For a simple yet flavorful dessert or snack that the whole family will love, these buttery and soft Danish butter cookies (also known as Danish biscuits) will not disappoint! Using the same six ingredients from the classic Royal Dansk Danish cookies in the blue tin that many know and love, these sweet treats are perfect for the December holidays, birthdays, celebrations, or any day you have a sweet tooth!
🌟 Why this is the best Danish Butter Cookies recipe
- It has the same ingredients used in the original Danish butter cookies recipe - This uses the original Royal Dansk Danish butter cookies ingredients and does not require eggs or baking powder so this is the most authentic royal dansk cookie recipe out there.
- It is incredibly delicious - I use only the highest-quality ingredients to give the richest flavor and soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- No fancy ingredients are required - This Danish butter cookie recipe is made with only six ingredients, many of which are likely already in your pantry.
- It is very easy to make - You only need 30 minutes and a few easy steps to prepare the cookie dough. The rest of the time is to wait for the dough to freeze, bake, and set.
- It is very detailed - Unlike some shorter recipes, this Royal Dansk Danish butter cookies recipe dives into every detail as well as the science behind the baking so that you end up with perfect traditional Danish cookies every single time!
📝 Ingredient notes
- Unsalted butter - Always use unsalted butter to fully control the amount of salt in the recipe. I prefer butter with 82% fat content in my recipes as it gives baked goods the best taste and texture. You can also make your own homemade butter. The butter needs to be at room temperature.
- Powdered sugar - The light texture of the powdered sugar makes it easier to blend into the rest of the mixture than granulated sugar. For the best results, sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the recipe to eliminate any lumps. Refer to my sugar guide for the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking.
- Vanilla extract - Avoid using imitation vanilla extract, as the taste is not as good and requires more to achieve the same result. Pure vanilla extract will always give the best flavor and outcome.
- Flour - Plain, all purpose flour works great for this recipe. Like powdered sugar, sift the flour first to remove lumps before using it in the recipe.
- Salt - Salt is a must-have ingredient to balance the sweetness in the recipe. Do not leave it out!
- Milk - I recommend milk with high-fat content for the best taste and texture. I use 3% whole milk in my recipes. Like the butter, the milk needs to be at room temperature.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. Step-by-step process of making Danish Butter Cookies
- Use an electric hand mixer to whip together the room-temperature butter and the powdered sugar. Whip for a few minutes until the texture becomes light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, and continue to whip until just combined.
- Sift the flour and salt into the mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold together until just combined. Do not overmix it!
- Fold in 1-2 tablespoons of milk to loosen the dough and make it easier to pipe. It should be stiff yet pipeable.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Move the cookie dough into a piping bag with a Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip.
- Pipe 5cm / 2-inch circles onto the baking sheets. Leave enough room between each cookie to give them room to puff up and spread.
- Freeze the dough for one hour prior to baking.
💡 Top Tip: If the dough still feels too stiff and difficult to pipe after adding the milk, you can add more milk in small increments to loosen it until it reaches a pipeable texture. Do not add too much milk at a time, as the dough will become too loose to pipe and result in flat cookies.
2. How to bake
- Preheat the oven to 160 C / 320 °F. Do not use the fan. Once preheated, bake the cookies for approximately 13 minutes.
- Let the cookies rest for a few minutes, then carefully remove them from the parchment paper and onto a cooling rack. The cookies will be very fragile at the start but will continue to set as they cool.
- Enjoy immediately or store at room temperature in an airtight jar or container for up to a few days.
💡 Top Tip: Pay attention to the top and the bottom of the cookies to check for doneness. The bottom should be baked, and the top should be a nice, pale color when done. For a more golden brown color, you can bake the cookies a couple of minutes longer but do not overbake.
🍫 Flavor Variations & Substitutions
These buttery, melt-in-your-mouth Royal Dansk cookies are delicious as prepared. However, you can take their flavor and appearance to the next level by trying one of the below variations:
With additional flavor - Add lemon zest or orange zest to the batter to give your butter cookies a citrusy twist.
Chocolate butter cookies - If you're a chocolate lover, try replacing a small amount of the flour with cocoa powder to make chocolate Danish butter cookies or swirl cookies.
