Cream Cheese Cookies


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Cream Cheese Cookies — Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my….Best thumbprints ever!!!

four cream cheese cookies on a white platter

Easy Cream Cheese Cookies 

I’ve made cream cheese cookies, twice. But not like these. If you like tangy cream cheese frosting and soft buttery cookies, you’re going to be in heaven.

My previous cream cheese cookies use cream cheese in the dough as a partial butter replacement. It adds a richness and creaminess to the dough that’s amazing, but I wanted to see if I could make a thumbprint-style cookie with cream cheese. Mission accomplished.

The cream cheese stays slightly soft, gooey, and tastes much more like cream cheese frosting than it does like cheesecake because there’s no egg. There’s also no slightly dry, crumbly texture that cheesecake can have.

The dough base is a new favorite. As a happy accident I used a combo of light and dark brown sugar. I was scraping the bottom of my light brown sugar canister for the last one-quarter cup (I didn’t realize I went through 6 pounds of brown sugar in 10 days) and so I used some dark brown, too.

two cream cheese filled cookies on a white plate with a spoon

Best decision ever because the cheesecake cookies have a caramely, buttery, rich depth of flavor that’ll keep you coming back for more. Dark brown sugar has more moisture than light brown because it has more molasses, creating cookies are supremely soft, tender, and moist.

In addition to flour, I used graham cracker crumbs. Graham crackers and cream cheese just go hand in hand. The crumbs add another subtle layer of flavor and provide a tiny bit of texture.

The batch only makes 9 cookies and each cookie is fairly large. While you could make the cookies smaller, by the ninth cookie you’ll be sick of smooshing the dough into thumbprint shapes and carefully adding the filling, so keep it easy on yourself and just make nine.

I loved the cookies. The contrast of the tangy cream cheese frosting with the uber-soft caramely dough is ridiculously good. I hoarded these.

close up of a cheesecake cookie cut in half

What’s in Cream Cheese Cookies? 

To make these cream cheese-filled cookies, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Cream cheese 

four cream cheese cookies on a white platter

How to Make Cream Cheese Cookies 

The cheesecake cookies come together much like your average cookie recipe. Cream together the wet ingredients, then mix in the dry. Form the cookie dough into balls, then hollow out the center of each ball as if you were making thumbprint cookies. 

To make the cream cheese filling, cream together the sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Distribute the filling among the thumbprint cookies, then chill for at least 2 hours before baking. 

Once the dough’s had time to chill, bake until the edges have set and the cream cheese is just set. The cookies need to cool for 15 minutes before they can be eaten! 

Can I Use Lite Cream Cheese? 

Yes, lite or low-fat cream cheese will work so long as it’s still brick-style cream cheese. 

Can I Freeze These Cookies? 

Yes, cookies made with cream cheese can be frozen for up to 4 months (either the baked cookies or the raw cookie dough balls). 

Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

Tips for Making Cream Cheese-Filled Cookies 

When hollowing out the cookies for the filling, make sure not to go too deeply and punch through the bottom. Go just deep enough that each cookie will be able to hold 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling.

Make sure you use brick-style cream cheese for the filling and NOT the whipped kind in a tub. 

You can purchase pre-made graham cracker crumbs or you can pulverize whole graham crackers to make them. If possible, use a food processor so the crumbs are very fine. 

Cream Cheese Cookies — Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

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Yield: 9

Cream Cheese Cookies

Cream Cheese Cookies

Big, soft, buttery cookies with sweet and tangy cream cheese in the middle!! Oh my....Best thumbprints ever!!!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 32 minutes



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used 1/4 cup of light and 1/4 cup dark)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cornstach
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 6 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened (lite is okay)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar



  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars (highly recommend using some dark brown sugar), egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form 9 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and using your fingers, hollow out the center of each ball as if you were making thumbprint cookies. In doing so, the cookies will naturally flatten. Make sure not to go too deeply and punch through the bottom but go deep enough that each cookie will be able to hold 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling.
  4. Place mounds on a large plate or tray and place in the freezer while you wash the mixing bowl and make the cream cheese filling.

