Ultimate Butter Cookie Dough (Make 6+ different cookies!)

5 from 4 votes

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Make a platter of six different holiday butter cookies out of just one cookie dough! This big batch of versatile butter cookie dough is a perfect canvas for mix-ins and intricate shapes!

A round platter full of 6 varieties of of Christmas cookies.


 

Why you’ll love this recipe:

My heart belongs to butter cookies. They have lightly golden, crisp edges, a rich buttery texture, and a subtle sweetness.

And this cookie recipe is so versatile and super fun!

  • Only 10 minutes to make the dough!
  • Make endless variations of holiday cookies with various mix-ins.
  • Easy dough to work with.

Skip the store-bought cookie tins this year, and you won’t be disappointed.

My homemade butter cookies are SO much better. These festive Christmas cookies make thoughtful gifts too!

Key Ingredient Notes:

  • Unsalted butter – Three sticks of butter may seem like a lot, and it is! Butter is a crucial ingredient that gives a butter cookie it’s rich, buttery taste. If you only have salted butter, omit the salt from this recipe.
  • White sugar sweetens the cookies without competing with the butter flavor.
  • Eggs – One of the main differences between a shortbread cookie and a butter cookie are eggs! Eggs make the dough less crumbly than a shortbread cookie.
  • All-purpose flour – If possible, I recommend weighing the flour with a kitchen scale for the most accurate results. If you don’t have one, use the spoon and level method. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the flat edge of a butter knife.
  • Baking powder – While not all butter cookies require leavening, I find it gives these cookies the perfect texture!
  • Salt – A small amount of salt enhances sweetness.
Butter cookie dough ingredients.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and beat it for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, then mix until a thick cookie dough forms.
Step by step photos of making butter cookie dough.
  • Transfer the cookie dough to a clean work surface and knead the dough into a smooth ball.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal balls, about 220 grams each.
  • Use the cookie dough portions to make any of the cookie variations you like!
6 disks of butter cookie dough.

Chocolate Cutout Cookies:

What you need:

  • Cookie dough – You need 220 grams of cookie dough, or one cookie dough ball.
  • Cocoa powder – You can use natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. I prefer Dutch-processed for its rich, smooth flavor and dark hue.
  • Milk or coffee – To add back some moisture to the dough. Cocoa powder is very absorbent and thus needs some liquid to counteract it.
Cookie dough ball, cocoa powder and milk.

How to make chocolate cutout cookies:

  • In the same bowl you made the cookie dough, combine 220 grams of the cookie dough (one ball) with the cocoa powder and milk. Mix until well combined.
  • Transfer the cookie dough to a clean work surface and form it into a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it into a 1/2-inch thick circle. The parchment keeps it from sticking to the counter.
  • Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the scraps back into a ball, roll it out, and cut out more cookies.
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack. Hot cookies need a few minutes to cool and set up.
Step by step photos of making chocolate cutout cookies in gingerbread shape.

Candy Cane Cookies:

What you need:

  • Cookie dough – You need 220 grams of cookie dough, or one cookie dough ball.
  • Red food coloring –  Either liquid or gel food coloring works great. If you don’t want to use food coloring, use chocolate cookie dough to create fun candy cane shaped cookies!
Cooking dough ball and red food coloring.

How to make candy cane cookies:

  • Divide the 220 gram ball of cookie dough in half.
  • In the same mixing bowl you made the cookie dough, combine half of the cookie dough and a few drops of red food coloring. Mix until the cookie dough is evenly red.
  • Now you have two dough balls, one red and one white. Divide each ball into 10 pieces, so you have twenty total.
  • Roll each piece into a ball, then roll the ball into a thin 3-inch log. Twist the red and white logs together, then gently roll into a smooth log. Shape it into a candy cane.
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool and set up on the sheet pan for at least 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Step by step photos of making candy cane cookies with red and white and white and chocolate cookies.

Snickerdoodle Cookies:

What you need:

  • Cookie dough – You need 220 grams of cookie dough, or one cookie dough ball.
  • Sugar & cinnamon – To make the cinnamon sugar coating! Feel free to add more cinnamon if you like a strong cinnamon flavor.
Cookie dough ball and bowl of ground cinnamon and sugar.

How to make snickerdoodle cookies:

  • In a medium bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece between your palms into a smooth ball.
  • Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon sugar, then place the cookies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  • The cookies don’t spread much, so I like to flatten them with my hands first.
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Step by step photos of making snickerdoodle cookies.

