Butter Cookies

butter cookies
I’mma keep a’-rollin’ on a cookie theme here and share a Marshall family favorite.  We love these Butter Cookies like mad, especially my brother.

butter cookies on a plate
Mmm. Mm mm mm mm mmm.  (Sorry Jeff.)
I’ve entered this recipe in the Chicago Tribune’s annual cookie contest twice now but unfortunately readers must feel these are too boring to vote for.  Which is unreasonably ridiculous because there is absolutely nothing boring about them.

They are divine.  So. So. So. Divine.  Deeeelicious.  Delicate and light with a tender crunch, bursting with butter flavor and a pop of happy fruit, these are the unsung heroes of the holiday cookies.

My mom made these cookies every single year for as long as I can remember.  These and chocolate chip cookies and we were very happy campers.

I’m not sure exactly how she came upon this recipe but much like the marshmallow frosting, I’m not interested in asking too many questions.  Good cookies are good cookies and some mysteries don’t need to be solved.

Mike has come to wholly love these cookies, love love love.  They’re the first ones he asks for when I start planning my annual cookie list, the first ones he reaches for when all is baked and done.

A snap to make, five simple ingredients and they only require minor planning ahead for a brief chill.  That’s it!

butter cookies on counter
Look Mom!  Butter Cookies!  Thank you!
But.  Ok.  Before I get cookied away here, I should come clean about something.  I use insulated cookie sheets.*  I have used them for a very long time.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaasspppp, whaaaaaaaatt?!?!    ?!       ?!

That’s right.  I said it.  Insulated cookie sheets.

I own it.

Everyone hates on insulated cookie sheets.  The Baking Powers That Be claim you are required to get those half* or quarter or whatever sheet pans with the one inch rim.  Especially lately, I keep seeing “required tools” articles everywhere.  

Personally, and clearly it’s just me, I am a big fat no on those pans for cookies, or for much baking at all, honestly.  Just jellyrolls.

It’s a pain to get cookies out of those darn pans with that huge edge.  Cookies burn far more easily on them.  And they stick.  The pans don’t feel right, too light.  Cookie results, for me, are inconsistent, unpredictable, unreliable, and are a disaster on those pans.

I know.  Hugely unpopular opinion.  Baking blasphemy.  I’m going to Baking Hell.  Happily.

Why do I like insulated pans?  Cookies come out perfectly every time.  The results are predictable and manageable and reliable and consistent.  The sheet is flat with no deep rim so cookies slide right off the pan in one piece without shoveling and struggling.  Mine, easily decades (oy me) old now, are not non-stick but I never have a sticking issue.

Too, sans tall edge, air and heat move about unimpeded.

The cookies are not over-browned, not over-crisped, not over-dried, not burnt, not burnt tasting.  The heat is even therefore, top to bottom, the cookie turns out as it’s designed to.

I get crisp and crunch and browning in the recipes I need to, like these Butter Cookies.  It’s a more delicate version thereof, sure, but I find that way way way preferable than crisp and brown for the sake of crisp and brown.

Cookies, in my opinion, are multi-faceted little numbers, complex in their simplicity and to me, insulated pans bring out the best of every ingredient in them, allowing the cookie itself to shine.

But hey.  To each their own, right?

So to all you insulated pan lovers, it’s ok, come out of the shadows, no need to hide in shame any longer, I see you, I gotchu.  Be proud!

Yeah, so, these Butter Cookies.  They’re fabulous.  And with so few ingredients, you’ll likely have everything you need on hand any time.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar together in a mixer until nice and fluffy, a couple minutes.  Make these vegan, by the way, by using margarine or another plant-based spread.

creaming butter and sugar together in mixer
All that nummy butter creamed up with the sugar.
Add in the flour and vanilla and mix well but avoid over-mixing.

dough finished in mixer bowl
Everything mixed together here.  It’s pretty nubbly.
Rip out a big piece of plastic wrap, or plastic wrap alternative* which I need to get myself into like ASAP yesterday or make my own, and dump the mixer contents onto it.  Using the wrap, push the dough together to form a disk.  Wrap that disk up tightly and chill in the fridge for half an hour, no more than an hour.

Once the dough is ready to go, pull off scant tablespoon size blobs (measuring spoon tablespoon) and roll them into balls.

On a lightly greased cookie sheet, flatten the balls to a bit less than a quarter inch thick or so.  I use my palms but feel free to use a drinking glass sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

dough rounds on baking sheet with jam
You can use a glass, like the one on the left, or just use your hand, the one on the right.  Messier but who cares when it’s in your mouth.  And don’t panic if you see little brown spots in the dough, it’s fine.
With your thumb, gently indent the center of the dough and dollop a splop of your favorite preserves or jam.  And feel free to use more than one — my mom used strawberry, apricot, and raspberry.  Not all on one cookie, heh.  But resist the urge to over-jam; trust me, it will run off and burn.

flattening cookie dough on baking sheet
Moving right along with the dough ball, flatten, thumb indent, jam.
Pop the cookies into the oven for a quick bake, let them cool, pour a nice tall glass of cold milk, and voila, enjoy a bit of jammy buttery cookie nirvana.  You’ll instantly see why these are such favorites!

baked butter cookies on baking sheet
Borderline a little too browned actually, but see?  Browned nonetheless.

cookies cooling on rack
Browned!  Boy, winter light comes fast these days.
Looking for more rockstar cookie recipes to add to your holiday baking list?  Be sure to click on my growing collection here!

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

butter cookies
You won’t be able to stop at just one.

Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies

36 cookies
Prep time
15 Min
Cook time
12 Min
Inactive time
30 Min
Total time
57 Min
Delicate and deliciously divine buttery butter cookies with a tasty pop of fruity goodness that melts in your mouth.


  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter (2 sticks, 8 ounces, 16 tablespoons, room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup (132 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (9 g) vanilla extract
  • raspberry, strawberry, apricot or any favorite preserves or jam


  1. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and vanilla, mix well.
  3. Empty the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, mushing it together into a solid disk using the plastic to help, then wrap well and refrigerate the dough for a half hour, no more than an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375° F (196° C) and lightly grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and pull off small pieces, about a scant (measuring spoon) tablespoon size, roll into balls, then flatten on the cookie sheet, less than a quarter inch thick.
  6. Make a small indent in the middle of each cookie dough round with a thumb or spoon and scoop about a heaping half teaspoon size amount of preserves or jam into the indent.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, beginning to check at 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on the edges. Repeat until all the dough is baked. No need to re-grease the cookie sheet.
  8. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely and store in a tightly sealed container.


Adapted from my Mom’s recipe.

Nutrition Facts



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

cookies, butter

*The half sheet pans, insulated cookie sheets, and plastic wrap alternatives are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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