Italian butter cookies are soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies that go perfectly with all things holiday. Serve up these tasty cookies with your next cookie exchange or at a holiday party and see how fast they become a favorite.
This Italian butter cookies recipe is super simple and easy to make using just a few basic ingredients. It’s fast to bring the dough together and easy too, making it a classic favorite among many bakers because no one wants a to-do list that’s a mile long. There is a little waiting time for the dough to chill, but the results are worth the wait. Every batch makes up to 40 cookies, so there’s definitely a few good reasons to be patient.
We love to serve up these slice-and-bake cookies all year long, but we make them extra festive around Christmas time by making our Italian butter cookies with sprinkles. Using fun, festive-colored sprinkles like red and green we can make festive cookies that look fun and taste incredible and what can be better than that?
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- All-Purpose Flour
For the exact measurements, you will need to scroll down and see the recipe card below.
How to make Italian butter cookies
- In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add in the salt and then mix to combine.
- Separate your egg. Set the white aside in a small bowl and add the yolk to the dough along with the vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Fold in your flour. I usually do this by hand. It will take a few minutes to get the dough to come together. It should be crumbly but should hold together when pressed.
- Shape the dough into a log that is about 12 inches long.
- Roll the dough log in parchment paper and make sure that the dough is pressed together well.
- Twist the ends of the parchment paper to help the log keep the shape and seal it in there. Roll the log on the counter a few times to help it get a nice and smooth shape.
- Place the dough log into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
- After an hour is up, slice the cookies until they are about ¼ of an inch thick. I usually get between 32-40 cookies every time I make this recipe.
- In your bowl of egg white add in 1 teaspoon of water and whisk well to create an eggwash.
- Place the sliced cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with your eggwash.
- Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar or festive sprinkles, if desired.
- Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 14-16 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be a golden brown color.
Want to make fun shapes? This dough is great for creating that classic Italian pretzel-shaped cookie. Simply take the dough and shape it into your pretzels and place them onto a prepared baking sheet. Then place the cookies and sheet into the fridge to chill for an hour.
After the shaped cookies have chilled, brush the tops with egg wash and add sprinkles or sugar to the tops as desired. Bake as directed and enjoy!
Turbinado sugar. This is that coarse brown/amber-colored sugar often seen in the store called “sugar in the raw.” It’s great for baked sweets because it adds a nice sweet crunch to the tops of cookies, muffins, and more. Regular sugar will work too but will dissolve somewhat as it bakes. Thanks to the larger pieces of raw sugar, turbinado doesn’t dissolve nearly as quickly.
Egg wash. Adding an eggwash to the tops of the cookies not only helps to get your sugar or sprinkle to stick to the top of the cookies, but it also helps to get a nice golden color out of the cookies as they bake.
Adding egg yolk into your cookie dough will help it to bind together well so that the cookie isn’t super crumbly and falling apart. Not only that but egg yolks have way more flavor than their egg white counterparts so adding yolk to your dough will give you a much more flavorful bite.
Yes, you can freeze these cookies if desired. Simply let them cool completely and then store the cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the cookies to rest at room temperature for a few minutes to soften before eating.
Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. This should give you plenty of time to enjoy the cookies to yourself or at a party if you’re making them in advance of a fun holiday-themed get-together.
Italian Butter Cookies
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- Cream butter and sugar together.
- Add the salt and mix.
- Separate the egg, set the egg white aside.
- Add the egg yolk and vanilla to the dough. Mix well.
- Fold in the flour. I prefer to do this by hand, it will take a few minutes and the dough will be crumbly but should come together when pressed.
- Shape dough into a log about 12 inches long. Roll tightly in parchment, making sure the dough is pressed together well.
- Twisting the ends of the parchment will help this. Roll the wrapped dough on the counter a few times to ensure it is a smooth log shape.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, slice into cookies about 1/4 inch thick. I get about 32-40 each time I make this.
- Whisk 1 teaspoon water into the egg white to create an egg wash.
- Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and brush with reserved egg white.
- Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar or festive sprinkles.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 14-16 minutes. The edges should be pale golden brown.
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