Soft Sugar Cookies

These soft, pillowy sugar cookies topped with royal icing and sprinkles are a festive holiday treat. My kids love to slather copious amounts of royal icing and sprinkles on these and leave them out for Santa and his reindeer. I think Saint Nick and his team really like these cookies because they always eat the entire plate…and sometimes even sneak an extra few from the cookie jar on the kitchen counter.

Looking for more holiday recipes? Check out my Rolled Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread Loaf.



  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Royal icing:

  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • 8-10 tbsp water, at room temperature
  • a few drops of food colouring (optional)
  • sprinkles, for decorating (optional)


  1. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about two minutes.
  2. Next, add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract and sour cream. Mix until combined.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
  4. Cover and refrigerate cookie dough for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F and grease baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with silicone baking mats.
  6. Use a small ice cream scoop to form dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are just lightly golden.
  8. Cool cookies completely on wire rack before frosting with royal icing.
  9. For the icing: in a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the royal icing. You can add a few drops of food colouring to the icing, if desired. Mix until smooth. If you want a thicker icing, add more powdered sugar, if you’d like a thinner consistency, add a bit more water. Use an offset spatula to spread icing on cooled cookies. Decorate with sprinkles. Allow icing to set for at least one hour before serving.

*Yield:  Approximately 20-22 cookies