Sour Cream Cookies are thick & chewy old-fashioned sugar cookies topped with a creamy Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. The dough comes together in one bowl with no mixer, and the dough and frosting can each be made ahead! Sour cream adds a slight tang, which is perfectly balanced by the silky frosting. Frost them in red, white, and green for the most festive Christmas cookies!
Why you’ll love this Sour Cream Cookie recipe:
- Chewy Cookies – These sour cream cookies are chewy – not cakey!
- Easy Sugar Cookies – These are drop cookies, which means no dough rolling or cookie cutters are involved. It’s the perfect cookie to have kids help with!
- Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies – Using sour cream in these frosted sugar cookies gives them an old-fashioned sugar cookie taste – in the best way! The sour cream gives a slight tang that’s beautifully complimented by the cream cheese frosting.
- Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This brown butter cream cheese frosting is silky and the perfect balance of sweet for these sugar cookies. Using brown butter gives much more depth of flavor compared to traditional buttercream frosting.
- Blank Canvas for Decoration – Decorate your delicious cookies with frosting in any colors and with your favorite sprinkles!
As always, the full recipe with measurements & directions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Sour cream – Use full fat sour cream at room temperature.
- Eggs – Use large eggs, at room temperature.
- All-purpose flour – Spoon your flour into the measuring cup, then level it with a flat utensil for best results, or use a scale. Scooping the measuring cup directly into your flour will lead to too much flour, and a potentially dry bake.
- Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla extract for best results.
- Cream Cheese – Use full fat, block style cream cheese.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite, trusted dairy-free butter, sour cream, and cream cheese to make these cookies dairy-free.
- Gluten-free – I have not tested a gluten-free version of these cookies. Let me know if you do!
How to Make this Sour Cream Drop Cookies Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make the Cookie Dough. Whisk together melted butter and sour cream, then whisk in the sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a thick, slightly sticky dough forms.
Step 2: Chill & Form Balls. Chill the dough for a bit to make it easier to roll, then scoop cookie batter into balls 60 grams in size. Continue chilling the dough balls for 2 hours in the fridge or 45 minutes in the freezer.
Step 3: Bake. Roll chilled cookies in granulated sugar then place on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes. Cookies will be puffy and a little crinkly when done.
Step 4: Make Frosting. Beat together brown butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and cream cheese.
Divide the frosting into thirds and make a portion red, one portion green, and leave the last bit white. Or, use whatever colors you like! See tips immediately below on how I made these colors.
How to Dye your Frosting:
Gel food coloring is the best option for something like this – you would need to use bottles of the regular cheap stuff you find in the grocery store to get vibrant colors like this, and you still won’t have this nice of colors. With gel food coloring, start small and add more as you go as it is very pigmented. The wilton bottles don’t have a squeeze dropper, so I use a toothpick to swipe in a little color at a time. If you get too dark of a color than you wanted, add a little white frosting in to lighten it up.
- How to Make Red Frosting – If you simply add red food coloring to your frosting, you’ll end up with pink frosting. To make a true red, you’ll need to use a little burgundy gel food coloring and black gel food coloring with your red. I recommend this deep red gel food coloring! To get the black, burgundy, and shades you’ll need to make the green (below), I recommend getting this set of 12 mini bottles of gel food coloring. It includes all those colors and is cheaper than purchasing 3 full size bottles.
- How to Make Green Frosting – To make this shade of green, I used gel food coloring in juniper green and golden yellow. If you can’t find juniper green, I think an olive or forest green could work well too. The golden yellow will help brighten it up.
Step 5: Frost the Cookies. Frost the cooled cookies – a mini cookie scoop makes portioning the frosting easy, and an offset spatula helps make pretty swirls. Finish with a dusting of white sanding sugar.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Store unfrosted sour cream cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days before frosting. Store frosted cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. They’re good cold and at room temperature (let them sit out for 10-15 minutes before serving if you don’t want them so cold).
