★★★★★

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. The only cut out cookie recipe you need for holidays!

You’ll love these easy cut out cookies. But if you’re looking for something less messy, try our Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars. Same great taste, no rolling of cookie dough!

Christmas shaped sugar cookies with colorful frosting and sprinkles.

Why This Recipe is Best

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

We bake them early in the season, then freeze them until the holiday gets closer!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • They are not only packed with flavor (no cardboard taste here), but they keep their shape after baking, too. They don’t spread out while baking and lose that cute cookie cutter shape.
  • I love the texture and flavor the combination of cream cheese and butter provides as a base to these cookies.
  • The secret ingredients? I add in plenty of lemon zest and Almond Extract to the cookie dough as well to give it more depth of flavor!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for cut out sugar cookies including butter, cream cheese, and sugar.

Butter- always use unsalted butter in baking, unless otherwise noted!

Cream Cheese- this gives your cookies depth of flavor and keeps them soft and chewy!

Almond Extract- you could swap this out for vanilla extract or even lemon extract. I love the hint of nuttiness the almond extract gives cookies (you’ll see it added to my favorite chocolate chip cookies too)!

Lemon Zest- of course it’s optional, but I suggest you try using it. Everyone is going to RAVE about your cookies this year!

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make cut out sugar cookies.

Make the Cookie Dough- Do not OVER mix the dough at this point. You’ll be handling it enough that it will mix completely.

Roll the Dough- 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.

Bake the Cookies– each batch of dough takes about 8 minutes! Because the dough doesn’t spread, you can put them fairly close together on the cookie sheet.

Frost– I love using homemade sugar cookie frosting. Made with real vanilla beans, it tastes amazing!

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

Freezer Instructions

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).

I freeze my cut out cookie dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for about two hours, then remove from baking sheet and slide into a ziploc bag. These cookies will last about 2 months in the freezer.

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.

Christmas tree cut out sugar cookies with vanilla bean frosting tinted green.

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. It’s what gives the forsting great flavor!

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

Normally when my kids decorate sugar cookies, they don’t pipe on the frosting. We color it first, I spread it on the cookies, they add the sprinkles.

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!

Food Coloring- for best results and boldest colors, I always recomment Americolor Gel food coloring. Just a drop or two can give you fantastic results!

Unfrosted sugar cookies in christmas shapes on parchment paper and wire rack.

Tips and Tricks

  • 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.
  • 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 parchment 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)!
Cut out sugar cookies for Christmas.

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!

Don’t want to cut out sugar cookies? These are the best, chewy Sugar Cookies with a no-chill dough. Topped with a creamy sugar cookie icing, you’ll love this Copycat Swig Sugar Cookie recipe!

You can use today’s basic sugar cookie cut out recipe for all holidays and birthdays!

Circles- use a biscuit cutter or 3-inch circle cookie cutter to make basic round cookies. Add vanilla frosting and sprinkles (for birthdays)!

Pumpkins- Make a batch of orange frosted sugar cookies for Halloween (or Thanksgiving)!

Hearts- whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, or even a wedding shower, you can’t go wrong with these sweet cut out cookies.

Recipe FAQs

Why do my cut out cookies lose their shape?

Not measuring your ingredients correctly, could cause your cookies to lose shape. Too much flour makes them crumbly, too much sugar and butter and cause them to spread.

How thick should cut out cookies be?

Cut out cookies should ideally be about 1/4-inch thick. This keeps them sturdy enough for frosting, but soft enough in texture.

What type of cookie cutters are best?

I typically choose cookie cutters that are made of metal (and have a plastic/silicone top for pressing down). When baking, choose cut out cookies that are approximately the same size per batch.

Frosted Christmas cookies.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

PS. If you try this recipe, please leave a STAR rating in the recipe card below. I love your feedback! Connect with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Yield: about 60 cookies

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:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk
  • 1 or 2 vanilla beans (scrape out seeds)
  • sprinkles, food coloring, for decoration

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

  • Freezing Cookies- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in airtight freezer bag until ready to use OR make dough up to step 4, transfer cut outs to a baking sheet and place in 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).
  • 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 parchment 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)!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

60

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 75mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Looking for the BEST sugar cookie cut out recipe? These Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are so flavorful and they always hold their shape. The only cut out cookie recipe you need this holiday!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**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**

Get My Free Email Course
Become a Better Baker—no more box mixes! Discovery your new “signature” desserts!

Categories:


Posted on December 2, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. So I must have made way to much frosting and have a lot of it leftover. I don’t want to throw it away. How long will it keep in the refrigerator and is it possible to just put the frosting in a freezer container and freeze it just like the cookies?

    1. You can freeze the frosting. OR…you can use a 1Tbsp scoop and dollop the frosting in scoops on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer, use your hands to roll in a ball then dip in melted chocolate. It will change your life, LOL. My favorite thing to do with leftover frosting (and you can freeze the truffles too).

      1. Hi Aimee
        Do we take the cookies out the night before we plan yo eat them? Do they go in the fridge or on the counter?
        Thanks in advance
        Michelle

  2. Thank you for the perfect recipe. The cookies, snowmen and stars, are so pretty. No spreading, texture is soft. Its a keeper

  3. How long can you freeze the already baked cookies for before decorating/serving? Any reco for how good the baked cookies stay good for if they’re not frozen?

    1. THe baked cookies will stay fresh for at least a week in an airtight container. Freezing can be about 2-3 months.

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

  5. 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.  

  6. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *