The softest cut out sugar cookies that melt in your mouth & hold their shape. These soft cream cheese sugar cookies are perfect for decorating with icing!
This recipe for soft cut out sugar cookies is my go to favorite recipe for a versatile cookie that’s tender, melt in your mouth, and perfect for icings, glazes, and decorations.
The flat, smooth surface makes this cream cheese sugar cookie the perfect canvas for decorations. Use this recipe as a base for Christmas cookies, Valentine’s day, Halloween cookies, and other holiday or special occasion cookies that require icing decorations.
What Makes These Cut Out Sugar Cookies Soft?
These rolled sugar cookies bake up soft and tender because of the high moisture content in the dough and the addition of cake flour.
They’re rolled out at least a quarter inch thick and taken out of the oven while they’re still pale to ensure they stay soft and aren’t over baked. Over baking these cream cheese sugar cookies will lead to a drier and tougher cookie.
Cream cheese – adds moisture and a wonderful tangy taste to this otherwise mellow cookie.
Butter – makes the cookies tender and adds rich buttery flavor
Cake flour – gives the cookies a softer, more tender crumb
How thick should cut out sugar cookies be?
The thickness and baking time of these cream cheese sugar cookies also affect how soft and tender they turn out.
Thickness of the rolled out dough – the thickness of these rolled sugar cookies should be about 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thick and not any thinner. This prevents the dough from over baking and getting hard and crunchy.
Baking time and temperature – the temperature and baking time should be just enough for the cookies to be baked through but still have a pale color. Over baking them will cause them to be tough and dry instead of soft and moist.
How do you get cut out sugar cookies to hold their shape?
Soft cut out sugar cookies hold their shape when the dough has been chilled before baking. This is because chilling the dough prevents the butter from melting and causing the cookie dough to spread.
Ways to Chill Cut Out Sugar Cookie Dough:
- Option 1: Divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal parts and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the freezer for 45 minutes or in the fridge for 1.5 hours.
- Option 2 (Recommended): Working in two or three batches, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Chill the rolled out dough in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Option 3: Cut out shapes from the cookie dough and place them on parchment paper. Chill the cut outs in the fridge for 45 minutes and then place them straight into a preheated oven.
How to Make Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Cream Cheese Cookies
First let the butter and cream cheese soften to room temperature. You can also microwave your cream cheese for 15 seconds at a time until it’s softened.
1. Beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until the sugar granules have completely dissolved. Then add the eggs, extracts, or other flavorings.
2. Sift in the all purpose flour, cake flour, and baking powder. Mix to combine and then divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal parts and chill in the fridge or freezer.
3. Roll out the dough to 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes into the dough.
4. Bake for 7 – 8 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F.
Storing Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies:
How far in advance can you make soft sugar cookies?
- Baked sugar cookies can be made a week in advance.
- Unbaked sugar cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for 2 months.
How do you keep cream cheese sugar cookies soft?
- Tightly wrap the cookies in plastic wrap or place them in a ziplock bag. Then place the cookies in an airtight container. Double wrapping the cookies help them stay soft and reduce their exposure to air.
How long to chill cream cheese sugar cookie dough?
- You can chill the dough in the fridge or freezer until the dough has completely chilled and hardened, about 1 hour or more depending on the thickness of the dough.
- I recommend first rolling out the dough to 1/4 inch thick and then chilling it in between parchment paper so it doesn’t stick.
Why did my sugar cookies crack on the surface?
- Cracks on the surface indicate the cookies have been over baked or the oven temperature was too high. Make adjustments for the next batch by reducing the baking time or oven temperature.
Hope you enjoy these soft cream cheese sugar cookies!
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Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies – Perfect for Decorating
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
Optional flavorings (choose one):
- 1 Tablespoon orange or lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract leave out the vanilla and almond extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract leave out the vanilla and almond extract
- Soften the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. You can also microwave the cream cheese for 15 seconds at a time until soft.
- Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar with a mixer until the sugar granules have completely dissolved. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.
- Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add any optional flavorings at this time.
- Sift in the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together until just combined. Working in 2 batches, lay the cookie dough in between two pieces of parchment paper. This makes it easier to roll out the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to ⅓ to ¼ inch thick and chill it flat in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Don't roll the dough any thinner than ¼ inch thick – the cookies won't be as soft and tender.
- Cut out shapes from the cookie dough. Dip the cookie cutters in flour before each press so the dough doesn't stick.
- Bake for 8 – 9 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. The cookies should be pale in color and have a smooth, flat surface. Note: It's important the dough is chilled before baking so they retain their shape. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating with icing.
- Option 1: Divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal parts and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the freezer for 45 minutes or in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Option 2 (Recommended): Working in two or three batches, roll out the dough 1/3 to 1/4 inch thick and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Chill the rolled out dough in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Option 3: Cut out shapes from the cookie dough and place them on parchment paper. Chill the cut outs in the fridge for 45 minutes and then place them straight into a preheated oven. Dip the cookie cutters in flour in between cut outs to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Baked sugar cookies can be made a week in advance. Tightly wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container. Keep them in the fridge or freezer and let them come to room temperature before serving. Double wrapping the cookies help them stay soft and reduce their exposure to air.
- Unbaked sugar cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for 2 months.