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Let’s kick off cookies’ biggest time of year with the most essential recipe: Christmas Sugar Cookies. Soft, tender, and surprisingly easy to make, these are THE perfect cutout sugar cookie, for the holidays…or anytime you need a soft, chewy, and utterly perfect cut out cookie.

Christmas sugar cookies decorated with sprinkles

This melt in your mouth cream cheese sugar cookie recipe has been my go-to roll out cookie dough since well before I was tall enough to preheat the oven.

They’ve become many of your favorite Christmas cookie recipes too.

  • These chewy Christmas sugar cookies are sturdy enough to pick up with your fingers or mail in a care package, but they remain magically soft up to a week after baking.
  • They freeze frosted or unfrosted for months (not that we ever have enough leftover…).
  • Unlike many other roll out cookie dough recipes I’ve tried, this cream cheese cookie dough is easy and forgiving, so much so that little ones can easily help to make and decorate them.

My four-year-old niece and I baked a batch of these holiday cookies together last year, and I can’t wait to make them with her again.

Even if you usually bypass the sugar cookies in favor of other Christmas cookie options (I have 25 more holiday cookie recipes for you below!), I am begging you to give this version of a traditional Christmas cookies a try.

soft christmas sugar cookies cut out and decorated

5 Star Review

Made these over the weekend with my kids—they are PERFECT! This will be my go-to cut out cookie recipe now. The dough was really easy to work with too. My only regret is not doubling the recipe. We devoured the whole batch in 2 days!

— Joan —

How to Make the Best Christmas Sugar Cookies

The Ingredients

  • Cream Cheese. While they don’t taste like cream cheese, cream cheese is the secret ingredient that makes this sugar cookie dough so easy to handle. Cream cheese tenderizes the cookies and adds a subtle tang that balances the sweetness of the sugar and frosting.
  • Flour. All-purpose flour works best for these Christmas cookies. Be sure to measure properly. If you add too much flour, or it will make the cookies tough.
  • Butter. For melt in your mouth cream cheese sugar cookies!
  • Sugar. You simply can’t have a good-quality cut-out cookie without it. These will be the best sugar cookie of your life and well worth it.
  • Egg. Binds all the ingredients together for perfect texture.
  • Vanilla + Almond Extract. Adds delicious, complex flavor to the cookies. Don’t skimp and ensure you use pure (not imitation) extracts.
  • Lemon Zest. My secret ingredient. You’ll love the addition!
  • Decorations! To your Christmas sugar cookies with sprinkles, candy, food coloring, or whatever your heart desires.
the best christmas cut out cookies with icing

The Best Ever Sugar Cookie Icing

I consider it a crime against cut-out-cookie kind to take a perfectly soft sugar cookie and deck it with a frosting that hardens into a brittle sheet, which is why I love this particular icing recipe so much.

In all flavor and texture categories, this Christmas cookie icing recipe is perfect.

  • It sets enough to where you can stack the decorated cookies without messing them up. My problem with sugar cookies with buttercream frosting is they get messy.
  • It’s soft enough to bite into easily. No one wants to bite into hard frosting.
  • It is EASY. Some recipes call for royal icing, but honestly, it’s a bit too fussy (and this icing tastes better!).

Directions Overview

  1. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Finish adding the wet ingredients.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl (be careful to measure properly and not add too much flour). Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. It will be soft and taste delicious.
  3. Divide the dough into quarters and roll between two sheets of parchment paper (no need to use a lightly floured surface). Chill the dough. (Directions to make dough ahead are below.)
  4. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  5. Cut the cookies as desired. Place sugar cookies in a preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes at 350 degrees F, until pale golden at the edges. Let cool on a wire rack.
  6. To make the frosting: Stir together the ingredients. For colored frosting, add a few drops of food coloring. Frost and decorate the cookies. ENJOY!
soft sugar cookie dough cut out into christmas shapes

Tips for The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

A few easy changes can be the difference between a frustrating cut out cookie experience and success.

Chill Out

  • Keeping roll-out cookie dough cold is critical for easy handling.
  • If there is any portion of the dough you aren’t working with immediately, keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to roll and cut.
  • If at any point the dough becomes too sticky to handle, simply pop it back into the refrigerator, and in a few minutes, it will be good to go again.


While it’s temping to lightly flour your surface, adding more flour to the dough can make the cookies taste tough and dry. You are better off chilling it for longer to make it easy to roll instead.

Lay Flat

Why is it that we shape cut-out cookie dough into a big ball prior to chilling it, then go to all the trouble to roll it flat again afterwards when it’s cold and inflexible?

  • If you will be using the cookie dough within a few hours, instead of patting it into a ball to chill it, roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator in its rolled-out state.
  • Once the dough has chilled, there’s no need to re-roll.
  • Simply place it on your counter in its nicely flattened shape, remove the top sheet of parchment, and cut away.

Keep It Thick

It’s surprisingly easy to roll your cookie dough too thin.

Remember, this isn’t a pie crust!

  • A thicker dough will give you plusher, more tender cookies.
  • The best thickness to roll cookie dough is 1/4-inch. Do not roll thinner or your cookies won’t be as soft.
soft baked christmas sugar cookies cut out and decorated with frosting and sprinkles

Storing and Freezing Christmas Sugar Cookies

  • These cookies stay soft for 5 days at room temperature.
  • To Store. You do not have to refrigerate cream cheese cookies. In fact, I recommend storing them at room temperature. Separate layers of frosted cookies with waxed paper or parchment paper.
  • To Freeze Unbaked Cookies. Unbaked, unshaped cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll, shape, and bake as directed.
  • To Freeze Baked Cookies. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month, frosted or unfrosted. Let the cookies cool to room temperature, arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then place the baking sheet in the freezer until the cookies harden. Transfer the cookies to a ziptop bag and freeze.

