Cream Cheese Cookies (Pillow Soft Cookies)

Cream cheese cookies are the most heavenly little bites of sweetness! They’re addicting; you’ve been warned!

Cream Cheese Cookies Recipe

Cream Cheese Cookies

If you have never tried cream cheese cookies, you’re in for a TREAT! Something magical happens when you add cream cheese to a cookie! You get this soft, moist, chewy cookie that feels like you’re eating a cloud. They puff right up, and they’re addicting!

I “fussed” quite a bit with this recipe to make it absolutely perfect. First, it was too dry and we can’t have that. Second, it wasn’t fluffy enough.

Finally, I found the perfect combination of all of the ingredients! Let me let you in on a little secret, there are THREE secrets in these cookies. Three. Pay close attention.

Cream Cheese Cookies

The 3 Secrets to Cream Cheese Cookies

  1. The cream cheese. Naturally. It’s the “key” ingredient that makes these cookies so good! Don’t leave it out! Well, except out on your counter to come to room temperature before baking, of course. ;)
  2. Cake Flour. You can find in the regular flour section. I tend to buy Swans Down brand (red box). This is the key to making a soft cookie that feels like a cloud!
  3. Baking time! This will vary by a lot of factors for your oven from altitude to what type of pan you use but this trick will help you! Watch for the very edges of these cookies to begin turning a golden brown, then pull them!
Cream Cheese Cookies, soft as a cloud!

Now that we have the two secrets out of the way, let’s get on with more reasons why I love these cream cheese cookies.

These cookies are not an overly sweet cookie so they do lend themselves to being glazed or iced. You can also keep it simple and just dust with powdered sugar. You don’t even have to do that, but if you want an extra touch of sweetness, go for it. You only live once.

Easy Cream Cheese Cookies

My daughter helped me with this shoot, my little apprentice is home all summer. Not only did she help me bake these cream cheese cookies, but she stood over my shoulder to watch behind the camera so I could teach her about lighting and photography. She is also 4, so she was really doing all of this so she could get in on the “eating” action.

Cream Cheese Cookies Recipe

After we wrapped up the shoot, I let her frost some with buttercream frosting (and of course, her weight in sprinkles). I noticed that the flavor reminded me of the grocery store “Lofthouse Cookies”, do you know the ones I’m talking about? Heavenly. These cream cheese cookies take just fine on their own, but we enjoyed the frosting!

cream cheese cookies

You’ll notice I used vanilla and almond extracts. This combination is my personal preference, but play around with your favorite extracts. Stick to all vanilla, all almond, add in a little lemon. You can’t go wrong.

“These cookies, with out a doubt, are the best I’ve ever made. My whole family absolutely raves over them.” – Jan Heller

Keep in mind that the dough DOES need to be refrigerated for at least an hour, so plan ahead! It’s worth the wait!

Cream Cheese Cookies Recipe

Cream Cheese Cookies

Pillowy soft cream cheese cookies that melt in your mouth! 
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chilling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 22 cookies
Calories 75 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour

Instructions
 

  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cream together butter and cream cheese with electric mixer. 
  • Add sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add egg and beat to combine. Add extracts and beat until combined. Add in baking powder and cake flour (in three sections), mixing to combine. 
  • Once incorporated, refrigerate dough for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dough is sticky so use flour on your hands to roll out 1-2 inch balls. You can use the bottom of a cup/glass dipped in flour to gently flatten the balls. Don't flatten too much or the cookies won't puff up. 
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes. Important: Pull them out when you see the underside edges turning golden! This might vary for your oven and altitude. Watch these cookies carefully. 

Notes

If you want, you can cut back on the almond extract, leave it out, or swap it for vanilla or even a lemon extract! These cream cheese cookies are delicious frosted or not!

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 3mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 11IUCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

There you have it! Cream cheese cookies! The dough stores very well in the refrigerator so you can prep it a couple of days in advance if needed. For the baked cookies, I keep them in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days! I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does.

I am already looking forward to the Christmas baking season so we can add these cream cheese cookies to the rotation this year!

Find this recipe and more in my latest book, The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook!

If you’re looking for more dessert ideas, check out these other faves:

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192 Comments

  1. Alexandra says:

    How many eggs? They’re not in the list

      1. Melba Neeley says:

        about haw many cookies will this make

        1. It made 34 cookies for me

          1. My recipe made 19 medium cookies.

        2. I just made this recipe and made 42 cookies, but on the smaller size, like a two bite.

      2. Do you use salted or unsalted butter??

        1. Either can be used, but I used unsalted-personal preference.

  2. Salted or unsalted butter??

    1. I used unsalted butter

      1. I used salted and they were great.

    2. Can u use flour instead of cake flour?

      1. Linda K Viernes says:

        I wouldn’t. It’s easy enough to make cake flour if you don’t have any. Take a cup of flour, minus 2 Tbsp. and in place of the 2 TBSP add 2 TBSP of cornstarch. Mix it well and you have cake flour.

        1. Great tip! Thanks! Does it work well with hot cake flour like Aunt Jemima for example? Although your tip for cake flour is great! I really want to try them…. they look amazing

          1. These cookies are amazing. Make a double batch if possible because they won’t last long! If there are other ingredients in the hot cake flour, it won’t work for these cookies, I don’t think. You need regular flour to make the cake flour with the cornstarch. I am making a double batch this morning and will hide half of them in the freezer to have some for Christmas. Everyone in my family loves these cookies.

