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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202 Comments

  1. I didn’t believe you when you said these cookies are addicting. I believe you now. I just made a batch and will need to double it next time or no one else will get any. I love soft cookies and these are the best.

    1. So glad you loved them!

  2. ran out of the cookies this morning and my granddaughter needed more of them to take to school in her lunch. Thanks again for a wonderful recipe.

    1. So glad you love it! ;)

  3. Thank you so much for the great recipe i have already made twice and it’s just wonderful it’s easy to make and yummy to eat ????????????????

  4. Great recipe, I don’t care for almond flavor so I substituted the almond extract with lemon. They came out perfect. Just the right amount of lemon flavor. Just and fyi for those who have commented on flat cookies. I rolled mine into balls, used a small glass coated in flour to flatten just a little. I also make sure the edges are not flat I shape them with the glass they come out with the right amount of puffiness and shape.

    1. Thanks, Desiree! Love the idea of the lemon swap in!

  5. Yacqueline says:

    BUENOS DÍAS QUE GALLETAS TAN LINDA SE VE BIEN RICA. LA HARÉ PARA LA CASA GRACIAS

  6. Maria Soler says:

    This cookies are simply perfect!! I made it just a moment ago! Doesnt need even powder sugar!!!

    1. Thank you, Maria! :)

  7. I had a heck of a time with the baking time and am not sure I got them 100% right, but it was a fun experiment and they’re tasty nonetheless! Thank you for the fun recipe!

  8. How do you “ roll “ dough into a “ball”? ?

    1. You put a little in your palm and put your other palm over that and roll it around into a ball. Remember every playing with play dough and making balls?

  9. Hi– sounds like a really great recipe. I’ve saved it to try. I have 2 questions- I see there is no salt in this recipe. Unusual for a cookie. Any reason why?
    Also- If I roll them in colored sugar do you feel they will not puff up as much??
    Thanks!!!

    1. Hi Mary! Cream cheese has sodium in it, so I didn’t find it necessary to add extra, but you certainly could test it out with 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp. I haven’t rolled mine in colored sugar before, but looks like Linda left a comment that she did that and they puffed up just fine! :)

  10. i didn’t use salt and they taste great. Last batch I made it put colored sugar on top of them and they puffed up just fine.

    1. So glad to hear it, Linda!

  11. Do these need to be refrigerated after baking or can they be stored on the counter?

    1. My cookies haven’t lasted more than 3 days, so they’ve been fine on the counter. I think I would refrigerate if they lasted longer than that. I just doubled the recipe and think I will freeze half so they will last longer.

      1. Excellent cookie recipe! And very simple to make. I gotta admit, i got quite the chuckle out of some of the “different” questions you got asked tho. Thanks for the great recipe!

  12. I’m not a fan of almond extract can I use any other kind?

    1. I love almond extract so haven’t used any other, but I think you could use whatever kind you wanted.

      1. Hi Linda! So glad you love these cookies too! Thanks for the review!

    2. Deborah Fresne says:

      I agree, I made these with the almond extract and I feel like it overpowered the flavors of the cookie. I looked up other cream cheese cookie recipes and most only call for vanilla extract so I will try again without the almond. Other than that these cookies are fabulous!

      1. Hi Deborah! I’m a big almond fan, but you can absolutely use any extract you prefer.

    3. I’m not crazy about Almond extract, either…but I am a huge fan of vanilla, so I doubled it rather than using almond or a different flavor, and if these aren’t the best cookies in the world, I don’t know what is! I’m serious. I almost regret making them because now nothing else is good enough for me & I want to replace every meal with just these cookies. I have people coming over for my birthday today, so I made these cookies…then I immediately hid them because I don’t want to share them. Let those peasant’s eat Oreos!

      1. Shay, thanks so much for review! It gave me a good laugh. Glad you love them!

  13. I am on my second go-round of making these cookies. They were a huge hit to the point I quadrupled the recipe to make sure everyone gets some. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    1. Has anyone tried these with a sugar substitute? My diabetic mother-in-law is coming to stay with us so I’m searching for dessert recipes.

  14. Lisa bogan says:

    Wow, these are good!

  15. I made these cookies and I think Courtney described them perfectly! They’re truly that good.
    I didn’t have cake flour so I made some by combining 1 & 3/4 cup flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch, saving the extra. That worked just fine.
    I also used kerigold butter,
    subbed the almond extract for Simply Organic lemon flavor (1:1),
    chilled the dough overnight,
    rolled the dough-balls in finely ground graham cracker (used my food processor for this) creating a crunchy crust,
    and put a (store-bought, premade) lemon curd thumbprint in the middle.
    Easy-peasy! Like a lil cheesecake bite with amazing texture and lemon flavor!

      1. That sounds delicicous. Can’t wait to try it, thanks.

  16. I made these cookies and they were divine. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  17. Is it possible to make these with almond/coconut flour?

    1. I haven’t tried that, Lori, but if I give it a shot, I will update with how it turned out.

  18. I used a #40 scoop. Didn’t bother to flatten. Baked 10 minutes. Simple and delicious. Looking forward to trying with lemon extract in place of the vanilla (maybe a little zest in the dough).

  19. sandra mcfarland says:

    how would these cookies do if i were to mail them. i’d pack them in an air tight container. just curious about how long before they might lose texture, flavor. thanks

    1. Hi Sandra! I have never mailed them, and I prefer them eaten within 36 hours (usually they don’t even last that long, haha) so I’m not sure they would hold up, but you could always try!

    2. i think it would all depend on how far you will mail them and how long it would take. I have frozen these cookies and they are delicious when they thaw. Maybe you could freeze them before you pack them and mail them off.

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