Shipping Christmas Cookies

  1. Bake and cool the cookies (or consider freezing them to help them stay extra fresh). Wrap each cookie in plastic.
  2. Place cushioning material (like crumpled parchment or bubble wrap) in the bottom of a strong, rigid box or cookie tin. Place the cookies in the box, separating layers with parchment. Fill any extra space with crumpled parchment or similar to keep the cookies from sliding around. Add some padding on top for good measure (you want the box to be full).
  3. Express ship the cookies, being mindful of possible shipping delays.

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Perfect Frosting

4.86 from 133 votes
The BEST Christmas Sugar Cookies to cut out and decorate! These traditional Christmas cookies are thick, soft, and easy to store and ship!

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes

Servings: 2 -3 dozen sugar cookies, depending upon size


For the Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese at room temperature (do not use fat free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon  almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon  lemon zest
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Frosting:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

For Decorating:

  • Food coloring
  • Sprinkles
  • Colored sugar
  • Other decorations as desired


  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then add the egg and beat until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese and beat for 1 minute, scrape down the bowl once more, then beat in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and lemon zest until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing just until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
  • Divide the dough into quarters. If using the dough within 24 hours, roll each quarter to a 1/4-inch thickness in between two sheets of parchment paper (alternatively, you can store the dough in a ball or disk and roll out when ready to cut and bake). Be careful not to roll the dough any thinner or the cookies will not be as soft. Keeping the dough flat, transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. Repeat with the remaining dough (it is fine to stack the dough “flats” on top of each other to save space). If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, divide the dough in half, pat each into a disk, then wrap each disk tightly in plastic and freeze in a ziptop bag for up to 1 month. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove one of dough flats from the refrigerator. (If you stored the dough in a ball or disk, roll it to a 1/4-inch thickness now, between two layers of parchment paper.) Remove the top layer of parchment paper, then with cookie cutters, slice the cookies into desired shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, until barely lightly golden brown and the edges are dry. The cookies will look slightly underbaked. Let cool completely.
  • To make the frosting: In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons milk as best as you can (the frosting will be very solid at this point). Beat in the corn syrup and almond extract until the frosting is smooth and glossy. If the frosting seems too thick, add more milk, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. If making colored frosting, add a few drops of food coloring until you reach your desired color intensity. Frost and decorate the cookies as desired. Let the frosting set for a few minutes, then enjoy!



  • Store leftover baked cream cheese sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, separating the cookie layers with wax or parchment paper, for up to 4 days or freeze frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months.
  • Dough can be prepared through Step 3 and stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months. Let stand at room temperature until soft enough to scoop, then bake as directed (if frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator first).
  • Shaped, unbaked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze: place the unbaked cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze until hardened, then transfer to a ziptop bag. Bake directly from frozen, adding a minute or two to the baking time.
  • If you want to make a monster batch of cookies, this recipe can be doubled.
  • Do not substitute the corn syrup—it is key for icing that sets up but still stays soft. Normally I’m all for baking without it, but here it is worth it.


Serving: 1cookie (out of 3 dozen)Calories: 146kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 30mgSugar: 15g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. First I had to look up what track #5 was on Bublé’s album.
    Second, I had to look up when my local cookie exchange is this year schedule yet, so I’d better get on top of that.
    Third, I think these look delicious enough to warrant using corn syrup, esp if but once a year…though I’m not sure I’ll be able to make these but once. Maybe once before Thanksgiving. I might lose track between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll go ahead and blame that on the corn syrup in my system ;)

    1. Making these for our square dance Christmas party this week using a hippopotamus cookie cutter. Our theme is “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.” We will dance to that song and win prizes with the hippo theme. The cake walk (danced in the square) prize is a plate of these cookies. So happy to have a good recipe I know I can count on. Will add silver sprinkles to the iced tops and a blue icing eye. Thank you!

  2. I do love the Christmas carols, but they started playing them 24/7 last week. As in, November 11th. Have they lost their minds?!
    These cookies are fabulous, though, anytime, anywhere. So pretty!

  3. This is seriously my fave time of the year. .  I LOVE these cookies, Erin! They make me so happy! :) I shot a holiday cookie video over the weekend so we channeled Christmas Day and it was awesome! I love your two key tips!!! These cookies are perfection! 

      1. Hi Erin! I have drool-worthy memories of cream cheese sugar cookies when I was a kid. I am now gluten intolerant and don’t do Corn syrup. I’m wondering if you (or someone you know) has tried these with GF flour in the cookie, and Agave syrup in the frosting, and what the results were? Great tip about rolling out dough before refrigeration, brilliant! Thank you!5 stars

        1. Hi Kathleen, I’m afraid I haven’t tried either of those substitutions, so it’d be an experiment. It doesn’t look like any commenters have reported back with a gluten free swap, but one person did try with agave and enjoyed the results. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes!

          1. Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review, Betsy! I’m so happy that this recipe was a hit!

  4. I can’t do it yet! If it was colder here, I think I could, but it’s been crazy warm, and I just don’t associate that with Christmas…Next week is when I’m starting it, including putting up my million Christmas decorations. Back when I didn’t’ really like cookies (crazy, I know), sugar cookies were basically the only cookie I liked. These make me remember why I love them so much, plus, they’re so flipping cute! 

  5. Looks great! And how convenient to freeze the extra batches of dough- cookies ready to go throughout the season without additional prep. Good thinking!

