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Butter Cookies: the recipe for fragrant and delicious butter cookies

Total time: 20 min + chilling time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 12 people
By Cookist


All-purpose flour
300 g
Unsalted butter
200 g
Baking powder
1 tsp
Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp
150 g
a pinch

Butter cookies are a great classic of home pastry, a super fragrant recipe with an incredible flavor. Perfect even as Christmas gift, butter cookies have crisp edges and a buttery, melting-soft inside.

Enjoy them at breakfast, as a snack or as a sweet treat at the end of the meal, sprinkled with a little powdered sugar or together with a cup of tea.

Easy to make, they are made with a few simple ingredients, flour, butter, sugar and a pinch of baking powder, to make them even more crumbly. Flavored with lemon peel and vanilla extract, they will conquer children and adults alike thanks to their fragrant aroma. The dough can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in cling film, for at least a couple of days.

So let’s find out how to prepare butter cookies by following our step-by-step procedure and tips.


Butter Cookies vs Sugar Cookies

The main difference between butter cookies and sugar cookies is that the latter are often rolled very thinly, and then cut with a cookie cutter as they have a sturdier texture.

In contrast, butter cookies can hold their shape even while baking due to their soft and versatile dough.

Butter Cookies vs Shortbread Cookies

Butter cookies are similar to shortbread cookies in look, but they actually differ in the amount of sugar and baking temperature. Butter cookies require more sugar and a higher oven temperature than shortbread cookies. Moreover, their dough is more versatile as it doesn't crumble.

Butter Cookie Variations

For a chocolate variation, dip the baked cookies in melted chocolate and leave to cool. To make them more fun, top with rainbow sprinkles.

For a speckled look, use an equal amount of vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract. The cookies will have a rich vanilla flavor.

Make your own cookie sandwiches – use Nutella, or melted chocolate (dark or white) as a filling.

You can give the cookies the shape you prefer, round, rectangular, or indulge in molds.

You can enrich the pastry with chocolate chips, or flavor the dough with your favorite spices or grated orange zest.

You can also glaze them with royal icing as a beautiful Christmas gift.

Tips for the Best Butter Cookies

It is best to use unsalted butter when baking this cookie recipe.

Because these are butter cookies, it is important to use the best quality butter. Do not use margarine!

Make sure to cream the butter and sugar properly, by beating it for at least 5 minutes. The creamed mixture should be light yellow and fluffy – this will ensure that the cookies are light and crispy (as opposed to dense).

Sometimes the cookies spread too much in the oven, causing it to lose its shape. To prevent this, place the baking sheet with unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about half an hour before baking.

How to store Butter Cookies

Butter cookies can be stored at room temperature, in a tin box, for at least a couple of weeks. 

Can you freeze Butter Cookies?

Yes! Freeze butter cookies for up to 3 months.

How to make Butter Cookies


Cut the butter into cubes (1).


Collect them in a bowl (2) and let them soften at room temperature for a few minutes.


Pour in the sugar (3).


Work quickly with your fingertips until you get large crumbs (4).


Whip with the electric whisk (5), until the mixture becomes soft and creamy.


Add the egg (6) and stir in.


Add the salt (7).


Flavor with vanilla extract (8).


Flavor with the grated lemon zest (9).


Gently mix with a spatula (10).


Pour the sifted flour (11).


Add the baking powder (12).


Incorporate the ingredients mixing with the spatula (13).


Continue to knead quickly with your hands (14).


Form a compact dough, wrap it in cling film and then roll it out with a rolling pin until you get a square about 1 cm thick (15). Let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour.


After the resting time, take the shortcrust pastry and roll it out into a sheet about 5 mm thick (16).


Cut out many cookies with the chosen pastry cutter (17). Knead the scraps and continue to make other cookies until the dough is finished. You will get about 40 pieces in all.


Transfer the cookies obtained to a baking tray, lined with a sheet of parchment paper (18), and bake at 180° C (356° F), in a ventilated oven and on the medium shelf, for about 12 minutes.


After the baking time, take the cookies out of the oven, sprinkle them with powdered sugar (19) and let them cool.


Serve and enjoy (20)!

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