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Enjoy homemade butter cookies in just 20 minutes with this small batch recipe, perfect for when you want a treat without making a full batch. These rich and tender cookies are great for a cozy gathering or a personal sweet craving and can be easily customized with nuts, chocolate, or enjoyed plain.

Looking for more small batch cookie recipes? Try our Shortbread Bites, Butter Cookies, Ricotta Cookies, and Molasses Cookies!

  • Quick: In just 20 minutes, you have perfectly baked cookies.
  • No Dough Chilling: Save time by skipping the dough chilling step.
  • Customizable: Dress them up with nuts or dip them in chocolate.
  • Perfect Texture: These cookies offer a melt-in-your-mouth interior with edges that have just the right amount of crispness.
  • Easily Scaled: This small batch recipe doubles well for larger gatherings.
three chocolate dipped cookies on a plate next to a pink napkin.

Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this small batch butter cookies recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Butter: Four tablespoons of salted butter at room temperature contribute to the rich flavor and airy texture of the cookies. Softened yet still cool to the touch, the butter makes creaming it with sugar a breeze. This process creates air pockets, resulting in a light and tender cookie.
  • Sugar: The sweetness in these cookies starts with sugar, creamed together with butter to form the base of the dough.
  • Egg yolk: You’ll only need one egg yolk for this recipe, enriching the cookies and adding moisture. Hang on to the egg white and use it in one of our egg white recipes like Flourless Chocolate Cookies or a Mini Texas Sheet Cake.
  • Vanilla extract: A splash of vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile, offering that classic, aromatic touch.
  • Flour: Stick with all-purpose flour for best results, ensuring the right structure and texture in each cookie.
  • Optional Toppings: Feel free to add your personal touch! Press pecans or walnuts into the dough balls, sprinkle with sanding or decorating sugar, dip the butter cookies in melted chocolate, or jazz them up with some colorful sprinkles.

This section provides a quick rundown of the ingredients used in this easy butter cookies recipe. For complete measurements and step-by-step instructions, please scroll to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

Recipe Variations

The versatility of these butter cookies allows for endless culinary creativity. Here’s how you can add your personal touch to this already fantastic recipe:

  • Nutty Delight: Press a pecan or walnut into the center of each cookie dough ball before baking. This adds a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
  • Fruit-Topped Cookies: Place a small piece of maraschino cherry or a dollop of fruit jam in the middle of each cookie for a burst of fruity goodness.
  • Spiced Butter Cookies: Incorporate a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg into the dough for cookies with a warm, spicy kick.
  • Lemon Zest: Add a quarter-teaspoon of lemon zest to the dough to create lemon-flavored butter cookies. It’s a refreshing spin that’s especially great in the summertime.
  • Chocolate-Dipped Butter Cookies: Melt some chocolate and dip half of each baked cookie into it. Set them on a parchment-lined tray and chill until the chocolate hardens. You can even add a sprinkle of sea salt for a sweet and salty contrast.

These ideas are just a starting point. Feel free to experiment with your favorite flavors and textures!

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How To Make Butter Cookies

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to make a small batch of butter cookies. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Cream together the butter and the sugar with an electric hand mixer. You’ll want to mix the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. This will usually take 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Pour in the flour and mix.
  4. Scoop out the cookie batter and place it on a cookie sheet. Roll the dough into balls.
  5. Using the bottom of a drinking glass or the palm of your hand, gently press down on each of the balls of dough to slightly flatten them to about 1/4″ thickness. If you use the bottom of a glass and the bottom becomes sticky, dip the glass in a little sugar before pressing down on the cookies.
  6. Although not necessary, you can top each cookie with a nut or a sprinkling of decorating sugar. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) oven for 10 minutes.
Six photos showing how to make butter cookies.

Expert Tips

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your butter cookies turn out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Accurate Flour Measurement: For the best results, spoon your flour into a dry measuring cup rather than scooping it directly. Overfill the cup slightly, then level it off with a straight-edged utensil like the back of a knife. Scooping packs the flour too tightly, leading to an inaccurate measurement that can affect your cookie’s texture.
  • Prep Your Baking Sheet: Opt for lining your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Avoid greasing the sheet with butter or cooking spray, as this can make your cookies spread too much and create an oily residue.
  • Evenly Flatten Cookies: Use the bottom of a drinking glass to gently flatten your cookie dough balls. This ensures they’ll bake evenly and achieve the desired shape.
  • Watch the Bake Time: Keep an eye on your cookies as they bake. Pull them out of the oven as soon as the edges start to turn a light golden brown to avoid overbaking and achieve the perfect texture.

Serving Suggestions

Whether you’re enjoying these butter cookies as a treat for yourself or sharing them with others, there are countless ways to make the experience even more special. Here are a few highly recommended serving ideas:

  • Tea or Coffee Pairing: Elevate your tea time or coffee break by pairing these cookies with a cup of Earl Grey or a smooth latte. The flavors of the beverages complement the buttery richness of the cookies.
  • Ice Cream Sandwich: Take a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sandwich it between two butter cookies. Freeze briefly to firm up before enjoying.
  • Cookie Crumble Topping: Crumble a couple of these cookies and sprinkle them over a bowl of vanilla pudding or chocolate pudding. They add a delightful texture and extra flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to soften butter?

