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Homemade Butter Cookies – Easy Old-Fashioned Recipe

Homemade Butter Cookies have a soft center with a crisp crunch on the outside. This old-fashioned recipe is perfect for the holidays but easy enough for any day!

Top down view of a cooling rack filled with red and white butter cookies. A small plate of two cookies sit in the front next to two spoons.

There’s nothing like a tried and true Old Fashioned recipe. Especially when it’s quick and easy to make like this delicious Homemade Butter Cookies recipe.

These little butter cookies are perfect to dress up with decorative sugar for the holidays and simple enough to make for a casual get-together.

They use simple ingredients, no fancy techniques, and mix up in a jiffy.

Banner for the blogging event Freaky Friday Annual Virtual Cookie Exchange - 2020

What’s so special about these cookies?

As much as I would love to take credit for baking this old-fashioned butter cookie recipe, this recipe is actually inspired by the Cookie Exchange edition of our Freaky Friday Blog Hop.

What is the Freaky Friday Blog Hop? Freaky Friday is a blog hop with some of my favorite food blogger buddies!

We secretly get assigned one another’s blogs to make a recipe from, and then we all reveal who we had and what we made on the same Friday, and that is today!

The Freaky Friday blog hop is organized by Michaela who runs An Affair From the Heart.

Side view of a white dish holding butter cookie decorated with red sprinkles with a butter cookie decorated with white sugar sitting on top of it with a bite out of it. A plate of cookies sit in the background.

Bowl Me Over

I was so excited to get my friend Debra’s blog “Bowl Me Over” for our Virtual Cookie Exchange edition of Freaky Friday.

Let me tell you a little bit about Debra.

Debra and I met a few years back when John and I were in her home state of California. It was one of those meet-ups where you felt you’d been friends for years and the conversation just picked up where it left off the last time.

Besides being a great cook and an animal lover, Debra is a sweetheart and volunteers to bake and deliver custom birthday cakes, cookies and cupcakes for children in the foster system. That just warms my heart!

One thing we have in common with our blogs is that we TRY to keep our dishes on the healthier side, but it has to be flavorful too.

Her blog name, Bowl Me Over, is appropriately named because a lot of her recipes start with one ingredient, often leftovers, thrown in a bowl, and built into an amazing recipe from there.

Previously I made Debra’s Teriyaki Chicken Bowl and it’s still one of the recipes that I make routinely.

Since this is a cookie exchange, I wanted a recipe that was suitable for a cookie tray. Debra had some amazing contenders such as her Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Cookie Recipe, Easy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and her White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies!

Ultimately, I had to go with her Grandma Bertha’s Homemade Butter Cookies. Like Debra, we cherish those family recipes so this one was perfect for our cookie exchange blog hop.

I make a lot of large cookies and when shaping these cookies thought the 1-inch had to be a mistake!

I followed the recipe and they’re just perfect as a sweet little treat after dinner or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

The recipe makes 36 to 40 cookies and freezes beautifully so you can make them now and freeze a few for later! Just put them in an air-tight container.

Angled view of a small white dish holding a red and a white decorated butter cookie with a cup of coffee and a plate of cookies in the background.

What’s the difference between Butter, Sugar, and Shortbread Cookies?

When we first made this recipe, it made me wonder if it was more of a shortbread cookie since it isn’t an overly sweet. However, with the rich butter, it could pass for a sugar cookie. Here’s the difference.

Sugar cookies are often sweeter and rolled and cut out. You could roll out this butter cookie recipe. The texture of the dough is very similar to a sugar cookie dough. It’s not as sweet as a sugar cookie, however.

Shortbread cookies traditionally have a higher butter to flour ratio and tend to have more of a crumbly texture. They’re generally baked at a lower temperature as well.

This cookie has a soft center with that delightful crunch on the outside so it definitely isn’t a shortbread cookie.

Angled view of a small white dish holding a red and a white decorated butter cookie with a cup of coffee if the background.

Like so many old-school cookie recipes, the ingredients are simple and you probably already have them on hand.

  • Butter – this recipe uses salted butter
  • Sugar – white granulated sugar
  • Flour – all-purpose flour
  • Egg – we use large eggs for consistency
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla extract – we use pure vanilla in this recipe
  • Decorating sugar – colored sugar, white sugar, turbinado sugar, or sanding sugar are good choices but totally optional.

How to make Homemade Butter Cookies

Step 1: Make the dough

Three Photo Grid of making Butter Cookie Batter including 1. whipping butter and sugar together 2. adding egg to the batter and 3. adding flour to the batter
  1. Cream the butter and the sugar together until it’s light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and the vanilla. Mix until combined.
  3. Sift the flour and the baking powder together. With the mixer running on low, spoon the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  4. Cover and chill the dough for one hour. Alternately you can mix it one day and finish it another. Just make sure it’s covered so it doesn’t dry out.

