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Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

5 stars based on 18 votes

These cookies are truly crave-worthy: buttery and rich in flavor, with a crisp and sparkly exterior and tender-chewy interior. I discovered the recipe years ago on the King Arthur Flour website, and it’s been my go-to for sugar cookies ever since.

So, what makes these cookies so special? First, they’re made with cream cheese in addition to butter, which makes them tender without the need for vegetable shortening and also adds flavor. Second, they’re made with a touch of almond extract, which lightly perfumes the cookies with the delicate scent of almond.

Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

Next, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.

And then the egg.

Then mix in the dry ingredients until the dough forms a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.

Pinch off tablespoons of dough and roll in the sugar. Try not to over-roll the balls or make them too smooth; leaving them a little rough gives the cookies a crackled, sparkly appearance.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet, then press them flat with a flat-bottomed glass.

Bake for about ten minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom but still very pale on top.

Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Crave-Worthy Sugar Cookies

Servings: 4 dozen
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for rolling cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg


  1. Set racks in middle of oven and preheat to 375 F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat in the egg. Scrape down the bowl again, then add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a cohesive mass. It will be a little sticky.
  4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Moisten your hands so the dough doesn't stick to them. Pinch off the dough by tablespoonfuls, shape into rough balls (see note below), roll in the sugar to coat, and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using a flat-bottomed glass, flatten the cookies to 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through to ensure even cooking. The cookies will turn golden on the bottom but remain pale on top. Cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel to keep the dough moist between batches.)
  5. Note: Try not to over-roll the cookie dough into smooth balls. Keeping the surface a little rough gives the cookies a crackled, sparkly appearance.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Wow wow wow! Just made these cookies. They look exactly like the pics and are delicious! Don’t change a thing, follow the recipe to the T! Thanks for sharing Jenn!

    - Isa on July 31, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I made your sugar cookies for Xmas and they were so delicious. I would like to make them for Valentine’s Day using a heart shaped cutter but I’m not sure whether this dough can be rolled.
    Would it work? I know you have a butter cookie recipe using dough that can be rolled but I am interested in only a soft cookie. Thank you, Lisa.

    - Lisa Moore on February 9, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Lisa, Unfortunately, I don’t think this dough will hold its shape very well in the oven — your hearts might look more like blobs 🙂

      - Jenn on February 9, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,

    I am making these cookies for a holiday party and there are people attending who have a nut allergy. Can I make these without the almond extract or is there something nut-free I can substitute it with?

    - Elizabeth on December 15, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, It’s fine to leave it out and substitute more vanilla.

      - Jenn on December 15, 2016 Reply
      • Hello Jenn- How much vanilla would you use if you omit the almond extract?

        - Cate on December 21, 2016 Reply
        • You’d just replace the almond extract with more vanilla extract, so you’d use a total of 1 1/4 tsp. Enjoy!

          - Jenn on December 21, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best sugar cookie recipe that I have ever made. Always gets rave reviews from everyone that I give these cookies to. Easy recipe, & using an ice cream scoop insures consistent size.

    - Marie on December 1, 2016 Reply
  • Can I substitute sour cream for the cream cheese?

    - SV on November 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi SV, I’ve never tried them this way, so I can’t say for sure, but it’s a relatively small amount needed in the recipe, so I think you should be able to get away with it. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!

      - Jenn on November 25, 2016 Reply
    • I did try the sour cream instead of cream cheese. They turned out great!

      - SV on November 25, 2016 Reply
      • So glad- thanks for the followup!

        - Jenn on November 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just tried making these last night and they turned out PERFECT! This is by far, the BEST sugar cookie recipe ever! Thanks so much for sharing! It was so delicious, I made sure to share your link to this recipe.

    - Lorraine on September 3, 2016 Reply
  • Hi! I want to attempt these but I only own a hand mixer with so such attachment. Will it be OK to mix with the beaters or best to do it the old fashioned way with my hands? Thanks so much!

    - Megan B. on May 28, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Megan, I think you could get away with either. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on May 28, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Can the dough be made in advance and then frozen or would that alter taste or texture when ready to bake? Thanks!

    - Renee on April 26, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Renee, I think freezing the dough would still result in great cookies. I would freeze the dough in one large piece and, once it’s defrosted, proceed with the additional steps in the recipe.

