These are my favorite sugar cookies. Not overly sweet, perfectly thick and chewy, I’m just sorry I haven’t shared the recipe sooner!

High Altitude Sugar Cookies |

This recipe for High Altitude Sugar Cookies is long overdue. A basic sugar cookie is a must- especially during the holidays- and I’m just sorry I’ve been hoarding it for so long. This is my “go-to” sugar cookie recipe and it works beautifully at high altitude every time. While not a cut out cookie, these suit me so much more. I prefer a thicker, chewier cookie and let’s be honest, I’m not big on the decorating. I could care less how the cookies look. As long as they taste good, you know? 🙂

High Altitude Sugar Cookies |

If you live in Utah it’s likely you’ve heard of Swig. If not, then let me fill you in. Swig is a drive up cookie and soft drink shop that opens at 7:30am. Yep. That’s right. Soda first thing in the morning. Welcome to Utah: where drinking coffee is frowned upon but hopping yourself up on soft drinks sweetened with flavored syrup is a morning staple. It’s kind of weird. And something I’m not into. But it’s totally a thing. In fact, it’s pretty popular in Utah. Swig is most famous for two things: “dirty diet coke”- a fountain diet coke with vanilla syrup and half & half and their ridiculously huge and sweet sugar cookies. Breakfast of champions, eh?

High Altitude Sugar Cookies |

Why am I tell you about Swig? I guess because these cookies are loosely adapted from a copycat Swig cookie recipe I stumbled upon years ago. This recipe to be exact. It went viral! Which is totally funny because when I found this recipe I’d never even heard of Swig. I loved this sugar cookie recipe and was so happy to find it that when I finally figured out what Swig was, I was super excited to try the real deal. Except my cookies and Swig cookies taste nothing alike. Like not at all! Swig cookies are uber sweet. They have more of an icing than a frosting- I think it might be sour cream based- and the cookies are, no joke, gigantic.

High Altitude Sugar Cookies |

These cookies aren’t Swig. If you have no idea what Swig is, you’re not missing out. (And sorry for the rambling.) If you’re looking for a Swig copycat, keep on looking. However, if you’re here for a perfect sugar cookie recipe for high altitude, PRINT THIS RECIPE! I like the cookies on the smaller side though you could make them any size you like. I use a more traditional butter cream frosting and I also cut the sugar from the original recipe so they cookies aren’t too sweet. The texture of these cookies is spot on. It’s truly the best sugar cookie I’ve ever had!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and as always, thanks for reading! Happy baking!! xo, Kelley

High Altitude Sugar Cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup flavorless oil (avocado, canola, vegetable...)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Frosting:
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. heavy cream
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar; set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and both sugars until well combined. Add in oil and egg and continue until well incorporated. (It's likely going to look a little chunky but that's a-ok!) Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined.
  5. Fill a small bowl with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar that you'll use to flatten the cookies.
  6. Roll dough into balls (I use a heaping tablespoon) and place 2-inchs apart on prepared baking sheet. Using the base of a glass cup or other flat base (with the tiniest shmear of water to get the sugar to initially stick), dunk in sugar, and press out dough so cookies are about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to continue cooling completely before frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, place softened cream cheese and butter in a small bowl. Using a hand held mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla and pinch of salt. Carefully mix until fully incorporated. Adjust sugar or cream if necessary until you have the right frosting consistency.
  9. Frost cookies and decorate with colored sugar and/or holiday decorations if desired.

High Altitude Sugar Cookies |

photos by Kellie Hatcher/ recipe by Mountain Mama Cooks

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20 Responses to High Altitude Sugar Cookies

  1. Dawn says:

    You had me at “not too sweet” but honestly, I can’t imagine anything better than those lemon cherry scones. 🙂

  2. Kitty says:

    They look great but I’m curious: What makes it a high-altitude recipe? I’m wondering because I’m new to high altitude cooking and would like to be able to adapt ALL my favorite cookie recipes.

    • Kelley says:

      I’ve adjusted the flour, sugar, and leavening so that they work in my kitchen. I sit just below 7000 feet altitude and they work beautifully for me every time. Fluffy, light and they don’t dry out!

  3. Kelly Vendetti says:

    Made these today…they are AMAZING!!! I alway dread baking because more often than not it ends badly. But this was magic!

    -another, less talented, Kelly from Park City!

  4. Sally V says:

    Hi Kelley!! Same instructions at sea level?? XO–sally

  5. Jill says:

    Just made these for my son’s 1st grade class, and they’re so good!! (We’re at 7,000 ft. in Flagstaff, AZ.) I’m trying not to eat them all! 🙂

  6. anna burkley says:

    Just made these!! Everyone loved them! Thanks!!

  7. Karen says:

    Made these today in Santa Fe (7,000 feet) and they are amazing! Love the frosting, too. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks!

  8. Tricia LaRue says:

    Are these good without frosting, or does the session just make the cookie?

  9. L~ says:

    Thank you!!!

  10. Debra says:

    I love these cookies! Thank you for the recipe. I made 3 batches for Christmas and each batch was gone about as quick as I could bake and decorate them! I am new to high altitude baking and cooking, my husband and I just moved to the Salt Lake Area so I am glad I found your blog! Thank you!

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