Looking for a classic, foolproof cream cheese cutout cookie recipe? Look no further. These cutout cookies hold their shape when baked, they’re sweet, tender, and tasty, and most important, children love them. More to the point, children love making them. The dough can be made days in advance and stashed in the fridge. The recipe yields about 50 cookies, perfect for gifting for the holiday season!

Decorated Christmas cookies.

There is a woman here in town who, I have no doubt, would defeat Bobby Flay in a Christmas-cookie throw down. Her name is Kelly, and I met her this past summer at a lawn-games Olympics party. After one bite of her legendary cookies, I immediately enlisted her to make a batch for a similarly themed neighborhood gathering. The cookies were the hit of the evening. (Sorry Simone.)

I’ve never asked Kelly for her recipe—I sense it’s treasured—but at one point while we were talking, she let on that cream cheese was the secret. In preparation for holiday cookie season, I did a teensy, teensy bit of research online and found a recipe that yields a cookie not quite as beautiful as Kelly’s, but equally delicious — they hold their shape when baked, they’re sweet, tender, and tasty, and most important, the children love them.

More to the point, the children love making them, which I confess do not. Rolling out dough to a precise thickness, tinting icing to an un-garish hue, piping of any sort—it’s just not in my wheelhouse.

Alas. One day I hope to embrace the challenge of Christmas-cookie baking. For now, I’ll continue a newfound tradition, which requires a neighborhood child at least 9-years of age, preferably one named Jane with the most adorable freckles speckling her face. Last Thursday, I handed over the rolling and cutting and decorating reigns to Jane and did my best to stay out of the way.

There was flour everywhere. There were children sitting—standing!—on the table. Not a single cookie’s thickness matched another’s. It took every ounce of restraint not to intervene. I sipped my wine and occupied myself with the dishes and sweeping and tidying. Let it go, I kept telling myself, let it go. And I did. And the cookies—despite the varying thicknesses, the several decapitated snowmen, the many wingless angels—were delicious.

This dough, I find, is best divided into four portions. I let the children tackle three that evening, and during nap time today, I spent some time with the fourth. As noted, piping and tinting are not my thing, but I can handle a simple royal icing, and I do love festive, decorative sprinkles.

Classic Cream Cheese CutOut Cookies on a rack.
Classic cream cheese cookie dough in a stand mixer with a spatula.
Classic cream cheese cookie dough divided into four portions.
Classic cream cheese cookie dough wrapped in wax paper.
Rolling out the classic cream cheese cutout cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper.
Classic Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookie dough on a cutting board, rolled out on parchment paper with biscuit cutters nearby.
Classic cream cheese cutout cookies on a sheet pan ready for the oven.
Just-baked cookies classic cream cheese cutout cookies.
Glazed cookies on a cooling rack.
Classic Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies on a cooling rack.
Classic Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies on a cooling rack.
Decorated Christmas cookies on a cooling rack.
Decorated Christmas cookies.
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Decorated Christmas cookies.

Classic Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies

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5 from 14 reviews

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Recipe adapted from this one.


For the Cookies:

  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces | 227 g ) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces (227 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cup (330 g) granulated sugar
  • 1  egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • (448 g) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the icing/decoriating:

  • 1 cup (134 g) confectioner’s sugar, or more as needed
  • 13 tablespoons milk
  • sprinkles of your liking


  1. Combine butter and cream cheese in the bowl and of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy. Add sugar; beat until even fluffier. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add it to the butter and cream cheese mixture and beat until just combined. Transfer a quarter of the dough to the center of a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper. Pat into a disk, and wrap tightly. Repeat with the remaining three quarters. Chill for at least an hour and up to three days.
  3. Preheat your oven to 325º F. Roll out our dough on a lightly floured surface or in between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/2-inch thick. Cut out your cookies with cookie cutters of your choice. Gather scraps, re-roll, and repeat the process.
  4. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden—cookies will be pale with light golden edges. Remove them from the pan and transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely. Note: I don’t like baking more than one sheet of cookies at a time, but do as you like. 
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Stir together the confectioner’s sugar with 1 tablespoon of the milk. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time to achieve a thick but pourable consistency. Spoon icing onto cookie, spreading to cover. Shower with sprinkles.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American