These homemade Danish butter cookies are a buttery and soft classic Christmas cookie. They're simple, delicate, and will melt in your mouth, just like the famous Royal Dansk danish cookies in the blue tin! They're perfect for gifting this holiday season.
Danish butter cookies are a simple, delicious cookie that is a must-make for the holiday season. They're crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, very similar to the Royal Dansk cookies that many know and love.
Beside the pure nostalgia, I love these cookies because they're so simple yet so delicious. You only need 6 basic ingredients, and there's no chill time required!
These cookies are similar to my almond spritz cookies. The only difference is that these are piped onto a baking sheet instead of using a cookie press! You can use different kinds of piping tips to make different shapes too, like the round and pretzel shaped cookies included in the famous blue tin.
These cookies are a perfect addition to your holiday cookie box and make a great gift! Make apricot thumbprint cookies, snowstorm cookies, lemon bar cookies, and molasses crinkle cookies for your next cookie exchange too.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Butter- Use high quality butter. These are called "butter cookies" after all, so the flavor of the butter shines through and really matters! I recommend European or Irish butter, like Kerrygold, for extra butterfat and rich flavor. Make sure your butter is room temperature so it's easy to mix. Take it out of the refrigerator an hour before baking.
- Granulated sugar- This sweetens the cookie dough and helps it stay moist. You can also use cane sugar or caster sugar.
- Egg- One large egg helps bind the ingredients together. Make sure it's room temperature so it's easy to mix. Take it out of the fridge with the butter.
- Vanilla extract- Pure vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste have the best flavor. Avoid using imitation vanilla in this recipe because the ingredients are so minimal!
- Salt- A pinch of salt helps to enhance all the flavors and balance the sweetness. I use fine sea salt in my recipes, but Kosher salt works too.
Substitutions & Variations
- If you only have salted butter, that's ok! Just leave out the extra salt in the recipe.
- Make these cookies gluten free by using a gluten free baking flour like Bob's Red Mill.
- For a little extra flavor, add ¼ teaspoon of almond extract. You can also try adding lemon, maple, or peppermint extract for a twist.
- Color the cookies with a few drops of gel based food coloring if desired.
- Decorate the cookies with seasonal sprinkles, sanding sugar, frosting, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or candied fruit.
- Drizzle the cookies with Nutella, chocolate sauce, or salted caramel. You can also dip them in melted white or dark chocolate and add sprinkles on top.
Step by Step Instructions
Before you start baking, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
STEP 1: First, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed in the bowl of your stand mixer until it's light and fluffy.
STEP 2: Next, beat in the egg and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get any clumps.
STEP 3: Gradually mix in the flour and salt 1 cup at a time on low speed until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate any extra dry bits.
STEP 4: Next, fit a piping bag with a piping tip. Carefully transfer the dough to the piping bag and pipe 2 inch circles of dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets.
STEP 6: Sprinkle the cookies with sugar and bake one pan at a time for 12-14 minutes. The tops of the cookies will be pale but the edges will be light golden brown.
Remove the cookies from the oven and them cool on the hot pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Use room temperature butter and egg. These ingredients need to be room temperature so they blend together nicely and don't get clumpy! Take them out of the refrigerator an hour before you start baking.
- Measure your flour correctly. Use a kitchen scale to measure the flour in grams for the best results. If you don't have a scale, fluff up the flour in the bag before spooning it into your measuring cup. Do NOT pack it in! Once the measuring cup is overflowing, use a knife to level it off.
- Don't overmix the cookie dough. The more you mix the dough, the more gluten strands form. Too much gluten makes the cookies tough and gummy. Make sure to mix until the dry streaks of flour just disappear.
- Make sure the dough is the right consistency. If the dough is too thin, the cookies will spread too much and flatten. If it's too thick, you won't be able to pipe the cookies. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time to make it thinner and a bit of flour to make it thicker.
- Watch the cookies in the oven. Bake time will vary based on the size and shape of the cookies. They're ready when the edges are set and light golden brown.
Storage & Freezing
Store your butter cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Place the baked, cooled cookies in a freezer safe airtight container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter for a couple hours before eating (or eat them frozen- so good!).
The cookie dough can be frozen in plastic wrap for up to 2 months. Form the dough into logs, double wrap them with cling film (this helps prevent freezer burn), and freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag.
When you're ready to bake, let the dough to thaw for at least an hour on the counter or overnight in the fridge. Fill your piping bag with dough, pipe on a cookie sheet, and bake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Butter cookies are similar to shortbread cookies, but they usually have a lower butter-to-flour ratio than shortbread cookies. Danish butter cookies also have eggs. Shortbread cookies don't have eggs for a more crumbly texture.
Yes, you can! You can use a spoon or small cookie scoop instead. The bake time will vary based on how big your scoops are. A cookie press also works if you have one.
You don't for this recipe! However, if you notice the cookie dough getting warm and loose while piping, place your baking sheet with piped cookies in the fridge for a few minutes before baking.
There are a couple reasons why this might happen. You may have under measured the flour or the cookie dough got too warm from your hands while being piped.
More Cookie Recipes to Try
Homemade Danish Butter Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.1 cup unsalted butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Gradually mix in the flour and salt 1 cup at a time on low speed until fully combined.2 ¼ cup all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Prepare a piping bag with an open star tip and transfer the dough to the piping bag. Pipe 2 inch circles of dough onto the parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the cookies with sugar and bake one pan at a time for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
- When the cookies are done, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the cookies cool on the hot pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before drizzling chocolate and adding sprinkles. Enjoy!