4 oz cream cheese, 1 cup sugar
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
    3 1/3 cups all-purpose, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and orange zest to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until incorporated.
    2 eggs, 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp almond extract, 2 tbsp orange zest
  • Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined and the dough is smooth.
  • Place a large sheet of parchment on your counter, and tear off three additional pieces the same size. Set aside. Flour your hands and divide dough into half.
  • Flour the first piece of parchment well, and place half of the dough in the middle. Flour the top of the dough.
  • Work the dough with your hands to lightly press it out in all directions. Flour the top again if needed.
  • Place another piece of parchment over the dough.  Using a rolling pin over the parchment, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Place on a large baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough and the other sheets of parchment, stacking the rolled dough/parchment sheets on the same baking sheet.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and place racks in the top third of the oven. 
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment. Using cookie cutters lightly dipped in flour, cut out your desired shapes.
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges have turned the slightest brown.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Decorate as desired.
  • Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.


  1. The dough is very sticky right after it is made. Make sure the parchment and top of the dough are well-floured prior to rolling between the pieces of parchment.
  2. Feel free to sub in lemon zest for the orange.


Serving: 2cookiesCalories: 111kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 63mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 175IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. whole wheat makes so much sense especially when the taste isn’t any different (and many times it better, like these cookies)5 stars