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Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Gather loved ones young and old around a batch of these rolled sugar cookies, and settle in for a lazy afternoon of festive decorating and cozy memory-making.


Decorated Sour Cream Sugar Cookies With Icing and sprinkles on a baking rack

The Soft Sugar Cookie You’ve Been Dreaming Of

This particular rolled sugar cookie recipe has been handed down through three generations–Grandma’s sour cream sugar cookies have real staying power!! And that’s because they’re the quick, easy and perfect sugar cookies your holiday baking dreams are made of. The dough is easy to roll and cut out, and the final result is deliciously buttery. Whether you’re making Christmas cookies, or celebrating another special occasion, these cut out sugar cookies will feel like a party.

Ingredients for Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Hands rolling out dough for Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

How to Make The Best Sour Cream Sugar Cookie Recipe

Homemade sugar cookies really are easy to make, but a little baking technique goes a long way in making sure you get perfect sugar cookies every time. It helps to break the process into a few simple steps.

  1. Sifting: the best texture begins here. Sifting all of the dry ingredients together (sugar included) helps to aerate your flour and distribute the leavening (baking soda).

  2. Cut the fat into the dry ingredients: for flakey, tender sugar cookies, you want to carefully cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients just as you would for pie crust—resist the urge to use your electric mixer!

  3. Do you need to chill sugar cookie dough? Chilling dough is an important step in making sure your cookies don’t spread when baked. When the fats (shortening and butter in this recipe) are chilled, they melt slower in the hot oven. This means your cookies will hold their shape, and you’ll have plenty of actual shapes to decorate, instead of unidentifiable blobs of unevenly baked dough.

  4. Rolling out the dough: with just enough flour on your roller to ensure a no-stick situation, roll out your sugar cookie dough to a ¼-inch thickness and (finally!) it’s time to let your little elves get to work cutting out all of their favorite shapes.

  5. How to know when your cookies are done: these sugar cookies bake fast, so keep an eye on them! Watch for just a touch of light golden brown at the edges of your cut-outs—this should happen around the 6-8 minute marker—and take care not to over bake. We’re looking for perfectly soft sour cream sugar cookies, that are a dream to sink your teeth into.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookie dough rolled out with Christmas cookie cutters.
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies fresh from the oven on a baking rack.

Notes On Our Sugar Cookie Ingredients

As we mentioned, this sugar cookie recipe has been handed down through three generations, and while some of the ingredients may look a bit old fashioned it has stood the test of time. Here is a quick look at what make these rolled sugar cookies work so well:

  • Shortening: shortening has fallen out of fashion, but it is one of the reasons these cookies are so perfect for rolling out and cutting. Shortening, technically, is a term for any fat that is solid at room temperature. The combination of vegetable shortening and butter in these sugar cookies really helps the dough hold its shape and limits spreading, which is so essential for cut out cookies.

  • Sour cream: sour cream is a true unsung hero of the baking world. What does sour cream do in sugar cookies? It brings moisture and flavorful fat to this otherwise basic cookie dough, and produces a supremely tender cookie.

  • Vanilla: a small spoonful of vanilla is really the only strong flavor of rolled sugar cookies like these, so use the best you can. We’re huge fans of this brand of Pure Vanilla Extract.

Bowls of colorful sprinkles.

How to Make Your Homemade Sugar Cookies Picture-Perfect

Everyone has their own idea of what old fashioned sour cream sugar cookies should look like—and isn’t that part of the fun? Especially when we’re making rolled sugar cookies with our kids, we like to pull out all the stops—lay out a table full of cookie cutters, bowls of colored icing, and plenty of sprinkles and let everyone’s imaginations do the rest. Here are a few must-haves for dressing up your rolled sugar cookies for the holidays:

  • Cookie cutters: this simple set of snowflake cookie cutters is always a hit, but nothing beats family heirlooms—if your parents or grandparents have a set of cookie cutters, ask to borrow them for this project to make it even more special.

  • Silver dragees: these silver balls are the gold standard when it comes to making your homemade sugar cookies look polished and professional—not to mention festive.

  • Icing: this icing is luxurious and thick, and using heavy cream instead of milk means that it tastes good, too. If you don’t have piping bags, just use a zipper top bag with the tip snipped.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies with Christmas sprinkles.

More Great Cookies To Make Every Day A Special Occasion

We don’t think you need to wait until the next holiday to bake. Here’s a few more great reasons to turn on your oven:

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies with Christmas sprinkles.
Decorated Sour Cream Sugar Cookies With Icing and sprinkles on a baking rack

Did You Make Our Easy Sour Cream Sugar Cookie Recipe?

If you make these sour cream sugar cookies, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do.

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Sina's Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  25 min
  • Cook Time:  24 min
  • Calories: 345


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Sprinkles, optional

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Combine the sugar, salt, baking soda and flour in the base of a food processor and pulse until combined, about 5-6 times. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture is uniformly crumbly and sandy, about 25 times. Alternatively, you can sift together the sugar, salt, baking soda and flour into a large bowl, then use a pastry cutter to cut in butter and shortening until the mixture is uniformly crumbly and sandy.

  2. Pour the flour/butter mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until the cookie dough comes together. Use your hands to form the dough into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF with a rack in the center position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

  4. Using a lightly floured rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ¼ -inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut and place on a baking sheet.

  5. Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack.

  6. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, heavy cream and salt until smooth. When the cookies have cooled completely, frost and decorate with sprinkles. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories345
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates47 g
  • Total Fat15 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol38 mg
  • sodium224 mg
  • Total Sugars25 g

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • sharon

    Can you use all butter instead of shortening? Thanks.

    That should work fine!

  • Juses

    Hello there, I was wondering what would happen if I didn't add the sour cream to the cookies?

    This specific recipe needs it or the dough will be too dry.

  • Jessica

    I made these today and enjoyed the final result, but I had real trouble getting the dough to be workable. I had to add a ton more flour. Like probably an extra cup! It was like sticky biscuit or scone dough before this. Any idea why this might have happened? Everything was cold and I followed the directions closely. I do live in France and perhaps different ingredients (crème fraîche instead of sour cream) had something to do with the surprising result. Thanks for your help!

    I am glad they worked for you. I've made them many times and never had that issue. If I hear of that happening again, I will have the recipe retested. : )

  • Vicki

    Hi I would love to try this recipe but I really don’t want to use shortening anymore when cooking
    Can I use butter instead ?
    Thank you

    I've never tested it with butter. Let us know how it turns out if you try it.

  • Andrea

    This has been my go-to Christmas sugar cookie for the last 5 years, thanks TMP! ✨

    Oh my gosh! I love this!