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Homemade Christmas Butter Cookies are a must-make for the holidays! Soft and tender with amazing buttery flavor, and a festive presentation.
Butter Cookies will be a huge hit on your Christmas tray this year, especially with Christmas sprinkles. Looking for other festive Christmas cookies? Add some variety to your cookie tray with my Red Velvet Cookie, Pinwheel Christmas Cookies, Candy Cane Cookies, and Ricotta Cookies.
These cookies are light and fluffy in texture, with a slightly crisp exterior. They are similar to the Danish Butter Cookies you can get in a tin around the holidays, but trust me – you won’t need those anymore after you try this homemade version.
Table of Contents
Why We Love Butter Cookies
- Only 10-20 minutes of chill time needed.
- Easy to make and freeze to enjoy year round or give as gifts.
- Use sprinkles or melted chocolate to add variety and make them festive and fun for the holidays.
You only need 7 simple ingredients to make festive Christmas Butter Cookies!
- Butter – I prefer to use unsalted butter when baking so I can control the salt amount. NOTE – it’s very important to use high-quality, name-brand butter. I personally only use Challenge butter for baking.
- White Granulated Sugar – do not use powdered sugar.
- Egg – room temperature is best.
- Vanilla Extract – I recommend using pure vanilla extract if you have it, as it gives the best flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour – while you are free to try them, I have not tested this recipe with gluten free flours.
- Salt – just a pinch to balance the sweetness.
- Sprinkles – optional, but are fun and make the butter cookies extra festive!
How to Make Butter Cookies
These cookies are made from a simple one-bowl dough, just a few minutes of mixing, and only 10 minutes of baking!
Prep. Start by preheating the oven and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix dough. Using a stand mixer, or a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add egg, vanilla, flour and salt. Be careful not to overmix. Add the milk, just a tablespoon at a time, to get the dough to be a piping consistency.
Pipe Cookies – Add the dough to piping bags and pipe into small circles on the lined baking sheet. I recommend sticking the sheet in the fridge to chill for 10-20 minutes to set the shape. For reference, I used a 1/2-inch star tip.
Bake – Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn just golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Frequently Asked Questions
To prevent your cookies from spreading, make sure you chill the cookies after piping and before baking. If they still spread after chilling, then the dough needs a little more flour (or less milk).
I recommend using unsalted butter for your cookies so you can control the amount of salt in the recipe. As far as brands go, I personally use Kirkland brand and buy it in bulk. I have found that it’s just a good as other, more expensive butters on the market.
How To Serve
Store and serve at room temperature. We love to make a tray with a variety of festive, holiday cookies. A cookie tray is great to not only serve to guests but you can also build a tray, cover with plastic or cellophane wrap, and give as gifts.
- Chill the Dough – In order to keep the right shape, the cookie dough needs to be chilled before baking (after piping). This is key. So pipe the dough onto the baking sheet then pop in the fridge to chill
- Test a spoonful of dough in piping bag – To make sure your dough is the right consistency, you can add a small spoonful to the piping bag to test that it can be piped through before adding all of the dough.
- Dip in chocolate – For a fun spin, you can dip half of each cookie in melted chocolate and then top with sprinkles. Place the dipped cookies on wax paper to set.
These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep fresh for about 5-7 days.
You can also freeze them for up to 6-8 months. Store in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container. Thaw at room temperature.
More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love
- Jello Cookies with Any Flavor
- Red Velvet Cookies
- Oreo Stuffed Cookies
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Eggnog Cookies (Meltaways)
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (see notes – use high-quality, name brand butter)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or more if needed; any kind
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar on medium low speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating on medium low speed until smooth.
- Slowly add the flour and salt just until fully incorporated – do not overmix.
- Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, using the minimum amount possible to reach a piping consistency.
- Place the batter in a piping bag, and pipe small circles onto the prepared baking sheet. Add sprinkles if desired. Chill the baking sheets in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
My cookies were still hard to pipe. I think I should be a little softer. Could I add a little more milk? But overall, absolutely wonderful! Could other flavors be used instead of vanilla? These cookies are now a family favorite @
Thanks for your feedback Kathy! Yes you can add more milk, just a tablespoon at a time.
I followed the recipe exactly. The cookies did not keep their shape at all, they turned into round puddles in the oven. So disappointed…
I really really wanted these cookies to turn out. I wish I had read the comments too. I followed the recipe exactly. I doubled the batch, which I’m mad I did since I wasted so much. I bought challenge butter and did the least amount of milk. I live in a high altitude so maybe I needed more flour, but the dough was so thick I could hardly pipe them. I’m really disappointed.
If I only have salted butter, should I not add the additional salt?
You can omit the salt if using salted butter.
I was looking forward to these! They did not turn out right at all. I followed the directions exactly. They spread, took longer to bake, and they taste nothing like a Butter cookie.
Hi Debbie, I’m so sorry these didn’t turn out for you. You are not the first person to comment that they have had trouble with this recipe, and we are currently re-testing and trying to troubleshoot the specific issue. I believe we have narrowed it down to butter quality and highly recommend using a high-quality, brand-name butter (I recommend Challenge, Kerrygold or Tillamook brands). Unfortunately, due to supply chain issues and shortages, many brands have discreetly change the moisture content and additives, which results in high moisture/less fat. I will be adding some more tips in the recipe notes.
Ugh! Wish I had read the comments…these didn’t keep shape and spread. It did not work at all despite high quality ingredients and following recipe. I then realized it was so same recipe (minus the tablespoon of milk) that I would use for a regular sugar cookie with a little less flour…so makes sense why this came out the way it did.
A sugar cookie has leavening (like baking soda or baking powder), which this butter cookie recipe does not have. It’s definitely not the same and it doesn’t taste the same. As far as spreading, I have added notes to the recipe.
My 3 trays of cookies completely spread out, thoughts?
Hi Aly, that seems to be happening to folks this year and we are looking at the recipe trying to figure out why. Butter has definitely changed, and that could very well be the cause. We will update soon!
Would I be able to use a cookie press in place of the piping bag?
It’s not the same dough and I don’t think it would be the right consistency. However you could try it if you’re comfortable with that.
These look amazing, but I didn’t see what size or shape of tip to look for if you want to try these. I don’t currently have a piping bag or tips. Thanks!
I used a half-inch star tip.
Followed recipe exactly. Chilled in fridge for like 45 mins. Cookies still spread/ didn’t keep shape. Too way longer to bake. Like double the time. A newer oven too
I’m sorry Kerstin. We are in the process of testing this recipe with a few scenarios this week. Please check back in!
God bless you! I have spent years trying to find that to die for Christmas cookie recipe and this is it. I have changed the name to “slap your momma good butter cookies!” Thank you for making the recipe so easy to increase. I almost thought about telling my friends and family that I burned the cookies so I didn’t have to share, but I decided to make more instead. 😅
Thank you so much for the kind words Erin! Now that’s a great name for cookies! Thanks for stopping by.
When making cookies with sprinkles, when do you put the sprinkles on so they actually stick?
Prior to baking, so the dough is still a little sticky.
What piping tip do you recommend? Recipe looks delicious. Thx.
Hi Mary, I recommend a medium-large star tip.