Original Lofthouse Cookie (Copycat Recipe)

Looking for a true copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe? Look no further! These cookies are super soft, cakey and perfectly sweet, just like the Lofthouse cookies you remember. No sourcream, the secret is in the cake flour!
lofthouse cookies on white parchment paper. Bite taken out of one cookie

Recently, a reader asked me if I had a Lofthouse cookie recipe. I thought it an odd request because I’m sure I have seen about a million copycat Lofthouse cookies on Pinterest. She agreed but said that none of them taste like real Lofthouse cookies.

lofthouse cookies on white parchment paper. Bite taken out of one cookie

So the first thing I did was buy myself a box of Lofthouse cookies. The cookie was super SUPER soft, almost like cake. Very light vanilla taste and very sweet frosting. Not like any sugar cookie I’d ever tasted.

lofthouse cookie texture

They reminded me a lot of these soft sugar cookies I ate as a child. Whenever it was time for my mom to go grocery shopping, I always wanted to go with her. Not because I was a good kid (I definitely wasn’t) but because I knew that the nice lady at the bakery would always give us a free sample cookie! a WHOLE cookie all to myself.

Those cookies were soft, tender and topped with super sweet buttercream and sprinkles. Basically a kid’s dream come true. I can see why Lofthouse cookies are so popular and so nostalgic.

box of lofthouse cookies

Whenever I set out to make a copycat recipe, the first thing I do is check out the ingredients right on the back of the box. That might seem a bit obvious right? The ingredients list is our first clue.

Lofthouse Sugar Cookie Ingredients: sugar, enriched bleached wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), margarine (palm oil, water, soybean oil, salt, contains 2% or less of: mono- and diglycerides, calcium disodium edta (preservative), artificial flavor, annatto (color), vitamin a palmitate), water, eggs, corn starch, contains 2% or less of: vegetable oil (palm kernel oil, and/or palm oil and/or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil [cottonseed and/or soybean oil]), dextrin, soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural and artificial flavors, confectioner’s glaze (lac resin), colors (yellow 5 lake, blue 1, blue 1 lake, blue 2, blue 2 lake, red 3, red 40, red 40 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6, yellow 6 lake), leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum sulfate, monocalcium phosphate), carnauba wax, food starch-modified, whey protein concentrate, whey, calcium caseinate, nonfat milk, polysorbate 60, sodium propionate (preservative).

I know this looks like a lot of technical words but let’s break it down. First of all, I know from my own bakery owning days that ingredients have to be listed in the order of the biggest amount to the smallest.

  • The first ingredient is sugar. This makes sense because of the frosting.
  • The second ingredients is enriched bleached wheat flour, which is a fancy word for bleached cake flour. My first clue! Cookies made with cake flour, not all-purpose flour. No wonder they are so soft!
  • The third ingredient is margarine, not butter. This might be a deal-breaker for me, I hate baking with margarine. The margarine might be in the cookie or it might be in the frosting or both.
  • The next ingredients are water and cornstarch. Hmm I can’t imagine there would be a ton of cornstarch in a cookie recipe so I can guess about how much based on other recipes.
  • The smallest amounts are vegetable oil (probably for moisture similar to oil in cakes) dextrin which is a type of food additive to make foods taste fresher and lecithin which is an emulsifier.
  • Then we have flavorings, coloring, leavening (baking soda and baking powder) and preservatives.

Now that I have these ingredients broken down, I can go about figuring out how they work together to re-create that top-secret Lofthouse cookie as close as possible.

lofthouse cookie ingredients

I started looking for recipes that use margarine or butter in their recipes and came across this sugar cookie recipe from Betty Crocker that looked promising. The recipe used powdered sugar, not granulated. I remember someone once telling me that powdered sugar in cookies creates a very tender cookie. Could that be the secret to the Lofthouse cookie recipe? Worth a try.

The recipe also called for margarine (ugh). So I relented and bought myself some margarine for the first time in my life! I couldn’t bring myself to use all margarine so I did half margarine and half unsalted butter.

I then adapted this recipe to what I saw on the back of the Lofthouse cookie ingredients box. I opted for bleached cake flour instead of all-purpose for a more tender and cake-like cookie.

I also added in some cornstarch which helps the batter keep its shape while baking. Almond extract for that typical sugar cookie flavor and vanilla extract. All I had was real vanilla, next time I might use clear vanilla for a lighter cookie.

lofthouse cookie batter

The batter ended up looking basically like a thick cake batter, which makes sense!

