Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
These Frosted Sugar Cookies are easy to make and don’t require any dough chilling. The perfect cookie for any holiday!
One thing that I love about this time of year is the cookies. Or more specifically, soft cut-out sugar cookies. There’s something so fun about decorating sugar cookies around this time of year, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share this recipe with you.
The wonderful thing about this sugar cookie recipe is that you don’t have to chill the cookie dough. There’s nothing more frustrating than making sugar cookie dough and having to wait 1 to 2 hours before you can even cut them out to bake.
With this recipe, all you have to do is mix up the sugar cookie dough, roll it out, cut out your cookies, and bake them. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
These soft sugar cookies with icing come together with ingredients you likely have on hand already! Here are the ingredients you will need for these cookies:
- All-Purpose Flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it so you don’t end up with dense cookies.
- Baking powder: Gives the sugar cookies some lift.
- Salt: Balances out the sweetness of the dough and enhances the vanilla flavor.
- Shortening: Keep reading to see my thoughts on why you should make sugar cookies with shortening.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the dough without flavoring it.
- Egg: Should be at room temperature before being mixed into the cookie dough.
- Milk: Any kind will work.
- Vanilla extract: This is the main flavoring agent in this cookie dough, so you’ll want to use two teaspoons.
- Cream cheese: You will be using this for the frosting. Use brick-style cream cheese, not the kind that comes in a tub.
- Powdered sugar: To sweeten and thicken the frosting. Feel free to sift the powdered sugar first to avoid lumps.
Why Use Shortening?
One important ingredient that you need for these cookies is shortening. I typically use Crisco, you can find it in the traditional blue tub or 1-cup baking sticks like the picture above.
If you’re wondering why shortening is so important in these cookies, let me explain. Butter melts at a lower temperature than shortening, which means cookies made with butter spread a lot faster when they’re in the oven.
Remember how I mentioned that this cookie dough doesn’t require any dough chilling? It’s because the shortening in these cookies helps them retain their shape in the oven, so they don’t spread like cookies made with butter.
Another great thing about using shortening versus butter in these cookies is that it doesn’t require refrigeration. In other words, you can start mixing up your cookie dough immediately, unlike other recipes where you have to wait for your butter to soften.
How to Make Frosted Sugar Cookies
To make this cookie dough, you’ll mix together some flour, baking powder, and salt. For the wet ingredients, you’ll start by mixing together the shortening and sugar, then add the egg, a couple tablespoons of milk, and vanilla extract. You’ll combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix them together until just combined.
Then, divide the cookie dough in half and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. You can roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick or a little bit thicker to 3/8-inch thick. I rolled these cookies to 3/8-inch thick because I wanted them to be a little thicker and softer. Then, cut out shapes, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake them.
Once the cookies are done baking, let them cool completely before topping them with homemade cream cheese frosting!
How to Store These Cookies
These frosted sugar cookies with icing should be stored in airtight container in the refrigerator. They’ll last for up to 3 days.
Unfrosted cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, place on your counter overnight and frost as desired.
- You can top these cut-out sugar cookies with any kind of frosting that you like, but I really love these cookies with some cream cheese frosting.
- You can add a drop or two of food dye to the frosting and change up the color for different holidays or other celebrations!
- For the creamiest frosting, use brick-style cream cheese and not the whipped kind in a tub.
More Easy Cookie Recipes to Try!
- Classic Sugar Cookies
- Shortbread Cookies
- Cake Mix Cookies
- Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cut-out sugar cookies:
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (190 grams) vegetable shortening
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg , room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8-ounce) package brick-style cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (95 grams) vegetable shortening
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1-2 drops food dye (optional)
To make the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the shortening and sugar until well combined. Mix in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract until fully combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness for crisp cookies or ⅜-inch thickness for softer cookies. Cut with 2 to 3-inch cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Re-roll any scrap pieces of sugar cookie dough and cut out more cookies as needed.
- Bake in separate batches at 350° for 8 to 13 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set and lightly browned. Baking time will vary based on how thick you roll the cookie dough and the size of your cookie cutter.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese and shortening until well combined, then mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla until fully combined.
- Frost the cooled sugar cookies and top with sprinkles if desired.
Cut-Out Sugar Cookie recipe from Crisco.
I use butter flavored Crisco in my chocolate chip cookies and they are fabulous. Soft, chewy, and not too thin.
Really enjoy your blog. Not rating recipe because I haven’t made it yet, but I will.
Butter flavored crisco is wonderful in cookies, I love to use it too. So glad you’re enjoying my blog, Betty 🙂
Happy to see a non butter cookie
I’m glad to hear that, Linda! I hope you enjoy the cookies if you give them a try!
Can you freeze these cookies? Thanks
Yes, they freeze just fine! I suggest freezing just the cookies once they’ve cooled, bring to room temperature on the counter, and then add the frosting once they’re room temp.
Wow! It’s amazing the outcome of the cookies depending on what type of fat you use! These sugar cookies look nothing less than PERFECT, Danielle! So thick and soft-looking. <3
I agree, I love how much better shortening works in these cookies. Thank you for the kind comment, Sarah!
How many cookies does this make?