  6. I am definitely going to try this recipe. I am a cookie-making machine at Christmas time and I am always in search of the perfect rolled/cut-out recipe. I can just imagine the flavors of the cream cheese, almond and lemon combination. Can’t wait!

    Also, the “so-simple-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” hack for rolling the dough between parchment paper to chill is GENIUS! Thanks again Erin!

    1. Thank you! I hope you absolutely love these, and I’d love to hear what you think of the recipe too! Happy baking :-)

      1. Hello. Would these still be as good with while fat cream cheese?  That’s all I have and I wanted to make them right now. I don’t want to compromise the recipe though

        1. Hi Pam, I think the cookies will turn out with either reduced-fat or full-fat cream cheese! The only one I do not recommend is fat free. I hope you enjoy!

  7. ooo, I’m soo not ready for Christmas yet. But, I guess it’s good to have the recipe ahead of time. Sugar cookies are always hard and not usually my fave but if you say these are soft I will have to give them a try! I will make them with my niece when I get back to America!!

  8. Michael Buble will do that to ya :) These look amazing- love the idea of cream cheese for texture and flavor here :)

    1. 10/10
      First time I’ve made sugar cookies all by myself. I grew up making them with my Grandma, but didn’t have her recipe so I found this one online. I was nervous that I’d mess it up, but they came out perfect and SO tasty!! My husband told me this is the best thing I’ve ever cooked. Haha!! :) (And I do cook a lot)5 stars

  9. These cookies are so pretty :) I’ve never heard of cream cheese sugar cookies before, but I so want to try them now.  I’ve been on the hunt for an easy sugar cookie recipe, and this sounds like a great one to try!

    Dani |

  10. I have big sugar cookie fans here who can’t wait to try these but, unfortunately, one of them has a tree nut allergy. Would you recommend adding additional vanilla extract in place of the almond extract or would this compromise the taste you’re going after in the recipe? I am so intrigued with the cream cheese/soft texture…I hope we can make this work!

    1. Hi Sandra! Great question. Just swap the almond extract for more vanilla extract in the cookies and the frosting. The flavor will be different, but still absolutely delicious. I hope you love these!

  11. Oooo a girl after my own heart! I SWOON over Michael Buble during the holidays. I made my hubby put up our tree last weekend. Hehehe. I love Christmas too much!! Actually, lies – you can’t love Christmas too much. I also LOVE this recipe – my sugar cookies always end up hard and taste ‘meh’. THESE look so soft and amazing!!! Pinning!

    1. Chelsea, I’ve never tried doubling it myself, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just be sure to work with the dough in batches, keeping whatever portion you are not rolling immediately in the refrigerator. I hope you love the cookies!

  12. Made these over the weekend with my kids, and you are right—they are PERFECT! This will be my go-to cut out cookie recipe now. The cream cheese makes them so soft and the dough was really easy to work with too. My only regret is not doubling the recipe. We devoured the whole batch in 2 days!5 stars

  13. These cookies were amazimg! Perfectly soft and yummy. I hand wrote this recipe to keep in my box! :) Thanks so much for sharing! Many people loved them!5 stars

    1. Jenee, I am THRILLED to hear this!! Thanks so much for sharing your review, and I’m honored the cookies have a spot in your recipe box :)

    1. Hi Angie! Unfortunately, the egg is quite critical in this recipe. You could try substituting additional cream cheese or reducing the flour, but it would be an experiment. I’m sorry I can’t give you more direction, but I have never tried the recipe this way.

  14. Hi there Erin,ur cookies look wonderful..and of course I making this soon,so I would like to ask,once I’ve frost the cream cheese cookies into the fridge will the frosting melt easily??because this is the first time of doing it..tq

  15. I am so pleased to see you highlight this recipe. It is now the only sugar cookie I make for decorating….have already made two batches this holiday season! I highly recommend it to your readers. Your tip regarding chilled dough is spot on….I additionally place the cookie sheet with cut-out dough in the freezer five minutes before baking (keeps them from spreading and leaves the edges nice and straight). I allow them to air-dry after decorating for about 12 hours (or overnight) if they’re going to be stacked for gift giving (yes, they remain soft!). Thanks again for a great recipe…hope you don’t mind my additional tips. Happy Holidays!5 stars

    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Sandra! This is such a wonderful endorsement, and I’m thrilled that you consider these your go-to decorating cookies! Your tips for freezing before baking and letting the frosting air-dry are excellent and will be so helpful to other readers. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to leave this comment! Happy holidays to you too!

  16. These remind me so much of what my grandma used to make!!! And she would be right there with you on the “do not use fat-free” cream cheese train. :)

  17. Does the frosting get permanent enough that it won’t get everywhere after t has dried? Wanting to add one of each to a cookie bag I make for friends but not sure if it will be a disaster with the frosting? Appreciate the guidance!

      1. I am making these to put in a cookie jar for a shower gift. Will they do well? Are they hard enough? I have been using a traditional cut out recipe to make really thick uniform royal ivong cookies but would love one that tastes better. Thanks!

        1. Hi Stefani! Other readers have done similar gifting ideas, and they’ve worked really well. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  18. Wow, gorgeous! I never make cutouts bc I don’t have the patience…lol. Can you make all of mine for me? Thanks :)

    1. Hi Tamara, I’m so happy you and your granddaughters loved the cookies! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this kind review!

  19. Corn syrup is 100% glucose derived from corn. High fructose corn syrup, the stuff everyone worries about eating too much of, has been treated to convert a portion of the glucose to fructose (normally 45%). Sucrose (table sugar) is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Most adverse health outcomes are related to fructose consumption. I wouldn’t worry too much about finding a substitute for the corn syrup.
    Cant wait to try this recipe with my neices!

