The BEST Fluffy Sugar Cookies topped with a creamy buttercream frosting! With a super soft, cake-like texture, these cookies are bakery-level delicious. Color the frosting & decorate with festive sprinkles to customize to any holiday or occasion!
Why I Love These Fluffy Sugar Cookies:
- Sour Cream In Dough: The sour cream in this dough makes the cookies super soft and cake-like. You can also use full-fat plain greek yogurt as a substitution.
- Not Too Sweet: The cookie itself is not overly sweet, so you definitely want to top it with the homemade buttercream to create the perfect balance! (i.e. this recipe isn’t meant to be eaten without frosting, so if you don’t like frosting, you’d want to make my Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies instead since those are a sweeter dough.)
- Easy to Make: No fancy cookie cutters needed! You can just cut these into circles (using a cup!) and spread the frosting on with a knife. Instead of rolling them out, you can also scoop these into 2-tablespoon sized balls and flatten before baking.
- Super Fluffy: Have I mentioned how thick, soft, and fluffy these are?
Important Recipe Notes:
- Properly Measure Flour: If you over-measure or pack in the flour, your cookies will be dry and more dense. To properly measure, spoon your flour into the measuring cup until it is overly full, then scrape the excess off with a knife.
- Dough Will Be Sticky: This dough is on the stickier side but you can add a little more flour while rolling out. If you’re still finding them too sticky, refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.
- Use Fresh Baking Soda: If your baking soda is over 6 months old and your cookies don’t end up puffy, you may need to replace your baking soda.
- Butter: While I always recommend using unsalted butter for baking, you can also use salted butter. I would avoid using margarine, as it will affect the taste and texture.
How to Make Fluffy Sugar Cookies
This is just an overview, click here to jump down to the full recipe card for the recipe amounts and condensed recipe instructions.
Step 1: Make Sugar Cookie Dough
In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 large eggs, then stir on low speed until incorporated. Add in 1 teaspoon baking soda and continue to stir on low for 10 seconds. One cup at a time, slowly add in the 3 cups of all-puprose flour and mix on low speed until flour is incorporated. Dough will be on the sticky side.
Step 2: Roll Dough
Form dough into a large ball and place on a flour-covered surface. The dough will be sticky, so you will likely need to sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of flour onto the dough to help knead. If dough is still too sticky, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll dough 3/8-1/2″ inch thick.
Tip: If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can also scoop the dough into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and flatten into a disc before baking. Just increase baking time 1-2 minutes, as cookies will puff up into more of a ball shape. Scroll further down the post to the “FAQ” section for a photo showing ideal thickness.
Step 3: Cut Sugar Cookie Dough
Using a 2.5″ inch diameter circle cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. If dough is sticking to your cookie cutter, dip the cookie cutter into flour between each cut.
Step 4: Bake & Cool
The cookies will most likely look slightly underdone after 8-10 minutes in the oven, and that’s okay. If you prefer a crunchier cookie, feel free to leave them in the oven for a few extra minutes until you start seeing the edges brown.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The trick to soft & fluffy sugar cookies is to allow the cookies to sit on the hot cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes after removing them from the oven. This allows them to finish baking, without getting the direct heat of the oven that typically causes browned edges.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Step 5: Make Frosting & Decorate
- In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup softened butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cream together on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until blended together.
- On medium/low speed begin adding in 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until all is incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed, and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired (divide into different bowls for multiple colors).
- Spread on top of cooled sugar cookies or place frosting in a large piping bag with a large metal tip (Ateco 809) to get the signature swirl you see in these photos.
How long can fluffy sugar cookies sit out?
These fluffy sugar cookies will stay fresh for up to 3 days if covered tightly! I personally like to refrigerate these cookies, but you don’t have to. The sugar in the frosting allows them to stay stable at room temperature.
Can I freeze fluffy sugar cookies?
Yes, fluffy sugar cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months! I recommend frosting them separately once they are defrosted for the best appearance, but you can freeze them after frosting if you need.
You can make the dough ahead of time and freeze the dough. To do, flatten dough into a thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap, then place in an airtight bag or container.
Frequently Asked Questions
How thick should you roll out sugar cookies?
I roll all my sugar cookies to 3/8″ thick and use an adjustable rolling pin to achieve uniform thickness. I’ve found this is the best thickness for achieving soft, thick sugar cookies (any thinner and your cookies will likely get crunchy).
If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can also scoop the dough into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and flatten into a disc before baking. Just increase baking time 1-2 minutes, as cookies will puff up into a ball shape. See photo below.
Can I use a different frosting recipe?
I highly recommend using my fluffy vanilla buttercream recipe to top this cookie! With all of its amazing ingredients, it creates the perfect fluffy texture and sweet balance for these fluffy sugar cookies!
I actually started this recipe using cream cheese frosting but didn’t find it sweet enough for this cookie. So I’d HIGHLY recommend using the buttercream for this; it truly creates the perfect balance!
Can this buttercream be piped?
Yes! Because these sugar cookies are so fluffy and soft, they’re the perfect candidate for decorative piping. If you plan to pipe something more elaborate, beat the frosting longer to create a fluffier texture.
The Ateco 809 is my favorite metal tip for getting the signature frosting swirl you see in the photos. For a fancier swirl, you can also use an Ateco #8 large star tip.
Why do you put sour cream in sugar cookies?
The sour cream in this sugar cookie dough keeps the cookies super fluffy and soft. You can also substitute the sour cream for full-fat plain greek yogurt.