Teddy Bear Cookies:

What you need:

  • Cookie dough – You need 220 grams of cookie dough, or one cookie dough ball.
  • Melted chocolate – To make things easy, I recommend Ghirardelli melting chocolate wafers. They don’t need to be tempered to set up properly.

How to make teddy bear cookies:

  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 18 grams per ball. Take 3/4 of the dough ball and roll it between your palms into a smooth ball. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Take a small piece from the remaining 1/4 of the dough, flatten it, and place it on the dough ball to make the snout, as pictured below.
  • Divide the last little piece into 2 equal parts, roll them into balls, and use them for the ears. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough balls.
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
  • Once the cookies are cool, pipe the eyes and mouth on the bears with melted chocolate.

What you need:

  • Cookie dough – You need 220 grams of cookie dough, or one cookie dough ball.
  • Butterfinger pieces – Feel free to use any kind of candy bits here! I’ve tried chocolate mint bits and it was fantastic too. You could also use mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts.
Cookie dough ball and a bowl of butterfinger pieces.

How to make butterfinger cookies:

  • Mix the Butterfinger pieces into the cookie dough ball. I just do it with my hands on the counter, but a mixer works too!
  • Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the cookies into 12 rectangles. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Let the cookies cool and set up on the sheet pan for at least 3 minutes before you transfer them to a wire rack.

Holiday Sprinkle Cookies:

What you need:

  • Cookie dough – You need 220 grams of cookie dough, or one cookie dough ball.
  • Holiday sprinkles – Use any of your favorite festive-colored sprinkles! Jimmies, sanding sugar, or nonpareils all work great!
Cookie dough ball and 2 bowls of sprinkles and colored sugar.

How to make holiday sprinkle cookies:

  • Pour the sprinkles into separate bowls.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 12 equal pieces, about 18 grams per dough ball. Roll between your palms into smooth balls.
  • Roll each cookie dough ball in sprinkles and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • The cookies don’t spread much, so I like to flatten them with my hand before they go in the oven.
  • Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Tips for Success:

  • Don’t add too much flour! I like to weigh my flour with a kitchen scale, but if you don’t have one, use the spoon and level method. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then level it off with a flat edge. If you just scoop the measuring cup into the flour, the flour compresses and you get too much.
  • More variations: Feel free to create other variations of holiday cookies. You can make regular white cut-out cookies and frost them with easy powdered sugar icing. Mix in colorful M&Ms for a easy festive cookies. This dough works for jam-filled thumbprint cookies too! Truly possibilities are endless!!

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • You can make the unbaked cookie dough or the danish butter cookies ahead of time and freeze for later.
  • To freeze the cookie dough: Make the cookie dough as directed, then portion it into six equal disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, then transfer them to a ziplock freezer bag. Let the dough thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight before you plan to work with it. Use within 3 months.
  • To freeze the butter cookies: Make your butter cookies, then let them cool completely. Transfer them to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost on the counter, in the fridge overnight, or in the microwave until slightly warm.
A round tin can of assorted Christmas butter cookies.

Storing Tips:

  • Wait until the cookies are completely cool before you store them.
  • Transfer the cookies to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  • To extend their shelf life, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

FAQs:

Do I have to roll and cut out the cookies?

No, you can also make slice and bake cookies. Shape each dough ball into a log and roll in sprinkles if desired, then wrap the log in wax paper. Chill the dough until firm, then slice into disks and bake!

Is a butter cookie the same as shortbread?

Butter cookies and shortbread are very similar, but butter cookies have eggs and slightly more sugar. This makes them rich and buttery, but not crumbly. It also makes them easier to roll and cut into shapes.

Do I need to chill the dough?

No, my butter cookie dough doesn’t need to be chilled. It’s easy to work with and doesn’t spread much. You can, however, make the cookie dough up to three days ahead and refrigerate until ready to use.