      2. I just made these and used regular flour. They were not sticky at all to roll and were still fluffy inside. Had a little fun and did some with coloured sprinkles, some with different coloured sugars. Looked colourful for an entertaining platter. Too bad you can’t post pictures here.

        1. Does the recipe call for 3/4 cup flour only or 1cup AND 3/4 cup flour?

          1. It’s 1 and 3/4 cup totally 1 3/4 cup flour. 1.75 cups flour.

  3. These sound delicious! Can you tell me about how many cookies this recipe makes?

    1. Hi Patricia! I’ll have to remake to get an exact count, but I believe it was not quite 2 dozen. I love any excuse to make these, haha, so stay tuned!

      1. Is it possible ro not use the egg?

        1. Jazmyne, that would change the make-up of the batter and it might not create the same type of cookie. I haven’t tried it without the egg, so I can’t say for certain. But it’s worth a try!

          1. What could you use in place of the egg?

      2. I added crushed pecans to my cookie dough (our family loves nuts in all cookies!) and sifted powdered sugar on them once they came out of the oven. So good!!

    2. I used a tablespoon and it gets me a little over 30 cookies.

  4. You forgot to account for the refrigeration time in your recipe card. My bad for not reading ahead, but it would have been nice to see that part at the beginning, and not get caught by surprise in the middle of everything…

    1. Just a tip. All recipes should be read thoroughly before attempting. The instructions are part of the recipe and just as important;)

      1. DeAnna N. Hobbs-Walker says:

        So do you bake it on the parchment paper?

  5. can I freeze these cookies?

    1. Hi Diana! I haven’t tried to freeze them yet but I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t freeze well!

  6. For anyone without cake flour, remove 2 TB of flour, replace with 2 TB of cornstarch. It works (;

    1. Hi, I was wondering if I could use this recipe to make thumbprint cookies?

  7. Connie McNabb says:

    Hand mixer or stand mixer? Does it matter?

    1. I used a stand mixer. I imagine that you could use a mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer just the same though.

      1. Do I have to wait to powder them with sugar once they come out of the oven or can I powder them right away?

  8. You misread the recipe there is one cup of sugar listed

    1. Ginnee Berg says:

      I sincerely apologize. I totally missed the cup of sugar in the recipe. Please delete my comment as it was my error. Thank you!

      1. Thanks Ginnee, I appreciate it.

  9. These look heavenly!! Can’t wait to try them out!

    1. Paula Eyford says:

      I agree. And it could happen tomorrow as I watch Bianca beat Serena!

  10. If not using the almond extract, should I increase the vanilla or leave it at one teaspoon?

    1. Barb, you can go either way. I’d likely increase because I love the extra boost of flavor.

      1. If you wanted to give this a lemon twist, would you leave out the almond flavoring and use lemon zest?

        1. Hi Janet! Yes, I’d leave out the almond, add lemon zest and perhaps lemon extract, depending on how “Lemony” you wanted it.

        2. Flavor is very good but they are not as fluffy as I expected. I made 17 cookies from one batch and I would love that we could upload images to see how they turned out. These are yummy! I used both extracts and they turned pretty good and also sprinkled powdered sugar on top of them. Not sure if I should increase a little bit the baking powder

          1. Courtney Whitmore says:

            Hi Vero! Did you push them down with glass quite a lot or just a little bit? It could be they were flattened out a bit. Is your baking powder new/fresh? There are so many factors that can affect things with baking. I’m glad you thought they were yummy though!

  11. Christine says:

    I didnt refrigerate dough and they still turned out. Very moist almond flavored cookie. Reminded me of the mexican wedding cookie….

  12. JoAnn mccaffrey says:

    These are delicious but mine came out skinny and flat. Not to mention the mess I had making them. They were delicious but the mess in my kitchen as incredible. I just found them impossible to roll in m hands. I had flour everywhere.

    1. Mine also turned out flat. Yummy tho’. What can I do to make them puff and not flatten!

      1. When i made these cookies Last weekend I increase the cream cheese to an 8oz block I added one and a half cups of sugar 2 eggs and 2 and 1/2 cups of flour. I also refrigerated it for a bit longer and had no problem rolling the dough into balls. I however did not flatten them out when I bake them and they turned out very nice thick soft pillowy delicious cookies

      2. I flattened mine to about 3/8″. If you flatten too much they won’t be puffy.

  13. Nancy A Hahn says:

    Can this recipe be successfully doubled….does not look like one batch will suffice at our house!

    1. Hi Nancy, I haven’t doubled it myself but I imagine it should work out just fine. :)

    2. These cookies are addictive. I make a double batch of them twice a month. And they freeze well. Thank you for supplying me with my favorite cookie recipe!

  14. May I know if my top and bottom heating element should be on? I have an electric oven without fan

  15. Great cookies, thanks for the recipe. I will be making more pretty soon…

  16. GREAT COOKIES! Easy to make. Froze well. A new favorite!

    1. Thank you Bridget, so glad you loved them!

  17. Jan Heller says:

    These cookies, with out a doubt, are the best I’ve ever made. My whole family absolutely raves over them.

    1. So glad you loved it, Jan! Thank you!

      1. Can we make them without eggs

  18. Can’t wait to make them

  19. Marie Proffitt says:

    Have you tried sprinkling cookies with colored sugar, red and green for Christmas, orange for Halloween, red, white, and blue…..?

    1. Just wondering if I need to refrigerate. By the way, awesome. I undercooked 1 batch but good even though the center is like a filling lol..

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