Classic Desserts/ Cookies/ Dessert/ easy

Perfect Butter Cookies

April 7, 2022

This is my favorite butter cookie recipe. Buttery and crumbly with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, these delicious, tender butter cookies are super easy to make!

Butter Cookies

My favorite thing to do in the kitchen is to try simple, classic recipes and make them again and again until they’re perfect. Butter cookies may not sound like the most exciting cookies, but they’re so satisfying when eaten with a cup of coffee. This leads to my recent experiment: trying different butter cookie recipes and determining how to make this simple cookie really really good.

Butter Cookies

How to make butter cookies

To make classic butter cookies, you only need three ingredients: flour, butter, and sugar.

To make them more flavorful but still keep things simple, I add vanilla extract and a bit of salt. I also use egg yolk and powdered sugar, which make the cookies extra tender with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. You could also add lemon or orange zest for a refreshing twist.

  1. Cream together the butter and sugars. Using a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and salt together until it is light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and combine.
  3. Add the flour. Pour in the flour and beat on low-medium speed just until combined. If the dough seems a bit dry, add 1-2 teaspoons of cold water to bring it together. (Note: To check if the dough is the right consistency, press a piece of dough between your fingers – the dough should stick together without feeling dry).
  4. Shape the dough. Divide the dough in half and form the dough into two logs, 1.5-inches in diameter. Roll in demerara sugar, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate both logs at least 1-2 hours.
  5. Slice. Use a sharp knife to slice the logs into 1/4-1/2-inch thick rounds.
  6. Bake. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper about 2-inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F/180°C until the cookies are slightly golden brown around the edges.
Butter Cookies

Tips for making butter cookies

-Don’t overmix the dough. Overmixing the dough can make the cookies tougher and more dense. After creaming the butter and sugar, simply mix the ingredients just until they come together.

-If the cookie dough seems a bit dry after adding the flour, add 1-2 teaspoons of cold water to bring it together. To check if the dough is the right consistency, press a piece of dough between your thumb and forefinger– the dough should stick together without feeling dry.

-If the dough is too soft and difficult to roll in the sugar, you can do this after it’s been refrigerated.

-You can refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 3 days before baking or freeze for up to a month if you don’t want to bake the cookies right away.

-If you want smaller cookies, you can make smaller logs for mini cookies and bake them for a few minutes less.  You’ll know they are done when the edges appear very slightly golden brown.

Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies

More melt-in-your-mouth cookies

4 from 1 vote
Butter Cookies
Butter Cookies
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 8 mins
Chill time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 48 mins
YIELD: 40 cookies

These delicate, tender butter cookies are rolled in demerara sugar and quite literally melt-in-your-mouth!

  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (300g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Demerara sugar, for rolling, optional
  1. In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, powdered sugar, and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes until creamy. Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat for about 30 seconds until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed just until combined. Do not over mix the dough. If dough is too dry, add water, 1-2 teaspoons at a time. To check if the dough is done, take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs – the dough should stick well together without feeling dry. 

  2. On a lightly floured surface, work the dough until it comes together, then divide in half. Shape each half of dough into a log that is 1.5 inches in diameter. Roll logs into demerara sugar (if the dough is too soft and hard to handle, do this after refrigeration). Wrap logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for at least 1-2 hours until firm. Dough can be left in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 2 months.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line 2 pans with parchment paper.

  4. Once the dough is cold enough, and use a sharp knife to slice the logs into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick rounds. If the dough is too crumbly and breaks, leave it for a few minutes to soften and squeeze any broken bits back into each cookie.

  5. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, placing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown around the edges. When done, the cookies should appear soft and bright. Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.

  6. Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, bringing to room temperature before serving. Cookies can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

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  • Reply
    David Stanford
    July 6, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    Made the butter cookie today but added pecans. Halved the recipe but used whole yolk. Turned out great. I am a shortbread fan but this butter cookie is better than any shortbread I’ve made.

  • Reply
    May 19, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    We don’t use powdered sugar. We use organic cane sugar, slightly granulated. If I use the organic sugar we have, instead of the powdered sugar, how much should I use?

    • Reply
      June 3, 2020 at 6:28 am

      You should use the same amount in grams. For granulated sugar that would be slightly more than 1/2 cup.

  • Reply
    December 17, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Question regarding the amount of butter: is that a total amount of 14 T. butter (1 stick=8T and 3/4 stick=6 T.)? Just want to make sure before making this yummy sounding recipe.

    • Reply
      December 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm

      That’s correct 🙂

  • Reply
    June 18, 2021 at 2:46 am

    Instead of refrigerating the dough can I directly bake it?

    • Reply
      August 12, 2021 at 5:19 am

      The dough would probably be too soft without refrigerating it first, and will spread more during baking.

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