What makes these the BEST frosted sugar cookies?
To bring this idea to life, I had to think like a bakery. They typically use some secret ingredients to make their treats extra special, so I check out a few popular cookie bakeries to see that most use oil in their cookies. Yes, OIL in COOKIES?
But it totally works! These sugar cookies are baked with a combination of butter and oil. The butter is there to add flavor, while the oil keeps these cookies super moist and tender. It’s just the right balance to where you can’t taste the oil, but we still get too reap all the textural benefits!
Additionally, these cookies are baked in bakery-style amounts. In other words, they’re big! This not only makes them extra special, but big cookies also bake better. It takes longer for the oven heat to reach the center which leaves us with a super dense and tender center.
After the cookies have cooled, they’re topped with a simple homemade vanilla buttercream that’s slightly fluffy and so smooth. The best part – it can be dyed with any color!
Tips for baking soft sugar cookies
- Flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail, especially for cookies. If there’s too much flour, the cookies will turn out dry and they will not spread. If possible, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure the exact amount, gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level if off with a flat edge. If scooped directly into the flour container, the flour packs down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Cornstarch – Don’t skip this ingredient! It helps create an extra tender sugar cookie.
- Butter – Start with room temperature butter! The soft butter is mixed with sugar to create tiny little air pockets which helps the oven heat freely flow through the cookie. If the butter is too firm, this process cannot happen.
- Mixing – Right when the dough comes together, stop mixing! Over worked dough can lead to tough cookies.
- Scoop – Use a large 2 oz cookie scoop, or 1/4 measuring cup. The larger size is key to a tender and soft center.
- Press – Roll the dough into a ball but then lightly flatten the top with your palm. This gives the cookie a head-start on spreading since it’s a fairly thick dough.
- Appearance – The cookies may look a bit too puffed when they’re fresh from the oven, but they should settle and flatten out as they cool.
How to make frosting for sugar cookies
The frosting for these sugar cookies is really easy to make and consists of just 4 ingredients – butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla.
First, the room temperature butter is mixed until smooth. It’s very important that it’s at room temperature before mixing, otherwise you will end up with a lumpy buttercream.
The powdered sugar is then mixed in one cup at a time, followed by the vanilla and milk.
At the end, the frosting can be assessed. If it appears too thick, mix in another tablespoon of milk. If it’s too thin, mix in another cup of powdered sugar.
This buttercream recipe is very forgiving, so it should turn out perfect every time!
How to add color to frosting
For the best outcome, use gel food coloring. A tiny bit goes a long way, so it will not affect the consistency of the frosting.
For a pale color, one drop of gel color is all that’s needed. But most gel food coloring is a bit too vibrant for my liking, so just a touch of brown food coloring helps mellow out the intensity.
Simply dip the tip of a toothpick into the brown gel food coloring and swipe it into the frosting. This should be the tiniest smudge! It’s best to add a small amount at first, and then mix and assess to see if more is needed.
How to frost sugar cookies
The one thing to remember when frosting sugar cookies is to make sure the cookies are COMPLETELY cooled before adding the frosting on top. If there’s even a slight hint of warmth, the frosting will slip around.
Once cooled, my method of frosting goes like this:
- Scoop – Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop a dollop of frosting right in the center. If you don’t have a scoop handy, simply plop some buttercream on top using a spoon.
- Spread – Using an offset spatula, I then work the glob of frosting from the inside out to the edges to cover the cookie.
- Swirl – Once the cookie covered, I go pack in and roughly swirl the layer of frosting.
- Sprinkle – Immediately top with sprinkles before a skin forms! If you wait to add the sprinkles after all the cookies have been frosting, the sprinkles will not stick as well.
Just like that, the frosted sugar cookies are ready to enjoy!
For even more sugar cookie recipes, check out my:
- Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Perfect Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Peanut Butter Neapolitan Cookies
- Frosted Lucky Charms Cookies
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram if you make these Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 cookies
These soft frosted sugar cookies are WAY better than Lofthouse! Made with a combination of butter and oil, the cookies are super tender and soft throughout. They’re then topped with a smooth vanilla butter cream and, of course, sprinkles!
- 2 1/2 cups (320g) all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50ml) vegetable or canola oil
- 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (185g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 2–3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1–2 tbsp milk
- Pink gel food coloring
- Rainbow sprinkles
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (medium high speed for 2-3 minutes).
- With the mixing running on medium-low speed, pour in the oil in a slow and steady stream.
- Once combined, scrape down the bowl and mix in the eggs one at a time.