      - Jenn on April 27, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thanks Jenn! I ended up just baking these right off and they were delicious! My coworker said they were “sinfully good”! However mine did not crinkle at all but probably because I used a flat bottomed cup to press them down. I’ll have to find a cup that’s convex like yours so it’ll turn out prettier next time. Thanks for the great recipe!!!

        - Renee on April 29, 2016 Reply
  • Can I use salted butter and omit the salt? I am not quite sure if it is chemistry or taste or both…could you help? Can I make these with regular butter? Thanks!

    - juliane on December 27, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Juliane, A stick of butter has about 1/4 teaspoon salt, so I would reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have NEVER been a fan of sugar cookies but these are the absolute BEST sugar cookies I’ve ever tried–has to be the cream cheese.

    - BAKERGIRL on December 21, 2015 Reply
  • Can you tell me what a cup measure is also stick of butter. Thank you

    - Margaret on December 20, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Margaret, 1 stick of butter is the equivalent of 1/2 cup.

      - Jenn on December 21, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I want to make some sugar cookie bears, will they get wrinkled if I roll it with a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to cut?

    - Serena on November 30, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Serena, I haven’t tried this with this dough, but I skimmed the comments and it looks like some others have successfully. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 1, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    A dear friend just passed away and her memorial service is next week-end. She told her daughter she wanted cookies served after the service. I live in California and want to make cookies and ship them to Minnesota for the service. Allowing for 2 or 3 days shipping time, do you think these would hold up? I’m planning to also make your oatmeal brown sugar and the toffee almond. Just not sure if they’ll still be good by the time they get there. I know a bar cookie wouldn’t be a good choice. Thanks, as always

    - Linda on November 6, 2015 Reply
    • Linda, I am so sorry about your friend. How lovely of you to send cookies. I would actually suggest making the Toffee Almond Sandies and Almond Biscotti (my personal favorite cookie) — they both keep very well…much longer than the others, which might get stale.

      - Jenn on November 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Fantastic. Perfect. Fantastically perfect.

    For the dough, I didn’t change a thing. And I have written “DON’T CHANGE A THING” on my recipe card. 😉 I did play around a little bit with the rolling-in-mix, though. Rolled some in plain sugar, clear sanding sugar, multi-colored sanding sugar, sugar with a pinch of nutmeg, and brown sugar-cinnamon. All were amazing!

    Jenn, you rock…

    - Susan on October 6, 2015 Reply
    • Love those ideas, Susan — especially the nutmeg. I’m going to try that!

      - Jenn on October 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    48 cookies seemed like a bit much for my family of 4, so I halved this recipe. That was a mistake!

    - Karen on September 28, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jenn…I noticed that you seem to be using the spreadable cream cheese in this recipe. Do you think that could be substituted in other recipes in stead of the block one?

    - Carolyn Stranges on September 25, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, Either will work for this recipe but for the most part, I prefer the block.

      - Jenn on September 25, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This website is great. This is the third recipe I’ve tried since finding it, and just like the other two, it’s great! These cookies have just enough sweetness to be a cookie, but are not too sweet. They go great after dinner or with tea. I already have shown three people where to get this recipe after they tasted the cookies. Fantastic!! Thank you.

    - Kathie on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have an end-of-summer neighborhood BBQ tomorrow night and I’m assigned to bring a dessert. I had decided to take cookies so people can visit and eat cookies at the same time! Now, I’ve decided to use this recipe!!! Here’s to happy eating at the BBQ!!!

    - Ann on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These cookies are really good and soft. The only thing i did differently was add almond slithers to the batter but i wish i would have toasted them first bc it would taste that much better.

    - Kiera on May 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Let me start by saying, again…I LOVE THIS SITE! Everything I have made has turned into a go to recipe! These cookies are no exception, they are just amazing and what’s even more amazing, is there is no refrigeration time, because who has time for that?! Such a simple recipe that yields amazing results; they are the perfect combination of slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I have made these five times already for various gatherings and they have received rave reviews from EVERYONE! I made two small changes, first I used a bigger scoop- I wanted a bigger cookie and second, instead of granulated sugar, I used sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar).

