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These soft Vanilla Butter Cookies are tender, delicious, and melt in your mouth! Dusted with powdered sugar, they’ll provide some classic charm to any holiday cookie tray with minimal effort.
There are a lot of easy cookie recipes out there, but these one-bowl butter cookies may be the simplest of them all. Despite how easy they are to put together, they’re fancy enough for holiday cookie swaps and yummy enough to get devoured by any crowd.
- Perfect texture. These butter cookies are soft, melt-in-your-mouth treats that have just the right amount of sweetness to satisfy all sorts of palates. Also, the cornstarch in them prevents spreading and allows you to use less flour, which results in an ultra-tender cookie.
- Super easy. It takes 10 minutes to prep these cookies for the oven, and just 10 more to bake them!
- Great for storage and holiday baking. I love making these for Christmas because they don’t require refrigeration. You can package them up in festive containers and deliver them to friends and family without having to worry about carting a cooler around. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a loved one ringing your doorbell with a bunch of homemade cookies in hand! Especially when they’re as dreamy as these ones.
What You’ll Need
Let’s break down each and every ingredient that goes into these buttery vanilla cookies. (For exact amounts and the full directions, check out the recipe card below!)
- Unsalted butter – Bring this to room temperature before you begin.
- Vanilla extract – Use a high-quality extract for the best results.
- Powdered sugar – One cup is needed for the cookie dough and some extra is used to top off the cookies.
- All-purpose flour – You’ll need to use almost twice as much flour as cornstarch to achieve the proper texture.
- Cornstarch – I tested this recipe using a full cup of cornstarch, but the cookies ended up sticking to the inside of the mouth. I found it best to use 3/4 cup and two additional tablespoons.
- Salt – Make sure you don’t leave out this important flavor enhancer. Feel free to use sea salt, table salt, etc.
This butter cookies recipe requires only a few simple steps! You’ll be done in no time.
- Combine the butter and vanilla. Mix together the butter and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy and combined.
- Add the powdered sugar. Carefully pour in the powdered sugar and beat the mixture until everything is well combined.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the flour, cornstarch, and salt, mixing until well combined.
- Chill the dough. Refrigerate the dough for 2-3 hours.
- Heat the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and set it aside.
- Form the cookies. Roll the dough into 1 inch-sized balls and place them onto the prepared baking tray. Press them down in the middle with a fork.
- Bake. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until they no longer look underdone in the middle. You don’t want them to brown around the edges.
- Let the cookies cool. Allow the cookies to cool for 3-5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust them with powdered sugar while they’re still warm.
- Enjoy! Once cooled, serve your cookies or store them in an airtight container.
Check out this video for a visual guide on how to make the best butter cookies!
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Tips for Success
I’m happy to say that these cookies are hard to mess up. For more reassurance, review the recipe tips and tricks below.
- Use room temperature butter. You won’t be able to cream the butter and vanilla very well if the butter has not been brought to room temperature.
- Chill the dough for 2 hours minimum. It’s important to chill your dough for 2-3 hours before forming and baking the cookies. Otherwise, they will flatten in the oven and won’t bake properly.
- Don’t let the edges brown. If you let the edges of your cookies brown, you will lose some of that melt-in-your-mouth factor. As soon as the centers start to look done, remove them from the oven.
- Add powdered sugar while the cookies are warm. Waiting for your cookies to cool before adding the powdered sugar will prevent it from sticking to them. I suggest placing a large baking sheet under the cooling rack and adding the sugar as soon as you transfer over the cookies. That way, it will catch the excess powdered sugar and allow for easy cleanup.
Easy Decorating Ideas
Who says you have to keep things classic? Try one of these fun decorating ideas if you want to shake things up.
- Sprinkle with sanding sugar. I love the colorful, sparkly effect you get when you coat your cookies with sanding sugar rather than powdered sugar. You can gently press the sugar into the cookies with a clean finger or the back of a spoon to help it stick if necessary.
- Top with glaze. Many people opt to top their butter cookies with glaze rather than powdered sugar. If you fall under that umbrella, I highly suggest using the creamy cinnamon glaze from this recipe.
- Coat with crushed peppermint. Another alternative to the powdered sugar coating – one that’s especially nice around Christmas time – is a coating of finely crushed peppermint. You can buy pre-crushed peppermint or crush up candy canes yourself by placing them in a food processor and pulsing on and off until you have very small chunks. Alternatively, you can seal the candy canes in a heavy-duty storage bag with all the air squeezed out and pound them with a mallet or rolling pin.
Butter cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for 4-5 days. Do not store them until they have cooled completely.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes – you can freeze these butter cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. I recommend adding a sheet of parchment paper between layers if stacking is needed. This will prevent the cookies from sticking to one another. Thaw them out on the counter before enjoying them.
Looking for a few more contenders to add to your holiday cookie tray this year? Just wait until you test out the recipes below!
- The Best Gingerbread Cookies
- Peppermint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- Butter Pecan Cookies
- Christmas Sprinkle Cookies
- Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Vanilla butter cookies are a holiday favorite! Topped with powdered sugar, these soft and tender cookies are melt-in-your-mouth treats that everyone will love.
- 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (86g) powdered sugar
- 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (114g) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter and vanilla until creamy and combined.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
- Add the flour, cornstarch and salt and mix until well combined.
- Refrigerate dough for 2-3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and set aside.
- Roll the dough into 1 inch-sized balls (about 4 tsp each or .75 oz) and place them onto the prepared baking tray. Press them down in the middle with a fork.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they don’t look undercooked in the middle. You don’t want them to brown around the edges.
- Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm.
- Serve or store in an airtight container.
- To Store: Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy within 4-5 days.
- To Freeze: Freeze cooled cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Add parchment paper between layers if stacking is needed. Thaw cookies on the counter before enjoying.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 134
- Sugar: 4.1 g
- Sodium: 28.2 mg
- Fat: 8.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.5 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
- Cholesterol: 22.2 mg
Keywords: butter cookies, butter cookies recipe