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Best Soft Christmas Cookies

There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked cookies in the oven to create the perfect cozy atmosphere in your home during the Christmas season. These only require a few simple ingredients and are fool proof!

christmas tree sugar cookies on a wooden platter

Spending time together in the kitchen, rolling out fresh dough for these soft Christmas cookies, and decorating them is the perfect way to create the best memories during the Christmas season.

Having a simple sugar cookie recipe on hand is a must for every home cook. 

Starting new holiday traditions doesn’t have to be difficult, and this recipe is a great way to include your entire family without a lot of time and effort.

You can hand these soft Christmas cookies out to teachers, friends, and neighbors as a delicious homemade gift without spending a lot of money.

It’s also fun to have cookie exchanges where women share their Christmas cookies, along with their recipes, with Bible study friends, neighbors, or even friends at a Christmas party!

However you decide to serve these cookies, I know that the memories you make while baking them will be even sweeter than the cookies themselves.

If you’re new at planning and preparing for Christmas goodies and activities, or you’re a little overwhelmed, check out my blog posts on Fill Your Christmas Cookie Boxes with Soft Christmas Cookies and Simple Ways to Prepare for Christmas. These posts will help you be more organized and plan ahead for this Christmas season!

christmas tree sugar cookies on a wooden platter

What are Soft Christmas Cookies?

Soft Christmas cookies are the most delicious bakery-style sugar cookie which are festively decorated for Christmas.

They are soft frosted sugar cookies, cut-out with your favorite cookie cutters.

This recipe is perfect for the busy homemaker who wants a recipe with simple ingredients that takes very little time to make.

These cookies are made with real ingredients that make the cookie soft, chewy, and buttery, perfect for a holiday cookie exchange or Christmas gift.

You won’t believe how quickly these cookies come together, and the decorating process is a fun way to get the whole family involved. 

christmas tree cookies without icing

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This recipe is easy. You can have your children help you pour and measure the ingredients for a fun holiday tradition. My kids love helping roll out the dough, choosing their own sprinkles, and frosting the cookies! They will easily become your family’s favorite cookies that will last through adulthood! 
  • You can double or triple this recipe and make enough cookies to hand out as you host for the holidays, as a thank you gift to your child’s piano teacher, or just as a homemade holiday gift for neighbors. I love adding these cookies to decorative tins or decorated bags and handing them out to all my family and friends.
  • These cookies are delicious with or without the icing. You can add as much or as little icing as you like. You can frost some of the cookies and leave others unfrosted.
  • You can prepare the dough up to 1 day ahead and chill in the refrigerator overnight if you need to.
christmas tree sugar cookies on a wooden platter

Tell Me About Soft Christmas Cookies

  • Taste- These cookies are buttery, sweet, and have the perfect hint of almond flavor. 
  • Texture-  They have a soft chewy exterior with the perfect texture in every bite, not to crispy or crunchy. 
  • Ease- Adding the ingredients to a stand mixer means that you will do very little work. 
  • Time- Other than being sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before mixing the dough, and then chilling the dough for an hour, this recipe comes together in under an hour.
sugar cookie dough wrapped in saran wrap

Ingredients for Soft Christmas Cookies

  • Salted Butter– Make sure the butter is at room temperature and soft.
  • Cream Cheese– Using full fat room temperature cream cheese will yield the best results.
  • Sugar– This recipe uses white granulated sugar to keep the traditional sugar cookie flavor.
  • Egg– If your eggs are refrigerated, run them under hot water for 30 seconds before adding to the mixture. 
  • Vanilla Extract– Vanilla adds a warm subtle flavor that pulls the ingredients together.
  • Almond Extract– Adding a small amount gives the cookies a subtle almond essence. 
  • Baking Powder– This allows the cookies to rise and obtain that beautiful soft texture. 
  • Salt– Adding salt to any baked good really just rounds out the sweetness because it draws out the flavor of other ingredients.
  • Flour– This recipe uses all purpose flour to create the softest cookies. 
  • Powdered Sugar– Powdered sugar makes the icing thick, but also adds the sweetness that icing requires.
  • Milk– Whole milk is best. 
  • Corn Syrup– Corn syrup will add a beautiful glossy finish to your icing. 

Make Soft Christmas Cookies in 4 Easy Steps

  1. Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar– Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a stand mixer in a large bowl. Add in eggs and vanilla. 
  2. Incorporate dry ingredients– Slowly incorporate dry ingredients until a ball forms. Chill dough. 
  3. Bake soft cookies– Roll dough with your rolling pin, cut your cookies, place on cookie sheets, and bake in the oven. Enjoy!
  4. Make Icing– Whisk together icing ingredients (2 cups powdered sugar, 2-3 Tb whole milk, and 1 Tb light corn syrup). Add to a piping bag or piping bottles. Use food coloring to create colors.
baked sugar cookies laying on a white counter

Variations for Soft Christmas Cookies

  • Sprinkles– Sprinkles can add a festive look, especially if you use Christmas colors.
  • Hot Cinnamon Candies– These little candies are a Christmas red, and pack a little hot spice to the flavor of the icing.
  • Crushed Candy Canes– Candy canes are such a Christmas tradition, and taste great on top of these cookies.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips– Everyone loves chocolate, so add these mini chips to some of your cookies if you’d like!

