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Grandma’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 24 cookies

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These Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are soft and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness — they’re perfect with or without frosting and make a great freezer-friendly holiday cookie! Includes step by step recipe video

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grandma's sour cream cookies with pink blue and green frosting and sprinkles on a sheet pan

I have never liked sugar cookies.

Maybe it’s because my mom was never a fan of sugar cookies, and never baked sugar cookies, and we never had sugar cookies growing up.

Maybe it’s because the dough can be finnicky and trying to cut it into those cute snowflake and Christmas tree shapes without leaving half of the dough behind in the cookie cutter gives me anxiety.

Maybe it’s because there are no chocolate chips. (Although they do have frosting — I’ll give them that).

sour cream cookies on parchment paper close up with blue frosting and sprinkles

Whatever the case, they’re just not something we have often ever.

But the holidays come and I start to flip through family cookbooks and think back to Christmas gatherings at Grandma and Grandpa’s. And as I came across this one in my cookbook my one Grandma had made for me when I was married, I knew I had to share it.

three sour cream cookies on a white plate with sprinkles and mutli colored frosting

These Sour Cream Cookies are not the difficult, finnicky cookies that require hours of rolling, cutting, baking, and decorating.

They are a soft sugar cookie made with sour cream, and they have a fluffy, delicate texture that I find much more appealing. Please note that these are not cutout cookies — you can chill or freeze the dough all you want and you still will not get shapes from these cookies.

The flavor is mild and slightly sweet, so they are made to be frosted. If you feel the need to add some lemon zest or extra vanilla, go for it.

Yes, they are cakey. This is just the way the recipe is.

If your Grandma writes recipes the way my Grandma wrote recipes, you know that they’re a little…. well, open to interpretation. And since I’ve never made these with Grandma, I’m just going to say that these are my best guess at what her recipe actually means.

You may or may not get exact measurements.

You may or may not get mixing or baking instructions (in this case, there were none).

These turned out so soft and luscious and perfectly sweet, that I decided to share the recipe my way. And to my family who may come here and realize I’ve made some crucial misinterpretation — feel free to chime in and translate for me!

A simple colored frosting and maybe a few sprinkles is really all they need to make them extra special for Christmas, though they are easy enough to make for any occasion…. Or no occasion. Sometimes you just need a cookie!

More sour cream cookies:

These have been so popular that I’ve added two more versions to the family!

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Grandma’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

4.54 from 13 votes
These Sour Cream Sugar Cookies are soft and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness — they’re perfect with or without frosting and make a great freezer-friendly holiday cookie!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 281kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 cups all purpose flour, fluffed and levelled (500g)

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until creamy.
  • Add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream and beat until smooth.
  • Add baking soda, baking powder and flour and beat on low until combined — dough will be soft, almost like cake batter. THIS IS FINE.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets 2-3 inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden and centers are set.
  • FrostingWith an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until smooth, adding additional sugar or milk to reach desired consistency (you don’t want it too thin!).
  • Color if desired and spread on cooled cookies.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 93mg | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1.2mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    I tried these tonight. Not sure if I did something wrong. The dough was sticky, little thick. They didn’t spread in the oven. So they are just like the cookie scoop I used. Still taste ok, but won’t be able to frost them. Did I do something wrong?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      The dough is sticky, it will be the consistency of cake batter. It sounds like too much flour was added — I would make sure that your flour is fluffed and scooped into the measuring cup so that not too much is added. I hope that helps!

  2. Sharon says

    Can you elaborate on what it means by fluff the flour. Is this sifting? And if it is sifting, do you measure the unsifted amount then sift or sift and the measure the sifted flour?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      It just means that you should use a spoon or scoop to fluff the flour before you spoon it into your measuring cup. If you have a scale, you can also weigh each cup of flour — 130 grams is about right and will prevent any cookies or baking turning out too dry

  3. Thomas says

    I am 50years old. My sister has made these for a Christmas present for me my entire life. The. Best. part of my Christmas… ?

  4. Joanne says

    These cookies have a great taste. The icing is the best I’ve made but my cookies are wanting to stick together. Is there something I can do to fix that?

  5. brenda says

    I love that you added nutritional values. Can you tell me what the serving size is? I’m hoping this isn’t “per cookie.” 🙂

  6. Lynne DeFauw says

    I have a recipe for sour cream cutout cookies my mom used to make. They have the same ingredients, they are soft and cake like. I have made these and the cutouts both taste the same. I like these more because I’m getting older now and rolling cutting them out decorating them, it so much easier to drop and frost them… If you would like my recipe that my mom used please email me, I will be happy to share it.

  7. Jasper says

    My dough was on the thicker side and I dropped the dough onto the pan like in the video and my cookies came out looking like biscuits. Any idea why this would happen. I ended up rolling my other 2 trays in my hand and flattening them before baking and they came out more cookie shaped. But mine did not bake really flat like the video showed.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Jasper! It could be the amount of flour in the cookie dough, which can vary a lot depending on how you scoop it. I apologize I didn’t have the weight included which is a lot more accurate, but I will add it in now.

    • Tammy says

      I moved in June and cannot find my recipe for the sour cream cookies for Christmas cookies that you roll out, that my grandmother passed on to me. They had that cake like density. Would you kindly share your recipe with me your recipe. I want to make cookies with my grandkids. I would be so appreciative.

  8. Barbara wills says

    OMG they r awesome! I increased butter to 3/4 cups and sour cream to 3/4 cups. I folded in the sour cream and I mixed in flour mixture by hand.