Cream Cheese Filling

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the cream cheese, sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and creamed, about 4 minutes.
  2. Using a small spoon, equally distribute filling among dough mounds, smoothing the tops lightly with the back of the spoon or a spatula.
  3. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 6 cookies per sheet).
  5. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until edges have set and cream cheese is just set; don’t overbake for soft cookies (bake a few minutes longer for firmer cookies). Cookies firm up as they cool.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 15 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don’t use a rack.


Storage: Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days (I’m comfortable storing items with baked cream cheese at room temp; store in the fridge if you prefer) or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g

More Cookies Made with Cream Cheese: 


Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies — Move over, butter, cream cheese makes these cookies thick and super soft! Pinned 300k+ times!

Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies - Recipe at

Cream Cheese White Chocolate Chip Cookies — These soft and chewy white chocolate chip cookies use two special ingredients to achieve their pillowy texture: instant pudding mix and cream cheese!

Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies — Big, bold lemon flavor packed into super soft cookies thanks to the cream cheese!! Tangy-sweet perfection! Lemon lovers are going to adore these easy cookies!!

Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies — Cream cheese keeps these double chocolate cookies super soft! Say hello to your new favorite chocolate cookie!!

Black and White Cream Cheese Cookies — These cookies combine two favorites in one. Soft, moist, buttery, creamy Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies are paired with fudgy, intensely chocolaty, and not overly sweet Dark Chocolate Dark Brown Sugar Cookies.

Crème Brûlée Cookies – Super SOFT sugar cookies topped with tangy cream cheese frosting and caramelized sugar!! If you’re a crème brûlée fan, you’re going to LOVE these cookies!

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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  1. To heaven you sent us. We are cream-cheese lovers but don’t have many cake or cookie recipes including this ingredient here in France. It takes some work but it’s really worth it. I patiently made 15 smaller cookies so they will last longer😊. Thanks Averie for brightening up our meals and keeping us busy in the kitchen during this challenging time (lock-down should finally end for us in 10 days…)
    Keep safe!

    1. I hope it does end for you in 10 days! And thank you for the lovely comments and wonderful praise about my recipes and glad these cookies turned out great!

  2. These cookies are delicious and I can’t wait for my family to try them tomorrow! I followed the recipe as stated for the cookies, used 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar and a 1/4 cup of light brown sugar, but I made smaller cookies and ended up with 26 cookies. For the filling, I used 8 oz cream cheese and added about an 1/8th of a cup more sugar. My only complaint is that the recipe did not make more cookies. Thank you!

  3. I discovered your site quite by accident.  I always thought that I was not a cookie person but … Boooyyyyy!!! You’ve converted me.  I’ve only tried the pretzel chocolate chip cookie.  The pretzel is a genius way of adding crunch and saltiness without nuts even though I love nuts.   Even my nephew who is picky ask me to make another batch entirely for him.  The downside is I think I ate way past my quota. Ha! Ha,.  I’m now on a cookie making mission and exited to see what else you have to share. Love your ideas Averie.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipes and glad you’re now a cookie person! Keep me posted what else you try!

  4. Hello Averie,
    The recipe for cookies is awesome! I will try to prepare it for my family asap! Thank you for sharing <3 

  5. Great recipes just want to ask something…
    Could the cheese cookies be made with blue cheese (I love how it melts)? 

    1. I haven’t tried it that way so can’t say for sure – either based on texture/melting situation or the flavor. Blue cheese in cookies would be a very intriguing flavor combo!

  6. After they’re baked and cooled down, can they be stacked up without the top cookies sticking to the cream cheese at the bottom?

  7. I made these in time to watch Scandal last night;lets just sat these cookies plus a cold glass of milk and Scandal = a perfect night. I’ve tried many recipes from this website and they’ve al turned out great!!!! Can’t wait to try more.

    1. Glad all the recipes you’ve tried from my site have come out great! Thanks for trying these cookies and glad they hit the spot during tv time :)

  8. I just made these and they were lovely! I love dark brown sugar so I made it all dark brown sugar. I noticed that mine stayed pretty much uniform in surface texture, whereas yours were more craggy which I love in cookies. Do you think it was because of that? I also baked them straight from the fridge.