Tips for making soft Christmas cookies

  • Use softened butter. This allows the dough to be perfectly soft and have a tender crumble to the cookie. Allowing the butter to sit out at room temperature overnight will make it easier to mix it into the dough. 
  • Use a cold baking sheet. You want to make sure that the cookies don’t start the cooking process until they are in the oven. Having a cold cookie sheet will give the cookies that delicious texture on the outside. 
  • Once the dough has been in the fridge for a chill time of an hour, cut the cookies into whatever shapes you choose. It’s important that it’s chilled first to make it easier to make cut-out cookies.
  • Do not over mix the dough. Over mixing the dough will yield a tough and chewy cookie. Having all your ingredients at room temperature will help distribute the ingredients evenly without having to over mix. 
  • If you are planning on using gluten free or any other type of flour, make sure that you follow package instructions for the proper ratios. 
  • If you do not prefer almond extract, you can leave this ingredient out of the recipe.

How do you store leftover soft Christmas cookies?

These cookies make a great gift so you can use a pretty cookie tin or other airtight container lined with parchment paper, plastic wrap, or wax paper to gift them to others.

Store them in the refrigerator for 2-5 days, or at room temperature for 1-2 days.

If you plan on storing these cookies in the freezer, you can make and freeze the dough for several months, or make a batch of cookies without icing and freeze them for 1-2 months.

Wrap the dough or cookies in plastic wrap, and then add them to a zip-lock baggie.

Let the cookie dough thaw to room temperature if they’ve been in the freezer and then bake according to recipe instructions. 

christmas tree sugar cookies on a wooden platter

How Do You Reheat Soft Christmas Cookies?

Since these cookies are naturally soft they can be eaten at room temperature.

If you prefer your cookies to be warm, preheat your oven to 275 degrees F and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the dough is warmed through.

If your cookies are iced, you will want to keep an eye on the cookies as the frosting will melt. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes these soft Christmas sugar cookies unique?

It’s the cream cheese! Most sugar cookie recipes do not require cream cheese. It makes this sugar cookies recipe extra delicious!

Why does the dough need to be rolled out to 1/4″ thick?

If it’s any thinner, the cookies can be brittle and burn more easily.

How do you know when your Christmas cookies are baked just right?

They should be set, but not hard, and have a slight bit of color on top. Take them out before the edges start to brown.

Best Soft Christmas Cookies Recipe

christmas tree sugar cookies on a wooden platter

Soft Christmas Cookies

Liz Quick
There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked cookies in the oven to create the perfect cozy atmosphere in your home during the Christmas season. Spending time together in the kitchen, rolling out fresh dough for these soft Christmas cookies, and decorating them is the perfect way to create the best memories during the Christmas season.
Prep Time 1 hr 50 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
0 mins
Total Time 1 hr 58 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 dozen
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 electric stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • 1 whisk
  • cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • Christmas cookie cutters

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup salted butter softened (1½ sticks)
  • 2 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extra
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour

Instructions
 

  • Place the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in the large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg, vanilla, and almond extracts.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  • Turn the mixer on low speed and gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat until fully incorporated and a soft dough ball is formed.
  • Divide dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap tightly. Let them chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • While the oven preheats, roll out one ball of dough to ¼" thickness. I like to lightly flour the surface to prevent sticking or spray some non-stick spray on the surface of the counter.
  • Cut your cookies using the cookie cutter of our choice and lay the cookies on the baking sheet. Allow room for expansion as the cookies bake.
  • Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes depending upon your oven.
  • Repeat with the second ball of dough.

Notes

  • Use softened butter. This allows the dough to be perfectly soft and have a tender crumble to the cookie. Allowing the butter to sit out at room temperature overnight will make it easier to mix it into the dough. 
  • Use a cold baking sheet. You want to make sure that the cookies don’t start the cooking process until they are in the oven. Having a cold cookie sheet will give the cookies that delicious texture on the outside. 
  • Once the dough has been in the fridge for a chill time of an hour, cut the cookies into whatever shapes you choose. It’s important that it’s chilled first to make it easier to make cut-out cookies.
  • Do not over mix the dough. Over mixing the dough will yield a tough and chewy cookie. Having all your ingredients at room temperature will help distribute the ingredients evenly without having to over mix. 
  • If you are planning on using gluten free or any other type of flour, make sure that you follow package instructions for the proper ratios. 
  • If you do not prefer almond extract, you can leave this ingredient out of the recipe.
Keyword Soft Christmas Cookies

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4 Comments

  1. Hey, I’m starting this recipe. It looks so good! How many eggs do you add? It’s not on the ingredient list, but it is on the recipe instructions.

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