  20. The cream cheese twist with sugar cookies sound awesome! I was wondering if you thought omitting the lemon zest would greatly change the flavor of the cookie? I have everything to make them but that. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Raven, the flavor will be a bit different because you’ll lose the hint of lemon flavor. But I probably wouldn’t let lack of lemon zest stop me from making a batch of these cookies! I hope you love the recipe!

  21. These are also my go-to cookie recipe (for a couple years now!), and I’ve shared it with others who have asked for it as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing it with us!5 stars

    1. Christine, this makes me SO happy to hear! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you and those around you have enjoyed them. :)

  22. Wow your tip for rolling out the dough instead of placing it in the fridge in a ball may have just changed my life! Why did I never think of that? This recipe sounds great! Think I’ll try this for some Valentine cut outs. Thank you!!

    1. It changes EVERYTHING! Isn’t it funny how things like that don’t often come to mind? I hope you enjoy the cookies, Amy! These will be so cute in Valentine shapes.

  23. This recipe is perfect, thank you so much! I needed a soft sugar cookie recipe to use with an angular cutter (anchor-shaped) that would not puff out and lose details and this was amazing. Thank you!5 stars

    1. YAY I’m glad it was the perfect recipe for you, Erin! Anchor shapes sound wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

    1. Hi Micki! These cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for about a week. If you can’t get the cookies to arrive that quickly, I would suggest a different recipe. These chocolate chunk cookies would ship like a dream ( and these Pumpkin Snickerdoodles would too ( would too.

    1. Hi Erin, I’ve never tried that personally, but I know lots of bakers dye their cookie dough, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work here. I hope you enjoy the cookies!

  24. Please please tell me I can bake then freeze prior to baking! Need to make soon for a shower and really excited about recipe

    1. Hi Fran, you can freeze the dough for up to 1 month, or you can freeze the unfrosted, baked cookies in an airtight container as well. I hope you enjoy them!

    1. Good question! You can swap in more vanilla extract if you don’t have or want to use almond. I hope you enjoy the cookies!

  25. These look amazing and I am totally making these for Christmas, my kids will love it. Plus I never knew you could freeze cookies!

  26. HI I love chewy sugar cookies, but I know that chewy cookies are difficult to do in cut out form. So are these soft and kind of chewy or are they loft house cookie soft?

    1. Hi Sarah, they’re not as thick and fluffy as lofthouse cookies, but they’re not as thin as a standard cut out sugar cookie either. I think they’re somewhere in between. I hope that helps!

  27. Best sugar cookies I’ve ever had. I always thought Betty Crocker or other long-standing classic cookbooks are where I should find the “best” classic cookie. NOPE. This recipe is THE BEST roll out recipe. The lemon and almond are not overpowering but give the cookie flavor depth, the consistency is perfect and they are so think and soft. Also very happy with how the icing worked and set. I made a double batch for a holiday cookie party and the guests raved they were the best cookies ever. Make these for Christmas!!5 stars

    1. <3 THANK YOU ELIZABETH! This is just the most wonderful review I could ask for. I'm honored you chose my recipe for your party and so happy they were a hit!

  28. The cookies came out tasting good but I don’t think it was worth all the effort and definitely not kid friendly as each step takes too long and was too difficult for the kids to cut out with the cookie cutters (kept sticking to parchment paper). Making a batch of quick sugar cookies is easier and faster.2 stars

    1. Thanks for giving the recipe a try, Gabi! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t think they were worth the effort—as you can see from the other reviews, these cookies have been a hit for many people and families, but everyone has different preferences. I know it’s disappointing when a recipe doesn’t go as expected, so I truly wish it would have been different for you!

  29. Erin, I made these instead of my grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe (and I was hesitant to break that tradition!) My husband enjoyed them more than hers. The subtle almond and orange flavors make them perfect. I guess he’ll demand these yearly now. ;) Thanks, as ever, for your delicious recipes.4 stars

    1. Kathryn, I’m so happy to hear the cookies were a hit! I know it’s hard to decide to try something new, especially with a beloved recipe already, so I’m happy to hear you enjoyed these! Thanks for leaving this awesome review!

  30. Can you use the cookie dough if you leave it in the fridge longer than 24 hours?  I couldn’t find anything specific online re: cream cheese cookie dough, but a couple of sites said 5 days in fridge for sugar cookie dough. Is the 24 hours for safety or just for consistency?5 stars

    1. Good question! I’d say it’d be fine in the fridge for up to 2 days, although you’ll want to wrap it tightly in plastic. I haven’t tried myself, but I think it should work out! I hope you enjoy the cookies!

  31. Wow…these cream cheese sugar cookies are incredible and yummy! Are they gluten-free? Thanks for sharing! I found your post from Pinterest! I’m also gonna pin this post on my Pinterest board my followers will love it. Thanks for sharing Erin!5 stars

    1. Hi Jill, the cookies are made with all-purpose flour, so they are not gluten free. I have not tried making them with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend either, so it’d be an experiment to make them gluten free.