To properly soften butter, simply leave it out on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes before you plan to use it. If you’re short on time, you can microwave the butter for 10-15 seconds. But be cautious—keep a close eye to ensure the butter softens without melting.

How can I make chocolate dipped butter cookies?

Dipping your cookies in melted chocolate adds an extra layer of deliciousness. To melt chocolate, go for small, uniformly sized pieces. Chocolate chips are ideal for this. Combine the chips with a 1/4 teaspoon of butter, vegetable oil, or canola oil in a glass bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each burst. The chocolate should melt evenly after 2-3 rounds. For this, you’ll need about 2 ounces or approximately 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

What’s the best way to store butter cookies?

To keep your butter cookies fresh, store them in an airtight container. If you want to store them for an extended period, use a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Can I frost butter cookies?

While these cookies are already scrumptious on their own, adding frosting is a delightful option. Use your go-to frosting recipe or try different flavors like vanilla frostingsugar cookie frosting, or cream cheese frosting. Pre-made frosting works just as well.

6 cookies on a clear plate; 3 cookies are dipped in chocolate and 3 have a nut in the center.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you would like additional information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page. For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried these butter cookies or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!

RELATED: Single Serving Comfort Food Recipes


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Because you’re worth it

Small Batch Butter Cookies

5 from 22 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 cookies
An easy recipe for melt in your mouth butter cookies! These cookies are perfectly sweet with slightly crisp edges. They can be enjoyed simply or topped with nuts or dipped in chocolate. Such a versatile recipe.

Ingredients 
 

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter –softened (¼ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Optional toppings: walnuts, pecans, sanding sugar, melted chocolate or sprinkles
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Instructions 

  • Heat oven to 350° F (177° C). Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar with a hand mixer until creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolk and the vanilla and mix well.
  • Pour in the flour and mix on low until combined.
  • Using a medium sized cookie scoop or a large tablespoon, scoop the cookie dough and place on the baking sheet spacing the dough 2-inches apart.
  • Roll the cookie dough into round balls.
  • Using the bottom of a drinking glass, gently press down on each of the balls of dough. Flatten to ¼" thickness.
  • If you're using walnuts or pecans, gently press a nut into the center of each cookie. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if using and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges begin to lightly brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
  • Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to continue cooling.

Video

Notes

  • Before you start cooking, make sure to read the entire recipe, including the Ingredient Notes section, and examine the process photos. This detailed guide will help you understand how the recipe unfolds, ensuring your butter cookies turn out perfect every time. All the information you need is found within the body of this recipe post, so don’t miss a thing!
  • Accurate Flour Measurement: For the best results, spoon your flour into a dry measuring cup rather than scooping it directly. Overfill the cup slightly, then level it off with a straight-edged utensil like the back of a knife. Scooping packs the flour too tightly, leading to an inaccurate measurement that can affect your cookie’s texture.
  • Prep Your Baking Sheet: Opt for lining your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Avoid greasing the sheet with butter or cooking spray, as this can make your cookies spread too much and create an oily residue.
  • Evenly Flatten Cookies: Use the bottom of a drinking glass to gently flatten your cookie dough balls. This ensures they’ll bake evenly and achieve the desired shape.
  • Watch the Bake Time: Keep an eye on your cookies as they bake. Pull them out of the oven as soon as the edges start to turn a light golden brown to avoid overbaking and achieve the perfect texture.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 138kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 51mg, Sodium: 68mg, Potassium: 11mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 274IU, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Recipe Rating




25 Comments

  1. Lori says:

    Thank you for these delicious recipes. I love making Butter Cookies but I live alone and not many ppl in my building can eat sweets so this is perfect! I never made them with just an egg yolk before, I always used 1 egg but WOW it really made a difference. I did add some pure lemon extract and ground ginger but since I am not used to small batch I need to add more next time. I will also double the recipe since it will still be smaller than my other recipe. This is now my favourite Butter Cookie recipe…..Thank You!

  2. aviel says:

    i followed the recipe and was pleased with the results except, the cookies turned quit dry i dont know if its supposed to be or i did something wrong.
    but all and all it was tasty.
    10/10

  3. Sherri says:

    EXCELLANT!
    Made these small batch butter cookies 3 times now!
    First time, went right by recipe: and spot on!
    Second batch, cut the dough into 8 balls, flattened by pressing balls between base of thumbs, dough worked great, no sticking to hands. Then, pressed each flattened cookie onto diced Macadamia nuts. Proceeded to bake, as in recipe, and DELICIOUS! Third time was repeat of second time, as they were eaten SO FAST! BTW, baked in toaster oven and cooled as stated in recipe.
    GREAT texture, nice light brown crisp edges, and perfect texture to cookie.
    GREAT versatile little recipe, that I will continue making and trying new combos of flavor ingredients to this great base.
    I Live at High Altitude, 7,200′ and the recipe works PERFECTLY!
    Thank you and will continue connecting to web site-ONE DISH RECIPES-!!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so happy you love the butter cookies recipe, thank you so much for your feedback.

  4. BC says:

    A nice simple cookie for those who don’t like chocolate.

  5. BC says:

    A nice simple cookie for those that don’t care for anything chocolate.( I can’t imagine why). Can always dip an end in melted chocolate and chopped nuts to dress it up. Very good.