- Mix in the vanilla and scrape down the bowl again.
- Dump in half of the dry ingredients and give it a light mix, then add in the rest and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and ensure everything is evenly incorporated. The dough should be thick but tacky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- After 20-25 minutes, preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator after the 30 minutes is up. Using a large 2oz cookie scoop (equal to about 1/4 cup), scoop out the cookies and roll into a ball. Place the ball onto the baking sheet and lightly flatten the top with your palm. Bake about 4-5 cookies at a time, covering and placing the dough back in the refrigerator between each batch.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are a very pale golden color.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and continue to bake the rest of the dough.
- Using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter until smooth.
- Scrape down the howl and mix in the sugar one cup at a time. Start with just two cups and assess if the third cup is needed at the end.
- Mix in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
- If the buttercream appears too thick, mix in another tablespoon of milk. If it appears too thin, mix in the third cup of powdered sugar.
- For a pale pink color, mix in one drop of pink gel food coloring. I also like to dull down the vibrance by adding a very tiny bit of brown gel food coloring. I do so by dipping the tip of a toothpick into the food coloring and swiping a smudge into the frosting. This is optional, as you can dye the frosting whichever color you like!
- Spread the frosting on the completely cooled cookies and top with sprinkles. Enjoy!
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: sugar cookies, sugar cookie frosting, soft sugar cookies, frosted sugar cookies, better than lofthouse sugar cookies
Could you make these with strawberry cream cheese icing to make it pink instead of food coloring? Maybe freeze dried strawberries blitzed in a food processor? What do you think???
Yes! I’d replace however much freeze dried strawberry powder with equal parts powdered sugar (maybe 1/4 to half a cup). That should do the trick.
HI, It would be so helpful if you listed the weights of the ingredients for those of us who like to save time (and dishes) by using a scale.
Big Halle says
Hi, Jenna! I always refrigerate my cookie dough overnight or longer before I bake it. I think it makes the texture better, and height/thickness greater in the final product. My question is…do you think refrigerating this dough for your soft sugar cookies would adversely change the cookie? I’d like to make some of this dough ahead of time for a gathering I have Sunday. Thank you! I’m really excited to make these beautiful cookies. I think the kids and adults will love them.
I’m with ya on that one! I love refrigerating my cookie dough. I actually have a recipe for soft and chewy sugar cookies where this works really well. Otherwise, you could roll out and press the cookie dough as instructed, and then refrigerate them. Before baking, leave the cookies out at room temperature for about 30 minutes and that should do the trick. The reason why I don’t refrigerate here is because of the wet to dry ingredient ratio. There’s enough flour in here to where the cookies won’t spread too much when baked. Unlike but soft and chewy sugar cookies that have a lot of butter!
Hi! Can we make the buttercream a few days before baking the cookies?
Yes that should be fine!
These are absolutely amazing! I’ve made them several times and they’ve never lasted more than a day! However, getting ready to make another batch and wondering if you’ve ever tried to freeze these? I need them in a week and was wanting to make them today. What do you think?
These cookies come together easily and are super tasty! Thanks for another great recipe, Jenna!
BEST SUGAR COOKIES EVER!
Ahh thank you!!
Delicious! Soft and buttery. Definitely satisfied my craving for a soft frosted sugar cookie.
Hannah Mostafa says
I just made these and they’re amazing! They’re similar to Mrs. Fields frosted sugar cookies from the mall😍and hungry bear!
These were delicious and a huge hit in our home. The only complaint was there weren’t more! I’ll have to double the batch next time.
Danielle M. says
When I tell you that everyone thought I bought these at a bakery……..!!!! The size, the softness, the taste. Exceptionally excellent. I doubled the recipe + eating dough along the way as I do, I was left with exactly 20 cookies. Perfection. This recipe is a MUST-TRY!
Yay! Thank you!!
Can these be used for cut out cookies or do they spread too much? Or does cooking prevent spreading?
They would lose their shape as cut out cookies so I suggest my cut out sugar cookie recipe instead 🙂
Hi! Would it be ok to roll out the dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters? Thinking hearts for Valentine’s day. Thanks!!
Use my cut out sugar cookie recipe instead 🙂
These are so delish! Unpopular opinion but I don’t really like Lofthouse sugar cookies but these cookies are super thick, buttery and topped with the fluffiest vanilla buttercream! I love them so much! SO GOOD
Can this recipe be tripled? Thank you! 😊
LOVE!! THESE COOKIES ARE SO GOOD- thank you (: