Grandma’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 36 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

Looking for more Christmas cookies? Try these Soft Sugar Cookie Bars, these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies or The Best Snickerdoodle Recipe next!

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).

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.

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. They are a cakey cookie — like little, frosted hand cakes.

If this is not what you’re looking for, try a different recipe.

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

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.

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!

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

Can I freeze sour cream cookies?

Absolutely! These freeze perfectly.

In an hour or two, the frosting should set to the point where you can stack and freeze them, but if you want to be extra safe, you could flash freeze them on the baking sheet for an hour before stacking.

Freeze up to 3 months.

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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.

Can I add more flavor to these Sour Cream Cookies?

Definitely! If you read the comments, you’ll see that a lot of people love these cookies, and some people it seems are not sure what they are getting with this recipe.

Like I said earlier, these cookies are made to be frosted. The cookie itself is not very sweet. Here are some ways to customize this recipe to your tastes:

  • Add the zest of a lemon or orange
  • Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • As a reader mentioned, you could reduce the baking powder to 2 teaspoons if you want them less fluffy. They will still be very cakey.
  • Sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar before baking.

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

4.75 from 382 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 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 36 cookies
Calories 188cal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 4 eggs
  • cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla*
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour, fluffed and levelled (520g)


  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 ½ cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • food coloring (optional)


  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until light and creamy.
  • Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  • Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined. Add flour and beat on low until no white remains — dough will be soft, almost like cake batter. This is how it should be.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets 2-3 inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden and centers are set. They do puff and spread quite a bit so don't make them too big!


  • With 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.


These Sour Cream Cookies are cakey. They’re not a cut out cookie, and you can’t roll them. They are like little hand-cakes more than they are a chewy cookie 😉
This is my Grandma’s recipe — if you are looking for a different kind of cookie, try my  Christmas Sugar Cookies for traditional cut out cookies, or my Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies for a more traditional soft sugar cookie.
Ingredients and Substitutions:
*Vanilla: you can substitute a portion of the vanilla extract for almond extract if you prefer if you enjoy that flavor.
Citrus zest: for a brighter flavor, you can add the zest of a lemon, lime or orange to flavor the cookies. 
Frosting: you can also frost the cookies with cream cheese frosting, citrus flavored frosting, or any flavor you like. These cookies are simple and not too sweet, so they are intended to be frosted.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 188cal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 212IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords sour cream cookies

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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


  1. Mary Jane DeVoldre says

    These are the best cookies ever! I did frost and freeze and they were great!! Perfect combination of cookie and frosting. Not overly sweet. My family loved them!!
    Perfect in every way! So glad I discovered them, I’ll definitely be making them every holiday and in between too. They are a great alternative to more labor intensive
    Cut outs!

  2. Keala says

    Adding 5 stars. Even though it turn out as Christmas cookies, it is the best sugar biscuits ever. Even my husband enjoyed them. Will definitely make them again. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  3. Rosalind Bickel says

    These were wonderful. I’ve been looking for something like my Mom’s Half Moon cookies and these are exactly it! Soft and cakey and tender. The only difference is she used sour milk instead of sour cream. They came out perfectly and just like I remembered.

  4. Debra says

    So far so good ! I know you can freeze them ,but I guess I want to know if I can with frosting and how do I keep them in freezer just like the refrigerator with wax paper between? These cookies are Awsome & just like the ones my husband grandma use to make. I used almond extract for frosting.

  5. Paula Zahn says

    Hi Jamie,
    Just like chocolate chip cookies they go flat after making dough and baking. So I put the dough in the refrigerator for about 30-45min that keeps it a little stiffer when baking. They keep their shape better. Give that a try. Hope this helps in the future!♥️

  6. Karla Thompson says

    These are by far the best cookies I have ever made. Easy to follow instructions. And I understand why creaming the butter and sugar for awhile is needed. So that the sugar can start dissolving. This will definitely be a cookie I make for all my special days.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Sarah! I’ve not tested this recipe out using melted butter. I’m unsure of how it would turn out. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

      • Sandra says

        I have not yet made these but plan to. My first thought about using melted butter is the batter will be looser, obviously. In that case, I’d suggest refrigerating the dough a short period to help it set up a bit or you’ll probably end up with one cookie the size of your sheet pan.

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        Thanks for the feedback Sandra! It’s just not something I’ve tested with these cookies so I have no way of knowing for sure what the end result would be.

  7. Sara says

    These are so good! My family loves al of your recipes. Big fans over here 😂 Could I freeze these cookies for a week or so, before frosting them?

  8. The Recipe Rebel says

    I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe, Jamie. The method has worked well for myself (and others) so I wished it would of been a hit for you too. Cookies will flatten and not hold shape if the butter and sugar were not mixed long enough. I’m not sure if that is what happened but it tends to be the culprit.

  9. Shawna says

    Cookies baked out into large disk like cookies. Flavor was good and soft, but did not hold shape at all. Threw away last half of dough. Disappointed for sure. Help please?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Shawna! Cookies will flatten and not hold shape if the butter and sugar were not mixed long enough. I’m not sure if that is what happened but it tends to be the culprit.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Jessi! Store for 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature or up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

  10. Cindy says

    Do I put butter at room temperature when I mix these cookies up? Or do I keep butter r cold when I mix these cookies?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Cindy! Yes, sorry about the. The butter needs to be softened at room temperature. Hope you enjoy them!

  11. Emma says

    Hi! How do I freeze these? Do I bake and freeze without frosting and then frost them when they are thawed? Looking forward to trying these!

    • 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.

    • Kim says

      Mine didn’t resemble cake batter at all either.. I actually added a bit more flour because it was a little too thin. When I dropped them onto the cookie sheet the batter was quite thick – but these were the best turn out for sour cream cookies I’ve ever had. I even over-baked a batch cause my oven isn’t that great… and even over-baked these cookies were amazing! Froze well, too!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

4.75 from 382 votes (327 ratings without comment)

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