Butter Cookies – 6 Ingredients

Butter cookies are a classic cookie that always make me think of the store-bought kind that come in seasonal tins.

While those are yummy, this butter cookie recipe is less crispy. These are soft butter cookies. Think of butter cookies as the perfect cross between a sugar cookie and shortbread.

Need more seasonal baking ideas? Check out our dessert archive.

  • Butter, softened
  • Granulated White Sugar
  • Egg Yolks
  • Vanilla Extract
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Salt

The dough for these is very straightforward to make; mixing the dry ingredients separate from the wet and then combining them. But, the real “trick” to these is freezing the dough before baking. You can do this a few different ways.

If you want simple/plain looking butter cookies, then I recommend freezing the dough in a log shape. This way you simply slice the cookies from the log before baking.

If you’d like to shape or press the butter cookies, like I have in these photos, then do so before freezing. You can freeze for 30 minutes or up to overnight before baking with this method.

Tips for Making Butter Cookies:

  • The dough will be soft before freezing, so if you are rolling it out to make cutout shapes (like I have in these photos), be sure to use more flour than the recipe card calls for. This will be for dusting the surface and the rolling pin.
  • I used cookie stamps to create designs.
  • You could also use a cookie press gun or cookie stamp roller to create designs.
  • Another traditional method is to pipe dough using large pastry tips. I don’t recommend this method. Even if your dough is very soft, it takes a lot of hand strength to do this method. Maybe for some it works great, but I’ve never had success with it.

Other Holiday Baking Recipes:

If you are looking for more recipes to bake this season, try these!


Are butter cookies the same as shortbread?

They are very similar, so if you like one you will likely enjoy the other. However, butter cookies are softer and the batter contains more sugar.

What butter is best for cookies?

Unsalted butter is usually what recipes call for unless otherwise stated. This allows you to control how much salt is added to the recipe overall.

Why are my butter cookies dry?

Usually dry cookies means too much flour was added. Double check the recipe to make sure you used the correct amount of flour.

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Get the Recipe

soft and delicious butter cookies

Yield 20 cookies

Prep 35 mins

Cook 10 mins

Total 45 mins


  • In a medium to large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

  • Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.

  • Add the flour and salt. Stir until a soft dough forms.

  • If you are not planning to shape or press the cookies, then roll the dough into a log shape and cover in plastic. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, and up to overnight.

  • If you would like to shape or press the cookies, then roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and do so. Place them on a lined baking sheet after. Then freeze for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

  • Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.