  32. Thank you so much for this recipe! My family started a tradition a couple years ago where we make Sugar Cookie Houses (instead of gingerbread cause we just don’t like the taste). It’s super fun! We have a contest to see who makes the best one. We use your cookie recipe for the houses and then a different recipe for the frosting/glue. It taste MARVELOUS and after we’ve made our cookies, we eat them lol. It’s super fun! So thanks!5 stars

    1. That sounds like so much fun, Emily! I’m so happy to hear that these cookies work so well for house building!

  33. Erin, you did it again! I have never attempted to bake roll out cookies from scratch. All that chilling, rolling, re-rolling, and measuring thickness of dough had me reading & dreaming of making frosted sugar cookies but lacking the courage to try. Until last weekend. Your description of this recipe was compelling & persuasive. And the verdict — absolutely delicious and so simple to make! I made a double batch for our annual work Christmas Party. I wanted a fun activity for kids to do and decided to set up a cookie decorating station. It was wildly successful! I rolled out big rectangles of dough between parchment on Saturday night. Cut out and baked cookies Sunday afternoon. I now have a treasured recipe and new family tradition! 5 stars

    1. HOORAY Marina! I’m thrilled to hear this recipe and technique were a success for you! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review. Enjoy the cookies!

  34. help I did every thing according to recipe.       Went to roll them and they stick to the paper put back to cool same thing happens  rolled up in ball and chucked it ☹️

    1. Betty, I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble with the dough! It sounds like you need more flour. Try flouring your work surface and the top of the dough, as well as your rolling pin. Also, make sure it is well chilled, as it’s easier to work with that way. I hope that helps for next time!

  35. Hi Erin, was wondering whether I can use full fat cream instead of low fat cream cheese? What is your feedback. Want to try this for my family. Thanks for sharing ;)5 stars

  36. I can’t wait to make this for the holidays! I would like to have more definition around the frosting edges, but hate royal frosting. Do you think I could pipe the frosting in the recipe? Sorry for the dumb question – I’m relatively new to baking, but am so excited to make these!

    1. Not dumb at all Joy! I would not pipe this frosting as it is pretty thin. I would suggest you look online for a pipable buttercream. Hope you love them!

    1. Hi Elaine, I haven’t tried the recipe with gluten-free flour, so it’d be an experiment. If you do decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  37. Hi Erin! I love all your recipes! I’ve been doing sugar cookie cut outs with kids and grandkids for 30+ years now and am always looking for a new recipe. I have used a small amount of white whole wheat in place of the white flour for awhile now and people seem to like the taste. Do you think that would work in this recipe?

    1. Hi Susan, yes, I think it would! I haven’t tried it myself, but if you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes.

      1. Erin, I made this with part King Arthur white whole wheat – I used 1 c. white whole wheat and 2 c. white. It turned out great and no one noticed! This is my favorite cookie recipe so far for cut outs. It did help that I used the method of rolling them out before and then freezing or putting the flat circles in the fridge. They cut out so much easier – especially since I had my two barely three year old grandkids! The flavor is great and you don’t taste the cream cheese or the white whole wheat.5 stars

  38. Hi Erin – this recipe looks delicious and I’m looking forward to trying it. Would you please confirm something? In your write up, you state the recipe does not contain eggs, but there is 1 egg listed within the ingredient list. If you’ve addressed this in earlier comments, I apologize. Thank you for your help with this!

  39. You have many delicious gluten free recipes, so I am curious if you have tried these cookies using gluten-free flour? My oldest has celiac, so having any flour containing gluten is not an option. She and her non-celiac siblings miss making & eating sugar cookies, especially around the holidays! Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Karin, I have not tried this particular recipe with gluten-free flour, so it would be an experiment. If you do decide to give it a try, I’d love to know how it goes!

  40. Hi Erin!
    My grandchildren, age 6 and 9 and I made these today . Ok , I’ll just tell ya my age ,65 , and  I have made many ,many cut out cookies and these were the easiest , funnest ,  bestest cookies ever !  I always have expectations of quality fun time with the grands when we make cut outs , but it usually doesn’t go that way .I’ll spare you the sad details ! But not with these cookies ! Rolling them out ,refrigerating ….THEN  cutting was a brilliant idea . Sooo much easier ! The kids were able to do it mostly all by themselves.
    The frosting was so easy to work with and dried to a nice finish, so they were easy to stack for storage .
    AND we loved the flavors ! I’ve never made a cut out with cream cheese and lemon flavor , what a nice change and the frosting was just the right amount of sweet .  Thank you for making our cookie day  fun filled and full of “sweet” memories . Have a blessed Christmas!5 stars

    1. Alma, I am so thrilled to hear the recipe was a hit! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this wonderful review. :) Merry Christmas to you as well!

  41. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Will be used many times during the year with different cookie cutters to match the occasion. i.e. , flowers for spring along with bunny shapes – etc. Think of your own needs & hunt up diff cutters to match the season. Wow – keep up the good recipes coming.

  42. I made this just over the weekend. Out of all the recipe’s i have tried, this was by far the best and most easiest! My cookies came out perfect, easy to bite into and most of all delicious. Thank you for making me look good whilst my guest ate them.5 stars

  43. I stumbled upon this recipe last year and my goodness I’m so glad I did. These are the BEST tasting sugar cookies! It’s our new go to recipe for Christmas cookies. Matter of fact I just doubled the batch and placed them in the fridge to bake later today with my son who enjoys decorating these with me. Memories that we will never forget ♡5 stars

  44. Hi!
    Can regular cream cheese be used for this recipe, or does it have to be reduced-fat? I’m planning to make them tomorrow and have regular cream cheese in the fridge.

    Thank you

  45. I tried this recipe out with my 7 year old and we were truly delighted with the end result, plus the storage time on the dough is good to.5 stars

  46. These rolled out easily, and are delicious. The cream cheese and lemon make sure they’re not too sweet, and the soft texture is lovely. 5 stars

  47. Erin, you have converted me to sugar cookies. This are absolutely amazing in flavour and texture. I cut them into small rounds (got 68 cookies from this recipe as written!) and baking them with raspberry jam in the middle. Divine. Thanks for yet ANOTHER recipe I’ll be adding to my holiday baking roster!5 stars

      1. I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Jenn! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  48. Erin: can this dough be used for drop cookies instead of roll cookies ?? Im not that great with roll out cookies . always roll dough to thin.