Can I use greek yogurt instead of sour cream?
Yes, full-fat plain greek yogurt works as substitution for sour cream.
Does baking soda or baking powder make things fluffy?
As a general rule, baking soda makes baked goods spread while baking powder makes them puff up. Baking soda is often used when a liquid is present in the dough or batter, while baking powder is for butter-based doughs. Because these fluffy sugar cookies use a liquid (sour cream), we are using baking soda to cause the signature rise.
Can I use this recipe for shaped cookies?
While you can cut out this dough into different shapes, just keep in mind that it will puff up and spread a bit. I recommend using it more for circle or heart-shaped cookies, where spreading doesn’t matter.
The BEST Fluffy Sugar Cookies
With a super soft, cake-like texture, these cookies are bakery-level delicious. Top with creamy buttercream and decorate with festive sprinkles to customize to any holiday or occasion! Makes 18-24 thick sugar cookies.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract You can replace this with equal parts vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Before you begin! If you make this, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract for 1 minute.
Mix in sour cream, eggs, and baking soda and mix until combined.
One cup at a time, slowly add in the flour and mix on low speed until flour is incorporated. Dough will be on the sticky side.
Form dough into a large ball and place on flour-covered surface. Knead dough for 1 minute until it forms a smooth, solid ball and is no longer sticky to the touch. You will likely need to sprinkle about 1 tablespoon flour on top to help it not be sticky. If dough is still too sticky, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll dough between 3/8-1/2" inch thick. Using a 2.5 inch diameter circle cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. If dough is sticking to your cookie cutter, dip the cookie cutter in flour between each cut.
* See notes below for alternative to rolling pin.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the center no longer looks wet and doughy. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Buttercream Frosting: In a large bowl, whip butter on high speed for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. On low speed, begin adding in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all is incorporated. Beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and creamy.
Spread on top of cookies or place frosting in a large piping bag with a large round tip.
See notes for storing tips.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
- Almond Extract: You can replace this with equal parts vanilla extract.
- Don’t have a rolling pin? If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can also scoop the dough into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and flatten into a disc before baking. Just increase baking time 1-2 minutes, as cookies will puff up into a ball shape. See photo below.
- Substitution for Sour Cream: The sour cream in this sugar cookie dough keeps the cookies super fluffy and soft. You can also substitute the sour cream for full-fat plain greek yogurt.
- Storage: These fluffy sugar cookies will stay fresh for up to 3 days if covered tightly! I personally like to refrigerate these cookies, but you don’t have to. The sugar in the frosting allows them to stay stable at room temperature.
- Freezing: Yes, fluffy sugar cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months! I recommend frosting them separately once they are defrosted for the best appearance, but you can freeze them after frosting if you need.
- You can make the dough ahead of time and freeze the dough. To do, flatten dough into a thick disc, wrap in plastic wrap, then place in airtight bag or container.
- Piping Tips: The Ateco 809 is my favorite metal tip for getting the signature frosting swirl you see in the photos. For a fancier swirl, you can also use an Ateco #8 large star tip.
If you make these soft fluffy sugar cookies, be sure to leave a comment below and tag me on Instagram @designeatrepeat. I LOVE seeing what you made!
Jan Reding says
Absolutely gorgeous and delicious!!!
Laurie Holmes says
Thank You so much on getting back to me so fast. I’m not going to alter your recipe in anyway. I’ll make them like you have and add frosting to them. Although I Do Not like buttercream frosting. Any suggestions ??
You could do a cream cheese frosting! It won’t be as sweet but will still be delicious!
Laurie Holmes says
I know I just sent you a question but, I’ve got another one. Can these cookies be made into Snickerdoodles ??
So you could roll them into cinnamon sugar but the dough itself isn’t as sweet as a traditional snickerdoodle so flavor might not be ideal. This recipe really shines when adding frosting but you could roll in sugar and top with a cinnamon frosting!
Laurie Holmes says
I’m in the process of making these cookies, and was wondering if I could use some baking powder along with the baking soda ??
Do you mean using baking powder instead of baking soda? Or are you trying to achieve a different texture? These cookies puff up a decent amount just with the baking soda but adding baking powder would make them puffier!
I’m sorry I did not like this recipe. I get that the sweet part tends to be the icing on top, but these had no flavor. I added extra vanilla and I already knew by the half cup of sugar it wasn’t going to be enough, but I tried it anyways. They also look like biscuits and not cookies in my opinion. Sorry.
Hey Emily – sorry these weren’t to your liking! You mentioned using 1/2 cup of sugar so I just wanted to point out that the dough recipe calls for 1/2 cup powdered + 1/2 cup granulated, so if you only used 1/2 cup then that would affect the sweetness & how they spread. Even with 4 cups of sugar, they’re definitely on the lower end of sweetness compared to some sugar cookie recipes, so they may not be for everyone.
Thanks for giving them a try!
These cookies were so light and fluffy! Exactly what I was looking for but I did deviate from the recipe slightly and added lemon extract in place for the almond extract. They ended up tasting great! Definitely saving this recipe.
I am glad that you were able to personalize the cookies! Thank you for taking the time to report back with your review!
Brooklynn Myers says
Theese cookies were so delicious! Definitely recommend
I am so glad that you enjoyed these sugar cookies Brooklynn, thank you for taking the time to leave a review.
Out of all the sugar cookies I’ve made, everyone loves these one the best!
I can’t wait to try these!
Yay! Report back with how you like them!
nanci piggue says
About to try this recipe. Thank you
Awesome, let me know how you like it!