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

Ingredients

  • 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)

Frosting

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

Instructions

  • 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!

Frosting

  • 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.

Notes

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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Comments

  1. Kt says

    I was not sure what to do with the butter so I saw softened it for 10 seconds in the microwave. My cookie spread and came out flat. I am able to save them by cutting around the edges but I’ve made Loft house cookies before and they’ve been fine. Maybe specify the butter should be at room temperature. They taste great tho!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Kt, it is supposed to be at room temperature but softening it in the microwave means you softened it and not melted it, which in turn would have been the same as room temperature.

  2. Shawna Schmidt says

    I almost didn’t pick this recipe because of a few bad reviews. People saying too much baking powder, and after googling a ton of other recipes similar and seeing half the amount..none even close to this…I got worried. But decided to try anyways, and I am SO glad I did! These are amazing. I have very good self control and couldn’t stop myself from eating the dough, it was delicious, and the baked cookies, so light and fluffy, definitely didn’t stop eating at the half I only planned in taste testing. I haven’t even gotten to the icing part yet, the cookies alone were worth raving about. If you have reservations about this recipe please don’t hesitate to try it, I promise you won’t regret it! Not often I leave reviews.

  3. Carol Brock says

    I found this recipe about 3 years ago and they have become a family favorite. They remind me of the cookies my grandma used to make. Unfortunately her recipe was lost. These cookies remind me of my childhood.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      The frosting does set up pretty well but if you want to stack them at room temperature with no sticking, you may want to add a bit more sugar or reduce the butter or liquid a bit to start, then thin more if you need just so you can spread it. Let me know how you like them!

  4. Rae says

    I love these cookies! They always sell out when I make them for our work holiday bake sale. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  5. Pat says

    Hi, I can’t wait to try this recipe but I don’t understand how a muffin could be made using these ingredients.
    Why is there so much baking powder in this recipe.
    Thank you so much.
    You have awesome recipes and I am so happy to receive them.
    Pat from Edmonton, Alberta

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Betsy: Store them for 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature or up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

  6. Elie says

    I made these looking for a “not-boring” sugar cookie. I really enjoyed the taste of the raw “dough” but in my opinion they would be better with 2 tsp baking powder instead of 3. There is a lot of flavor lost in the baking because there is too much air. They also came out a lot better after chilling overnight to let the fat and sugar come together a bit more. 3* without chilling, 4* with chilling

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Elie! Thanks for your feedback, we really love the cookies as is but glad it worked out for you.

  7. Karen b says

    I made these cookies but I added 1 cup each chopped cherries and chopped nuts to it. But instead of cookies.I made muffins. They are great and not sweet. Try changing around find something new. Good luck😇

  8. Mary Douglass says

    Delicious! My granddaughter and I just finished these up and are enjoying a cup of tea with them. So yummy and soft!

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Kristy. The amounts, flavorings and timing have worked well for myself (and others) so I wished it would have been a hit for you too! I know it can be so disappointing to try a new recipe and it does not turn out for you.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Sandra! I can’t say for sure if they will stick to the tray if you don’t use it, so definitely keep that in mind if you decide not to. Enjoy!

  9. Jean says

    I have made these cookies many times and they are my husband’s favorite! I make them at Easter, Halloween, and Christmas especially and decorate for that holiday and give to my grandchildren in their own little bags. They love them and look forward to them. Their parents also look forward to them! I am hoping they will remember me for getting my cookies instead of Halloween candy and Easter candy. This recipe is the best!

  10. D. Mcgee says

    I’m sorry to say these cookies were not good. They look and taste like a biscuit.I’m sure the 3 teaspoons of baking powder has something to do with that. I would not recommend this recipe.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe D. Mcgee. It has been a hit for myself (and others) so I wished it would of been a hit for you too.

  11. The Recipe Rebel says

    I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe, Irene! As stated in the post, these are a cakey cookie. Myself (and others) have enjoyed the recipe, so I wished you would have too.

  12. Vicky says

    Just made these, Yummy. It makes alot of cookies. I want to freeze some. anybody freeze them without icing? and freeze icing also?
    Thank you

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Vicky! Yes you can freeze them. They are best frozen without the icing. So glad you enjoyed them!

  13. Cheryl says

    I made these and loved them! They are just as she described. Very soft and not sweet. They do need the frosting. Both the cookies and icing turned out perfectly. They didn’t flatten out like so many cookies do. The frosting firmed up enough that I could layer them, yet it wasn’t hard.

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