Step 2: Shape the dough

Three photo grid of forming butter cookies including 1. forming the cookie with a scoop, 2. Rolling the round dough ball in decorative sugar, and 3. pressing the round dough ball until slightly flattened on top.
  1. Scoop the chilled dough and roll into 1-inch balls.
  2. Roll the dough ball in decorative sugar and place the shaped dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  3. Lightly press the top of the dough with the back of a spoon to gently flatten them.
  4. Bake.
Side view of a white dish holding butter cookie decorated with red sprinkles with a butter cookie decorated with white sugar sitting on top of it with a bite out of it. A plate of cookies sit in the background.
  • Measure your ingredients using the scoop and level technique for the flour and baking powder.
    • This recipe is dependent on the ratio of butter to sugar to flour so it’s important that correct measurements are used.
  • You want your butter and sugar to be light and fluffy but don’t over mix it until it breaks down.
  • Press the tops of the cookies lightly until they just start to resist. Pressing too hard will make the cookies crack on the edges.
  • Cookies don’t spread while baking so you can bake up to 16 cookies on a baking sheet.
  • These cookies are small. Don’t over bake them. Our cookies baked for only 9 minutes and weren’t browned when we removed them from the oven but they had a crisp exterior.
    • We also removed them from the pan and moved them to a cooling rack within a couple of minutes of when we took them out of the oven.
A plate of red and white decorated butter cookies with a cup of coffee and another plate holding two cookies in the background.

We love cookies! You can find all of our cookie recipes here!

Pin these yummy cookies!

Two photos for Pinterest. The top photo is a Side view of a white dish holding butter cookie decorated with red sprinkles with a butter cookie decorated with white sugar sitting on top of it with a bite out of it. A plate of cookies sit in the background. Bottom photo is a top down view of a cooling rack filled with red and white butter cookies. A small plate of two cookies sit in the front next to two spoons.

In Debras post she said she had a lot of fun photographing these cookies. As you can tell, I did too!

Wouldn’t these homemade Butter Cookies be adorable on your cookie tray? They’d also be perfect as a holiday gift alongside a new teacup and your favorite tea!

We’d like to thank Debra for this yummy cookie recipe, and I hope you’ll check out Bowl Me Over and take a look at her recipes.

Take a look at all of our 2020 Freaky Friday Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes:

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
  2. Bowl Me Over – Homemade Buckeyes Recipe
  3. Devour Dinner – Holiday Brownie Cookie
  4. Fresh Cooky – Mint Fudge Brownies
  5. Hostess at Heart – Homemade Butter Cookies
  6. House of Nash Eats – Candy Coated Crispix Mix
  7. Lemoine Family Kitchen – Nutella Thumbprint Cookies
  8. Life Currents – Easy One Hour Cinnamon Rolls
  9. Life, Love & Good Food – Peppermint Brownie Drop Cookies
  10. Or Whatever You Do – Easy Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
  11. Sugar Dish Me – Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
  12. Take Two Tapas –  Chocolate Caramel Brownies
  13. The Speckled Palate – Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

Here’s your yummy recipe!

branding that reads xoxo jules
Side view of a white dish holding butter cookie decorated with red sprinkles with a butter cookie decorated with white sugar sitting on top of it with a bite out of it. A plate of cookies sit in the background.
Print
4.64 from 11 votes

Homemade Butter Cookies Recipe

Homemade Butter Cookies have a soft center with a crisp crunch outside. This old-fashioned recipe is perfect for the holidays but easy enough for any day.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Chill time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 29 mins
Servings 40
Author Julie Menghini

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • decorating sugar optional

Instructions

  • Combine the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together. With the mixer on low speed, spoon the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
  • Cover the dough and chill for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Scoop and shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the shaped dough into decorative sugar. Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets. Using the back of a spoon, press the top of each cookie until just slightly flat.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

Notes

The recipe originated from Bowl Me Over.
Helpful tips:
  • Measure your ingredients using the scoop and level technique for the flour and baking powder.
    • This recipe is dependent on the ratio of butter to sugar to flour so it’s important that correct measurements are used.
  • You want your butter and sugar to be light and fluffy but don’t over mix it until it breaks down.
  • Press the tops of the cookies lightly until they just start to resist. Pressing too hard will make the cookies crack on the edges.
  • Cookies don’t spread while baking so you can put up to 16 cookies on a baking sheet.
  • These cookies are small. Don’t over bake them. My cookies baked for only 9 minutes and weren’t browned when I removed them from the oven but they had a crisp exterior.
    • I also removed them from the pan and moved them to a cooling rack within a couple of minutes of when I took them out of the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 19mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 148IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
Recipe Rating




Jada

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Honestly I was super disappointed with these cookies. They turned out as pictured but they were very bland and not sweet. I'm used to butter cookies being rich and having a strong yellow hue and these, well, they looked and tasted like tiny little biscuits.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 11th of August 2021

Hi Jada, the recipe states they aren't overly sweet and are not sugar cookies. They don't taste like biscuits, however.

Amy Nash

Thursday 10th of December 2020

These cookies have the most wonderful textures! I'm obsessed with the crunch on the outside. My kids are calling the red ones "Rudolph noses".

Julie Menghini

Thursday 10th of December 2020

Thank you, Amy! They're perfect reindeer noses!

Erin

Monday 7th of December 2020

Gosh, that PERFECT cookies for this season! I love that you can decorate them however you like and still keep the deliciousness of the butter cookie base, too. Well done!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 10th of December 2020

Thank you, Erin!

Jennifer Stewart

Saturday 5th of December 2020

I love that these have a crunch on the outside but are soft on the inside. They look delicious and will be a perfect bite sized cookie addition to my cookie tray.

Julie Menghini

Sunday 6th of December 2020

I totally agree! Thank you Jennifer!

Debi

Saturday 5th of December 2020

These cookies look so simple and yet so elegant. Perfect for Santa! Thanks for the recipe.

Julie Menghini

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Thank you Debi! They are Santa approved!