Cream Cheese Cookies

September 29, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: My mother's cream cheese 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.

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Reviews (147) Questions (13)

147 Reviews

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.
 
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!
 
Jacqueline July 27, 2016
Really good cookie, excellent with a cup of tea! Might just be me, but they were a tad too sweet for such a rich cookie. I may cut back on the sugar next time even if just by a tablespoon. Also, some fresh grated nutmeg stirred in with the dry ingredients would take these to a whole new level!
 
Kathy March 15, 2016
Do you think after baking you could roll in crushed graham crackers? Or put them on crushed graham crackers to cool and kind of press the cookie into the graham cracker crumbs?
 
ItsBrooksie February 15, 2016
I made these and they were really delicious but mine did not spread at all! I think it's because I didn't wait for the butter to come to room temperature. But in the end, I kinda liked the "mistake" of button-shaped cookies. They did take longer in the oven, around 15 minutes. Here are some pictures: http://on13thstreet.tumblr.com/post/139359964842/five-ingredient-cream-cheese-cookies
 
ItsBrooksie February 15, 2016
Perfect! Didn't realize whipped versus regular would make such a difference. Thanks for the info! I imagine the consistency must be quite different then. I'll try again using Philadelphia.
 
Daisy January 19, 2016
I just made these. They're lovely. I'm wondering though: if I spoon out heaping tablespoons of batter, I only end up with about 12 cookies. Is there a mistake? Should it read heaping "tea-"spoons? Or should I just expect 12 cookies instead of 24? Thanks.
 
Daisy January 20, 2016
Never mind. I figured it out.<br />
 
Allison C. September 13, 2015
I don't have unsalted butter. Can I omit the salt?
 
Manhattan T. September 13, 2015
I wouldn't omit it completely, even with salted butter. Maybe just cutt the salt back to 1/4 tsp.
 
growinggourmand August 26, 2015
Has anyone tried freezing this cookie dough yet? Does it freeze well? Also, I've seen mixed comments on making more than one batch at a time . Has anyone tried making a triple batch or more at a time and did they come out ok?
 
growinggourmand August 26, 2015
Has anyone tried freezing this cookie dough yet? Does it freeze well? Also, I've seen mixed comments on making more than one batch at a time . Has anyone tried making a triple batch or more at a time and did they come out ok?
 
Pamela H. April 26, 2015
Can these be made gluten free?
 
Erica B. December 15, 2015
Yes, I make them all the time just substituting my GF flour blend. They are amazing.<br />
 
Phyllis February 16, 2015
This is a keeper! I've made only the first dozen and we've already eaten 6 of those! The next dozen will be wrapped up asap then sent off to my husband's office tomorrow for them to enjoy. Unbeknownst to them, they help me stick my diet... I get the pleasure of baking and tasting a few then the rest go off to them!
 
richard P. December 6, 2014
This is my new favorite cookie! So easy to make and they are fantastic! Getting rave reviews since I put them out.
 
Frances E. September 3, 2014
These are fantastic.
 
Bill R. August 29, 2014
I just made these, but added @ 1/2 cup more flour ( I am at 8300 feet altitude in Cuenca, Ecuador and have learned to adjust for it). The cookies came out perfect...crisp on the outside/chewy on the inside as advertised. I gave each a slight dusting of powdered sugar. Thank you for a great recipe.
 
Maureen N. July 26, 2014
Oops! That butter measure should be 1 1/2 cups (3/4 of a 2 cup pkg). Sorry for the error >.<<br />