I scooped the batter out of the bowl using a medium cookie scoop but the batter was so sticky, I basically had to remove it from the scoop with my fingers. I plopped the sticky dough evenly onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and put them in the fridge to chill for two hours.

lofthouse cookie dough being portioned out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet with cookie scoop in the background

After chilling, the dough is a bit easier to handle. You can roll the dough into balls then flatten them. They should be about 3″ wide and about 1/2″ thick. Give a few inches of space between each cookie because they are going to spread a lot.

cookie dough rolled between hands how to form lofthouse sugar cookies

You only need to bake these cookies for 8 minutes! You do not want to over-bake these or they will not have that soft interior.

As you can see, after baking, the cookies have puffed up a ton and spread out. Let them cool a bit before frosting them with the American Buttercream.

freshly baked lofthouse cookies on a parchment lined baking tray

So I ended up testing this recipe and tweaking it about 6 times before I was pretty happy with the taste and texture compared to the original Lofthouse Cookie. I did also try the leading Copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe which used AP flour and sour cream and it was VERY dry. Not bad tasting but the texture was not soft at all.

This Lofthouse cookie is CAKEY, super soft and has a light vanilla flavor. Most of the flavor comes from the sweet bakery style buttercream frosting which I piped onto the cookie using an 804 piping tip and piping bag. Of course, I had to finish the cookies off with some rainbow sprinkles!

lofthouse cookies on a cooling rack with pink buttercream and sprinkles. Piping bag and sprinkles container off to the side

I compared the original Lofthouse cookie texture with my cookie and I’m 90% satisfied. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how to get these specific layers. It’s almost like the dough has been laminated before it bakes. Something to keep working on in the future.

copycat lofthouse cookies with pink buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles

But as far as the softness, the taste, and the texture, I’m super happy with this TRUE copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe. I hope you’re satisfied too. Let me know what you think if you give this recipe a try.

I also have to mention that these cookies made an appearance in Ezra’s five-month birthday photo, you can see it on my Instagram.

Want more cookie recipes? Check these out! 

Marbled Valentines Day Sugar Cookies
Meringue cookies
Strawberry Macarons

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
lofthouse cookies on white parchment paper. Bite taken out of one cookie

Original Lofthouse Cookie (Copycat Recipe)

Looking for a true copycat Lofthouse cookie recipe? Look no further! These cookies are super soft, cakey and perfectly sweet, just like the Lofthouse cookies you remember. No sourcream, the secret is in the cake flour!
4.99 from 273 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 8 mins
Chilling: 2 hrs
Serves: 18 cookies
Calories: 405kcal

Ingredients

Lofthouse Cookies

  • 6 ounces (170 g) powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces (113 g) margarine or butter
  • 4 ounces (113 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 13 ounces (368 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract or real extract is ok
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 16 ounces (453 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces (113 g) milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon electric pink food coloring Americolor brand
  • 2 Tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Equipment

  • 804 piping tip and bag
  • Stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachment or hand mixer
  • Medium cookie scoop or spoon

Instructions

For the Lofthouse Cookies

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or you can use a hand mixer) cream together the butter, margarine and powdered sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add in your vanilla, almond extract and egg and mix on medium until combined
  • Add in your baking soda, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and cornstarch and mix until combined
  • Switch to the paddle attachment and mix in your cake flour just until combined. Do not overmix (or you can do this by hand)
  • Scoop your batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet with a medium-sized cookie scoop (or you can use a spoon)
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or up to 24 hours)
  • Preheat your oven to 375ºF
  • Roll the chilled dough into balls and then flatten with your fingers into cookies that are about 1/2" thick and 3" wide. Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake your cookies for 8-9 minutes or just until the sheen disappears from the top of the cookie. Place onto a cooling rack to cool fully before frosting with buttercream and finishing with sprinkles
  • Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze

For the frosting

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream your butter until smooth using the whisk attachment
  • Start adding your powdered sugar while mixing on low until it's all incorporated.
  • Add in your vanilla, milk, salt, and food coloring and mix until smooth.
  • Pipe on top of the cookies with a round tip (I used an 804) and top with sprinkles

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 405kcal (20%) | Carbohydrates: 51g (17%) | Protein: 3g (6%) | Fat: 21g (32%) | Saturated Fat: 11g (55%) | Cholesterol: 53mg (18%) | Sodium: 131mg (5%) | Potassium: 78mg (2%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 35g (39%) | Vitamin A: 725IU (15%) | Calcium: 23mg (2%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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71 comments on “Copycat Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

  1. Did you try it with just all butter? Curious if it made any noticeable difference.

  2. Could I refrigerate it in the mixing bowl and then scoop? Any difference?

  3. Would shortening work to replace the margarine?

  4. Liz, you just made my week a lot easier. My teenage son loves those cookies and ofcourse they are different than my sugar cookies so I was just cracking my head to recreate those. I bought a pack over the weekend to start my experiments. Just now, I saw your post on insta on black velvet cake and reached your page to check out the recipe…..and what do i see there….you have tried and posted a lofthouse cookie recipe …hugs to you dear friend! (even though i am elite member…i missed reading your emails 😉 mybad!)