Expert Success Tips:
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
- Let Cookies Cool – Never put frosting on any warm baked goods – it will melt the butter in the frosting and you’ll have a mess. Let the cookies cool completely before frosting them!
They taste like a buttery, chewy sugar cookie with a slight tang from the sour cream. They taste like an old fashioned sugar cookie – in the best way!
No, they’re chewy cookies! I’m not a fan of cookies that have a cake-like texture, so I wanted to come up with a recipe for this type of cookie that was chewy instead.
Your butter and cream cheese were either too soft, or it became runny due to all the mixing while trying to get the coloring right. This is totally fine! Just pop your frosting in the freezer or fridge at any point to stiffen it back up a bit.
- Frosting – These cookies are absolutely incredible with brown butter frosting! But, you can skip that step if you’re short on time.
- Spices – Feel free to add 1/2 tsp nutmeg along with the cinnamon if you want a little more cozy spice in your sour cream cookies. You could also use cardamom with or in place of these spices.
- Offset Spatula – An offset spatula makes frosting cakes and cookies a breeze!
- White Sanding Sugar – White sparkling sugar gives a polished finish to these cookies.
- Mini Cookie Scoop – A small cookie scoop is perfect for portioning dollops of frosting onto each cookie.
More Favorite Cookies to Love:
- Cinnamon Roll Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
- Best Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- Cinnamon Spiced Maple Cutout Cookies
- Cranberry White Chocolate Slice & Bake Cookies
- Chocolate Cherry Pie Cookies
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Frosted Sour Cream Cookies
For the Cookies
- 10 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature use full fat
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
For the Frosting
- 3/4 cup salted butter, cubed
- 8 ounces cream cheese Use full fat blocks
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Make the Cookie Dough: Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes so it's not hot. Whisk in the room temperature sour cream until smooth. Whisk in the sugars, then the eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula or wooden spoon until completely combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all dry bits are incorporated.
- Chill & Roll Balls: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and pop in the freezer for a quick initial chill for 20-30 minutes, so the dough is easier to handle & roll. Roll dough into balls that are 60 grams in size. Continue chilling dough balls on a lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap for at least 2 hours in the fridge or 45 minutes in the freezer.
- Bake Cookies: Preheat your oven to 365℉. Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll chilled cookie dough balls in granulated sugar, and place 5-6 cookies on each sheet. (Keep extra cookies in the fridge while they wait their turn to bake.)Bake each pan of cookies for 11-13 minutes. The cookies will be puffy and crinkly and the edges should look and appear set. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
- Brown Butter for the Frosting: In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter – stirring constantly. The butter will get foamy, then bubbly, then start to turn turn golden brown and develop a nutty/caramely aroma. Once it reaches a deep golden color, remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to chill in the fridge or freezer until it's room temperature. It doesn't have to come back to solid before using in the frosting, but it can't be warm.
- Make the Frosting: Beat together melted & cooled brown butter with cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer for 1 minute or so, until creamy. It will look odd at first but will smooth out. Add half the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and mix until creamy.
- Frost Cookies: Divide the frosting into three bowls, and color one portion green, one red, and leave one white. To make the shade green I have, use leaf green and bit of golden yellow gel food coloring. To make this shade of red, use deep red gel food coloring with a bit of burgundy and a hint of black. Use a small cookie scoop to plop dollops of frosting onto each cookie, then spread it with an offset spatula. Top with white sanding sugar if desired, for a little sparkle.
- Serve & Store: Store frosted cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. Unfrosted cookies can be stored in a container at room temperature for 1-2 days before frosting them.
- Make-Ahead Tips: Cookie Dough: Cookie dough balls can be chilled in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. Cookie dough balls can be frozen on a lined baking sheet, then transferred to an airtight container or freezer bag once solid. Freeze for 1-2 months, baking from frozen and adding 1-2 minutes as needed. Frosting: Frosting can be made 1-2 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Let come back to room temperature for 20-30 minutes and beat with electric mixer to get it back to a spreadable consistency before using.