Crisp and buttery, classic spritz cookies taste like a cross between sugar cookies and shortbread. Each bite melts in your mouth, and it’s far too easy to keep eating one after another!
What Are Spritz Cookies?
No holiday dessert table is complete without a heaping plate of festive spritz cookies! These classic Christmas cookies are buttery and crisp like shortbread, but they melt in your mouth just like soft sugar cookies.
Spritz cookies get their name from the German word, “spritzen,” which means “to squirt.” It’s an apt name for cookies that are made by squeezing the dough through a cookie press — which is how the unique shapes are created!
These cookies are made with just a few basic ingredients, and you can add food coloring to make them as festive or simple as you’d like. Colored sanding sugar finishes off the cookies and adds a delightful crunch that complements the buttery cookie dough perfectly.
This is a no-frills recipe for spritz cookies — why mess with a classic when it tastes this good? Because the ingredients list is so short, I’ll quickly go over each ingredient individually.
- Unsalted butter: Set the butter on your counter about an hour before you begin making the cookie dough. You want your butter to be at a cool room temperature, in other words, it’s cool to the touch but your finger should leave an indent if you press into it.
- Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cookies without masking the buttery flavor.
- Egg: To bind everything together and prevent the cookies from being too crumbly. It’s best to use a room temperature egg, so that it disperses evenly into your cookie dough. If you need to get your egg to room temperature quickly, place it in a bowl of warm tap water for about 10 minutes.
- Vanilla extract: I used 1 1/2 teaspoons to make the vanilla flavor stand out. Be sure to stick with pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Flour: It’s very important that you spoon and level the flour when measuring it rather than scooping it straight from the bag. Spritz butter cookies can easily become dry and crumbly if you use too much flour.
- Salt: A little salt offsets the sugar and enhances the butter and vanilla flavors.
- Food coloring: Optional but can be used to color the cookies for special occasions. For these particular cookies, I divided the dough and used red and green food coloring.
- Sanding sugar: Also optional, but I love the extra crunch and pop of color sanding sugar adds to the cookies. Small sprinkles, like nonpareils, work great too!
How to Make Spritz Cookies
If you’ve never worked with a cookie press before, this is a great recipe to start with. I’ve given my top tips and tricks for making butter spritz cookies in the recipe card below, but here’s an overview of the baking process.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F: While the oven preheats, place three large baking sheets in the fridge. Cold baking sheets will ensure that the spritz cookie dough sticks easily and it will also prevent the cookies from spreading in the oven.
- Combine the butter and sugar: Beat them together until well combined using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, this should only take about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla: You’ll likely need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once to ensure the egg is fully incorporated into the butter mixture.
- Add the flour and salt: The dough may seem a little crumbly at first, but it will come together as you continue mixing it. Mix until the cookie dough is combined, but no further. It should look like the picture above on the right.
- Color the cookies (optional): At this stage, you’ll want to divide the dough into equal amounts for however many colors of cookie you’d like to have. Mix the food coloring into the separate batches of dough.
- Add the cookie dough to a cookie press: Press the cookie dough into a cookie press fitted with a template (if you’re unsure how to do this, reference the manufacturer’s instructions). I use this OXO cookie press and really love it!
- Press the cookies: Remove the cold baking sheets from the fridge and press the dough onto the ungreased sheets. The cookie dough should stick to the cold baking sheets and release from the cookie press with ease.
- Top with sanding sugar or sprinkles: This step is optional, but sanding sugar adds a nice crunch to the cookies.
- Bake the cookies: Butter spritz cookies need to bake for just 6 to 8 minutes. You’ll know they’re finished when the tops are just set. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, gently slide a thin spatula underneath them to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet as they cool.
- Cool the cookies: Let them cool completely on the baking sheets before removing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Won’t My Cookies Stick To The Pan?
If your cookies aren’t sticking to the baking sheet, it could be for a few reasons:
- The baking sheet isn’t cold enough: As I mentioned earlier, you need to refrigerate your baking sheets for about 30 minutes before pressing the cookie dough onto them. This will make it much easier for the dough to stick to it. If you forgot or need to speed up the process, you may place your baking sheets in the freezer.
- The cookie dough is too cold: You want the dough to be at room temperature, so it’s easy to press. If your dough is too cold, let it sit at room temperature for another 10 to 15 minutes and try again.
Can You Make Spritz Cookies Without A Press?
If you don’t have a cookie press, I recommend using my butter cookie recipe instead. It’s similar to this recipe, but with a few adjustments to make it easy to pipe.
Can You Freeze These Cookies?
Yes, you can freeze the cookie dough or the baked cookies!
- To freeze the dough: Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or store in a large freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before pressing the cookies onto a baking sheet.
- To freeze the cookies: Once the baked cookies have cooled completely, freeze in a large freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature before serving.
- It’s easier to press the cookies onto a baking sheet that’s not greased or lined with parchment paper. Just be sure to slide a spatula under them as soon as they come out of the oven or they will stick.
- If some of the dough is sticking up after you press the cookies, you can gently tap it down with your finger to smooth it out.
- Spritz cookie dough can be prepared and refrigerated in advance, just bring to room temperature when you’re ready to press and bake the cookies.
More Classic Christmas Cookies to Bake!
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (230 grams; 2 sticks)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (135 grams)
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled (315 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Optional: Food coloring
- Optional: Sprinkles and sanding sugar for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Place three large baking sheets in the refrigerator.
- 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 and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined, making sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the flour and salt until just combined. Equally divide the cookie dough into the amount of different colors for the cookies and mix in the food coloring (if using) until fully combined.
- Press the dough into a cookie press fitted with a template. Remove the baking sheets from the refrigerator, and press the dough onto the chilled ungreased baking sheets. Top each cookie with sprinkles (if using).
- Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are just set. Remove from the oven, and carefully slide a thin spatula under all of the cookies to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely, then remove them from the baking sheets.
Recipe from my cookbook Live Well Bake Cookies