  5. Question, 4 Oz milk or 1/2 cup for the frosting?

  6. 5 stars
    I have made these twice now and they are so darn good!!! My go-to recipe for cookies now! Thanks Liz!

  7. Great recipe. I wonder if cream of tartar instead of corn starch might make a difference in the texture, as well as rolling the dough and cutting into circles might help with the layers (laminated-like).

    Just a few thoughts for you to consider.

  8. Hi! Can I make my own cake flour w/cornstarch for this recipe? I ran out of cake flour.

  9. 5 stars
    I made these cookies the first day you posted them and my family loves them. I’m making another batch Friday for Easter.

  10. can we use vegetable oil instead of margarine?

    1. I have not tested that, oil is a liquid and margarine is solid so I don’t think it would work quite the same nor taste the same

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve made these twice now using what I had around (using cornstarch and flour in place of cake flour, 2 tsp vinegar in place of cream of tartar, butter in place of margarine) and both times they came out fantastic! They have such a soft texture that’s very reminiscent of the original cookies, without the artificial flavor.

    There was a little too much liquid in the frosting recipe for my preference (it started to break consistency-wise, even with using a mixer), so the second time I made it I halved the milk and it was perfect for me. Thank you for the recipe!

  12. My family loves Lofthouse cookies, but as we avoid non-sustainable palm oil, they can no longer be purchased. I follow your recipe exactly and the reviews were “great” and “very good, better than the store version”. Thank you so much for such an easy to make and extremely satisfying resulting cookie.

  13. Hi Liz, I love love all your recipes.
    Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Is it possible do a post of all the ingredients you use and equipments?

  14. Hey, I tried these and my mom, dad and I ADORE them!!! They taste almost identical!!!!! I tried making a second batch today, but something went wrong, they flattened out and didn’t rise. I followed the steps, and was just a tablespoon of butter short, was wondering what could have happened?💛

  15. Hi. Can this dough be used as a roll out dough for cookie cutters?

  16. Hello Elizabeth, in the buttercream ingredients list, you mention “16 ounces powdered sugar softened”. Is the softening of powdered sugar a typo, or is there some way of softening powdered sugar that I’ve never heard of? Either way, I am excited to try this recipe (using red, white, and blue frosting) for our fourth of July party! Thank you.

  17. So is there anything that can replace cream of tartar? Also it’s says 4 oz of butter then it says it again but softened is there a reason for that?

    1. The margarine is for flavor but if you don’t have it you can use all butter. Margarine is usually already soft.

  18. Hello Liz,
    I was wondering if these could be made with a Gluten-free flour? I’m new to Gluten-free baking and while I have cakes down I’m still trying to find that happy medium place for cookies! I know cake flour is really light, Gluten-free flour is as well so I’m hoping that it could be used as a cup for cup replacement. Thank you!

  19. I can’t believe I forgot to add the cornstarch and the cream of tartar. They still taste really good. I guess I’m going to have to try again. I have tried so many of your recipes and I love them. Thank you for doing what you love and sharing it with us.

  20. 5 stars
    Really yummy and tasted just like the original! I used all butter because I didn’t have any margarine, and they still turned out delicious. I also recommend popping them in the freezer to chill them faster. Thanks for the delectable recipe 🙂

  21. 5 stars
    So cute and cant wait to make these with seasonal, beautiful sprinkles! My husband is allergic to nuts though… can I make this without the almond extract? Or can I sub it?

    1. Yes you can use vanilla or whatever extract you want!

  22. 5 stars
    I just made these cookies but forgot to add the 1 egg…….Even without the egg this the “BEST” sugar cookie I have ever tasted……I added raisins to half of the dough and ground walnuts to the other half…….My family loves them!!

  23. 4 stars
    It is very soft, but not as soft as the store bought one. I am still very happy with it. I did used all butter and that could be why the texture is slightly different. I was able to get the layer, i only lightly mix in the flour maybe thats how… Lol Thank you for sharing the awesome recipe 🙂

  24. How would you add pumpkin to these cookies? I was thinking a cream cheese icing? My husband loves pumpkin, but I have yet to find a great recipe. Thanks!!

    1. yum sounds delicious! I haven’t tried it yet, but I don’t see why not.

  25. I’m excited to try a lemon version because my family has been craving lemon. And maybe a snickerdoodle version for Christmas. So many fun ideas!! Thanks for always thinking outside the box!!!

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