Scrumptious Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

One of my favorite wedding gifts was a large set of cookie cutters with nearly every possible shape. I have used these cutters for countless holidays and parties and just because it was a rainy Saturday afternoon. But when I make roll-out sugar cookies, there is only one recipe I will use, and it is my adaptation of a recipe for sour cream sugar cookies featured in Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.  Please see my Resources page for more information on the original recipe.

Perhaps I should have saved this recipe for Christmastime, but these sugar cookies are perfection to me. Whether you bake them a little longer for a crispier bite or like them soft and chewy like I do, these cookies are delicious any time of year.

My family makes this recipe every winter. We let the warm and fragrant cookies cool, and spend the afternoon together frosting the cookies and decorating them with colored sugars, nonpareils, red hots, decorative icings and sprinkles. Sometimes, I bake several batches and give them away to friends.

Most sugar cookie recipes use a mix of all-purpose flour, sugar (of course), salt, baking powder, salt, eggs, butter, and maybe a bit of vanilla. But these particular sugar cookies pack a savory ingredient: sour cream. The sour cream gives the cookies a richness not found in other sugar cookie recipes. A bit of nutmeg also livens up the taste.

Try them for yourself with a frothy glass of milk:

Scrumptious Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Yields 3 dozen cookies.


½ cup shortening

1 cup white sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 egg

1½ teaspoons vanilla

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream


baking sheets

cooking spray to grease the pans

rolling pin

cookie cutters of your choice


Cream the shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined.  I like to make sure the nutmeg is dispersed!

Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture in three batches, adding sour cream in between.  Don’t forget to scrape the dough off the paddle and sides of your bowl with a spatula, while continuing to blend the dough on low speed.

Place your oven racks at their highest settings and preheat the oven to 425°F. While the oven is heating up, roll out the dough on a generously floured surface using a rolling pin. I prefer thicker cookies, so I try to roll my dough to about a 1/4” thickness, but sometimes I like them even thicker.  Depending on how you bake these cookies, they can have an almost cake-like taste.  If you prefer thinner cookies, roll the dough out more.  It usually takes me three or four rolled batches of dough balls to use all of the dough up.

Cut the dough into desired shapes and transfer the cookies onto lightly greased baking sheets. Sprinkle the cookies with extra sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and watch the cookies carefully to avoid burning! I find that 10 minutes works perfect for me, if my racks are near the top of the oven.  The cookies will be a light creamy color when done.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool. Transfer the cooled cookies to a clean work surface and frost with cookie glaze (recipe below) then decorate as desired.

Easy Cookie Glaze:

I’m sure that most bakers use this very simple formula for sugar cookies, but I just spoon some confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl and add a little milk, stirring until I have the right thick and shiny consistency. I often add a little food coloring to create whatever color suits my cookies or my mood. With all the different coloring options out there, (neon even!) you can be quite creative!