World's Best Butter Cookies

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 18 mins

I tested 8 different butter cookie recipes, looking for the "perfect" butter cookie. It had to be buttery, a little crumbly (like shortbread), and not too sweet. This is the winner. I think these are the Worlds Best Butter Cookie, courtesy of Chef Alice Medrich.


  1. Beat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Mix in the egg yolk until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.
  3. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
  4. Scrape onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times, just until the dough smooths out.
  5. Turn onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log, wrap up and refrigerate for several hours or freeze.
  6. Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F.
  7. Line your baking sheets with parchment.
  8. Slice the dough into slices about 1/8" thick and place them on the sheets about an inch apart (they won't be spreading very much, but they need air room around each cookie).
  9. Bake until JUST beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 16-18 minutes.
  10. Note: you can do many things with these cookies.
  11. You could roll the dough out and cut shapes.
  12. You could slice them even thinner and sandwich them with chocolate or jam or lemon curd.
  13. You could make them and then dip them half into chocolate.
  14. You could just make them and eat them, which is my favorite.
  15. Whatever you do, they will be delicious.


Most Helpful

Well, ta-da! I thought I recognized this recipe. I agree, this is the best butter cookie. I make them with a hand held beater, and they are always wonderful. It's that one egg yolk which turns them from ordinary to special. One of my kids always like a whole blanched almond planted in the middle.

Jangomango January 12, 2003

I have been looking for a butter cookie that tastes like the ones Gramma used to bake. This is the recipe. Thanks, PetitFour, these are the best butter cookies ever!

Terri F. March 08, 2003

Wonderful buttery cookies with a flakey texture that were not too sweet (just like PetitFour described them). The flavor of these cookies reminds me of those Danish butter cookies that come in a round tin and are sold mostly during the holidays. My kids loved these cookies.

beckas February 09, 2003

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