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Best-Ever Sugar Cookies Recipe

Best-Ever Sugar Cookies Recipe

What makes these cookies the best ever? A delicious cream cheese dough flavored with vanilla, almond and a hint of nutmeg that's wonderfully easy to work with. The adorable decorations don't hurt, either! —Christy Hinrichs, Parkville, Missouri
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling YIELD:48 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ICING:
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons meringue powder
  • Assorted colors of liquid food coloring


  • 1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and extracts. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until easy to handle.
  • 2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters.
  • 3. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • 4. For icing, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water and meringue powder; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4 minutes or until soft peaks form. Cover icing with damp paper towels or plastic wrap between uses.
  • 5. Working quickly, spread or pipe icing over cookies; let dry at room temperature for several hours or until firm. Use small new paintbrushes or toothpicks and food coloring to make designs on the cookies. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 dozen.
Editor's Note: Meringue powder is available from Wilton Industries. Call 800-794-5866 or visit

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 116 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 16mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.

Reviews for Best-Ever Sugar Cookies

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murrell006 User ID: 2357453 257938
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2016

"This was really good"

Chris-Dan User ID: 6948908 239107
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2015

"Nice recipe - made tiny cookies and dipped half in chocolate - just right!"

jewelsrn User ID: 6975992 172714
Reviewed Dec. 23, 2013

"Just what I was looking for. I don't like traditional Christmas cookies and someone made these one time. I did a cream cheese frosting with almond extract instead of the one listed."

lainey116 User ID: 7513464 157440
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2013

"I love new ways to make sugar cookies. Cannot wait to make them."

Cincoe User ID: 7226167 170957
Reviewed Dec. 3, 2013

"Delicious easy to make, one of my new favorites this will be on my favorite lists.."

dmmkt003 User ID: 7502277 171431
Reviewed Nov. 29, 2013

"These cookies have the best flavor."

beagle5 User ID: 4353144 171416
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2013

"These really are the BEST sugar cookies ever!!!"

forbiddendelight User ID: 5108393 175269
Reviewed Oct. 15, 2012


naters User ID: 6071301 84484
Reviewed May. 14, 2012

"These were very good, and easy to make. They freeze well too. Thanks for the recipe!"

cherstad User ID: 2390261 99593
Reviewed Nov. 21, 2011

"These cookies have a wonderful flavor, and the dough was very easy to work with as long as it was very chilled. It did gradually start to warm up during the process of rolling it out and cutting shapes, and it started sticking to the rolling pin quite a bit. easy fix, though - just pop it back in the fridge for 10 or 15 minutes. While baking, the first batch spread more than I expected and the cut-out shapes became less defined. On the second batch, I made sure to chill the cut-outs in the fridge for about 10 minutes before placing them in the oven. This resulted in much less spreading and nice defined edges on my cut-outs. I did not make the icing included in this recipe, but rather sprinkled the cut-outs with various colored sugars or sprinkles prior to baking. Delicious!"

corpuscissy User ID: 5655143 84480
Reviewed Mar. 2, 2011

"Valerie 46 - Do you follow the 3 3/4 cups conf. sugar and 4 tsps. meringue powder as the recipe states too ? Or is there another formula to add your water icing recipe to ? Thanks for a reply ."

sg_yeargain User ID: 2568324 140112
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2010

"I did not make the frosting. They are wonderful without it. I also don't love almond so I used 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Best-Ever Sugar cookies!!"

babydollks User ID: 4992513 171295
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2010

"easy to make. The cream cheese gives the cookies a great flavor."

AliAle User ID: 76748 175268
Reviewed Dec. 15, 2010

"This is the easiest cookie dough to work with that I have ever used. I have made 4 batches and everyone has worked out perfectly. AND a special thanks to craftycas for her icing recipe. It works out great for packaging cookies stacked on top of one another. I made one batch and outlined every cookie. Then I made a second batch and added more milk and made a glaze. The glaze will only go to the outline. Then I made a 3rd batch to decorate white on white. GREAT SUCCESS! Thanks everyone!"

karen72 User ID: 1322472 102442
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2010

"My family thought this was the best sugar cookie I have ever made"

coupals User ID: 2729917 159094
Reviewed Dec. 7, 2010

"Awesome flavor.

Tip: The meringue powder is in the cake/Wedding/Party section at Wal-mart"

todgham User ID: 3017602 209548
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2010

"The best cookies I ever made Love them"

craftycas User ID: 1680374 157438
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2010

"I've had several people email me with questions regarding the icing alternative I posted to this recipe on 12/5. Yes, the icing made with corn syrup dries hard and shiny on the outside, but is not brittle and rock hard like royal icing. I usually leave the iced cookies out on a cookie sheet overnight to harden, then pack them away in a cardboard shirt box. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll put wax paper between layers of cookies, but it's really not necessary if they have dried. Do not refrigerate iced cookies, or the icing might get sticky when it warms back up to room temp. I have not tried this icing on sugar cookies with cream cheese so I can't say if this cookie recipe would affect how the icing sets up. Hope this was helpful and it was fun getting emailed questions! Happy Holidays!"

dadsdaughter User ID: 5498500 159092
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2010

"This might be what I'm looking for. I need an icing that will not get messed up when packing the cookies for gifts. Is it?"

slosh29 User ID: 2793210 171292
Reviewed Dec. 6, 2010

"This is in reply to asking why use merigue powder..Meringue powder dries to a shiny sort of hard coating where just milk and powdered sugar is a glaze that does not dry shiny or as firm. You can just about see that in the picture..Some glazes like that never totally set. It is a matter of preference and not calling for unnecessary ingredients..There is a reason for it..If you use alot of merigue powder you end up with a form of royal icing used to build gingerbread houses..but less amounts set up to a slightly harder coating."

Valerie46 User ID: 1555256 157437
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"Good basic recipe. To make regular water-icing which dries quickly, dissolved Jello in boiling water - 1T powder:1T boiling water - and use this in place of the water to make your icing. Don't let it cool or it will set. If icing dries before you finish using it, pop it in the microwave to "reheat"!"

JEFFHOFFPAUIR User ID: 1746845 157436
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"These cookies sound delicious and anything with cream cheese is better anyway. If this icing is too hard for some of you, use whatever you want but don't think for a minute that you can't taste it. Is cake without icing the same???"

craftycas User ID: 1680374 209547
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"These cookies sound yummy! The icing I normally use on sugar cookies is:

2c sifted confectioners sugar, 4 tsp light corn syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 4-6 tsp milk (start with 4, add more if necessary). The corn syrup allows the icing to dry to the touch and stay shiny, but it doesn't get crunchy hard like Royal icing. Be sure to keep your icing covered when you are not working with it as it dries quickly. I usually mix small color batches in 8 oz margarine tubs. A little goes a long way!"

bzybdr User ID: 3470897 171290
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"The recipe sounds great but I have a question about the icing. This appears to be royal icing. Does anyone know how to get the same smooth look without using royal icing? I do not like how hard the icing becomes when it dries/ages."

katbaran User ID: 1659687 209546
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"@Cynthia43--That's exactly what I thought. Didn't use the meringue powder and they turned out just fine! The old fashioned frosting looks good and tasted good too!"

cynthia43 User ID: 389561 170954
Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"Why use meringue powder?..what happened to the old fashion way of powdered sugar, milk & butter for frosting."

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