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How To Make My All-Time Favorite Christmas Cookies

Sour Cream Cookies

There’s something extra special about holiday traditions compared to other types of traditions. A mixture of festive feelings and nostalgia can make it so that our favorite traditions start to feel like a foundational aspect of the holiday season!

For me, there’s no better example of a foundational holiday tradition than my mother’s soft and fluffy Sour Cream Cookies. When I was a girl, these cookies were so ubiquitous in our house during the holidays that I thought everyone put out plates of them for Santa to enjoy.

Sour Cream Cookies

I eventually learned there are many types of cookies people make for Christmas, but I still believe most people would prefer Sour Cream Cookies if given the option! And you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been asked for the recipe after gifting these cookies to neighbors and friends. :-)

Sour Cream Cookies

So pull out your baking supplies and give these sour cream cookies a try, whether to give away or enjoy with your family. It’s a privilege to share such a meaningful holiday tradition with all of you, and I hope it adds something special to your holiday season too. :-)

My Mom’s Sour Cream Cookies

Ingredients:

Sour Cream Cookies

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Sour Cream Cookies

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 4-5 drops food coloring

Directions:

Step 1 – Make The Cookie Dough

Sour Cream Cookies

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl, then stir to combine.

Sour Cream Cookies

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the shortening and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy.

Sour Cream Cookies

While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time. Wait until the first egg is incorporated before adding the second.

Sour Cream Cookies

Next, add the sour cream and vanilla to the bowl and mix until creamy.

Sour Cream Cookies

Reduce the mixer to low speed, then add one-third of the dry ingredients at a time until everything is incorporated and evenly mixed.

Once the dough is finished, put it in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. (This is a very sticky dough, so chilling it properly is crucial! Without that time in the fridge, the dough will be impossibly frustrating to handle, so be patient!)

Step 2 – Roll Out The Dough & Cut Into Christmas Shapes

Preheat your oven to 350°F and gather your supplies. For this step, you’ll need some flour, a rolling pin, cookie cutters, and a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Start by dividing the dough into two. (It’s much easier to roll out one section at a time!)

Sour Cream Cookies

Flour your work surface and rolling pin, then roll out your first portion of dough to a little over 1/4″ thick.

Sour Cream Cookies

Dip your cookie cutter in flour, then cut out your cookies. Use a spatula or bench scraper to transfer the cookies to your baking sheet.

Step 3 – Bake The Cookies

Sour Cream Cookies

Once the baking sheet is full, put it in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. The sour cream cookies are done when they are just barely starting to brown around the edges, so keep an eye on them!

After baking, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

Step 4 – Frost & Decorate The Cookies!

Sour Cream Cookies

While the cookies are cooling, prepare the frosting by mixing all the ingredients together in your stand mixer or with a hand mixer. If the frosting is a bit too runny, add more powdered sugar, and if it’s a bit too thick, add another splash of milk to achieve a thick, fluffy frosting.

Sour Cream Cookies

Spread the frosting generously over your cooled cookies, then top with your favorite sprinkles!

Sour Cream Cookies

For the cookies pictured here, I used candy cane sprinkles, white nonpareils, and a fun Christmas sprinkle blend!

Sour Cream Cookies

Heap your frosted and festive sour cream cookies onto a plate, and be sure to snag one for yourself before the whole plate disappears! ;-)

Tell me about one of your meaningful holiday traditions!

Sour Cream Cookies

Mom’s Sour Cream Cookies

Jill Nystul
These soft and fluffy frosted cookies are what holiday dreams are made of. This decades-old recipe is a tried and true favorite!
3.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 27 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • 4-5 drops food coloring

Instructions
 

  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the shortening and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy.
  • With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time.
  • Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until creamy.
  • Reduce to low speed and add the dry mixture 1/3 at a time until evenly mixed.
  • Chill the dough in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  • Divide the dough into two halves.
  • Roll the first half out on a floured surface until it’s a little over 1/4″ thick.
  • Cut out cookies with a floured cookie cutter, and use a spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough, then bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, or until just beginning to brown around the edges.
  • Move cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Prepare the frosting, adding powdered sugar or a splash of milk as necessary to achieve thick, fluffy frosting.
  • Spread the frosting generously over the cookies and top with sprinkles.

Nutrition

Calories: 200kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 165mgPotassium: 71mgFiber: 1gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 109IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Food & Recipes

  • I have made these cookies for years. Each holiday had its own special cookie cutters…hearts for Valentines Day, shamrocks for St Pat’s Day, etc.
    I’m not sure what the difference is, but I always have used the sour cream cookie recipe in the Betty Crockers cookie book. ( recipe on line, too) I think, as memory serves, the recipe is very, very similar. I think my recipe adds a little nutmeg but sometimes I omit that. And I add vanilla always, even though the recipe may not call for it.
    BUT…here’s a few things I’ve learned. Don’t use butter. Don’t use chrisco. I only use margarine. For some reason, the dough just doesn’t set up correctly, and even though I chill it, the cookies spread so much the shape is lost! Maybe this is why others are having a problem?
    Also, I always made a lot of these cookies and doubled the recipe. I learned that I couldn’t do more than just double it. If I tripled it and more, even though the dough looked fine, the cookies were tough. (and I hadn’t over rolled the dough) I learned to make the dough in batches of 2 only.
    Hope this helps!

