Best Cream Cheese Cookie Recipe - How to Make Cream Cheese Cookies

5 Ingredients or Fewer

Cream Cheese Cookies

November  6, 2020
28 Ratings
Author Notes

With the exception of Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos, my mother made most of the sweet treats in our house growing up. I've written about her chocolate chip cookies, her banana bread and her white chocolate snowflakes, but I realized that in all the years I've been writing about food–and poaching her recipes–I've never written about what is perhaps her most iconic cookie. Her cream cheese cookies are revered not just among my immediate family members–they're probably my mother's most requested recipe. Countless family friends have incorporated these into their repertoires over the years, and for good reason.

The cookies couldn't be easier to make, which makes them ideal for last-minute bake sales or houseguests. They're chewy in the center, where the texture is kind of like a coconut macaroon, with buttery, burnished edges that crumble like a sandcastle gently collapsing. The cream cheese gives the cookies a nearly unidentifiable tang that keeps you reaching for just one more.

My favorite part, though? My mother got the recipe at a Tupperware party in the 70s. One of the women brought a batch of the cookies with her, and at the end of the party she dictated the ingredients and instructions to all of the other guests. Who knows how many subtle variations of this recipe exist today, legendary among countless other families? —Merrill Stubbs

  • Makes about 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (we recommend using Land O'Lakes)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a standing mixer or hand beaters, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix in the flour and salt, just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and give it a quick stir with a spoon to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
  2. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie (they will spread a little). Bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Do not over-bake, or the cookies won't be chewy! Cool slight on the cookie sheet, and then remove the cookies with a spatula and let them finish cooling on a rack.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sandra Nicole Roldan
    Sandra Nicole Roldan
  • debplusthree
    debplusthree
  • BerettaFleur
    BerettaFleur
  • samanthaalison
    samanthaalison
  • Stephanie West
    Stephanie West

    168 Reviews

    Sandra N. May 11, 2020
    followed the recipe exactly but it turned out cloying and exceedingly sweet, almost inedible. could not taste any cream cheese at all, tasted of nothing but sugar. flat and bland, so very one dimensional. needs more salt, and perhaps more cream cheese. for next time, very tempted to use only half the sugar in the recipe—as nigella lawson suggests for american dessert recipes. and will probably turn this is into a parmesan cream cheese cookie, by adding 50g grated hard cheese, for more depth of flavor. this is the 2nd food52 recipe i’ve tried and i am again very disappointed at the lack of complexity and flavor.
     
    debplusthree April 11, 2020
    Outstanding. Exactly as promised, completely addictive and I love that they use such a small amount of ingredients, lovely when we are trying not to leave the house during the shelter-at-home order. Another winner, Food52!
     
    moseceltic April 8, 2020
    Though I liked these, I was looking for a bit more flavor. I can see how the recipe can be modified/augmented and may try some. Has anyone tried using maple sugar for part of the granulated? What proportion do you thin might work?
     
    Suzanne April 8, 2020
    For additional flavor - I added citrus zest - did 1/2 batter with lemon and the other 1/2 with orange. It was an awesome zing of flavor and cut the richness a bit as well.
     
    moseceltic April 12, 2020
    Glad to hear it! I’ll give it a try. Thanks!
     
    moseceltic April 8, 2020
    Though I liked these, I was looking for a bit more flavor. I can see how the recipe can be modified/augmented and may try some. Has anyone tried using maple sugar for part of the granulated? What proportion do you thin might work?
     
    BerettaFleur April 6, 2020
    Mine came out very very flat - with no lift at all. Basically flat chewy sugar wafers like taffy. Was there supposed to be baking soda or powder in this? I’m not sure what I did wrong here...
     
    Aidonna April 4, 2020
    Could almond flour be substituted for regular flour? Would like to make these as a Passover cookie.
     
    Helen T. April 4, 2020
    Would it be possible to have all of the recipes include metric weights in addition to standard dry measures?
     
    samanthaalison April 2, 2020
    I've had these bookmarked for a long time but they were never enough of a "project" for weekend baking - but perfect for a quick shelter-in-place afternoon baking session. These were so easy and sooo good. There are only two of us and they're more than half gone in less than 24 hours.

    I didn't chill mine but had no issues with spreading. I hate measuring by volume - did 195 g sugar and 130 g flour. I used a #70 cookie scoop and I think I ended up with about 28 cookies.
     
    Hallie November 13, 2019
    This is the best cookie recipe! I use 6 TBSP each of butter and cream cheese and refrigerate dough for a while or even over night. I have made chocolate chip cookies by substituting half brown sugar and adding vanilla and of course choc chips. (And mini marshmallows) Also I have substituted half oat flour and added oats and cranberries. And can’t forget lemon zest and vanilla. Thanks so much for this great Basic recipe!
     
    Stephanie W. August 23, 2019
    So Good! Next time I will make a double batch! Thanks to the suggestions from others, I popped the dough in the frig until cold enough to make balls. Baked at 330 for about 15 minutes, just until starting to brown around the edges. A wonderful, tangy butter cookie!
     
