Active Time: 45 minsTotal Time2 hours, 30 mins
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen cookies

You know those super soft, super sweet (but not sickeningly so) iced sugar cookies you buy at the grocery store? The ones in the plastic containers? These are like those—but way better. You may be tempted to send the cookies straight to the oven, but you really shouldn’t skip chilling the dough. Not only does refrigeration help making scooping easier, it also helps the cookies maintain their shape while they bake.

Pro-tip: Once the cookies are done, make sure you give them plenty of time to cool before frosting. This is a delicate recipe, so it’ll slide right off if you try to frost them while they’re still warm. 


  • 2 3/4 cups (about 11 3/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2cups (12 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1large egg
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 cups (about 12 oz.) unsifted powdered sugar
  • Liquid food coloring (optional)
  • Candy sprinkles

How to Make It

Step 1

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat 1 cup of the butter and 4 ounces of the cream cheese with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add granulated sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add egg and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla; increase mixer speed to high, and beat until fully combined and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low; slowly add flour mixture, beating until fully combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper third and lower third positions. (If dough chilled longer than 2 hours, let come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop 18 dough scoops about 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using bottom of measuring cup, gently press dough scoops to flatten to about 1/2-inch thickness.

Step 3

Bake in preheated oven until cookies are puffed and very lightly browned around edges, 13 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time. Let cookies cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Step 4

Beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and 4 ounces cream cheese with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until creamy and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until combined, about 1 minute. Add remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to high; beat mixture until fluffy, about 1 minute. (If dyed frosting is desired, divide frosting and food coloring of choice among separate bowls; beat each mixture on medium speed until colors are vibrant, about 1 minute.) Spread about 2 tablespoons frosting onto each cookie; decorate with sprinkles. 

Chef’s Notes

Though we developed these cookies with Christmas in mind, they’re easy to adapt to any season. Just change up the icing and sprinkle colors. 

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