  • I’m not sure what the issue was with this recipe, most likely being in Florida heat even in the winter (72 degrees in house), but I kept the batter in the fridge for 3 hours. I rolled it out and immediately began to place my cookie cutters. Within 4 minutes the dough was such a sloppy mess that I couldn’t even pick them up with a spatula. I’m a pretty avid cook and have never run into this with another cookie recipe. Will try again to test just to ensure it wasn’t an ingredients issue.

    • I had the same problem and wanted to see if others had trouble with this. I use whole-grain flour which typically makes for a stiffer dough than white, but after 3 hours in the fridge the dough was still too soft to handle. It’s colder here in Georgia so it doesn’t seem that the weather is the problem. I put the dough back in a colder part of the fridge (the meat drawer) to see if I can roll it out semi-frozen.

      • Second attempt…After spending 24 hours in my meat drawer, the dough was much easier to handle. I dusted it with extra flour (on the generous side), rolled it out on a silicone pastry mat and cut out the cookies with no problems. The cookie-cutters sticking was actually a little helpful as I was able to simply lift the shape out of the dough and poke it out onto the cookie sheet. I balled up the scraps and put them back in the fridge to work with the other half of the dough, alternating and then combining what was left until it was all used.

        I was skeptical about the use (and amount) of leavening as in my experience this causes rolled cookies to lose their shapes; but they just puffed up a little in the oven. I did decease the baking soda by half as I was afraid it would make the cookies bitter. Next time I may also reduce the salt.

  • I have same sour cream sugar recipe I use often, BUT ( in the recipe photo putting an egg into Your red mixer bowl) didn’t your mother or home ec teacher teacher you NEVER break your egg directly into mixture, in case you get shells or a bad egg and waste all your good ingredients.!!! Love your hints.

  • This is very like my grandmother’s recipe and so would be very tasty … not rating because I haven’t made your recipe but expect they would be a 5 star … we like them with lemon icing … very yummy. Only make these at Christmas

  • Jillee, These really sound delicious, but I don’t have a stand mixer so I don’t have a paddle attachment. Can you please tell me how make these with a regular mixer? (It may be obvious to some, but I’m not much of a baker so I need really specific instructions. :) ) Thanks for all your wonderful ideas and recipes. I look forward to seeing your new post every day!

  • Hi Jillee,
    My grandmother and mother made these every Christmas. We call them Grandma’s Christmas cokkies” because when transcribing them to a recipe card the k was accidentally doubled instead of the o!
    These have so much better flavor than most other cut-out cookies and so does the icing. This is a soft dough so the chilling is essential . You can roll them thinner for crispy cookies. We often add sprinkles or sugar before baking. I’ve also substituted butter for shortening and that works too!
    Thanks for sharing this heirloom recipe!!
    Love all your great ideas!

  • This looks good. It’s a lot like my moms Sugar Cookies. Hers just uses less sour cream and a little more flour. It’s so much fun to make family recipes at Christmas.

  • I love cut-out cookies during the holidays! Several friends and I get together and have a cookie-decorating party – so fun to see everyone’s creativity come out! My mom’s sugar cookie recipe uses lemon extract instead of vanilla which gives the cookies a nice fresh taste and also helps to cut the sweetness a little from all the sugary icing. The sour cream recipe sounds good though – I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks, Jillee.

  • I’ve been making Christmas cookies for the past several years, although they’re sugar cookies and I always have trouble making the frosting so that it’s the right consistency. Does this frosting set up like Royal Icing? It looks like a standard buttercream frosting recipe. I had an icing recipe that called for powdered egg whites, but these have become so hard to find that I’ve had to experiment with other types. Also, I only use whole-grain flour so I wonder how these would handle with soft white wheat or spelt flour(?)

    • Terry, there are instructions on how to dehydrate your own eggs here on Jillee’s website. How to dehydrate eggs. This way you won’t have to find them.

  • Jillee, when I got married my Mom bought me a Betty Crocker cookbook. There is a recipe for sugar cookies that my whole family devours. Each year my 2 DIL’s and I make them. It’s so much fun to roll out the dough and decorate them.
    My Mom made the sour cream like yours and they were wonderful. I forgot about them! I’ll have to make some. Thanks for the reminder
    We also make others, especially family recipes. My husband makes killer caramel popcorn balls. Omg they are the best ever!
    Like you, I love baking at Christmas! (and those popcorn balls lol)

  • To include my granddaughters when they were little, I rolled the dough on parchment paper then they cut out the shapes. Then together we removed the extra dough and placed the parchment paper on the baking sheet. They weren’t the loveliest cookies but the are the loveliest memories!

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