    Suzanne June 6, 2019
    Would I be able to use greek cream cheese instead of the standard version? not sure how the less fat affects recipe
     
    Erika April 24, 2019
    Has anyone tried this recipe with almond flour or coconut flour?
     
    KR December 20, 2018
    In case anyone else is wondering...I haven't read all the comments (147 @ this pt in time)...
    8 tablespoons of butter is a regular stick of butter (1/4 lb)
    3 oz of cream cheese seems to be about 85 g per google conversion.
    ...Ok, so now I know, I can make these tomorrow. I'm looking forward to this cookie v much!
     
    KR December 24, 2018
    UPDATE: Made one batch tonight with 1/4 lb of butter & approx 85g of cream cheese and used an All Purpose GF flour mix from Kinnikinnick Foods to replace the full measure of reg flour. (I'm in Canada, & there are a few brands of GF available here in my local Safeway). Reduced the sugar to 2/3C, & it's plenty sweet for me. Finished mixing with a spatula bc it looked like it wasn't going to come together, but it did.
    Also added about 1 tsp of Meyer lemon zest & 1/4 tsp lemon extract. Used Creamtea's suggestions below to form into small balls & refrigerate them (I just crammed them onto 2 dinner plates--more efficient than a tray at a time). The colder they are, the less they spread to give the delicate golden edge...still delish, though!
    Baking at 325 for about 14 min seemed to be the best. *** SO GOOD!!***
    ...I'm v glad that I put the measure of butter & cream cheese into a covered dish in the fridge at the ready for my next batch.
    Thanks so much for this recipe!!!!
     
    Author Comment
    Merrill S. December 24, 2018
    So glad you were happy with the results -- can't wait to try your modifications!
     
    Karen L. July 1, 2018
    These cookies are amazing. We've made them a few years running now. Perfect for a snow white cookie at Christmas. I've also shared the recipe with many but it's perfect for those who are egg-free. One of our very favorites!
     
    creamtea May 18, 2018
    After reading the comments about spreading, here's what worked for me: I chilled the dough and formed small balls, between marble and walnut size. After the first batch spread and joined at the edges (I had flattened the balls into disks) I reduced oven temp to 300º, spaced them wider, ~3 inches apart without flattening, and baked for 12-14 minutes. They formed beautiful perfect round wafers with brown edges and are delicious.
     
    KR December 24, 2018
    Thanks for sharing your tips. I found 325 for 15 minutes worked very well for me. They spread beautifully for me. The marble size balls spread to be almost like a wafer. The walnut-sized balls still had a bit of a plump middle and bc they had been chilled longer, did not spread out as much.
     
    KR December 24, 2018
    forgot to say that this made more than the 2 dozen... maybe 32? (if I open the tin, I will have to sample again--quality control is a serious business!)
     
    Laura W. March 3, 2018
    I just made a batch of these, as written, minus 2 tablespoons of sugar. I have a cookie scoop that measures exactly 1 tablespoon, and I got 25 cookies out of the recipe. My oven bakes a little slow, so it took 14-15 minutes per cookie sheet, and the edges were just barely browned, but I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a bit longer than I intended, & they developed that beautiful, golden ring around the edges of the almost pure white cookies. We tried a couple while they were still a little warm, and thought, "What is everyone raving about?" BUT, after dinner we had a couple more, and, oh, my goodness! They have a scrumptious, wonderful, cheesecake-y flavor. Thank you so much, for a new family favorite! Can't wait to serve them to friends.
     
    Carolyn B. January 4, 2018
    Do these need to be refrigerated after baking?
     
    Carolyn B. January 5, 2018
    Thanks
     
    Shannon December 17, 2016
    These are crazy tasty. I made mine with mascarpone since I didn't have regular cream cheese and it started to separate in the stand mixer. Cookies came out oily, prob since I used the wrong cheese, but I ate five immediately anyway. So delicious and will use regular cream cheese next time.
     
    Clee July 1, 2018
    Marscapone separates if not chilled. So work quickly when using.
     
    Rachel L. November 9, 2016
    Hey everyone! this is my first time commenting on a recipe! I'm a self-taught baker and have recently been going through the food52 baking book! I used the 365 cream cheese brand regular, weighed all the dry ingredients and ended up with very mushy oily cookies. then i realized why. i only had Earth Balance butter and thats all OIL! so now i'm going to try an unsalted butter like Land O' Lakes and do this again later today.
     
    Clee July 1, 2018
    You’ve probably figured this out by now, but just like any art...the better the ingredients the better the outcome
     
    Dania October 20, 2016
    I read a few of the comments prior to baking these and thereby 1) reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup, 2) added a bit of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp) and used a well known cream cheese brand. They turned out great - not too sweet, nutmeg added a bit of spice and spreading was minimal. Will add them to my Christmas cookies line up!