Making Christmas butter cookies is a rite of passage in our family that usher in smiles and spread holiday cheer. Decorating Christmas cookies with my mom is one of my fondest holiday memories and these yummy little butter cookies give me flashbacks.
Cookies are the perfect little treat for that holiday sweet tooth, cookie exchanges, and just plain ‘I love you’ gifts! These little babies have a 20-minute prep time and a deep rich buttery flavor and are insanely delicious.
Hold on to your Santa hat, my friends! Let’s bake some cookies.
I love that this recipe is so totally easy to throw together and it produces the best little butter cookies this side of the Mississippi! You can cut little Christmas cookie shapes that will hold in the oven –perfect for decorating, sampling, sharing, and exchanging.
Here are even more reasons to love them.
- Rich sweet buttery cookie flavor
- Holds their shape in the oven
- Great for gift giving and cookie exchanges
- Easy throw together recipe
- First, take your time during the creaming process. You’ll want your mixture to be smooth and fluffy because you’ll be adding the flour gradually. Adding flour all at once will give you a really thick batter that will likely result in overmixing.
- Second, don’t skip the chilling process! It is so important to the integrity of your Christmas butter cookies recipe. You can see some great detail about what happens to cookie dough in the fridge and how it affects your recipe from King Arthur Flour.
- Butter: I only butter for this recipe, never margarine. Ensure that your butter is at the right temperature when you get started. It should be soft and spreadable but still, hold its shape. Cutting the butter into half-inch pieces will help it reach room temperature faster if it’s cold.
- Salt: Adding this small amount of salt to this recipe enhances the sweetness and intensifies that rich buttery flavor.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is ideal for this recipe. You’ve already added everything else you need for the perfect little cookies.
- Orange: You’ll only need a small amount of orange zest, but it makes a huge difference. Just make sure it’s finely grated as small as possible.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Storing this Christmas butter cookies recipe couldn’t be easier! They keep well in an airtight container with a secure lid. Depending on your decorating job (if you need to protect it), you may want to use wax paper in between layers.
Baked cookies can last up to 2 months in the fridge.
Can You Freeze This?
You sure can! The dough freezes really well. I like to cut the little cookie shapes and stick them into the freezer to harden.
Then I can store the pre-cut cookies and have cookies that are ready to pull out of the freezer when I’m ready to bake! The baked cooled cookies freeze fine but they’re better fresh out of the oven.
Make Ahead Tips
This Christmas butter cookies recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together so there’s not a ton you can do ahead of time. The baked cooled cookies will keep for several days when stored properly so you can always make them ahead and have them on hand to decorate.
Of course, you can always go the freezer route. If you freeze the discs, you’ll need to slow thaw it in the fridge and then let it sit out for 20 minutes before rolling and cutting the dough.
Grab your favorite drink… milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, hot apple cider – everything goes well with this Christmas butter cookies recipe! For grown-ups, spiked hot chocolate, and cranberry bourbon cocktail are great options.
- Use almond flour. If you have almond flour in your pantry, use roughly half of it and all-purpose flour just like what I did in almond shortbread cookies and almond crescent cookies (an old family recipe handed down through many generations!).
- Add chocolate. Drizzle chocolate on top! Check out how I did it in chocolate shortbread cookies and chocolate chip shortbread cookies.
- Add berries. Adding a cup of dried cranberries will make this recipe similar to my cranberry orange shortbread cookies!
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Christmas Cookies
- Candy Cane Cookies
- No Chill Sugar Cookies Recipe
- Italian Chrismas Cookies
Christmas Butter Cookies
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- jimmies, sprinkles, colored sugar
Make the Cookies:
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium, beat together confectioners' sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, vanilla, and orange zest until mixture is smooth. Gradually add flour and mix until dough is smooth.
- Divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Before rolling out the dough, let it sit out of the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, until it feels soft enough to roll.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets 1 inch apart and bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes, or centers no longer look raw. Cookies will not brown. Cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheets then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
Make the Icing:
- Combine the confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, and 1 1/2 tablespoon of milk until smooth. If necessary, add more milk, very slowly, until you achieve a thick, spreadable consistency.
- Spread each cookie with icing and decorate with jimmies, sprinkles, or colored sugar. Let the icing harden completely before storing.
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