Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don’t forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

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Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too! #christmascookies #cutoutcookies #christmasfood #christmasbaking #recipe

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Making Christmas cookies is one of our favorite family traditions. Especially when it involves frosted sugar cookies.

It occurred to me that I haven’t ever shared my favorite cut out sugar cookie here on the blog. I love these Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies. They are not only packed with flavor (no cardboard taste here), but they keep their shape after baking, too.

I love the texture and flavor the combination of cream cheese and butter provides as a base to these cookies. I add in plenty of lemon zest and Almond Extract to the cookie dough as well to give it more depth of flavor!

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

This Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie recipe is great for freezing too.

How to freeze cut out cookies

For best results, roll and cut the cookies out using your favorite cookie cutter. Freeze the cut-out shapes. When we’re ready to bake cookies, I bake them directly from the freezer (adding a few minutes to the bake time).

Since the decorating of the cookies is messy enough, it’s nice to only deal with one part of the baking process with the kids at a time!

But let’s talk about the frosting.

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

With my Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, it’s the frosting that is the star of the show!

CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIE FROSTING

Much like with cupcakes and brownies, PLEASE don’t be skimpy with your frosting. It makes a difference when you bite into these tasty Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies.

I use vanilla beans in my frosting. Did you know you can buy them in bulk during the holidays at Costco under the Kirkland brand name (true story)?

Not only are they great to use for yourself, but they would make a fun gift too! Wrap up a package with the vanilla beans, some cute cookie cutters, sprinkles, and attach a copy of my Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie recipe, of course!

I know there are many recipes for royal icing. This is NOT it.

However, you can also make adorable cupcakes with my fluffy vanilla bean frosting recipe! Try using my Vanilla Bean Cupcakes or Funfetti Cupcakes as the base.

vanilla-beans-1

Normally when my kids decorate sugar cookies, they don’t pipe on the frosting.

However, this frosting is soft enough that I was able to fill some disposable bags, attach some fun tips, and set my kids to work!

The texture of this Vanilla Bean Frosting is perfect, as once it’s been piped (or spread) onto the Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies and the sprinkles have been added, it will harden slightly so that you can stack them up without ruining your designs! Fun, right?

You could even use this Vanilla Bean Frosting as a filling for Funfetti Shortbread Cookie Sandwiches if you want. It’s such a versatile recipe!

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

TIPS FOR MAKING CREAM CHEESE SUGAR COOKIES:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream your room temperature unsalted butter and cream cheese together in a stand mixer thoroughly before adding in any ingredients. I do this for about 2-3 minutes. I think it helps make the finished Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies more tender. Especially since once you add in the flour, you don’t want to beat them like crazy.

Use plenty of flavoring. My personal winning combo for Cut Out Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies is almond extract with lemon zest. HOWEVER, these are fantastic if you want to change the flavoring to something YOU enjoy. Use a combo of vanilla and almond extract. Or, try lemon and orange extracts for an extra hint of citrus.

Use vanilla beans in the cookie dough to deepen the flavor.

Once your dough is mixed, drop onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands until it comes together. Divide the dough in four parts, making it easier to roll out. The dough you are not using, wrap in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.

Roll dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Press cookie cutters into the dough and transfer them to the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do not use wax paper, it’s not the same!

Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, do not over bake. Move to wire rack to cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, make frosting.

For the frosting, beat unsalted butter for 3 minutes until pale in color. Add in powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla beans.

Be sure to add vanilla beans to your frosting. Don’t skip this step. Beat for an additional 3 minutes until fluffy.

Add food coloring. When adding your food coloring, do so slowly. I prefer to use gel food coloring. I find there is no flavor and you don’t need to use very much to get the color you desire!

Spread or pipe the frosting onto your cookies and add sprinkles after each cookie is done (so that the sprinkles stick well).

The frosting will firm up in about an hour. You can then stack them gently (with wax paper between layers). Store in airtight container. ENJOY.

When you’re done with the vanilla bean pod, don’t throw it out. USE it for vanilla sugar (which is fantastic in coffee, baked goods, and more)!

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

More Christmas Cookie ideas

A classic sugar cookie made easy by making them into bars. Frost with a generous layer of festive buttercream, tinted in your favorite color! Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars are a family favorite!