    1. Candy, I’ve only ever done this as roll cookies so that is what I recommend. Leave the dough a bit thicker and these will turn out great! I have specifics in the recipe. I hope that you love them!

  49. Hi, I was wondering if I could add freeze dried strawberry powder to make it strawberry cream cheese cookies (strawberry and cream cheese go so well together). Do you think it would change the texture of the cookies? How much do you think I should add? Thinking of making these for Christmas for family and friends.

    1. Nidhi, I’ve never done anything like this, so I can’t vouch for how it would come out; I worry the strawberries would dry out the cookies. A nice idea would be to use a strawberry cream cheese frosting like the one on this cake:

  50. I like cream cheese but some family members don’t. Does the “tang” flavor added taste like cream cheese? That is, would one be able to detect cream cheese flavor in the cookie?

    1. Cassie, no I don’t think these taste like cream cheese; they taste like soft, not-to-sweet (but just sweet enough!) sugar cookies.

  51. How do these taste without frosting?  I want to use my new rolling pin with Xmas designs carved in,  but don’t want to compromise on taste

  52. I just made these yesterday and they are my go to sugar cookies!! They are sooo yummy!!! Thank you for this recipe and they look so pretty !!5 stars

    1. YAY! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review, Laurie! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit!

  53. I have a question about making these into jam cookies. The directions say to roll them out to a quarter inch, cut them and put them on trays, and then make a half an inch indentation for the jam. If they’re only a quarter inch deep cookies how do you make a half inch indentation? 

        1. Hi Bella! The amount of each ingredient is listed in the recipe card. You can easily access it by clicking the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page. I hope this helps!

    1. Frannie, I’ve never tried that! I’d recommend sticking with the recipe for the best possible texture. Since the cream cheese is prewhipped, that might alter things a bit.

    1. Hi Lori! I would not pipe this frosting, as it is pretty thin. I would suggest you look online for a buttercream frosting that can be piped. Hope you love the cookies if you try them!

  54. The cream cheese sugar cookies were the best. What a great dough! Made them for Christmas , and just made snowflakes for my granddaughters FROZEN bday party. Fabulous taste, even eating them plain. Love them!
    And its good tasting if it’s a little thicker or thinner…I’m not a good cookie roller outer :(5 stars

  55. Look no farther…this is the perfect sugar cookie recipe!!! I’ve made them twice so far.  The almond really makes them amazing! My kids love them… my husband says they are pillowy soft… and they pair nicely with my morning coffee!  Thanks for the perfect recipe that has become a family favorite!!5 stars

  56. I have a question – do you think these would work as a slice and bake cookie? Not sure if it would hold together or spread too much that would distort the image “inside” the slice and bake cookie?

    1. Hi Alyson! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so it would be a complete experiment. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. I’m going to try it this weekend and will let you know! One last question. When you bake these as described above – do the cookies spread out a bunch or hold their shape well? Thank you!!

          1. Erin – the cookies turned out amazing! I made my own version of a slice and bake – Rudolph in a snow globe – the cookies held their shape through the entire process and the reindeer on the inside still looks like a reindeer after it was baked (I would post a picture but don’t think I can) The texture and flavor of these cookies are amazing. I will definitely be making them again in the future!5 stars

  57. These are the best sugar cookies ever! My grandson rates them 10 stars! He didn’t wait until they were frosted.So soft and melt in your mouth.5 stars

  58. Absolutely delicious and super easy. These are the perfect sugar cookies for cut outs! These bake up perfectly with a good amount of softness, if you bake them just a minute or two longer you can get a tiny bit of crunch, but still keep the softness. I think it’s a versatile dough depending on what you want. The lemon zest was a great addition!

    The frosting was perfect too. It sets up nicely.

    Also, rolling out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper is genius. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to do that. So much easier and less messy!

    We’ll be making a second batch tomorrow because we already ate the entire first batch.5 stars

  59. Just read your recipe for roll out sugar cookies. I no longer make rool out cookies; all my kiddos are out on their own. However, I love a good ‘drop’ sugar cookie. . Can this recipe be used
    ‘as is’ for a drop cookie with a little sparkly sugar on top??

    BTY, I love your recipes.

    1. Hi Suzanne! Unfortunately, I can’t recommend making the cookies this way, as they’re designed to be rolled out. I’d recommend checking out my other cookie recipes to see if there’s a drop cookie recipe that you’d like to try!

  60. This recipe is a keeper. Skipped the lemon zest because I didn’t have any lemons on hand and made my own cream cheese frosting, which sent it over the top!5 stars

  61. Hi Erin! Begem’s friend here :) I hope you are well! Quick question….can I double the vanilla and not use almond extract? Would it alter the taste that much? Also, I’ve never zested a lemon – do I need a zester tool, or can I use a fine cheese grater or can I use a knife?? Sorry, inexperienced baker here!

    1. Hi Andrea! You can certainly swap in more vanilla for the almond extract. While you can zest a lemon with a sharp knife, a microplane or box grater will be easier. I hope you enjoy the cookies!

