Easy Classic Butter Cookies

Classic Butter Cookies are easy to make and have the best soft melt-in-your-mouth texture. You only need six ingredients to make the best butter cookies – they are perfect any time of year but especially during the holiday season.

Butter cookies on a white plate with 2 on the board.

Simple and delicious classic butter cookies are one of my favorite easy cookie recipes. It always amazes me that just a few essential ingredients can make such delicious cookies with a wonderful butter flavor. 

The butter cookies are similar to shortbread cookies, but they’re softer. They’re also rolled into balls and flattened instead of being sliced or cut out with cookie cutters. I usually make both kinds of cookies for the Christmas season because I can’t choose a favorite!

The other thing I love about them is that they keep well at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or you can freeze them. This makes them one of the best Christmas cookies for gifting.

Cookies on a white plate with 2 on a black board.

Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour – make sure the flour has a protein count of at least 11.5%
  • Pinch of salt – if you use unsalted butter then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Baking powder
  • Softened butter – make sure to soften the butter
  • Sifted powdered sugar (icing sugar)
  • Vanilla extract

Instructions

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set the dry ingredients aside.

Beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer (or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment). Beat in the vanilla and then add the flour mixture in two batches, beating at low speed.

Butter creamed and flour whisked in a white bowl.

If the dough is very soft, refrigerate it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Batter beaten in a silver mixing bowl.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Space them two inches apart and then lightly flatten them with a fork. Dip the fork in flour so it doesn’t stick to the dough.

Cookie balls and flattened on a cookie sheet.

Place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown around the edges. Cool them on the baking sheet for five minutes before moving them to a wire rack.

Baked butter cookies on the cookie sheet.

Recipe FAQ

Should you use salted or unsalted butter for cookies?

I prefer salted butter, but you can use unsalted – you just need to add a little more salt. For this recipe, I recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon salt if you use unsalted butter.

How should you store classic butter cookies?

The cookies should be completely cooled before storing them. Keep them in an airtight container, and they will keep for up to five days at room temperature. You can also store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Let them warm to room temperature before serving.

Can you freeze them?

Yes, butter cookies freeze great. Store them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and they will keep for up to two months. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.

Can you decorate butter cookies?

They are delicious plain, but there are a few things you can do to decorate them. 

Try rolling the dough balls in coarse sugar or granulated sugar before flattening them with the fork. This gives them a sugary, crunchy coating. You can even use colored sugar.

Sprinkles would work, too. Choose a small sprinkle size and roll the balls in them before flattening them.

You can also dip them in chocolate. Once the cookies are cooled, dip them in melted chocolate, or you can drizzle it over the top. You could also top the chocolate with some sprinkles before it sets.

Cookies on a white plate.

I hope you give this easy recipe a try this year. It’s so simple, but the results are impressive – Enjoy!

Cookies on a white plate.

Easy Classic Butter Cookies

Classic Butter Cookies are easy to make and have the best soft melt-in-your-mouth texture. You only need six ingredients to make them!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Chilling Time 20 mins
Total Time 52 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 20 cookies
Calories 76 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoons all purpose flour (135 grams)
  • 1 pinch salt*
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup butter (soft)
  • ½ cup icing/powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*If you use unsalted butter, then add ¼ teaspoon of salt.

    Instructions
     

    • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder, set aside.
    • In the mixer beat the sugar and butter until creamy, approximately 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, add the whisked flour in 2 additions, beat on low until it forms a dough. If the dough is very soft, refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
    • Roll into 1 inch balls. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, leaving 2 ½ inches between each, flatten lightly with a fork (dip in flour so it doesn't stick to the dough). Refrigerate the dough while the oven is pre-heating 20 minutes.
    • Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
    • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Leave on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

    Notes

     
    The cooled cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for up to 5 days. They can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, bring them to room temperature before serving.
     
    Store the cooled cookies in a freezer safe container or bag. They will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature.
     
     

    Nutrition

    Calories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 61mgPotassium: 9mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 203IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 1mg
    Keyword butter cookies, classic butter cookies
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