Chocolate-dipped cookies - Spruce up the look and taste of your cookies by dipping them in melted white or milk chocolate. Add colorful sprinkles for an even more festive appearance!
Vanilla extract alternatives - Instead of vanilla extract, substitute vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla beans to give your cookies a speckled appearance with a burst of vanilla. Or, try using another extract eg. almond.
Flour alternatives - Try this recipe using a small amount of almond flour for a hint of sweet almond flavor. You can also use cake flour. See my flour guide to learn more about the different types of flour and how to use them in baking.
🎓 Expert tips
- Always use room temperature butter and milk to better blend into the batter. Always sift the dry ingredients first to eliminate any lumps.
- Do not use a stand mixer to add in the salt, flour, or milk, as it will overmix the ingredients and result in a dough that is too loose. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold together the ingredients just until combined.
- Do not skip freezing the dough, as it is necessary to help the cookies keep their shape during baking.
- Make sure to leave enough space between each cookie on the baking sheet, as they will puff up as they bake.
- Straight after baking, be careful not to break them as they can be very fragile at this point. They will set as they cool.
🥣 Equipment notes
For an accurate and consistent baking experience, use a digital scale to measure your ingredients. Since some oven models can vary by a degree or two, using a digital oven thermometer is helpful to ensure that your oven reaches and stays at the correct temperature.
To achieve a similar size and shape as the cookies in this recipe, use a Wilton 1M open star piping tip for piping the dough. A cooling rack is necessary to help the cookies continue to cool and set once removed from the parchment paper.
Once cooled, store your Danish Butter Cookies in an airtight jar or container for a few days at room temperature.
You can make these delicious butter cookies in advance and freeze them in an airtight container or zippered plastic bag for 2-3 months. You can also freeze the piped dough for up to a month before baking. To thaw, let the cookies or dough sit at room temperature.
Some Danish butter cookie ingredients include baking powder to give baked goods a light and airy texture. However, these Danish cookies will puff up just enough without it.
While very similar in taste and texture, Danish Butter Cookies tend to have a lower butter-to-flour ratio than shortbread cookies. Danish Butter Cookies also have a softer texture and sometimes contain eggs and baking powder or baking soda. In contrast, shortbread cookies have a more crumbly texture and do not contain eggs, baking powder, or baking soda.
If you do not have a piping bag or large open star tip, you can put the dough into a plastic bag and press the dough into the corner. Then, cut the bag's tip and pipe the cookies onto the parchment paper. Another alternative is to use a cookie press or cookie scoop. Or, just use a smaller size spoon and make the cookies round. Depending on your method and the piping tip size, you may get more or fewer cookies than noted in the recipe.
🍪 More Cookie Recipes
Danish Butter Cookies
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Sift in the flour and salt mixture and fold with the help of a Rubber spatula just until combined. Do not overmix.
- Finally, to make the dough easier to pipe, fold in 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Use as much milk to make the dough pipeable yet stiff enough.
- Prepare 2 baking pans with parchment paper.
- Move the cookie dough into a piping bag fitted with Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip.
- Pipe about 5 cm / 2 inches circles onto the baking sheets leaving enough space between them as the cookies will puff up during baking. Freeze the dough for 1 hour before baking.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 C / 320 °F (no fan) and bake the cookies for about 13 minutes. Pay attention to the bottom and top, the cookies are ready when the bottom is baked and the top is still nice and pale.
- Let the cookies rest for a few minutes, then carefully remove them from the parchment and let them cool on a Cooling rack.
- The cookies will further set as they cool. Store at room temp for a few days in air tight jar or container.
- Measure your ingredients with a digital scale for accuracy.
- Use room temperature ingredients (e.g. butter, egg, milk) and sift the dry ingredients (e.g. powdered sugar and flour).
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details and science behind baking.
- If the dough feels too stiff and too hard to pipe, add more milk to it but only in small portions at once.
- Try not to overbake your cookies, they should stay nice and pale at 160 C / 320F. Consider using an oven thermometer.
- The cookies will be very fragile when they are hot, but they will set as they cool.
- Depending on the size of the piping tip you use, you may get more or fewer cookies than stated.