These frosted sugar cookies are soft, pillowy sugar cookies with an easy vanilla frosting. The cookies are a perfect copycat of Lofthouse cookies but with a better vanilla flavor. Color the frosting using any color or leave it plain white!

pink and blue frosted sugar cookies arranged on a wire rack.

These soft frosted sugar cookies are flavored with vanilla, sugar and a little tang from the sour cream. They are soft and cakey with a little chew. You can scoop and bake them for slightly mounded cookies or you can roll them out and cut them with a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter for perfect rounds.

With a little bench flour this recipe can be rolled and cut into circles, but it isn’t ideal for other shapes. For perfect rolled sugar cookies that won’t spread, use this cut-out sugar cookie recipe instead. You will also love my chewy sugar cookies and these soft snickerdoodles!

Why You Will Love these Frosted Sugar Cookies

  • Soft, cakey texture that is better than Lofthouse! The sour cream balances the sweetness and reacts with the baking powder for the perfect cakey sugar cookie!
  • Sweet, vanilla flavor. The combination of the sweet sugar cookie frosting and the less sweet vanilla cookie are the perfect pair.
  • An easy cookie to make! This recipe uses melted butter, so you can mix it in one bowl by hand! Simply scoop, chill and bake!
blue frosted sugar cookie bitten.

Professional Tips for Making Lofthouse style cookies

  • Cake flour for the perfect texture. Cake flour is not only finer than all-purpose flour but has a lower gluten content and already contains cornstarch. Using cake flour makes the texture of these cookies more delicate, tender and soft.
  • Baking powder is better than baking soda. Baking soda reacts intensely immediately when mixed with the sour cream, whereas baking powder has a more even and reticent rise both upon mixing and in the oven. It makes the cookies more uniform.
  • For perfectly shaped and even cookies you can roll & cut the dough. The cookies dome a bit in the oven unless they are flattened prior to baking. For perfect cookies roll and cut with a round cookie cutter.

Ingredients & Substitutions

frosted sugar cookies ingredients on marble.
  • Cake Flour: We talked about it above, so I won’t belabor the point. I do recommend using cake flour for this recipe. Sift after measuring for the best texture. All-purpose flour will work in a pinch but the cookies will be slightly lest tender with a less delicate crumb.
  • Baking Powder: I would not recommend substituting for baking soda as we discussed above, but you can substitute soda for the baking powder.
  • Salt: I use kosher salt in all baking. It has larger granules, dissolves readily and has a neutral flavor unlike sea salt.
  • Unsalted butter: You want the butter to be melted and still warm. Too hot will make the cookies greasy, and too cool will not moisten the batter properly.
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Large Egg
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sour Cream: I do recommend using full-fat sour cream in baking, but you could successfully use low fat sour cream or even Green yogurt in this recipe. Buttermilk also works but will make a stickier dough that is more difficult to work with. Tastes great though!   

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Possible Variations

  • Try a different frosting or flavor the frosting: You could use this cream cheese frosting for cookies like I did on my carrot cake cookies or royal icing for a different flavor, or try adding different extracts to the simple buttercream recipe below. You could also add melted and cooled chocolate to the buttercream or substitute up to ¼ cup of the powdered sugar for cocoa powder for an easy chocolate variation.
  • Add mix-ins to the dough: Make these cookies funfetti by adding sprinkles and almond extract to the dough like I did with my funfetti cookies, funfetti cupcakes and funfetti cake! Try chopped dried fruits, fresh fruits, or toasted nuts.
  • Bake a cookie cake! Shape the dough into a large circle abpit ½ inch thick on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until the center is matte and provides a little resistance when touched lightly. Don’t forget the frosting and sprinkles!

How to Make Frosted Sugar Cookies

Use these instructions to make frosted soft sugar cookies! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

Make the sugar cookies:

Step 1: In a medium bowl sift together cake flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside.

Step 2: In another large bowl, melt the butter (I used the microwave) just until melted but not hot. Whisk in the sugar followed by the egg and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is emulsified. You shouldn’t see any streaks of butter or egg.

Step 3: Alternately fold in the flour mixture and sour cream using a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, starting and ending with flour until just combined.

dry ingredients whisked together.
mixed cookie dough.

Step 4: Scoop with a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop or use a spoon to scoop out dough a little smaller than a golf ball. Drop the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight.

Step 5: Preheat the oven to 325ºF convection or 350 ºF.
Step 6: After the dough has chilled, roll into smooths balls and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  I use a new sheet because the chilled one with affect the baking time. Flatten slightly. If you don’t mind the rounded top, you can leave them as balls. It will make frosting them a little more challenging and you won’t get an even application of the frosting.

For perfectly round cookies you must roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper with a rolling pin and cut out 2 inch rounds with a floured cookie cutter. I recommend doing this after chilling the dough.

Step 7: Bake cookies in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until the centers provide a little resistance when touched gently. This baking time is for the cookie dough balls not cut-out. Those will bake faster because they are thinner. Most likely closer to 8-10 minutes

dough shaped and flattened on cookie sheet.
baked unfrosted sugar cookies on cookie sheet.

