Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: plain all-purpose white flour. For an even softer cookie, you can use pastry flour.
- Cornstarch: this is a key ingredient and a big part of what makes the cookies so soft. You can use something like arrowroot if preferred, but don't leave it out.
- Almond extract: if you prefer, this can be replaced with more vanilla.
- Frosting: if you don't want to make your own buttercream, use store-bought. Cream cheese frosting is a delicious sub but needs to be added right before serving and can't sit out.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.
Step 1: cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Step 2: add the egg and extracts, then beat again to combine.
Step 3: mix in the dry ingredients to form a crumbly dough. Don't over mix.
Step 4: roll the dough into balls about 1 tablespoon in size.
Step 5: place the balls onto a lined baking sheet, leaving space between.
Step 6: flatten each ball to about ½ inch thick.
Step 7: bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, and cool fully.
Step 8: frost with buttercream, top with sprinkles, and serve.
- Don't over-mix: mixing too long will result in tough cookies, so make sure to mix until just combined. A few bits of flour are okay.
- Cool fully before frosting: if the cookies are still warm when you go to frost them, the frosting will melt and slide right off.
- Add sprinkles right away: buttercream will develop a thin shell on the outside when it's left out at room temperature for a while and then the sprinkles won't stick. Sprinkle them on right after frosting and they should stay on.
These are quite sweet and meant to be. If you want a slightly less sweet cookie, use cream cheese frosting in place of buttercream rather than trying to reduce the sugar content.
The dough will look crumbly after mixing and that's normal. Sugar cookie dough is relatively high in butter, so the dough comes together when pressed into balls.
How to Store Soft Sugar Cookies
Storage: these are best served the day they're baked, but will keep for several days at room temperature without frosting. If you want to have them for several days, we recommend keeping the frosting in the fridge and frosting the cookies on demand rather than doing the whole batch at once.
Freezing: cookies can be frozen without frosting for up to 2 months in an airtight container, and for about a month with frosting. Be sure to freeze the same day they're made for best results. The frosting might separate a bit when thawed.
Why are my cookies tough?
If the cookie dough is over-mixed, the sugar cookies will come out tough and a little hard.
Why are my sugar cookies so dense?
If your cookies turn out very dense and maybe a little dry, it's probably because the butter was so cold. It could also be due to adding too much flour (if it happens consistently, try measuring by weight rather than volume).
Is it OK to use almond extract instead of vanilla?
While you can replace vanilla with almond extract, it should be used more sparingly as it's a lot more potent. A teaspoon of almond extract will seriously overwhelm a cookie while a teaspoon of vanilla is hardly noticeable – so to substitute, use about a quarter of the amount that's called for in vanilla.
If you make this Frosted Sugar Cookies recipe or any other cookie recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Mixing bowl
- Electric hand or standing mixer
- Parchment paper
- baking sheet
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons salted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅙ teaspoon almond extract optional
- 1 ¾ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- American buttercream for frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You may need two baking sheets.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Use electric beaters to cream until fluffy, 1-2 minutes.½ cup plus 2 tablespoons salted butter, ¾ cup sugar
- Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat for 1 minute to combine.1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ⅙ teaspoon almond extract
- Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined. The dough will look crumbly.1 ¾ cup flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Use your hands to roll the dough into balls 1 tablespoon in size. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1.5 inches (4 cm) between each ball.
- Flatten the cookies with the palm of you hand to about ½ inch (1.2 cm) thick.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies shouldn't brown, so keep an eye on the time.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Once cool, top with buttercream and sprinkles.American buttercream, Sprinkles