These melt-in-your mouth Linzer cookies are a holiday classic. Buttery cookies filled with your favorite jam and dusted with powdered sugar make for a gorgeously presented and decadent treat.
These cookies are almost too pretty to eat! With their snow-like dusting of powdered sugar and beautiful cut-out shapes, Linzer cookies are one of my favorite holiday cookies. This cookie recipe is similar to my thumbprint cookies but uses cookie cutters and has two layers of buttery cookies instead of one. This simple cookie dough is so easy to make and doesn’t require any hard-to-find ingredients.
What are Linzer cookies?
Linzer Cookies originated in Austria and we inspired by the famous Linzer Torte. Believed to be the oldest cake in the world, the Linzer Torte was created in the 1600s in Linz, Austria. It is made with a buttery pastry dough topped with fruit preserves and a lattice design top crust that shows the jammy filling.
Linzer cookies are an adaptation of the torte, featuring a similar dough as the cookie and filled with fruit preserves. Instead of a lattice crust, the top cookie has a hole cut out so the jam shows through. They are made in a variety of shapes and flavors, but my favorite is a classic raspberry Linzer cookie with a light dusting of powdered sugar. You could also try making your own jam, like fig jam, for an extra challenge.
How to make Linzer cookie dough
While some Linzer cookie recipes call for nuts, I like to use a simple flour and butter recipe. For the best Linzer cookies, you want a simple, rich buttery dough that gets rolled thin to sandwich a fruity jam filling inside. This butter dough recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require any tools besides a food processor.
- Make sure your butter is very cold. I like to cut it into cubes and stick them in the freezer for a couple minutes before processing with the rest of the ingredients. It’s a trick I use for my perfect pie crust that helps keep the dough soft and tender.
- Process your flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined and then add in the chilled butter. Pulse the mixture several times, until it becomes crumbly and resembles a coarse meal. Add in your egg yolk and vanilla, and keep pulsing until the mixture starts to clump together and become a dough.
Tip: The dough should still be crumbly with large clumps. If it looks a bit dry, you can add a bit of water, but test it first by taking a piece of dough and pressing it between your thumbs. If it sticks together without feeling dry then it is done.
- Scrape the dough out of the food processor onto a floured surface and form it into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days. The dough needs time to chill before you roll it out and shape your cookies.
Tip: Don’t overwork the dough because this will produce tougher cookies, and we want them to be super tender. Simply use your hands to bring the dough together without any extra kneading.
How to roll out the Linzer cookie dough
Linzer Cookies are made out of Linzer cookie cutters or two different sized round cookie cutters. I love these round cookie cutters from Amazon, and they can be used for other recipes, too.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare your baking sheets so they’re ready by the time you have cut out the circles for your cookies. On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough until it’s about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. I prefer to keep these cookies thin, since you’ll have two layers in each final cookie.
- Cut out your cookies. Using a 2-inch or larger cookie cutter, cut out 60 rounds and set on the lined baking sheets. Cut a hole in the center of 30 of the cookies using the smaller rounded cookie cutter. These will end up being the tops of your cookies.
Tip: If your dough ends up getting too soft during this process, simply stick the dough in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up before continuing with the cutting. I sometimes even stick the prepared baking sheets in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking to help the cookies keep their shape while in the oven.
Baking and filling the cookies
- Bake. Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let them cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies with the holes.
- Fill the cookies. With your cooled cookies, put about ½ a teaspoon of your favorite jam in the center of the circles without holes. Dust powdered sugar over the cookie tops and place on top of the filled cookies. Press gently, being careful not to squeeze any jam out of the center.
These Linzer Cookies are best eaten right away, but can also be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for a week. Buttery, tender and melt-in-your-mouth, these are some of my favorite cookies to make for the holidays. They also make a gorgeous gift!
Commonly asked questions
Does it matter what type of jam I use for the filling?
Nope! You can use whatever jam you like. I personally love filling Linzer cookies with raspberry jam, but use whichever type you prefer or have on hand.
Can I freeze Linzer cookies?
Linzer cookie dough freezes great. You can also freeze them after baking, but I don’t recommend freezing them filled with jam, because they will become soggy. You can either freeze the cookie dough in a disc before baking, or even cut out the cookies and freeze them directly on a baking sheet. You can then bake them directly from the freezer. If you freeze the cookies after baking, simply leave them at room temperature to thaw.
My cookie dough got very soft while I was rolling out. How do I prevent this?
This is common because this is such a soft cookie dough. You can simply place the dough back in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to chill it back up. Also, be sure to roll them out on a floured surface to prevent sticking. I also highly recommend putting the cookies in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes on a baking sheet to chill them. This helps them hold their shape while baking.
More of my favorite holiday cookies
- Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies: Chewy, thick, and insanely delicious, these cookies are made with creamy peanut butter and peanut butter chips.
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies: These soft and cakey pumpkin cookies are drizzled with maple glaze.
- Chocolate Sandwich Cookies: Rich, chocolatey melt-in-your-mouth cookies filled with creamy chocolate ganache.
- Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: Nutty brown butter gives these chocolate chip cookies a rich, caramel flavor.
- Nutella Stuffed Cookies: Soft, buttery cookies filled with rich Nutella make an insanely delicious treat.
Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Linzer cookies are filled with jam are dusted with powdered sugar. They're the perfect holiday cookie!
- 2 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (90g) powdered sugar*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (200g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Filling: 1/2 cup strawberry jam or other jam of your choice
Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor for a few seconds until combined. Add butter and pulse several times until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and keep pulsing until dough starts to clump together. The dough should be crumbly with large clumps. If dough is too dry, add a bit of water. Another way to check if the dough is done is to take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs – the dough should stick well together without feeling dry. Avoid overworking the dough throughout the process.
- Turn the dough to a floured surface and form into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line pans with parchment paper and set aside.
Roll out dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (for sandwich cookies I prefer thin cookies). Cut 60 rounds or hearts of dough using a 2 inch (5 cm) cookie cutter. Using a smaller round (or other shape) cutter, cut a hole into the center of 30 of the cookies.
- Transfer cookies gently using a thin spatula to the prepared baking sheets, placing them 1 inch apart.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are golden just at the edges. Let cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Sift powdered sugar on top of the cookies with the holes.
Put about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of the whole cookies, then place the cookies with the holes on top, and press gently.
- Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*Powdered sugar can be replaced with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cookies with powdered sugar will have a more tender, melt-in-you-mouth texture.