Step 8: Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting:

Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and smooth. This can also be done in a large bowl with a hand mixer or by hand (for a denser frosting).

Step 2: Switch to the whisk attachment and add milk a little at a time and whisk on high until light and fluffy and still thick enough to spread.

Keeping the frosting thicker will create a thicker crust on top of the icing, which will allow you to stack the cookies. I chose to loosen the frosting for flavor and texture, so I was not able to stack my cookies without smooshing. (technical pastry term)

beaten buttercream white for cookies.
buttercream frosting colored pink and blue in white bowls.

Frost the Cookies:

Step 1: Add either liquid food coloring or gel food coloring a little at a time and stir it in until the desired color is achieved. If you want a richer colored frosting, I recommend using gel food coloring. I used liquid food coloring for a gentle pastel.

Step 2: Dollop a bit of the frosting on the center of a cookie. Using an small offset spatula, gradually spread the frosting out to the edges, keeping a little border of the cookie visible.

Step 3: Swirl the frosting as desired. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles.

pink frosted sugar cookies with sprinkles on wire rack.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store frosted sugar cookies?

Store unfrosted cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days. They will begin to lose moisture if unfrosted after a day. I would recommend refrigerating the dough until you are ready to bake and frost.
Store frosted cookies at room temperature for up to 5 days. They were best within 3. You can also freeze the frosted cookies for up to 2 months.
I do not recommend freezing the cookie dough and baking from frozen. If you do freeze the dough, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator before baking. They did not spread at all from frozen.

What frostings go with frosted sugar cookies?

I used a traditional vanilla buttercream recipe for these cookies but a cream cheese frosting for cookies would also be delicious. You could also use a chocolate buttercream frosting or even a lemon buttercream!

If you enjoyed this recipe, please leave a star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below! I love hearing from you and your comments make my day!

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blue frosted sugar cookie bitten.

Frosted Sugar Cookies

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  • Author: Lindsey Farr
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 21 Cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These frosted sugar cookies are soft, pillowy sugar cookies with an easy vanilla frosting. The cookies are a perfect copycat of Lofthouse cookies but with a better vanilla flavor. Color the frosting using any color or leave it plain white!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, Softened (113g)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (227g)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • milk, as needed
  • food coloring, optional
  • sprinkles, optional (but are they, really?)

Instructions

Make the sugar cookies:

  • In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, melt the butter (I used the microwave) just until melted but not hot. Whisk in the sugar followed by the egg and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is emulsified. You shouldn’t see any streaks of butter or egg.
  • Alternately fold in the flour mixture and sour cream, starting and ending with flour until just combined.
  • Scoop with a 1 ½ inch cookie scoop or use a spoon to scoop out dough a little smaller than a golf ball. Drop the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF convection or 350 ºF.
    After the dough has chilled, roll into smooths balls and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  I use a new sheet because the chilled one with affect the baking time. Flatten slightly. If you don’t mind the rounded top, you can leave them as balls. It will make frosting them a little more challenging and you won’t get a even application of the frosting.
  • NOTE: For perfectly round cookies you must roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and cut out 2 inch rounds with a floured cookie cutter.
  • Bake cookies in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until the centers provide a little resistance when touched gently. [this baking time is for the cookie dough balls not cut-out]
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and smooth. This can also be done in a large bowl with a hand mixer or by hand (for a denser frosting).
  • Switch to the whisk attachment and add milk a little at a time and whisk on high until light and fluffy and still thick enough to spread.
  • Note: Keeping the frosting thicker will create a thicker crust on top of the icing, which will allow you to stack the cookies. I chose to loosen the frosting for flavor and texture, so I was not able to stack my cookies without smooshing. (technical pastry term)

Frost the Cookies:

  • Add either liquid food coloring or gel food coloring a little at a time and stir it in until the desired color is achieved. If you want a richer colored frosting, I recommend using gel food coloring. I used liquid food coloring in testing for simplicity.
  • Dollop a bit of the frosting on the center of a cookie. Using an small offset spatula, gradually spread the frosting out to the edges, keeping a little border of the cookie visible.
  • Swirl the frosting as desired. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles.

Notes

Yield – 21 cookies

Presentation – I colored my frosting with liquid food coloring but gel food coloring would make more vibrant colors. You can also leave them white for a classic or bridal look!

Flavor Tips – Cake flour will make for the best soft sugar cookies. I would not recommend substituting for any other type of flour, but if you must, all-purpose will be fine.

Variations – Try a different flavored frosting; add sprinkles, nuts or fruit to the dough; or flavor the dough with extracts or lemon zest.  

Storage – Store unfrosted cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days but they are best served or frosted the day they are made. Store frosted cookies at room temperature for up to 5 days (best texture within 3) or frozen for up to 2 months.

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this easy sugar cookie recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed cookie recipes or dive into our favorite cookie bars and brownies!