Butter cookies are… well, buttery. These easy icebox cookies are perfect to make ahead. Simply prep the dough and pop it in the fridge.

When the time (or craving) comes, slice and bake up a batch of these deliciously dippable cookies! They’re tender inside and a little bit crisp on the edges, the stuff holiday dreams are made of!

a stack of icebox cookies with butter

The Best Butter Cookies

We love make-ahead recipes and these cookies definitely fit the bill!

Keep the dough in the refrigerator or the freezer for any time a cookie craving comes on. Just slice and bake!

Icebox cookies are perfect for mailing, too! Layer cooled cookies between sheets of parchment paper, place them in a zippered bag, and then in a tin or gift box.

Serve with some Homemade Hot Chocolate for dipping.

top view of ingredients to make Butter Cookies on a table

Icebox Cookie Ingredients

BUTTER It’s hard to find substitutions here… refrigerator cookies just aren’t the same unless they are made with real butter, preferably unsalted. But if dairy really is off the menu, it’s possible to use shortening, coconut oil, or vegan margarine. Truly in this case, butter is best.

EGG yolks give these cookies a melt-in-your-mouth texture and an unforgettably rich flavor. To separate the egg yolks, just crack an egg and transfer it back and forth between the two halves of the eggshell, allowing the white to fall into a bowl underneath. (Add the white to an omelet or even egg muffins).

rolled up dough to make Butter Cookies

Variations

  • Decorate with chocolate drizzle and crushed peanut for a gooey chocolate peanut version.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder for a chocolate version or a scoop of creamy peanut butter for a peanut butter version.
  • We also like to add mini chocolate chips, oatmeal, or even a whole almond pressed into the top of each cookie.

cutting slices out of dough to make Butter Cookies

How to Make Butter Cookies (overview)

A stand mixer will make combining the ingredients easier since the dough will be firm.

  1. Cream butter and sugar (per the recipe below). Add egg yolks & vanilla.
  2. Mix in dry ingredients.
  3. Roll dough into logs and chill for an hour or up to 48 hours.
  4. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and slice into ½” thick rounds. Bake until the edges are just turning brown.

PRO TIP: Start with room temperature butter and eggs for best results!

Don’t skip chilling the dough. This hardens the butter so the cookies retain their shape during baking.

Butter Cookies on a cooling rack with butter and milk in the background

Storage

  • Cookie dough will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, wrapped in parchment paper and plastic wrap.
  • Freeze butter cookie dough for up to two months tightly wrapped and labeled with the date on it. Let the dough thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Slice, bake, and serve!

Festive Holiday Treats

Did you make these Slice & Bake Butter Cookies? Be sure to leave a comment & a rating below! 

stack of Butter Cookies on a rack with a glass of milk behind
5 from 19 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Slice & Bake Butter Cookies (icebox cookies)

These Butter Cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and come out perfectly golden every time!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Chill time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
Servings 36 cookies

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix for an additional 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape into two 2-inch diameter logs about 1 foot long each and roll up in parchment paper and chill for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Unroll the dough and slice into even ½-inch thick slices and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are just turning golden brown.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and enjoy.

Notes

It’s very important that this dough chills for at least 1 hour but it can be chilled for up to 48 hours in advance.
The dough can be frozen by wrapping in parchment and placing in the refrigerator then removing the parchment and wrapping in plastic wrap and then placing in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. After freezing, let the dough thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or about 1 hour on the counter just until soft enough to slice then bake as directed.
Cookies should be consumed within 5 days and stored in an airtight container.
You can freeze full cooked or decorated cookies in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air.
5 from 19 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 110 | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cookies, Dessert, Party Food, Snack
Cuisine American

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Butter Cookies on a cooling rack with writing
stack of Butter Cookies with a title
Butter Cookies on a rack with a title
Butter Cookies on the rack and stacked with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Fabulous. Whole family loved this melt-in-your-mouth recipe. Especially when hot right out of the oven.5 stars

  2. Holly, I just made the recipe and followed the recipe exactly and the dough was so dry I couldn’t keep it together and I used all purpose flour. I did the best I could and placed in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours but I think it will break apart when I cut into it. Is the anything I can to it to hold it together?

    1. I made these again today and they worked great for me. Did you cream the butter for the full 3-4 minutes (this is very important).

      When measuring the flour, did you gently spoon it into the measuring cup and then level it? (Scooping the flour with the measuring cup can pack it in and add extra flour causing a dry dough). I hope that helps.

  3. This is a great recipe! I used almond extract instead of vanilla for a different twist. My only issue is that my dough seems to be too dry, even though I’m measuring the flour as instructed. Is it possible I need to reduce the amount of flour? I ran into this issue with another cookie recipe, as well. Thank you!! Id appreciate your input!5 stars

    1. So glad you loved them, I can’t say for sure why your cookie doughs have seemed dry. Are you using regular all purpose flour?