These Easy Traditional Kolachky Cookies Recipe for Christmas have a melt in your mouth cookie base and are topped with sweet preserves. Don’t forget the extra powdered sugar!

This Almond Bars recipe is a sweet treat that has a shortbread-like texture and a delicious almond glaze on top! You’ll want to make extra and freeze them for later!

Gingerdoodle Cookies are chewy, soft cookies that taste like a cross between a gingersnap and a snickerdoodle. Add this to your baking list ASAP! You’ll love the texture of the cookies, but more importantly the molasses flavor with the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves is irresistible!

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

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Yield: about 60 cookies (3-4 inch cut outs)

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. Don't forget to add the delicious Vanilla Bean Frosting too!

Ingredients

For the Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp Rodelle almond extract
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

For the Vanilla Bean frosting:

Instructions

  1. For the cookies, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together for several minutes, until well combined. Add in extracts, lemon zest, salt, baking powder and eggs. Beat until well blended.
  2. Add in flour, mix until just combined.
  3. Drop dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead with hands. Divide dough into four parts, making it easier to roll out. Wrap the dough you are not using in plastic wrap to keep it fresh.
  4. Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Press cookie cutters into dough and transfer them to a parchment paper lined baking sheet (using a wide spatula).
  5. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for about 8-10 minutes. Don't over bake. Repeat for remaining dough.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting, beat butter for 3 minutes until pale in color. Add in powdered sugar, milk and vanilla beans. Beat for an additional 3 minutes until fluffy. Add food coloring if desired.
  8. Add sprinkles immediately after frosting the cookies. ENJOY.

Notes

**If freezing the cookies for later, you can do one of several things:


  • wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in airtight freezer bag until ready to use
  • OR, make dough up to step 4, transfer those baking sheets to the freezer. Place frozen dough in freezer bags after an hour for long term storage.
  • OR, bake cookies and freeze them before frosting (MY FAVORITE OPTION)

 There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

recipe orginally published December 10, 2015

**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

78 comments on “Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies”

  1. I LOVE the sound of adding cream cheese to the actual sugar cookie dough! I’ll bet it makes for the softest-ever texture! These cookies are so festive and gorgeous!

  2. This is the perfect recipe! And that frosting looks fantastic!

  3. Those look so good! I love those vanilla bean flecks in the frosting!!!!

  4. Carley

    You do not say in the recipe when to add the cream cheese..I’m assuming with the sugar and butter.  Just wanted you to know that was left out.  

  5. Liz

    Such spectacular cookies—so beautifully frosted! And your cookie recipe is similar to mine—so yummy!!! I’m going to try your vanilla bean frosting 🙂

  6. Yeeessss. Give me all the holiday sugar cookies! Is it just me, or are vanilla beans so beautiful, I just want to snack on them? HA. Off to Costco this weekend actually to stock up on butter, so I will definitely look for that jar!

  7. Adding almond extract to sugar cookies is THE BEST! But I’ve never had cream cheese in a sugar cookie. I bet these are AMAZING! Pinned!

  8. Your recipe always look so cool and fun! Merry Christmas Aimee!

  9. I love the idea of adding real vanilla beans to the frosting for sugar cookies. I bet they are so tasty with the addition of almond extract and cream cheese. YUMMY!

  10. Oh my! I bet this vanilla bean frosting IS the best!  

  11. That frosting!!!!  I am craving sugar cookies now! Great tips too!

  12. Darlene

    I was wondering if your frosting hardens up any.I may be overlapping them on a tray.

  13. Sleepylou

    I’m a little confused about HOW you use the vanilla bean. Could you help me with instructions for your frosting, please? It looks and sounds amazing!

  14. Jennifer

    Can you omit the almond extract in the cookie and frosting recipe? Would love to try an alternative…my son has a nut allergy.

  15. sharon Laverentz

    thank you for sharing. I will definitely make these for Christmas.

  16. Coreen

    Do these freeze well with frosting on them?

  17. Terry

    Could you use vanilla extract instead of the lemon.

  18. Terry

    I just have to say I ended up using the lemon and I’m so glad I did. These are the best sugar cookies I ever made. And I bake a lot of cookies. I’m so glad I tried the lemon. Thanks so much for sharing. 

  19. Melissa

    When Freezing already baked cookies is there a certain way i should freeze them as well as defrost them?
    will it also change the texture at all?