    - Lana on April 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Awesome!!!! The almond extract really makes a difference. Kids love them. I sometimes frost them. Awesome and so easy. Fun to make with kids.

    - Jennifer hamri on March 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These cookies are just wonderful! I agree with other posters that they are not too sweet. The balance of buttery and sweet is just right. They are delicious plain but I iced and decorated some for gifts and those are great, too. This is my sugar cookie recipe from now on.

    - Vicki Frederick on December 22, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi! These are the most delicious sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted!!! I love your website. Do you think I could add mini M&M’s to the cookie dough? Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

    - Julie on December 18, 2014 Reply
    • Thanks, Julie, M&M’s sound good! Please come back and let me know how they turn out 🙂

      - Jenn on December 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were so delicious. I made sure not to overbake them so they stayed nice and soft. It was hard not to eat the cookie dough. So good!

    - Geo's Mom on December 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are absolutely addicting! I recently made these and will be making them again for Christmas. Easy to make and taste great.

    - DawnB on December 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    OMG – – these are wonderful! Melt in your mouth, smooth, excellent cookies. Very easy to make. Only problem is trying to stop eating them!

    - Esther on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • Easy & delicious – not too sweet, addictive… every single recipe I have made from this site (and I have made lots) has been a total home run. LOVE Once Upon a Chef…

    - Sheila on April 11, 2014 Reply
    • Thank you, Sheila! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

      - Jenn on April 12, 2014 Reply
  • I used banana & vanilla extract and the cookies taste great!!!!

    - Takeisha on March 11, 2014 Reply
  • PERFECT sugar cookie! Made these the other day and they came out wonderful — the best sugar cookie I’ve ever tasted.

    Not too sweet — I find cookies here in the U.S. are often way too sweet. These are just perfect.

    Soft, chewy, and perfect with a cup of tea, coffee, or as a dessert (or midnight snack!).

    This is now my go-to recipe. Thank you!

    - Dee on December 21, 2013 Reply
  • This has been one of my favorite sugar cookie recipes since I found it a few years ago. They’re perfect!

    - Sharon on November 6, 2013 Reply
  • These are FABULOUS!!! The first pan I flattened them (a little too much!) and I forgot to flatten the next pan. I baked them a minute or two longer and they were wonderful! Can’t wait to make them again and find a happy medium on flattening! Thanks Jennifer!

    - Carol Herndon on July 4, 2013 Reply
  • These certainly live up to their name! I made a batch on Easter and will use this as my recipe for sugar cookies from now on. Loved the hint of almond flavoring in them. I made a simple glaze out of softened butter, confectioners sugar, and milk (with coloring added) for the tops. Thanks, Jenn!

    - Allie on April 2, 2013 Reply
  • I prepared the dough and put it in the fridge for an hour and than rolled it out and cut out heartbshaped cookies with my daughter…they were a hit with her and her cousins!

    - Katzzs on March 18, 2013 Reply
  • Just pulled these out of the oven and quickly tried one (someone had to test them!). I love the hint of almond and the fact that they are not overly sweet. I can’t wait for my son to get home from school so he can try them. Thank you for the recipe. Btw – I used a tablespoon cookie scoop and only yielded 30 cookies.

    - Karen on March 15, 2013 Reply
  • I made the sugar cookies with my girls, they added their touch by adding sprinkles on top. It was very good, I found that it was less sweeter then the store bought. One more thing, why is your sugar cookies come out picture perfect! Thanks for all the great recipes.

    - Liz on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • This cookies were absolutely fabulous! They tasted EVEN better the next day after they had cooled.

    I always learn a new cooking trick from your recipes, thank you for your blog! Your recipes are always spot on!!

    - Caroline on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • I LOVE homemade cookies! Any type, any kind, any shape…well, you get the idea.

    I recently saw on tv a recipe for sugar cookies with cream cheese and thought what a wonderful idea. Then a few days later, your post came out (talk about symmetry!) and I had to try them.

    Lovely! Just the perfect sweetness, without being ‘sweet’ (I don’t like cookies that are too sweet). And I found the almost extract a really nice touch. Just loved these. A hit at my house!