A round platter full of 6 varieties of of Christmas cookies.
5 from 4 votes

Ultimate Butter Cookie Dough

Make a platter of six different holiday butter cookies out of just one cookie dough! This big batch of versatile butter cookie dough is a perfect canvas for mix-ins and intricate shapes!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
Servings: 84 cookies

Ingredients

For main cookie dough:

  • 3 sticks (340g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ½ cups (580g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Cutout Cookies:

  • 220 grams cookie dough
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) cocoa powder sweetened or Dutch processed, Note 1
  • ½ tablespoon milk or coffee Note 2

Candy Cane Cookies:

  • 220 grams cookie dough
  • red food coloring Note 3

Snickerdoodle:

  • 220 grams cookie dough
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Teddy Bear Cookies:

  • 220 grams cookie dough
  • 1 tablespoon melted chocolate for eye and mouth, if desired

Cookie Bars with Butterfinger Pieces:

  • 220 grams cookie dough
  • cup (50g) Butterfinger pieces Note 4

Holiday Sugar Cookies:

  • 220 grams cookie dough
  • holiday sprinkles

Equipment

  • stand mixer with the paddle attachment or electric hand mixer
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • baking sheets
  • Wire rack

Instructions 

To make the cookie dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until nice and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, then beat it for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until cohesive dough forms.
  • Transfer cookie dough onto a counter and knead it into a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 6 dough balls (about 220g each).

To make chocolate cookies:

  • In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, combine 220g of cookie dough with cocoa powder and milk. Mix until well combined.
  • Transfer the dough onto the counter and form into a smooth ball.
  • Place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a ½ -inch-thick disk. Using Christmas cookie cutters, cut out cookies and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or silicone mat.
  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 3 minutes and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make candy cane cookies:

  • Divide the 220g of cookie dough in half.
  • In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, mix a few drops of red food coloring with half of the cookie dough. Mix until well combined
  • Now you have 2 dough balls, red and white. Divide each dough ball into 20 equal pieces, 10 red and 10 white dough balls. (10g dough balls.)
  • Roll each dough ball into 3-inch logs and twist together red and white logs. Then gently roll into a smooth log. And shape it into a candy cane.
  • Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a silicone mat.
  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make snickerdoodle cookies:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 12 equal pieces, about 18 grams per dough ball. Roll between your palms into smooth balls.
  • Roll each cookie dough ball in the cinnamon sugar mixture and arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. (The cookies don’t spread as much, so you may flatten them slightly before baking, if desired.)
  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make teddy bear cookies:

  • Divide the cookie dough into 12 equal pieces, about 18 grams per dough ball. Then take about ¾ of the dough ball and roll it between your palms into a smooth ball and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  • Take a small piece from the remaining ¼ of the dough and flatten it and place it on the lower half of the dough ball for the snout. Now divide the remaining small piece of dough into 2 equal parts, roll into smooth balls and place them for the ears. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, you may draw eyes and mouth with melted chocolate, if desired. (I used some chocolate cookie dough for eyes and mouth, as pictured, but it was way too tedious and time-consuming.)

To make cookie bars with Butterfinger pieces:

  • Mix the dough with Butterfinger pieces. You may use a mixer, or just knead it on the counter.
  • Place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it into a ½-inch thick rectangle.
  • Then slice the cookies into 12 rectangles and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 3 minutes and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make holiday sprinkle cookies:

  • Place the sprinkles, or colored sugars in medium bowls.
  • Divide the cookie dough into 12 equal pieces, about 18 grams per dough ball. Roll them between your palms into smooth balls.
  • Roll each cookie dough ball in sprinkles, then arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a silicone mat. (The cookies don’t spread as much, so you may flatten them slightly before baking, if desired.)
  • Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips & Notes

Nutrition information is calculated based on the butter cookie dough base. Mix-in’s are not included.
Note 1: You can use either unsweetened natural, or Dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe. I like to use Dutch-processed cocoa powder for its richer taste and darker color.
Note 2: We’ve tested this recipe with both milk and coffee. Either one works great, but I slightly preferred the milk.
Note 3: Either liquid or gel food coloring will work for these cookies. If you don’t want to use food coloring, use chocolate cookie dough to create fun candy cane shaped cookies!
Note 4: Feel free to use any kind of candy bits here! I’ve tried chocolate mint bits and it was fantastic too.
Storing Tips:
– Wait until the cookies are completely cool before you store them.
– Transfer the cookies to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
– To extend their shelf life, transfer the cookies to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 35mg, Potassium: 10mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 107IU, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These were quite easy to make and very tasty! I made the entire batch into chocolate swirl candy canes for small Xmas gifts and they all said they were yummy and very cute! I also shaped the cookies and froze ahead of time so I could bake a few days later which worked great.