Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Soft frosted sugar cookies are a perfect copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe, just like the ones you buy at Target or the grocery store for the kids.

An aqua cake plate has 5 soft frosted sugar cookies decorated with pink icing and sprinkles. One cookie has a bite taken out of it.

There is one easy store bought treat that makes my kids lose their dang minds -- those festively decorated soft frosted sugar cookies with holiday sprinkles on top.

I wanted to surprise them with a homemade version of their favorite frosted cookie as a sweet Valentine's Day surprise so I tested out this Lofthouse cookie copycat and it was just what I needed.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

As the author of The Ultimate Kids' Baking Book, I know my way around the kitchen when it comes to baking sweet festive treats for parties and holidays.

I think this is the best soft frosted sugar cookie recipe because:

  1. Copycat Lofthouse Cookies: If your family is a big fan of the soft sugar cookies you can buy at places like Target and most grocery stores, you're going to love this recipe.
  2. Perfect for ANY Occasion: Mix and match the color of the frosting and the sprinkles on top and you can make this simple treat for any holiday or special even any time of year.
  3. Delicately Sweet with a Perfect Texture: The sugar cookies themselves are a cross between a cake and a cookie. They are soft and fluffy and have just a hint of sweetness to the dough. This is important because the frosting packs a sweet punch!

Ingredients

The ingredients to make soft sugar cookies with frosting are on the counter.

The wonderful thing about making homemade cookies is how easy the list of ingredients can be:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Almond Extract
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt

Then to frost the cookies, you'll need:

  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla
  • Food Gels: I find the thicker food coloring gels work much better than the more liquid coloring drops. This is my favorite set for beginner bakers and it even includes the exact pink I used that you see in the photos on this post.

This cookie dough recipe is very thick at the end. I think it works best if you have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

It could be done by hand or with a hand mixer, but be sure your hand mixer has a strong motor.

Beat the butter, sour cream, and sugar together until smooth and light.

Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and beat them in until just combined.

The step by step photo collage shows how to prepare the soft sugar cookie dough.

Separately, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder to be sure they are evenly combined.

Add the flour in 3 batches, mixing well between each stage. This helps make sure the cookie dough is well mixed because at the end it is so thick.

Form and Bake the Cookies

The sugar cookie dough is quite sticky once it is ready.

Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Use a kitchen spoon to scoop portions of dough about 2-inches wide. Drop each portion onto the baking sheet, 12 cookie balls about 2 inches apart like this:

A baking sheet lined with parchment paper has a dozen sugar cookie balls in place. A regular table spoon is portioning out a ball of dough in the corner.

Then dampen your hands with clean water. Shake off all the excess so you're not dripping wet.

Then quickly roll each of the portions into a smooth cookie ball (bottom left).

Then pat each ball into a pancake-like shape about 1/4-inch thick (bottom center and right).

The cookies will puff up a bit when they bake. By patting them down like this, you help form a pretty round shape and clean edges on the cookie. This also helps prevent the cookies from cracking.

The baking sheet with cookies shows how to roll the dough into smooth balls and then flatten them into a pancake-like shape before baking.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Bake the cookies for 7 minutes or until they are just set and the bottoms are beginning to turn light brown.

They will look puffed up like this:

The close up photo shows the texture of the baked sugar cookies and how they puff up a bit in the center.

Make the Frosting

Let the cookies cool completely before you try to frost them or the frosting will melt.

Add the softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk to a mixing bowl and beat them together until smooth and fluffy.

A bowl of sugar cookie frosting has been tinted pink.

If you plan to tint your frosting, it is best to squeeze the drops onto a butter knife first and then smooth it over the frosting and mix it in.

This helps prevent squeezing too much color into the frosting. You can always add more but you can't take it out!

Decorate the Cookies

Decorating soft sugar cookies with frosting is so easy!

Simply spread the frosting over the cookie with a butter knife and swirl it a little to look pretty.

Add the sprinkles over the top before the frosting sets so they stick!

A baking sheet of sugar cookies shows half of them frosted with sprinkles and half of them plain.

Storage Tips

Since the frosting has milk in the mix, you will definitely want to store these soft frosted sugar cookies in the refrigerator.

They will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Make Ahead Tips

If you want to make these party cookies in advance of your special event, I would recommend prepping a "cookie kit" for yourself so you can just assemble the cookies and serve the same day.

You could prep the cookie dough and either freeze it or keep it in the fridge before the day you bake the cookies.

The cookies could be baked and frozen without the frosting. Since they are so soft, you'll want to place them in a hard-sided container vs. a plastic bag.

You could also prep the frosting in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just let it come to room temperature before trying to spread it on a cookies.

Then just frost and add sprinkles to the cookies on the day you plan to serve them.

Variations

I love the slightly almond-scented sugar cookie base with vanilla frosting on top but there are some fun festive variations you could also make:

Peppermint Sugar Cookies: Add peppermint extract to the icing at Christmas time.

Lemon Sugar Cookies: Add lemon zest to the cookie dough and lemon juice to the frosting (and reduce the milk a little).

Almond Sugar Cookies: Add almond extract to the frosting as well as the cookie dough.

Serving Suggestions

An aqua cake plate has 5 soft frosted sugar cookies decorated with pink icing and sprinkles. One cookie has a bite taken out of it.

Store these sugar cookies in the fridge until you are ready to serve them.

They are delicious cold from the fridge but it's ok to bring them to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, too.

After two hours setting out, you'll want to be sure to pop them back in the fridge.

Once you've nailed these easy sugar cookies, you might be looking to try your hand at cut out sugar cookies and royal icing. Here are a few of my best tips for beginners:

📖 Recipe

An aqua cake plate has 5 soft frosted sugar cookies decorated with pink icing and sprinkles. One cookie has a bite taken out of it.

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

5 from 41 votes
This copycat Lofthouse cookies recipe is just like your favorite store bought soft sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. They are a perfect choice for sugar cookie bakers who prefer to skip the cookie cutters!
TOTAL TIME 27 minutes
PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOK TIME 7 minutes
YIELD 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients
  

For the Soft Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Decorating: (Optional)

  • Food coloring gel
  • Sprinkles

Instructions

Bake the Soft Sugar Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Beat the butter, sour cream, and sugar together in a mixing bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and light.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract to the mixing bowl and mix them in until just combined.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl to ensure they are well combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and whisk them together.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three stages, mixing well between each addition. This helps ensure the flour is well mixed into the dough since it is quite thick towards the end.
  • Since the dough will be so sticky, it is easiest to use a table spoon to portion out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Place each cookie dough scoop 2 inches apart. Then dampen your hands slightly with water. Shake off all the excess. Roll the cookie dough balls into smooth balls and return them to their position. Then flatten the cookies like a pancake, a little more than 1/4-inch thick, by gently tapping it into place with your fingers. See the photos in the post above for visual reference.
  • Bake the cookies for 5 - 7 minutes or until they just begin to set up and the bottoms become lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Prepare the Frosting and Decorate:

  • Beat the butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl on medium-high speed until smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed. Once combined, add the milk and food color if using and beat until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.
  • Frost the cookies only once they are completely cooled or the frosting will melt. Add the sprinkles before the frosting sets or they won't stick.
COURSEDessert
CUISINEAmerican

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The photo collage shows the finished soft frosted sugar cookies on a cake plate next to the cookies lined up on a baking sheet in the process of getting frosted.

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