Soft Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

A pink frosted sugar cookie with sprinkles

Soft Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are thick buttery sugar cookies slathered with a creamy frosting and lots of colorful sprinkles. These big bakery style cookies are perfect for Easter baskets and everyday spring snacking.

a stack of soft sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting

Big soft sugar cookies are the stuff cookie dreams are made of

I’m always tempted by big fat supermarket bakery style sugar cookies, but let’s face it, they always disappoint. They can’t come close to the flavor of fresh baked homemade cookies. So here’s a delicious solution ~ an easy recipe to make in your kitchen. It’s a no-chill dough that can be mixed and baked in a jiffy. Get the kids involved with this one, they can learn about colors as they blend up the pastel frosting, and the youngest can take charge of the sprinkles.

a stack of pastel soft sugar cookies

I made these as Easter cookies, but they’re appropriate all spring and summer long.

The pretty pastel colors are what makes these cookies so inviting. You’ll use the tiniest drop of food coloring to make the delicate shades…I’m always judicious with food coloring because too much can be unappetizing.

Same goes for the sprinkles, use pale tones and mix and match the colors for a festive look. Each cookie can be unique!

colorful iced sugar cookies

Why do I use shortening in this sugar cookie recipe?

  • I don’t bake with, (or use) shortening very often, and I know a lot of you don’t like to use it either, but I keep it in my cupboard for a few specific reasons.
  • Shortening creates a softer texture in baked goods, and when you’re going for that texture, it’s perfect to use. It keeps my Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies nice and chewy, and the crust for my Blackberry Slab Pie Bars soft.
  • I like Butter Flavor Crisco, which comes packaged in 1 cup ‘sticks’ that you can use just like room temperature butter in recipes.
  • Agreed, it’s not as natural as butter, but it has its uses on occasion.

Can you substitute butter for the shortening?

  • Yes, you can. Your texture will be crispier.

soft sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles

The cream cheese gives the frosting on these cookies a nice tang. I add vanilla extract, but you could add almond extract, or even lemon juice to flavor it.

Frosting for bakery style sugar cookies

The overall impact of these cookies is in the interplay between the thick soft cookies and the thick layer of frosting. Don’t skimp! You’ll need:

  • whipped cream cheese (you can use regular cream cheese, just make sure it’s room temperature)
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • flavoring
  • tiny amount of food coloring

Does this cookie frosting harden?

  • Because of the cream cheese the frosting does not completely harden, that’s part of the charm of these cookies, but if you leave them out for several hours it will firm up. I was able to package my cookies individually in cellophane bags for Easter basket treats.

A pink frosted sugar cookie with sprinkles

Tips for pastel food coloring

Regular food coloring from the grocery store in very small amounts creates the pale pastels you want for these cookies. If you want to create multiple colors, add a couple of tablespoons of white frosting into small bowls and blend in less than a full drop of coloring. Don’t squeeze directly from the bottle into your frosting, you’ll get too much, I like to use a toothpick to get a little bit at a time. Less is more!

Food coloring for iced sugar cookies

More fun cookies to bake with kids (or not!)

Soft iced sugar cookie with a bite taken
4.41 from 15 votes

Soft Iced Sugar Cookies

Soft Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting are thick buttery sugar cookies slathered with a creamy frosting and lots of colorful sprinkles.  These big bakery style cookies are perfect for Easter baskets and everyday spring snacking.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Yield 14 large cookies
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Crisco Butter Flavored Shortening
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 3 Tbsp milk, or a little more if needed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (use almond if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups flour (fluff/scoop/level)


  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese (or regular cream cheese, at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, almond extract, or lemon juice
  • food coloring as needed


  • Preheat oven to 350F Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Beat the sugar and shortening together until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. I do this in a stand mixer.
  • Beat in the egg, then the milk and extract. Beat in the salt and baking powder, then turn the mixer to low and fold in the flour, just until the dough comes together. If it is still very dry and crumbly, add a tiny bit more milk to moisten.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together with your hands. Pat into a smooth round disk and wrap in plastic. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes while you clean up.
  • Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a 3 inch round cookie cutter. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes or just until set. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, whip the soft cream cheese and butter together until combined. Whip in the powdered sugar and extracts until everything is smooth and lump free. If you want to make it thicker, add more sifted sugar, and if it's too thick, add a little milk. Add food coloring if you like.
  • Frost each cooled cookie liberally, and top with sprinkles.

Cook's notes

For smaller cookies, use a 2 inch round cookie cutter.
*cookie recipe from Crisco
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

soft sugar cookie pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Hi there! Question… Would these work as cut out Christmas cookies? They look and sound like a knockout recipe! I am trying your holiday sugar cookie recipe today – but stumbled across this one and was seriously conflicted which to do – so maybe tomorrow I will give it a try… I love the idea of no chill time and big fluffy results! :0) Thank you for your wonderful posts and recipes – I have enjoyed EVERY one I have tried.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      December 23, 2021 at 9:06 am

      Yes for sure, I made them as Christmas cookies this year. I didn’t color the frosting and used holiday sprinkles, they were a big hit!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    5 stars
    I made these a quite a while ago for friends and their daughter just requested them again for her birthday. They are a hit and so deceptively easy. They all think I’m a great baker….I’ve got them all fooled. Thanks for this!

    • Reply
      September 22, 2020 at 12:39 pm

      Haha, love that Janeen ~ and just wait for the holidays!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Hello! These look so good but I do have a few questions. Can I make the dough the leave in the fridge over night then bake them the next day? Does it matter what type of food colour we use for the icing and for the corso Butter Flavored Shortening, can I use normal butter instead or is there any substitutes for it?

    • Reply
      May 8, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      yes, you can leave the dough overnight in the fridge, no problem. You can use any type of food coloring you like. And you can replace the crisco with butter, softened.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2020 at 4:34 am

    Can I use just the regular shortening I have on hand?

    • Reply
      May 2, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Yes, for sure 🙂

  • Reply
    May 1, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve made two batches and my sister (1.5 miles away, quarantined, like all of us!) returned her tin, saying; “Here’s the magic cookie tin.” LOL A HINT if ever I heard one!!
    I used Spectrum’s organic vegetable shortening, which worked per.fectly! (And, I felt better about the quality of oil for the cookie!) Also used pastry flour; ensuring a really soft cookie!
    Had no sprinkles except Christmas….So, I used colored sugar of the darker hue onto the pastel frosting, which, by the way is the STAR of the cookie; and the effect was wonderful. Thank you, Sue, for something to “pin” onto this Covid-19 time that’s positive, fun and delicious!
    ps I’ve never tried; can we share photos of our cookies with you, in a comment?

    • Reply
      May 1, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Joy, I love your comment! It makes me feel so good to know my recipe is giving you a little bit of joy in this time. I wish there was a way for readers to share their photos, I’m working on that 🙂 Stay well!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2020 at 11:42 am

    5 stars
    Easy to follow recipe (I loved the part of the recipe that reads: “Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes while you clean up”). The cookies look exactly as pictured. My grandkids love soft sugar cookies, so these will be great for them. I baked a batch and made the frosting. I will be delivering the cookies and the frosting to their homes for the kids to frost and decorate.

    • Reply
      April 11, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      What a great grandma you are Carol!

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