  20. Amy

    Can I substitute vanilla bean paste for the vanilla bean seeds? That’s what I usually have in the cabinet! This is the frosting recipe I’ve been searching for. All I could find elsewhere is royal icing recipes. Which in am just not a fan of. I’m so excired to try these cookies too. My husband uses cream cheese in his chocolate chip cookies, and they are the best I’ve ever tasted!

  21. janelle

    How long are the cookies good til? I want to gift some for Christmas. ????

  22. Amanda

    Okay; I’m super bummed- my local store doesn’t have vanilla beans or paste. Will using vanilla extract instead be a total waste of a great recipe??!
    Also; are you saying if I like a crunch/snap to the cookies; don’t use the cream cheese?

    • First, vanilla extract will be fine, although if making the frosting, it definitely will be lacking in that extra vanilla flavor (still tasty though).
      Second, use the cream cheese. If you want your cookies firmer (crunchier) you can either roll them thinner…or bake them longer. Play around with it and see what you like!

  23. amanda

    AWESOME Thanks Aimee!

  24. Meg

    Will this frosting harden up or will it stay soft?

  25. Meg

    Perfect! Thanks so much

  26. Hi Aimee. Just wondering, what type of Milk do you use in the frosting? Whole milk, 2%? I typically use cream in my buttercream, but was thinking that might make the frosting too thick. Thanks!

  27. Diana Raupp

    Do you chill the dough prior to rolling?

  28. Kelly Stuart

    Holy yummy sugar cookies!  You had me at cream cheese, but I didn’t know they would be as good as they turned out.  Thanks for kicking it up a notch and posting the best sugar cookie recipe around!

  29. Aria

    I work with toddlers and want to know if this activity is appropriate for this age group?

  30. Anonymous

    I don’t see cream cheese in the frosting recipe.

  31. Monica

    Hi Aimee, Since there is cream cheeses it them, do I have to keep them refrigerated? Thanks

  32. Taylor

    I can’t find vanilla beans at my local stores. If I use vanilla extract or paste, how much should I use?

  33. Chelse

    If you can’t get the vanilla bean it’s self with the pure vanilla extract work? 

  34. Susie

    It says 1 1/2 does that mean 12oz ? 

  35. Susie

    Sorry I meant the butter

  36. 6 cups of flour seems to be way too much to me. I’m at 5 cups and the dough is stiff as can be.

  37. Chels

    I assume you don’t need to chill the dough but can I chill it overnight?

  38. Simona

    Hi, can I use Philadelphia as crem cheese? Thanks

  39. Valerie

    I have made these cookies 3 times now. They are quickly becoming my “signature cookie.” They are absolutely perfect. I have made them for Xmas cookies and twice for a bake sale. People rave about these. I’m so glad I found this recipe.

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  41. Nawnee

    Just made these cookies…and I’ve found my dream sugar cookie. I’m tossing out the other recipes Ive collected over the years. THESE ARE FANTASTIC! Its cardboard vs taste. My family was eating them as fast as they came out of the oven. It was a perfect hit.

    I didn’t have lemon (for zest) so I added a tsp of vanilla instead. Perfect. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I was on my last search for the ultimate sugar cookie, that would have my family requesting them. Now they are wanting more. Love it!!! Again thank you.

  42. Kimberly

    These are fabulous, love the addition of the cream cheese!

  43. Sommer

    Wow, this is my first expereince with cream cheese sugar cookies and they are magical!!

  44. These look like the perfect sugar cookies! So fun to decorate with family for the holidays!

  45. Charity

    These cookies look so perfect! Going to try this recipe this Christmas!

  46. Ashley F

    These are a must make at Christmas! The kids love them!

  47. Liz

    These cookies turn out perfectly every time! And I’d much rather have buttercream than royal icing!!

  48. These taste delicious and so fun to make with kids!  My nephews ate more than they decorated, but that’s ok, it was a great way to teach them the art of cookie baking.  

  49. Sabrina

    These are the absolute best! Love the flavor and always a winner!

  50. Carolyn

    I’ve been meaning  to try doing cream cheese cut out cookies. Thanks for the inspiration!

  51. Heather Seeley

    Decorating sugar cookies is one of my kids favorite things to do during the holidays! This recipe comes out great every time

  52. Alli

    These cookies are PERFECT! Cant tell you enough how much we adore them!

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