Hi, Lauren! I have a note in the recipe about how many it made “For these cookies, I rolled the sugar cookie dough to ⅜-inch thick and used a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out 15-16 cookies. Baking time was 12-13 minutes at 350°F.”. The number of cookies will vary based on how thick you roll the cookie dough and the size of your cookie cutters. I’ve also rolled it to 1/4″ thick using 2-3 inch Christmas cookie cutters and got about 25-30 cookies (baking time was 8-10 minutes at 350°F).
Danielle, can you use the butter flavored Crisco in these cookies and get the same results as you did? Or should I use regular Crisco? Want to make these in a couple days so anxious for reply, sorry such a short span of time for your answer.
Hi, Mary! I think the butter flavored Crisco would work just fine in these cookies.
My sugar cookies taste good, but I can not roll out due to the fact of being so sticky. Any advise on why they are?
Hi, Pam! Did you flour your work surface? You may need to flour your rolling pin some as well as you’re rolling out the dough.
Love this recipe! My go to for sure! My clients love them too!
I’m so glad to hear that everyone loves the cookies! These are a favorite of mine 🙂
By far the best sugar cookie I’ve ever made perfect for cookie cutters. Thanks for sharing and will be my always go to sugar cookie recipe.
I’m so glad to hear this is your go-to sugar cookie recipe, Jennifer! 🙂
I am planning on making these cookies this weekend. My fiance is allergic to milk, I was going to make him some of these without frosting. Do you think I could sub out the two tablespoons of milk for almond milk?? Can’t wait to make these!!!
That should be fine, Emily! 🙂
I had a really hard time getting the dough to stick together when rolling. My 7 year-old son was home on a snow day so I wanted to do something fun with him. It was a little frustrating because the dough just didn’t roll well. I followed the recipe exactly and even purchased new baking powder because mine was getting old. Any suggestions?
So sorry you had trouble with the cookie dough, Lucy. Did you spoon and level your flour or did you scoop it from the container? I’m wondering if there was too much flour in your cookie dough and that’s why it wasn’t sticking together well when you tried to roll it out.
Mine wasn’t really sticking together either at firstbel. I put them in the fridge to help see if it’ll work. But still same.. however i noticed when I kept at it, pat it and rolled it carefully with sprinkle of flour.. it’ll come together. The more I rolled it out, the better it became. Then using cookie cutters, it came out perfectly! I was so happy after it baked for 10 mins 🙂
Like you, I was worried and thought I needed another recipe. But it just takes a little practice and determination!
Can’t wait to frost these with my students tomorrow!!
Glad to hear they turned out great for you! Hope you and your students had fun decorating the cookies!
can you also refrigerate the dough before baking?
Yes, that would be fine!
I made your cream cheese frosting for my Christmas cookies. Is there a way to make the frosting thicker without changing the taste?
The taste is great, I would just like it firmer.
You can add some more sugar, but it will make the frosting sweeter. If you refrigerate it the frosting will firm up too. If you want a firmer frosting, then I would suggest my buttercream recipe: https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/how-to-make-buttercream-frosting/.
good i give 5 stars
These came out beautifully! The dough is a bit difficult to work with until you get the hang of it, but absolutely worth it.
These are now my go to sugar cookie! I can’t say enough about how delicious these cookies are.
To frost the cookies I used melted white chocolate and it’s the perfect about of sweetness to these cookies.
I highly recommend this recipe!
So glad the cookies turned out great for you, Amanda!
They are great i am making them gluten free and are good thanks
This recipe was a slam dunk at my local bake sale. Had people begging for the recipe. Thank you for posting this! It’s my go to from now on!
So happy to hear that, Nicole!
Can you in addition to using cutters use a cookie stamp with these for cute Halloween cookies?
Yes, absolutely! I would dip the stamp in some powdered sugar before pressing the cookies, just so they don’t stick.
Van Ine make these without vanillin extract?
You can make them without the vanilla, but they won’t taste quite as good.
What could I use instead of all-vegetable shortening?
You can use butter, but the cookies won’t hold their shape quite as good.
Where can I buy the sprinkles you used on the cookies. I can’t seem to find sprinkles that taste good either. Thanks!
I bought these at Walmart 🙂
hi, what kind of sugar did you use for the biscuits? castor or normal granulated x
I used normal granulated sugar for these cookies.
Very easy recipe. The cookies have nice crispy edges and airy soft middles. My only complaint is that the cookies are lacking in flavor- I used regular, unflavored crisco, next time I will try butter flavored crisco. Overall, an easy recipe to execute.
I added an extra teaspoon of vanilla and it turned out perfect! Plus I always roll out my cookies in powdered sugar.
I love all your recipes and I was wondering if I could add peanut butter? And if so how much and should I adjust anything?
Thank you, Kelli! You’d likely need to adjust the ingredients if you add peanut butter, but it’s hard to say how without testing it myself.
I tested it with the same measurements in the recipe and added 1c. Chunky jiff peanut butter and added 1 extra teaspoon of vanilla they turned out perfect! I love all your recipes I’m a big fan of yours. Thank you for your tips too.
Thanks for sharing, Kelli! Glad it turned out great for you!
We subbed 1 cup of softened butter for the shortening & recipe turned out fantastic. Super delicious & worked great with our Christmas cookie cutters. Thank you!