This Secret Ingredient Makes the Best Sugar Cookies EVER

Add this refrigerator staple to your next batch for moist, tender sugar cookies every time.

The secret’s out: adding sour cream to your sugar cookies gives you the best batch ever! It’s true. Sour cream isn’t just a topping for your nachos or the base of your favorite dip. This secret ingredient produces moist, melt-in-your-mouth cookies every time.

Why Does Sour Cream Work?

Sour cream is made from adding lactic acid-producing bacteria to dairy cream, which results in a slightly tart, thick substance. When you add sour cream to your cookie dough, the acid tenderizes it by breaking down the gluten molecules into smaller pieces. This leads to a softer, cake-like cookie, just like how Grandma used to make. She probably used these secret ingredients in her baking, too!

The acid also helps activate the baking soda, which gives the cookies a fluffy texture. Plus, the slightly tangy sour cream helps keep the cookies from being overly sweet, which means they pair perfectly with your favorite buttercream frosting.

Not only can sour cream help make soft sugar cookies, but adding a spoonful of it to pancakes, biscuits, cakes and muffins can help improve the flavor and texture as well.

How to Get Super-Soft Sugar Cookies

When following a sour cream sugar cookie recipe, you’ll typically find that you need to stir the sour cream in at the same time as the vanilla and egg. Don’t worry about tasting the sour cream in your final cookies—sour cream’s signature tang isn’t detectable when combined with sugar, vanilla and your favorite icing.

When you make a sour cream sugar cookie dough, don’t be surprised if the dough is thick and cake-like. It means you’ll get the moist, fluffy texture in the end!

Now that you know the secret ingredient, give it a whirl with this popular recipe for sugar cookies.

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Alexa Hackfort
Alexa is a writer who believes there’s always room for ice cream. Based in Milwaukee, she enjoys exploring the city, tackling new recipes and planning her next trip.