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Butter Cookie Recipe

These butter cookies have a melt in your mouth texture with the best buttery flavor! This old fashioned recipe only needs 6 ingredients plus salt and can be made in 30 minutes.

We love this cookie recipe! It’s not as sweet as your traditional sugar cookies, is thicker like Swig cookies and are a little more firm than a shortbread cookie.

Butter cookies on a cooling rack.
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These butter cookies have a delicious butter taste and are super soft in texture. They take less than 30 minutes to make and turn out amazing every time. Only easier might be these gooey butter cookies with cake mix!

I love to use a cookie press to make butter cookies during the holidays. They are the perfect Christmas cookies for holiday parties, cookie exchanges or Christmas dessert boards. You can even turn them into a linzer cookie or thumbprint cookie recipe with a little jam


Butter cookie ingredients on the counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Butter: Unsalted butter is best so that you can control the amount of salt in the cookies. If using salted butter, I would omit the extra salt included in this recipe.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar gives them the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Egg: This helps the cookies hold their shape (especially when using a cookie press).
  • Vanilla: Add in vanilla extract for an extra boost of flavor. Almond extract would also taste delicious.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works best.
  • Baking powder: A leavening agent that helps the cookies rise.
  • Salt: Since we’re using unsalted butter, I add in a little salt for another layer of flavor .


  • Pipe the dough. Instead of rolling the dough into balls, you can also use a piping bag and large tip to pipe the cookies into circles, this will resemble a Danish butter cookie.
  • Spritz version. Spritz cookies are a variation of butter cookies and are pressed with a cookie press into different Christmas shapes and decorated with different types of holiday sprinkles or colors.
  • Slice and bake. Roll dough into two logs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours up to a day. Then slice and follow baking instructions.
  • Feed a crowd. No time for cookies and need to feed a crowd? The same buttery taste is also in this gooey butter cake!

How to Make Butter Cookies

These are so easy to make with the best buttery flavor and ready in less than 30 minutes!

Showing how to make butter cookies in a 4 step collage.
  1. Make dough. Start by creaming the room temperature butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Chill dough. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then slowly add the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Chill the dough for about 10 minutes.
  3. Shape into cookies. Scoop and roll into balls and place on a lined baking tray. Then use a fork or use 3 fingers to press the tops down. You can also use a cookie press to make different shapes or pipe cookies into a fun swirl shape like I did above.
  4. Bake. Bake at 375°F for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the edges are barely golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
butter cookies on cooling rack

Ways to Decorate

  • Roll in sugar. You can roll the cookie dough balls in granulated sugar for an extra sweet touch. Or simply sprinkle some extra sugar on the tops after pressing down the dough with a fork.
  • Dip in chocolate. After they cool, feel free to dip half of the cookies in melted chocolate (we also add sprinkles on top of the wet chocolate).
  • Frost. These cookies taste delicious with a drizzle of powdered sugar icing or try buttercream frosting from my sugar cookie bar recipe.

5 star review

“Very subtle flavor. Wonderful with a cup of tea. As stated, not as sweet as a sugar cookie, not as dry as shortbread! Thanks for the recipe!”

– Tina

Expert Tips

  • Measure flour correctly. A scale is best for accurate measurements as too much flour will affect the texture of these cookies.
  • Extract. Pure vanilla extract is best for taste as the rich vanilla flavor will shine through! Add a pinch of butter extract, too, if you want an additional pop of butter flavor.
  • Use a cookie scoop. If you are not piping the cookies into the swirls, use a cookie scoop as this ensure each cookie is the same size and will bake evenly.
  • Don’t overbake. Remove from the oven when the edges of your butter cookies are just barely golden brown, even if the center doesn’t look done. The cookies will solidify as they cool.
  • Cookie tin crunch. If you love the butter tin cookies that are slightly crunchy you can dehydrate your cookies slightly by leaving them in the oven after baking. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open until your cookies have cooled.
Butter cookies on a cooling rack.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes! You can either make the dough of ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap up to 3 days. You can also freeze the cookie dough after piping it. Freeze the unbaked piped cookie dough on a baking sheet, transfer to the freezer and when ready to bake just add a few minutes to the baking time. No need to thaw first.

Are butter cookies and shortbread the same?

While both use mostly butter to get their taste, they are not the same. Butter cookies contain egg whereas shortbread does not. The texture is less crumbly than shortbread as well.

Why should I chill my cookie dough?

Chilling your dough intensifies the flavor as well as solidifies the butter. It prevents spread and makes for more flavorful cookies. Make sure to chill the dough for at least 10 minutes to make the cookies thick and hold their shape.

What type of butter should I use?

A high quality dairy butter (cows milk) is best to use in this butter cookie recipe. Unsalted butter is best when baking as different brands vary the amount of salt they use.

How To Store Butter Cookies

These cookies will stay fresh for up to 1 week in an airtight container. You can also prepare the dough a few days in advance and let it chill (covered) in the fridge until ready to bake.

Freeze your baked cookies in an airtight container or freeze safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy!

Stacked butter cookies on the counter.

More easy holiday cookie recipes we love include this almond cookie recipe, snickerdoodle cookies, cake mix cookies, and chocolate chip cookies with sprinkles.

More Cookie Recipes

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Stacked butter cookies on the counter.

Butter Cookie Recipe

5 from 48 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
These butter cookies have a melt in your mouth texture with the best buttery flavor! This old fashioned recipe only needs 6 ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Chill: 10 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Servings: 36



  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt , 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Optional: Powdered sugar icing, Sprinkles


    • Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Mix in sugar 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. (*see notes if piping cookies instead of pressing)
    • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    • With the mixer on, gradually add the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. Cover and chill dough 10 minutes.
    • Roll dough into small balls and place on the baking sheet. Using 3 fingers, a fork, or a cookie press, press dough balls flat.
    • Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until the edges are just barely turning golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
    • Enjoy plain or topped with powdered sugar icing and sprinkles. 


    Pipe the dough: This dough is so pretty when piped and it isn’t hard to do.
    • Add 2 Tablespoons milk when you add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture. If the dough is too thick to pipe, add 1 more Tablespoon milk to soften it up. 
    • In a piping bag fitted with an #826 open star pastry tip, add the dough. Pipe cookies in circles onto the baking sheet and follow instructions from there.
    Storage: These cookies will keep in a covered container on the counter up to 4 days.
    Freeze: Store in a freezer-friendly container in the freezer up to 3 months. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer and let thaw on the counter. 


    Calories: 92kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 35mg | Potassium: 22mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.4mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

    Adapted from All Recipes.

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