    2. I made them with no almond extract and just a little lemon extract instead of lemon zest and they turned out really good still.5 stars

  62. This is a perfect cookie dough to make whatever type of cookie you like. Rolled, cut out, stuffed.. It bakes up a bit crispy on the outside and nice and soft when you chew. It is easy to work with when chilled. I made Nutella crescent cookies with mini chocolate chips. A bit like Rugelach cookies. Excellent.5 stars

  63. these are absolutely amazing!! I love the dough…so easy to handle. The last of the vanilla, almond and lemon is incredible. I made three batches this week.5 stars

    1. Jen, yes! I think that will work. I’d store in the fridge, then let it come to room temp before using so that it is spreadable.

    1. Hi Keisa! I would not pipe this frosting as it is pretty thin. I would suggest you look online for a pipeable buttercream. Hope you love them!

  64. Made these at Christmas and just made again for Valentine’s Day, love this recipe! Sometimes I don’t even frost them, the cookies are good by themselves. But the frosting is yummy too. Love the almond extract in them. Now I just have to improve my cookie decorating skills!5 stars

  65. These cookies were delicious! I doubled the dough recipe and the cookies were still perfect. I didn’t use the frosting in the recipe, just a canned frosting and it was just the right sweetness. Thanks for the great recipe! I’m definitely saving this one!5 stars

  66. Spectacular! I used Maple extract in lieu of almond and lemon zest. Also maple extract in frosting rather than almond. So very delicious! Soft tender centers with nicely firm edge. Easy to work with rolled out dough, but I had to intermittently put rolled out dough, (between wax paper) back in refrigerator to keep firm for ease of cutting and handling cookies. I won’t bother with any other sugar cookie recipe again! Best we’ve ever had!5 stars

    1. Hi Paula! Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this swap here, as I haven’t experimented with it myself and I want to make sure they turn out perfectly for you.

  67. I just made a gluten free version of these cookies and they are the best! For the regular all purpose flour I substituted 2 ¼ cups Bobs Red Mill 1-1 all purpose gluten free flour and ¾ cup oat flour then I rolled out using the GF all purpose flour. Once I cut out the cookies I put them in the freezer for as few minutes to help keep their shape in the oven.5 stars

  68. question will the frosting harder enough to cookies in individual wrappers? i know u said they stay soft in the middle

  69. We cut the sugar by 40% and it was still perfect! We did however find a butter creme frosting that used almond extract and it’s a match made in heaven! Thank you! Was never a fan of sugar cookies before this!5 stars

    1. Hi Glenda! I would not pipe this frosting as it is pretty thin. I would suggest you look online for a pipeable buttercream. Hope you love them!

  70. Are these cookies chewy or more firm and crisp? And if they aren’t chewy, any chance you know how to adapt the recipe to make them more so?

    1. Hi Hannah! I’m sorry but I haven’t found an adequate substitute for it in this recipe yet. Hope you enjoy them if you decide to make them!

  71. Anything with cream cheese perks my interest…that said, this was a great recipe. All instructions were easy to follow, and I followed it pretty much to the “T”!!! These cookies were so soft and delicious. A big hit. Especially loved the freshly grated lemon. Thank you!5 stars

  72. I’ve tried different sugar cookie recipes over the years, including sour cream, and these are the best by far! I baked them and stored them overnight in an airtight container without frosting and they have the soft and tender texture I’ve been looking for. Instead of using parchment I had more success rolling them out on my covered pastry board with a little flour. Delicious flavor! Will try the frosting next. Thank you for an excellent recipe!5 stars

  73. These are absolutely amazing! I froze some to see i could make ahead for Xmas and they tasted even better ! Highly recommended these5 stars

    1. Hi Melody! 1 cup measures anywhere from 120g to 125g. When measuring with a scale you simple add your 1 cup measuring cup. Zero out your scale and then add the flour. Your scale will them tell you the exact amount when you fill your cup. Hope this helps!

  74. These truly are the perfect sugar cookie! Simple and delicious, they cut and bake perfectly every time. The icing is perfect for detailed decorating and it sets up really nicely with a professional-looking sheen, without getting really hard. This is the second year I’ve made this recipe for Christmas goodie gifts and I will probably never try another sugar cookie recipe at this point. EVERYONE always loves them and asks for the recipe! Oh, and I do bake them for 8 min to keep them a little softer.5 stars

  75. Love these cookies. This is my second year making them, and after many years of trying different recipes I have found my go-to cutout cookie recipe. The cream cheese, lemon zest and almond flavoring make these so yummy just by themselves, but then I frost them with cream cheese frosting and wow I want to eat them all day. Thanks for this great recipe!5 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, John. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  76. I made these cookies for my family on Christmas Eve, they absolutely loved them!!! The only thing I did different was use Pure Lemon Extract instead of lemon zest & I put a little lemon Extract in the frosting mix. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!!5 stars

  77. I made these cookies for the first time for Christmas. Cut outs are a lot of work, and I’ve been disappointed with other recipes because the cookies have been too crispy, the dough is too sticky, or the cookies spread in the oven. I’ve tried a lot of other recipes, and these were the best! The dough was SO EASY to work with, and the cookies retained their shape perfectly during baking, and they are the perfect texture. Everyone who tasted them loved them, and I got requests for the recipe. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. I will never make another cut out recipe again!5 stars

  78. I make these cookies all the time. They are my ultimate favorite! My husband even loves them and he doesnt like sugar cookies. They are always soft and chewy. Thank you so much for sharing!5 stars

      1. I love this recipe so much! My family uses it for holiday themed cookies all year long. Such a perfect upgrade from basic, bland sugar cookies. Easily and deliciously made gluten free. Side note: They’re soooo good frozen and freezer stashes might not last long 🤣5 stars

  79. Hi,I made this with egg replacement and vegan cream cheese and they turned out beautifully! I think next time I would add a little more zest, however this is a keeper recipe!4 stars

    1. Hi Susan! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and the feedback on your substitutions!

  80. This is a great cookie recipe! I personally followed the recommended recipe alterations and my family loved them!5 stars

    1. Hi Tena, I’m actually not able to tell you about other recipes but if you have any specific questions about this recipe I’d be more than happy to help! Hope you enjoy it!