    1. Thanks for trying these and the crinkly/craggly factor…you know, that is a bit of an unknown to me why that happens in certain recipes more than others. It’s a function of the sugar type and amount, in relation to the flour, in relation to the leaveners, eggs, etc. Every single ingredient matters and it’s SUCH a delicate baking science balance. But I often do think about this phenomenon, in general. But I can’t really say what exactly to do or not do, to create it! I will say that some of mine were more crinkly than others, don’t ask me how that happened either! Glad you enjoyed them!

  9. I love these! I’ve made cream cheese cookies before with it mixed in but I really need to try these with it concentrated in the middle.

    1. I’ve done the cream cheese in the dough thing too but like you, hadn’t done anything like this. What was I waiting for :)

  10. “If you like tangy cream cheese frosting and soft buttery cookies, you’re going to be in heaven.” That’s me!!!!

  11. I basically believe there should be cream cheese in EVERY recipe, so yeah… gonna need to make these. :)

  12. These sound fantastic!!! I bet adding a little melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture could make them like chocolate cheescake thumbprint cookies…

  13. Hi Averie! :) I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for about 2 years now, and have finally started up my own blog (thanks to the inspiration of incredibly talented bloggers like yourself! :) ) I love this recipe! After a long week at work, I could definitely indulge in some cream cheese cookies… good for the soul :)

    As always, looking forward to your posts :)
    Hope you had a lovely weekend!

    1. Thanks for following my blog for a few years and for your support and congrats on your new blog! Best of luck in all your endeavors!

  14. Love the addition of graham cracker crumbs. I also love when kitchen substitutions end up working better than the intended ingredient.

  15. Okay, I saw this yesterday and my phone wouldn’t let me comment, so I had to come back because OMG you are a genius Averie! What an amazing idea! Love them, pinned!

    1. Commenting from phones is about the worst thing in the world…period! Thanks for pinning and these were so.good.omg. I hoarded these :)

    1. Marla these were one of my fave cookies in ages….love these things! I hope you’re back home, safe and sound :)

  16. Do I have to share? I can bake these and hide them for myself, correct? Wow, these look awesome! PINNED :)

  17. I love cookies with icing. What an amazing idea to make it taste like cheesecake. Looks delicious, love your creative recipe ideas! Pinned!

  18. You really can’t go wrong with cream cheese! These looks fantastic and perfect to curb my sweet tooth :)

  19. I love thumbprint cookies but for some reason I only make them at Christmas. These look insanely good..I like that the batch only makes 9 because I’m not sure how much sharing I would do. The cream cheese thumbprint would be great with so many cookie bases the ideas are endless…you’re a genius.

    1. I was thinking after I made these that there are SO many ways to go…tp basically make thumbprints out of any kind of cookie base, I mean why not :) That center is like a jelly-filled donut…it just makes the whole thing THAT much better when you’ve got that gooey, juicy factor going on!

  20. How I never tried this combo before in my cookies is just beyond me. That’s an awesome thumbprinting idea–I love it even more than my jam ones! Bookmarked for sure.

  21. What a great combination, graham crackers and cream cheese, these cookies are beautiful! Pinned, they need to be seen by more people!!!

  22. I love desserts that use cream cheese! These cookies look fantastic! Love that you recommend making nine but big cookies. These will go fast here. Pinned!

  23. I never would have thought the combo of cream cheese and graham crackers would sound good together, but in a cookie form, it sounds like it would go great together. These look delicious and I usually always have these ingredients in my pantry!

    1. There’s nothing more classic than a graham crack crust cheesecake, right! Cheesecake, in cookie form, minus the dryness!

  24. I love cream cheese in or on anything! This is genius! Crazy good cookies and totally worth running extra for, Averie!

  25. I kind of forgot about thumbprint cookies so I love how you’ve changed things up a bit. The graham crackers are a nice touch– these seem like a little nod to cheesecake even if the filling tastes more like frosting. This is a really cool and creative cookie Averie!

  26. I would hoard all of these, too! Graham cracker and cream cheese is an unbeatable combo. Now you’ve put them into a cookies – I’ll be swooning for days over these! Have a great weekend, Averie!