  9. Rosie says

    First batch great! Second time I made them, I used my stand up mixer(thought it would be easier). Cookies turned out flat as a pancake :-((( still taste good but definitely not fluffy.read in an earlier comment, to wait to add the sour cream (& fold it in) so as to not ‘break it down’. Maybe that’s what happened? Just sharing for feedback…and any tips for future attempts.

  10. Kathie Weise says

    I didn’t see any milk in the batter recipe. Or a second recipe. My batter was very stiff, not like cake batter all. The cookies were good though.

  11. Rae says

    I accidentally doubled the butter for the cookie. That what I get for baking while distracted. Didn’t realize until after the first batch was out of the oven. They held up though! You would think that doubling the butter like that would make it melt all over the pan right?! Nope. They looked fine, tasted good. They are outstanding, thank you for the recipe. I will double check my measurements next time lol ?

  12. Rosie says

    I was a little o fused as the recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter but the video looks like in 1/2 stick was used. Also recipe says yields 24 ookies…and I was thrilled to get at least 3-4 dozen:-)

  13. Becky Hardin says

    OH these cookies remind me of my grandmother. She use to put sour cream in everything. Always gave it so much extra flavor. I am excited to try these this Holiday season.

      • J. Valdez says

        Are they soft like the sugar cookies you see at the grocery store? Will they stay light and soft fluffy after freezing? Thawing how? I feel like the moisture would make it soggy! Making these tonight with my kiddos! ?

        • Ashley Fehr says

          They are not soggy, just soft! They are soft and cakey, maybe a slightly cakier texture than your average grocery store cookie. They definitely stay soft after freezing! They thaw quickly at room temperature on a plate with paper towel.

  14. Linda says

    My granddaughters, ages 7 and 3, helped me to make these cookies. Everyone loved the cookies and we can’t wait to make them again!

  15. Laura says

    How would you freeze this dough? Would you freeze the whole batter in a ball or drop the cookies, freeze and then put in a freezer bag?

  16. Gabrielle Temp,e says

    These were awesome! Super easy and tasted great. My 14 year old daughter and I made them together and the recipe was easy for her to follow with minimal help. The family loved them.

  17. Amy says

    “…dough will be soft, almost like cake batter. THIS IS FINE.” Thank you! I have my great-grandmother’s sour cream cookie recipe. The first time I made it, I actually threw out the dough, believing she had accidentally written down the wrong measurements. Tragic. I decided to google “sour cream cookies” to find the right ratios and found your version, then tried my grandmother’s recipe again. Saved. I will have to try your version next! Typically, my great-grandmother and grandmother did not provide instructions either but there are some interesting tidbits in her sour cream cookie recipe (minus the helpful “dough will be like cake batter”). Our recipes are so similar I wanted to share. 1. She creamed the butter and sugar until fluffy. 2. She then added well beaten eggs to the creamed mixture. 3. She combined the flour (sifted, which is somewhat unusual for a cookie), salt and soda. 4. She alternately added the dry ingredients and the sour cream–to avoid over-mixing or breaking down the sour cream. 5. She added the nutmeg last–which Martha Steward does too so….validated–and noted raisins were optional. (No thanks to raisins, I like the delicate flavor better without them.) There was no frosting recipe on my great-grandmother’s card so I’m anxious to add that to the mix. Thanks again! I love your site!

    • Marlene Noble-Plumley says

      These are my absolute favorite of all time. My Mother made these and they were a neighbor’s (Mrs. White) recipe. Mom made them for the neighbors, the nuns, the priests at Christmas time. My brother Michael got to deliver them to all. This was back in the 60’s. You are definitely right about sifting the flour. One time my Mom threw out 5 batches of dough because “it wasn’t right”. She finally realized she had forgot to sift the flour!!!!

  18. Paula says

    Thank you! Thank you! I have been trying sugar cookie receipes for at least 40 years (I’m 66) looking for this cookie that I remembered from summer Bible School snack time. Munching under a tree with ice cold Kool-Aid. No idea who made them..lots of churches together…I am beyond being a happy woman!!!

  19. Heidi reich says

    Came across your recipe on Pinterest. We accepted a last minute invite to dinner. Great recipe, had all the ingredients and made according to your directions. They are wonderful! My husband ate 4 before I could even frost them! Perfect hostess gift for the holidays…. or any day. Thank you

  20. Aine says

    This is pretty much the same recipe as the Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Drop Cookies from the 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook. This is a family favorite. Whipped cream cheese vanilla butter frosting can be flavored with a little orange or lemon or lime juice… is a good icing for this cookie.

  21. Rose says

    I don’t know what I did wrong except that I did forget to warm up the butter before mixing it in with the sugar. My cookies burned on the bottom after 10 minutes but did not cook through in the centers. I had to throw most of the first batch away. I left the rest of the batter in the refrig and will try to bake them later, but will lower oven temp to 325. I have never had anything like this happen before with sugar cookies. They were about 1-1 1/2 Tbsp in size and I baked them on the top shelf in my oven. Thinking maybe my oven bakes too hot for these cake like cookies. Oh well…my 3 year old grandson had a ball anyway making the cookies and there were a couple good ones he was able to decorate and eat….so he was happy ….and that is all that counts in my book. 🙂

  22. Lucy says

    Can left over dough be refrigerated? I usually mske my doughs a day or 2 b4 using and wondered if this would be ok to do with this recipe?

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