Butter Cookies – 6 ingredients

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

Although they are delicious, this butter cookie recipe is less crunchy. These are soft butter cookies. Think of butter cookies as the perfect cross between a sugar cookies and shortbread.

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

  • Butter, softened
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Egg yolks
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour for all purposes
  • Salt

The dough for these is very simple to make; mix the dry ingredients separately from the wet and then combine them. But the real “trick” for these is to freeze the dough before baking. You can do this in a few different ways.

If you want simple/ordinary butter cookies, I recommend freezing the dough in a ball shape. This way, you simply cut the cookies out of the log before baking.

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

Tips for making butter cakes:

  • The dough will be soft before freezing, so if you’re rolling it out to make cut-out 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 can also use one cookie press gun or cookie stamp roll to create designs.
  • Another traditional method is to stir dough using large pastry picks. I do not recommend this method. Even if your dough is very soft, this method requires a lot of manual labor. Maybe it works well for some, but I’ve never had success with it.

Other Christmas baking recipes:

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


Are shortbread the same as shortbread?

They are very similar, so if you like one, you’ll probably enjoy the other. However, butter cookies are softer and the dough contains more sugar.

Which butter is best for cookies?

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

Why are my butter cookies dry?

Usually, dry cookies mean that too much flour has been added. Double check the recipe to make sure you have used the correct amount of flour.

get the recipe
Get the recipe

soft and delicious butter cakes

Yield 20 cookies

Prepare 35 mine

Cook 10 mine

Total 45 mine


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

  • Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.

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

  • If you don’t plan to shape or press the cookies, roll the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

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

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