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


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

Can I use this recipe for cut out cookies?

Not this recipe, but after so many requests, I created a new cookie recipe based on these Sour Cream Cookies that is perfect for cut out cookies, with no chilling and a thick soft sugar cookie.

You can find my Christmas Sugar Cookies recipe here.

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

4.14 from 95 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 281cal


  • 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)


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


  • 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: 281cal | 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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Reader Interactions


    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Charlotte, I’m sorry to hear that you had problems with this recipe. Myself (and others) have been successful in making it, so I wished it would of been a hit for you.

  1. Judy Hood says

    I have made these cookies 3 times since Christmas and everyone really likes them. The only problem I have is the last pan I bake the cookies are sometimes flat. Would it help to chill the dough while the others are baking?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Judy, sorry to hear that. It’s hard to know what is going on without being in the kitchen with you, but you could likely try that and see if it works out for you.

  2. Kathy says

    This is a pretty good recipe! The texture is exactly what I wanted. The icing is yummy. The cookies have a bit of an off flavor…I can’t put my finger on it but it’s something that tastes a little artificial. I would love advice on how to make these more neatly because when I just spooned the cookies onto the sheet, I got ugly lumpy cookies.

  3. Dk says

    These are not great. I bake 2-3 varieties of cookies every week. Wanted to try a different sour cream recipe and these looked good. Should have had a clue when looking at recipe and instructions. Very bland, off texture. Would never make again.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t to your taste, Dk. Myself and others have made it, and enjoy it.

  4. Karen Linnomme says

    These are the best cookies! So soft and can be dusted with sugar or frosted. I freeze them and frost later for a holiday. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Darya says

    I have a quick question about the frosting. Does it by chance harden or does it stay soft? I’m very excited to make these 🙂

  6. Melissa says

    These are my son’s FAVORITE! He was home for college and took 2 batches back with him! My entire family just loves how soft the cookies are and how they really aren’t too sweet! I sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top prior to baking and it adds just a little bit of ‘snickerdoodle’ taste to these already delicious cookies!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear these weren’t to your liking, Ty. I know how frustrating it can be to make a new recipe and not have it turn out.

      • Ty says

        I just realized that you say these are cakey in your description; therefor it is my own fault for not reading. They are as described. If you are able to delete my rating I would appreciate it, they do not deserve one star for my apparent inability to read.

  7. Cheri A Magistro says

    I just made these! They are absolutley delicious! Only thing I changed was the frosting. I made just a simple thicker glaze and of course topped with sprinkles! Easy peasy! Thank you!

  8. Joan says

    Looks just like the cookie recipe that my mother called “softies”. We always put one raisin in the center before baking, then dust with cinnamon and sugar after baking, while hot. Our grandkids always make a game out of removing the raisins before they eat the cookies! A family tradition!

  9. Michele says

    My mom made these cookies every Christmas when I was growing up. She didn’t frost them, she sprinkled multi colored, green, red sprinkles, some she even put cinnamon and sugar on some. I lost her recipe and was crazy wanting it. They are my favorite cookie. (I love “cakey” cookies). The other difference she alternated the dry ingredients with the sour cream, beating well after each addition. So happy I found your recipe. Just took out my first batch. They look exactly like I remember. Love them!

  10. Lisa D says

    Just made these today and they are amazing! Light, fluffy and not too fussy in terms of directions. I made the full recipe and will freeze half. Thank you for this recipe! I have made these before with another recipe and I remember letting the dough sit for what felt like forever. These can be whipped up in no time!

    • Grandma D. says

      Just made this cookie recipe this morning with a few tweaks and they were still AWESOME! I highly recommend this easy recipe for delicious and easy cookies! First of all, I normally use pasteurized eggs when baking with the grandchildren, but I was out of them at home. So I substituted “flax eggs” instead. I always add flax to my sweet treats because I have a grandchild that requires a high fiber diet so the “flax eggs” served a dual purpose. I also used about 7/8 of a cup of sugar in my halved recipe. (I’m always trying to cut down on processed sugar in recipes for the grandchildren as well.) The baked cookies were plenty sweet and I may try a little less sugar the next time I make them. I did not frost them. Once they were on the cookie sheet and prior to baking, , I lightly dusted some with colored sugar and the rest with sprinkles. They were a hit! The grandchildren, parents, and my husband loved them. I would describe the flavor and texture more like Scandinavian Kringla. They are so quick to make and yummy, too. I will probably make this recipe from now on instead of traditional Kringla which is so putzy. I have already added this recipe to my 3 ring binder cookbook. Thank you Kayla!

  11. Marilyn says

    Part of the problem if people are having issues might be due to stale baking powder and/or stale baking soda. If that can of baking powder or box of baking soda have been around for a few months, test it. For baking soda, just put a bit, maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp. in about 1/2 cup of hot water. If it fizzes, it’s still good. Do the same with baking soda, but add a tablespoon of vinegar (white or cider, it doesn’t matter) into the hot water. Again, if it fizzes well, it’s still fresh. And always fluff four and loosely spoon into measuring cups. Also bake a test cookie. Oven temperatures can vary. Inside humidity can also affect the moisture level in dough. If indoor humidity is higher, the flour will absorb more moisture. If the test cookie is too dry, add a bit more sour cream. If too moist, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Bake another test cookie.

  12. Stephanie L says

    I’ve read a ton the reviews and I’m not sure how so many people are having issues with the recipe? It’s very straight forward but I would suggest to those of you that had a hard time with the batter consistency or cookies that rose or didn’t rise properly, double check your measurements for the baking soda AND baking powder. Most cookies require the former and not the latter which is the only thing I can think of that might be throwing off consistency issues.

    On the other side of the coin – O M G! These cookies are amazing! I’ve been experimenting with the recipe and trying different extractions and flavors for both the cookie base and the frosting.

    This is an amazing recipe and I absolutely LOVE that it’s not just a soft-bake cookie but that it’s the proper amount of sweetness to allow for a frosting without being overkill. THANK YOU FOR THE ADDITION TO MY COOKIE ADVENTURES!

  13. Alexis says

    I did something terribly wrong- I can’t figure it out-
    They were so rubbery- like they actually bounced off the countertop.
    Haha I guess i am not a baker – I followed directions super closely- but I think maybe it was too much flour !! So bummed !

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Alexis! I’m sorry to hear that! Measuring flour correctly is important, and can cause dry cookies. It’s important to fluff the flour before scooping and not to pack it into the cup. If it is packed into the cup, it will be too much flour. Using a scale to measure flour is always a safe bet.

    • Anne Olson says

      This sounds exactly like the situation with cookies when you have
      Expired baking soda. It’s so easy to do that!
      I mark the expiration date of my baking soda and baking powder.
      Then I replace them a month before that expiration date to ensure this doesn’t happen to me because it has before.
      And I always test them in vinegar for fizz which shows they are not “dead”.

  14. Maxine says

    Hi. I’d love a copy if your cut-out cookie recipe if you are still willing to share. Thank you so much.

    Merry Christmas!

  15. Patrick says

    Yes I have and they are great! I just read Greek yogurt. Try a two ingredient pizza, bagel dough.
    1 cup + full fat Greek yogurt

    2 cups self rising flour

    Mix well. I always end up adding a little more yogurt to get the consistency. I always double the batch for two 12 to 15 inch pizzas. Thin crust, prep pan with corn meal. I work the dough to fit the pan fold back 1/2 way and did pan. Fold back other side and dust again. Preheat oven on broil highest setting, then switch to bake, highest setting and bake away with your favorite toppings. Its so simple and pretty good. High in protien also. Sorry I got off track!!

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