Homemade butter cookies are made with just seven simple ingredients. Dip them in chocolate and top with sprinkles to create bakery-worthy cookies!
Butter cookies are so simple, but so unbelievably good. As the name suggests, they’re crisp yet soft cookies that are ultra buttery in flavor. Each bite melts in your mouth, leaving you craving another one.
Making butter cookies from scratch couldn’t be easier. You need just seven basic ingredients to make them, and I can almost guarantee you have everything in your pantry already.
Although I used a piping bag and tip to shape the cookies, you could just scoop the dough and flatten each one with the bottom of a glass cup. I opted to dip the cookies in melted chocolate, which makes them even prettier!
Homemade butter cookies make for a special mid-morning snack along with your cup of tea or coffee. Or, wrap them up and gift them to friends and family.
Ingredients for This Recipe
I won’t go over all of the ingredients needed for this recipe as they’re all pantry staples you can find at any grocery store. However, I wanted to highlight a few key ingredients to ensure butter cookie success.
- Egg Yolks: These add extra fat and richness to the cookie dough and create cookies that are incredibly soft! It’s best to let your egg yolks come to room temperature before mixing them in.
- Milk: I used whole milk, but you can use any kind of milk that you have on hand. I tested these cookies with different amounts of milk, from 1 tablespoon to 5 tablespoons. I found that 1 tablespoon was enough to make the dough pipe-able, but keep them from spreading too much in the oven.
- Butter: The star ingredient! You’ll need 1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter for this recipe. I prefer to use European-style butter with a higher percentage of butterfat, like Danish Creamery.
How to Make Butter Cookies
This is a very simple butter cookie recipe, but I’ve tried to give as much detail as possible in the recipe card below to make piping and baking the cookies as easy as possible. Here’s how you make these cookies:
- Combine the butter and sugar: Beat them together just until smooth. I prefer using a handheld mixer for this, but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease will also work.
- Add most of the remaining ingredients: Mix in the egg yolks, milk, vanilla, and salt.
- Mix in the flour: The mixture will look a little crumbly at first, this is normal! Continue mixing in the flour until the dough comes together like the picture above. If needed, you can stop and use a rubber spatula to help work the dough together.
- Pipe the cookie dough: Transfer half of the cookie dough to a piping bag that’s been fitted with a large piping tip. Then, pipe the dough into roughly 1.5- to 2-inch circles. Refill the piping bag as needed. I find that it’s easier to pipe the dough onto ungreased baking sheets, but you can pipe it onto parchment paper if you prefer.
- Chill the cookie dough: After all of the cookies have been piped out, place the baking sheets in the fridge. The dough needs to chill for at least 30 minutes. This will give the butter time to firm up, so that your cookies don’t spread too much in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Bake the cookies: Bake the chilled dough at 350ºF just until the cookies are set and the bottoms are golden.
- Cool completely: If you piped the dough directly on the baking sheets, run a thin spatula under the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven so that they don’t stick! Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
- Dip the cookies in chocolate: If desired, you can dip the cooled cookies in melted chocolate. I also topped mine with sprinkles, but both steps are optional!
Because this is such a simple recipe, I don’t recommend substituting any of the ingredients in the actual cookies. However, you can change up the toppings as desired and even make sandwich cookies!
- Temper the chocolate: If you want to go a step further, you can temper the chocolate before dipping the cookies into it. While this step isn’t necessary, it does make the chocolate prettier and it will stay firm at room temperature.
- Use a different kind of chocolate: I used semisweet chocolate for these cookies, but white chocolate or even dark chocolate would work great as well.
- Make sandwich cookies: Sandwich two cookies together using lemon curd, dulce de leche, or chocolate ganache.
- Add lemon or orange zest: If you want to add a little extra flavor to these cookies, you can mix 1 tablespoon of lemon or orange zest in with the wet ingredients.
- Add almond extract: Adding almond extract is a great way to change the flavor of your cookies without having to make any adjustments. Simply add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract along with the other wet ingredients.
- The butter cookie dough is pretty thick, so the cookies don’t spread much in the oven. If needed, you can add up to 1 more tablespoon of milk. Keep in mind that the cookies may spread a little more in the oven if you use more milk.
- If you’re having issues piping the dough, work the mixture between your hands in the piping bag to warm it up and make it easier to pipe. It’s usually easier to pipe after the first 2 to 3 cookies.
- I prefer to dip the end where the piping bag stops into the chocolate since it’s not as pretty.
- I used the Ateco 827 piping tip for these cookies, but a similar large piping tip that’s 1/2-inch wide will work as well.
More Simple Cookie Recipes to Make!
- Classic Shortbread Cookies
- Linzer Cookies
- Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
- Classic No-Bake Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks; 230 grams)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (135 grams)
- 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon whole milk (15 ml)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (280 grams)
- Optional: 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted (226 grams)
- Optional: Sprinkles
- To make the cookies: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on low speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined.
- Mix in the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract, and salt until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then, mix in the flour. The mixture will be a little crumbly, but will come together as you continue mixing it.
- Transfer half of the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip (I used the Ateco 827).
- Pipe the dough onto ungreased baking sheets (you may use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat if you prefer) in circles roughly 1.5 to 2-inches in diameter, making sure to leave about 2-inches of room between each one. I typically pipe mine into circles that are about 1.75-inches in diameter. If the dough is too thick to pipe, work the mixture in the piping bag between your hands a little to warm it up.
- Refill the piping bag with more dough once you’ve run out and continue piping circles until you’ve used all of the cookie dough.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the baking sheets with the piped cookies into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
- Bake for 12 to 16 minutes or until the cookies are set and the bottoms are lightly browned. If you piped the dough directly on the baking sheets, run a thin spatula under the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven so that they don't stick. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.
- To decorate the cookies: Once the cookies have cooled completely, dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add sprinkles on top, if desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the chocolate is firm. Alternatively, temper the chocolate and let the chocolate firm up at room temperature.
Adapted from my thumbprint cookies