Grandma's Sour Cream Cookie Recipe

December 13, 2023

This recipe for Sour Cream Cookies that has been passed down through the generations of my family will likely turn out to be one of your favorite cookies for Christmas baking or anytime of the year.

COOK + BAKE   |   Updated December 10, 2023

Why do old family recipes always seem to taste better than the ones we develop now?

I didn't get a chance to know my Grandma Mickey much before she died, but from the stories I've heard, she was a big fan of making sure cookies were offered when you were there to visit. And this one for Sour Cream Cookies is still made on a regular basis by practically everyone in my dad's family and not just at Christmas.

There is something irresistible about the flavor of these cookies and I think you'll enjoy making them for the holiday this year as well. Read on to find out why they are so fabulous and exactly how to prepare them.

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Why You'll Love this Recipe

There are a few reasons why I think you'll enjoy this recipe for Sour Cream Cookies as much as my family does.


While these cookies look very similar to sugar cookies, especially when cut out into shapes, they have a unique taste all their own. While you can't actually taste the sour cream in the finished cookie, it gives them a rich, almost tangy flavor and they are very moist.

And the combination of the cookie and frosting is what really makes this recipe spectacular!


While I've seen other recipes instructing you to chill the dough or comments saying that the cookies turned out like pancakes, the ratio of ingredients in this particular recipe must be right on because I've never had a problem and the dough can be baked straight out of the mixing bowl.


I love that these cookies can be made as cut-out cookies as I'm showing here or drop cookies. It is nice to be able to do them either way depending on the time that you have.

And you can frost them simply in one color or go all out like I've done using multiple colors and waiting for each to dry so you end up with some fancy bakery style decorating.

Add sprinkles or leave them bare.


These are a great make ahead recipe to pull out when you need them.

While I personally don't like to put the frosting on the cookies before putting them into the freezer, I know other people who successfully do it. But both the cookies and the frosting fare very well for quite some time stored in airtight containers or zip-top bags.

What You'll Need

For your convenience, a full ingredients list, directions for making Sour Cream Cookies, and a printable recipe option appear further down in this article. Here is an overview of what you'll be needing.

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda and baking powder - you'll need both for optimal rise
  • shortening - butter flavor is best, but you can use All-Vegetable if that is what you have
  • granulated sugar
  • salt
  • sour cream - use full fast sour cream as this gives your cookies their unique flavor and moist texture
  • large eggs
  • vanilla
  • confectioner's sugar - for the frosting

How to Make Sour Cream Cookies

Now that have all the ingredients ready, it is time to put these together.

STEP 1: In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine and then set aside.

STEP 2: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar into the shortening until it is soft and fluffy. Then add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

STEP 3: Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined.

STEP 4: Your dough should not be very sticky, so this allows you a choice as to how you'll make your cookies.

You can drop the dough by tablespoons (I like to use a spring-loaded cookie scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Or roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to and cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. The cookies will puff up a bit as they bake, so don't roll the dough too thick. Aim for 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Dip your cookie cutter into some flour if the dough is sticking.

Leave about two inches of space between either the balls of dough or cut-out shapes.

STEP 5: Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cool the cookies on a wire rack.

STEP 6: When the cookies have cooled completely, you can mix up your frosting. Combine the confectioner's sugar with the remaining sour cream and vanilla. If the frosting seems too thick, stir in a few drops of milk.

You can then divide the frosting into separate bowls and add food coloring if you'd wish or use the frosting plain. The frosting can be added by dipping the cookie down into the bowl or frosting or smooth it on with a knife.

Add sprinkles or whatever embellishments you desire immediately after icing the cookie.

Tips for Making this Recipe

  • Don't overmix the dough. You just want the ingredients to be combined together just enough to form a cohesive dough in order to maintain the cookie's light texture.

  • This dough can either be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters or dropped by tablespoon amounts directly onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Baking times are approximately the same either way.

  • You can roll the dough thicker (about 1/2 inch) if you prefer a soft and chewy cookie or thinner (about 1/4 inch) for a more crisp cookie.

  • If you are rolling the cookies, the scraps of dough can be rolled out again, but I like to only do this once with all the leftovers to preserve the texture.

  • If you are doing drop cookies, use a spring-loaded cookie scoop for equal sized cookies. This helps both for presentation and to ensure that the cookies bake evenly.

  • Both the cookies and frosting can be made ahead of time and stores in the freezer, although I don't like to put the frosting on the cookies before freezing. Store them inside of an airtight container or zip-top bag for up to three months.

  • I prefer to use paste food coloring from Wilton when tinting the frosting because it gives you a more vibrant color.

  • If you are decorating a cookie with multiple colors or adding details, be sure to let the first color dry before adding a second layer of frosting.


A recipe passed down through generations that will likely become one of your new favorite cookies for Christmas baking...or anytime of the year.



  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 2 pounds confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk (optional, use if frosting is too dry)


STEP 1: Preheat oven to 350°F.

STEP 2: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

STEP 3: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and shortening until soft and fluffy. Add the flour and mix until combined. Then add in the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and mix until a cohesive dough forms.

STEP 4: Roll out the dough and cut into shapes using cookie cutters or drop the dough by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

STEP 5: Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and remove the cookies to a wire rack.

STEP 6: When the cookies have cooled completely, stir together the confectioner's sugar, remaining sour cream, and vanilla. If the frosting seems too thick, add a few drops of milk. Divide the frosting into separate bowls and add food coloring if you wish. Top with sprinkles or whatever embellishments you desire immediately after adding the frosting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have some questions about making this recipe? Here are some that are frequently asked to help guide you through the process.


They are best if eaten within seven days when stored in an airtight container.


These cookies freeze very well, as does the icing. I recommend freezing them prior to adding the icing, but this is a matter of personal preference. Freeze the cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper or wax paper in between the layers. The icing can be stored inside of a zip-top bag or container. You may notice that it stays soft even when frozen. Place it into the refrigerator until your cookies have a chance to thaw to room temperature. The cookies will last up to three months if stored properly.


While I personally have never tried this recipe using butter instead of shortening, you should be able to get cookies of a similar taste and texture. Just make sure you cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.


The full-fat sour cream is what ultimately gives these cookies their flavor, so I do not recommend substituting yogurt into the recipe.

However you choose to prepare these cookies, I'm sure that they will become one of your favorites as well to bake during the Christmas holiday....or anytime of the year.

Other Cookie Recipes You Might Like

SOFT PUMPKIN COOKIES WITH BROWN BUTTER ICING - Another family favorite we make each fall and Christmas


CRANBERRY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES - A seasonal twist to the ordinary chocolate chip cookie

RAISIN OATMEAL COOKIES - A family recipe from my other grandma!

CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BISCOTTI - Topped with a white chocolate drizzle

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