  81. I was so sure these would be wonderful, I made two batches. Mixed them on Friday, baked them on Saturday, frosted on Sunday. I followed the recipe exactly, even using the timer to make sure I mixed the ingredients for the recommended time. Both batches together yielded 68 cookies! Enough to send a Mom Box to my son and his roomies at college. They are DELICIOUS. My husband even grumbled he wasn’t getting as many cookies as his son….the lemon zest is subtle and wonderful combined with the almond. The frosting is easy and it hardened up enough to package for mailing. And it won’t break my son’s teeth that I spent so much money on to make pretty. Thank you!!! Fantastic cookies!!!5 stars

      1. As a follow up, my son received his cookies at college. All his roomies were home and they each had a bag with their name on it. The cookies were a little broken (not all) but let’s blame that on the mail delivery people shall we? But he said still soft and delicious! So, 4 days after completion they were still almost perfect!!! Incredible!!! And yes I’m the only mom to send goodies, so they think I’m super cool. I’ll really do anything to get that description. 😂

  82. These look great. can you tell me weight you use for one cup flour? I couldn’t find that. Can this frosting be put in piping bags? My typical frosting for cookies is buttercream and i use piping bag to decorate. Thanks again for your great recipes!

    1. Hi Lisa! I didn’t weight the flour, just measured it out. Also the frosting it too thin to pipe. Hope you enjoy them!

  83. Delicious, moist and perfect dough for cookie cut outs. These are definitely included in the Christmas cookie boxes.5 stars

  84. Greetings!
    My four-year-old grandson and I made these cookies yesterday. I don’t bake much and I usually shy away from any recipe that calls for rolling out dough. I followed the directions to the letter and I was pleasantly surprised to find the dough easy to roll and cut. Keeping the dough cold made all the difference. My grandson did a lot of the cutting, frosting, and all of the decorating. The cookies are delicious and we made a fun memory. We will definitely make these cookies again.5 stars

  85. I made these for my office cookie swap and they were a hit! Nice and soft for days and with a better depth of flavor than standard sugar cookies. Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!5 stars

  86. I love Erin’s recipes! They are incredibly easy to follow. This one in particular was amazing, every step of the way. The dough was so easy to work with and the texture of the cookies after they were baked was light and fluffy. Hard to eat just one.5 stars

  87. By far the best cookie cut out I’ve ever used. Made it true to recipe once and halved it the second time. Perfect each time and doesn’t even need to chill that long! Thanks!5 stars

  88. For nut allergies, read labels! Imitation Almond Flavoring can be used if it is not from a facility that processes peanuts &/or tree nuts. Be extra careful in purchasing “clear vanilla” – most are from nut processing facilities.

  89. These have been a hit with every party I’ve had! I have them in the oven as we speak but this time I’m making them a week before the party. If it’s only a week out can I store them in the fridge or should I still put them in the freezer? How long are they good in the fridge for unfrosted?

    Thanks!! 😃5 stars

    1. So great LS, thank you! I have all of the storage notes in the recipe card. Store leftover baked cream cheese sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, separating the cookie layers with wax or parchment paper, for up to 4 days or freeze frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months. Hope this helps!

  90. Too many ads on this site. Can barely see the recipe. Videos are playing, things are popping up, good lord.

    1. I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you, Henderly! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

  91. Made 69 praying hand cookies for Vacation Bible School. I Had to double recipe. They turned out wonderful. Appreciate the recipe. Thanks5 stars

  92. These taste delicious and so fun to make with kids! My nephews ate more than they decorated, but that’s ok, it was a great way to teach them the art of cookie baking.5 stars

  93. Decorating sugar cookies is one of my kids favorite things to do during the holidays! This recipe comes out great every time5 stars

  94. I am going to use this recipe from now on. These made the most perfect sugar cookies ever! Cream cheese must be the key. These will make beautiful snowflakes for Christmas time. Thanks for sharing your recipe!5 stars

  95. I used to make something similar with my mom when I was super young and it was one of my favorite traditions for all the holidays. It was exactly how I remembered them tasting!5 stars

  96. Holy yummy sugar cookies! You had me at cream cheese, but I didn’t know they would be as good as they turned out. My 5 year old son loved making them with his superhero cut outs. Thanks for kicking up a notch and posting the best sugar cookie recipe around.5 stars

  97. This recipe is wonderful! I am so happy that I found it. I have wanted to bake my own cookies that tasted as good as the ones I buy at a local bakery. It was so fun and so easy to make. I love making it with my kids.5 stars

  98. Oh my!! These are the BEST sugar cookies! The dough is so easy to put together and to work with. They taste amazing; buttery and not too sweet. The frosting was PERFECT!5 stars

  99. I just made these yesterday. I made two batches, and I left out the almond extract because I don’t have any. They turned out so beautifully! I love the frosting it sets perfectly.5 stars

  100. I made them a couple days ahead for my son’s 1st birthday. I froze them and then decorated them with your frosting recipe a day before the party. So simple and everyone loved them.5 stars

  101. What a perfect recipe, Erin! I made these with my nephews, and even though we totally over-handled the dough (they are 5 and 8 and were having a little too much fun with it!), the cookies still came out perfect. It’s a very forgiving recipe, and I was so grateful for that.5 stars

  102. These sound amazing, but can I use full-fat cream cheese instead of low-fat? That’s what I usually have in the house.