    - Dee on March 12, 2013 Reply
    • Oops, typo — I meant to say ALMOND extract 🙂

      - Dee on March 12, 2013 Reply
  • These were delicious and are now my go-to sugar cookie too!
    Pressing them down with a glass ensures a uniform, round cookie so they look and taste perfect!

    - Karen on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • Great sugar cookies. The cream cheese is what makes the difference from mine.

    - SheilaAnne on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • These were delicious! I love a good sugar cookie.

    - Beth on March 11, 2013 Reply
  • The best sugar cookies I have ever made!

    - Sharyn on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • Works well with orange or lemon extract, too. Have tried both.

    - Dorothy on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • These are really good just as they are. I was not looking for a crisp cookie and these are very tasty. Thanks for sharing.

    - Judy G on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • My family loved these cookies! They were perfectly chewy right out of the oven! This is a recipe that I will make again, and soon!

    - Marcia on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Reminded me of the cookies my grandmother made for my siblings and I when children, especially the lovely combination of vanilla and almond flavours. The best part of making them is with a child…My little one got up on her step stool, manned the mixer, rolled the balls of dough in the sugar, and had fun flattening them with an old glass cookie press I have from my grandmother…and the continuity continues in the kitchen…

    - Chris on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I made these cookies a few days ago and they did not last long; very yummy with a soft crumb and not overly sweet taste. I did use a small cookie scoop and then flattened a little with a glass dipped in sugar. My grandsons loved them as well.
    I would love to win the Anolon cookware; great giveaway!

    - Linda on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Thanks for this recipe Love it just the way it is.

    - Carol on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • My grand children loved eating and making these cookies.

    - Carolyn on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I liked the texture of these – crisp on the outside but chewy on the inside. That is my kind of cookie! Also, I used low-fat cream cheese and they were great. That was all I had on hand. Next time I will try with full-fat cream cheese.

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Crave worthy is right! I actually chilled the dough and rolled out & used cookie cutters. Will definitely make again!

    - Cherie F. on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Delicious! No need to moisten hands. May try with lemon extract

    - sara on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • These are so good! They were best right out of the oven, still soft.

    - Amanda on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, just wanted to tell you how delicious those sugar cookies are and how much my whole family loved them. Hubby said they were the best cookies he had ever had! I can always count on you for a great recipe. Thanks for sharing-you’re a wonderful cook–I’ve tried them all!!!

    - Judy Claggett on March 7, 2013 Reply
  • Best sugar cookies I ever made. Delicious!

    - Alba on March 6, 2013 Reply
  • Is the cream cheese in the container the same as the brick…can they be used interchangeably in this particular recipe? These look amazing and I will definitely be making them.

    - Karen on March 1, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Karen, I find the cream cheese in the tub to be more spreadable so perhaps there’s some air whipped in but it doesn’t matter in this recipe — either will work. Hope you like them!

      - Jenn on March 3, 2013 Reply
      • Does it matter if you use low fat cream cheese or should you stick to full fat? (I just happen to have an opened block of low fat in my fridge which is why I’m wondering!)

        - Rebecca on March 4, 2013 Reply
        • Hi Rebecca, To be honest, I’ve never tried it with low fat cream cheese. My guess is that it’d work fine, although the cookies may not be as tender once they’re cool. If you try it, please come back and leave a comment and let me know how they turn out. Thanks!

          - Jenn on March 5, 2013 Reply
  • These are the best sugar cookies. I’ve been making the KAF Sugar Cookies for years — always wonderful and I like that I can “drop” them onto a cookie sheet.

    - Carol on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • Are these cookies crisp or soft?

    - NANCY on February 28, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Nancy, Fresh out of the oven they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They crisp up the longer they sit.

      - Jenn on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • I know I can always count on your recipes and advice! These look wonderful and simple; thank you

    - Linda on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • Sometimes I crave just simple sugar cookies that taste amazing! Your recipes are always the best 🙂

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on February 28, 2013 Reply
  • Could these be rolled out and then cut with cookie cutters?

    - Shelley Thomas on February 28, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Shelly, The recipe will not work as is rolled out and cut, but the King Arthur website recommends adding 1/2 cup flour to the recipe if you want to roll them out. They will definitely be more crisp with the additional flour.

      - Jenn on February 28, 2013 Reply

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