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. Joey Capelle says

    If you look closely at the recipe you will notice that she or who ever uploaded the recipe forgot to say when to add sugar, just beat it with the eggs and butter first.

  2. Kris says

    These are the absolute best soft sugar cookies. Everyone loved them. The recipe states it makes 24 cookies, but I got about 36 nice sized cookies. They freeze well too. So glad I found this recipe!!

  3. Cassie says

    I am just getting ready to try this recipe, I was looking through the comments about some cookies being flat. My main suggestion, altitude matters, I am at an altitude higher than Denver, I use a few tablespoons extra flour and about a half teaspoon more leavening, anytime I try a new recipe. Just a suggestion to anyone who may be high altitude.

  4. Katie says

    These are wonderful! Likely making a second batch because they are exactly what I was looking for. They are soft and not overly sweet and perfect with the buttercream which is just the right amount. Definitely grateful for the recipe, thank you!!!

  5. Tina K says

    While delicious, my cookies didn’t spread. They were big fluffy balls. All new ingredients. I’m not sure what I did wrong.

  6. Stephanie says

    I just made these cookies and they are delicious! Came out perfectly soft and fluffy. Mine looked a bit bigger but tastes great and the frosting I made a double batch. Made around 32 coookies

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Kristi, I didn’t really say it was a traditional sugar cookie. It’s the sugar cookie I great up with because it was my Grandma’s recipe. I’m not sure why yours would have turned out flat, maybe check to see if your baking soda and baking are fresh.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I typically use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt that actually goes in my recipes. You can use salted but then I’d cut down the salt to 1/2 tsp. Enjoy!

  7. Jeannie says

    These are by far NOT Christmas sugar cookies. Worst mistake I’ve ever made. Flavor is spot on and texture is good…like frosting a mound much???

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear you had trouble Jeannie. They are similar to lofthouse cookies and as stated in the post, they are not cutout cookies. This is a family recipe, so while you might not enjoy them we do.

      • Cassandra says

        Mine also fell flat and ran. I talked to my mom (an experienced baker) and she said to chill the dough before baking. Haven’t tried it yet but perhaps that’s what’s needed. My baking powder and soda should be just fine as I’ve been doing other baking with them.

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        I’d probably start with making sure the flour is precisely measured. These don’t normally come out runny.

  8. Sheila says

    Hi, I was so excited when I found this recipe because it’s almost identical to my Mom’s that I lost. However, upon baking they have fallen flat and not fluffy, what did I do wrong? They taste good but I wanted the fluffy cookies like she made.

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