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+ servings
Soft sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles, one with a bite taken.

High Altitude Soft and Fluffy Sugar Cookies

Heather Smoke
An easy, high altitude recipe for soft and fluffy sugar cookies, spiced with vanilla bean and cardamom, and topped with a swirl of frosting and colorful sprinkles.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet. See FAQs for adjusting to higher or lower elevations.

5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • Electric Mixer (Stand or Hand-Held)


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk (save the white for another use)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, fluffed, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, for rolling the dough balls


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter with 3/4 cup sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix on low for 1 minute.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt and cardamom. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients by spoonfuls, mixing just until combined.
  • Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 18 equal portions.
    TIP: This is easiest to do if you weigh all the dough, divide that number by 18, then weigh out each portion. So if you have 26 ounces of dough, you would weigh out around 1.4 ounces of dough per cookie.
  • Roll each portion of dough into a ball, then coat the dough balls in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Cover and chill the dough balls for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the center of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of nonstick baking paper or parchment paper.
  • Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 11 1/2 - 12 minutes, until the edges are set, and the centers look slightly underdone.
    Bang the pan 3-4 times on the counter to help the centers of the cookies settle down and flatten a little. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • If desired, frost the cookies with buttercream and decorate with sprinkles. See my post on Perfect American Buttercream for flavor ideas.
    Once the cookies are frosted, store them in a single layer in an airtight container so the frosting doesn't get smushed.


The baked cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3-6 months.
Keyword Frosted, High Altitude, Soft Sugar Cookies, Sprinkles, Sugar Cookies
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