Easy Butter Cookies

How to make easy butter cookies flavored with a little lemon and orange zest to make them crave worthy.

Easy Butter Cookies Recipe

Related: We love these shortbread cookies!

We took these cookies into work the other day. When we noticed the majority of these easy butter cookies disappeared before noon, we knew we had a success on our hands. The butter cookies themselves are fairly light and delicate (yes, even with all that butter) – they’re similar to a shortbread cookie and go well with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

How to Make Butter Cookies

The recipe could not be easier. Pile everything into a food processor and pulse until just blended. Mold into a disc, wrap and chill. Chilling makes the dough a little easier to roll out. When chilled, roll out and cut into shapes or form into a log and cut into discs. Easy!

One note, this recipe does have a lot of butter, so the cookies will spread a little while they bake. Because of this, we don’t recommend using intricate cookie cutter shapes with this recipe.

Cutting out the butter cookie dough

To make the cookies look like buttons, lightly press a shot glass into the cookie dough then poke 4 holes with a wooden skewer into the middle.

Turn them into button cookies

Easy Butter Cookies

  • PREP
  • COOK

These easy butter cookies are very simple to make. When making them, it is important to keep the dough relatively cool. If the dough is too cold, it will crack. If this happens to you, leave the dough out to warm up a little. If the dough is too warm, it will fall apart on you. If this happens, just place it back into the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

We add a fun button design to the cookies. If you are not into adding the button design, you could roll the dough into a log and slice into cookie dough rounds or even make your own design/shapes. This recipe does have a lot of butter, so the cookies will spread a little while they bake. Because of this, we don’t recommend using intricate cookie cutter shapes with this recipe.

Makes approximately 45 cookies

You Will Need

2 cups all-purpose flour

16 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, sliced (2 sticks)

1 large egg

3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for tops

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or substitute vanilla extract


  • Make Dough
  • 1Add everything to a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like lumpy mashed potatoes. Divide the dough between two large sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap and form into round disks. Chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

    2(If you plan to make slice and bake cookies, shape the dough into two 8-inch logs instead).

  • Bake Cookies
  • 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

    2Lightly flour a clean work surface, remove one disk of dough from the fridge. Roll out to about 1/3-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. If you formed the dough into logs instead of disks, simply slice them into 1/3-inch thick slices.

    3Arrange the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 1/2-inch apart. Bake until the edges start to turn a very light brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pans until set, about 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • To make the cookies look like buttons, use a round cookie cutter to cut out cookie dough rounds then lightly press a shot glass partially into the cookie rounds, leaving a small indent. Poke 4 holes with a wooden skewer into the middle then bake as described above.
  • This recipe was inspired and adapted from James Peterson’s cookbook, “Cooking” — a book we highly recommend adding to your own collection.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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17 comments… Leave a Review
  • Adam April 10, 2017, 11:45 am

    Hi Terryk, I’m sorry your bunnies did not keep their shape. You are correct about the butter amount. Since this recipe calls for so much — making them more of a butter cookie than a sugar cookie — it only works well when cut into discs or when you use a simple cutter (like the round one in our photos). I have added this note in the recipe above to be more clear. Thanks for commenting!

  • Carina April 21, 2013, 6:52 pm

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do
    it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks

    • Joanne April 22, 2013, 12:38 pm

      Hi there – We use WordPress and the Thesis Theme, with many tweaks in code, widgets and plugins. We have done some of the design ourselves and have had lots of help from two pretty amazing ladies – Nina Cross and Heather Winkle

  • Anup November 13, 2010, 12:18 pm

    The cookies tasted delicious!
    It was my first time and I was a bit nervous about the outcome. But, all my fears vanished when I took the first bite! The first batch turned out to be a bit thick and some cookies cracked. Also, I made a mistake with the oven temperature. I didn’t pay attention that 350 degrees is Fahrenheit and not Celsius! Thankfully, I was attentive and when I saw that the cookies were about to burn I took then out and reduced the temp. The second batch went good. I can now treat my friends with a cookie during the break time at the office. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  • Sarah@buttered-up.com August 25, 2010, 3:06 pm

    These look amazing. I got so excited when I saw the picture of them on Foodgawker. How lame am I. Haha. Anyway, love what you’ve done here. Cheers. 🙂

    • inspiredtaste August 26, 2010, 8:17 am

      Thanks Sarah! They are pretty delicious, but delicate

  • devchonka July 31, 2010, 6:24 pm

    So I tried making them and it turned out way too buttery. They were good, but the form didn’t hold – they melted into each other as soon as I’ve put them in the oven because they had so much butter. You sure the amount of butter you have in the recipe is correct?

    • inspiredtaste August 2, 2010, 8:01 am

      Devchonka, we are so sorry to see that the cookies did not work for you! To make sure, we did double check our recipe and the ingredients and measurements that worked for us are correctly written in the post.

      Our only thought is that your cookie dough was not cold enough before baking, since these cookies are made from so much butter, they really need to be kept cool while working with them before baking.

      Again, so sorry they did not work out 🙁 Thanks for letting us know about your experience, we really appreciate it!

  • Emma July 8, 2010, 12:51 pm

    I think you forgot the egg in the ingredientslist!


    • inspiredtaste August 2, 2010, 11:32 am

      Emma – You are right, so sorry about that! The recipe takes 1 egg 🙂

  • Erica Roszell July 3, 2010, 9:31 pm

    You are so creative and adorable! I LOVE these cookies and I cannot wait to make them!

    • inspiredtaste July 5, 2010, 2:02 pm

      Thank you Erica 🙂

  • Novelyn June 23, 2010, 2:49 am

    Am going to try baking this later 🙂

    Hmm, jst trying my luck: Could you do a recipe on Vanilla/Chocolate macaroons next? Looked around on the net but can’t seem to find a perfect / reliable one! :/

  • Michelle June 23, 2010, 12:56 am

    I love these! They are so cute. Beautiful pics!

  • delicieux June 23, 2010, 12:02 am

    These look so cute and yet so delicious.

  • Wendi June 22, 2010, 8:44 pm

    Absolutely freaking adorable.

    • inspiredtaste June 23, 2010, 8:29 am

      Wendi – Aren’t they … and so easy to do … perfect for a bridal/baby shower maybe?


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