Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comYou guys are in for a real treat. It’s my second annual Blog Hop Cookie Swap and there are sooo many good recipes to share & save this year! This holiday, I wanted to share a cookie recipe I’ve been making for over three decades with my grandmother. It’s certainly near and dear to my heart, but despite the nostalgia- the reason I keep baking these cookies is because how incredible they taste. I actually shared this recipe on the blog wayyyy back in 2014 (as one of my very first posts), but figured since it is my most coveted cookie recipe- it was worthy of being shared for the blog hop. The recipe itself is over 300 years old (seriously), and these cookies are unlike any other sugar cookie I’ve ever tasted- melt in your mouth, delicious (no frosting needed)! Click through for the recipe, to read more about why they’re so special to me, and of course- to see what my design blogging friends made this year! Enjoy.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comMy grandma used to bake hundreds of these cookies each year, fill up holiday tins, and give them as gifts. Her cookie tins were so incredibly popular, people outside the fam started requesting them (like neighbors, members of her church, and my college roomies). That was always at the top of my Christmas wishlist each year! This year, she’s in the nursing home, unable to bake her famous cookies, and I knew it was my duty to bake a few big batches, fill up some tins, and mail them out. Hers should be arriving any day now, but I hope they put a big smile on her face.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comIn addition to a sweet gift, this is a cookie recipe you’ll end up making year-after-year because they’re THAT good. I can’t even keep them in our house because Emmett eats them by the tin. I’m talking 10+ cookies at a time (not even joking)! My g-ma used to keep them in her freezer to keep my grandpa from eating them. She’d pull a few out to thaw each day and that was his “cookie allowance”.

This is what you’ll need to start baking…

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup of quality oil or shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comBegin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the sugars, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla using a stand mixer, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar (the secret ingredient). Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed sugars, until a dough forms. As it thickens, you may want to knead it with your hands rather than using the mixer. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. This can also be done overnight, as long as it’s in an air-tight container. During the holidays, I just keep a container full of dough in the fridge at all times… for fresh baked cookies at a moments notice.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comOnce the dough has chilled, roll it into consistent one inch balls. Before transferring the dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, roll them in sugar.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comUsing a flat bottomed or patterned glass, press the cookies until they are about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick… like below.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comYou can use any sort of pattern or press to flatten the cookies. I find vintage glassware has the prettiest pattern options. My grandma has been using the same glass for 60+ years to make these cookies, so hers always have the same imprint (which is different than mine). It’s kind of like our “cookie family crest” and I think that’s pretty special! Each family member uses a different pattern, so you can tell where the cookies came from.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comSprinkle them with additional granulated sugar before transferring them to a HOT pre-heated oven.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comBake the cookies at 375 degrees for 12 minutes- or until the bottoms are golden brown. You don’t want the tops to turn too brown or they’ll end up too crunchy. Keep a close eye on your first batch to dial in your exact baking time!

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comPull them from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. This recipe makes quite a few cookies… probably 4-5 dozen? Definitely enough to share, fill tins, and spread holiday cheer! Also remember- you can refrigerate the dough and bake them a little at a time.

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies - roomfortuesday.comI finally updated my website and am now able to offer printable recipes (yay)! Although I definitely encourage pinning this to your Pinterest board for easy digital saving, I’m also dropping the quick, printable version below…

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies -

Classic Butter Sugar Cookies

4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup oil (or shortening)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together sugars, butter, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Next, sift and mix dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mix a little at a time, until well combined. Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes (or overnight, if preferred). Form and roll 1" balls. Roll the dough balls in granulated sugar. Using a flat bottomed or patterned glass, flatten the dough to about 1/2" thic and sprinkle more sugar on top (regular or colored sugar, depending on your preference). Bake in a preheated oven on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 12 minutes at 375 degrees.

Please be sure to check out all of my talented friends who participated in the cookie swap tour this year! There are SO many delectable recipes you’ll want to click through, save, gorgeous kitchens to see, and charming holiday decor to gawk over. I’m linking them all below…

boxwood avenue // yellow brick home // jojotastic // the gold hive // francois et moi // the diy playbook // life on virginia street // house of brinson // making it lovely // coco kelley // sincerely sara d // renovation husbands // house of hipsters // anita yokota

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies -

If you’d rather hop from blog-to-blog via cookie images, I’ll drop a graphic and links below. Giant thank you to Chloe, of Boxwood Avenue, for the amazing graphics and for co-hosting with me this year!

Cookie Swap : Classic Butter Sugar Cookies -

Salty & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies // Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies // Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Classic Butter Sugar Cookies // Rum Balls // Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread

Peppermint Crispies // Holiday Vanilla Almond Bark // Dark Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies

Caramel Drizzled Chocolate Peanut Clusters // Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Honey Cinnamon Filling // Lace Cookies

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies // Coconut Crispy Cookies // Tiger Butter Bark

If you missed my 2019 holiday home tour, you can find that here. I’ll also drop some sources from this post into a shopping slider below. As always, I love hearing if you try my recipes- so please, please, please tag me if you make these cookies. I’m going to share all of the images from people who make this recipe with my grandma- which will totally make her day! Happy Holidays, my friends.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Cookie family crest! (I’m not crying. You’re crying.) A cookie allowance! Hahaha. Your g-ma is a genius. More than gifts or decorating, I think baking gets me into the holiday spirit! I’ve been looking forward to this cookie swap since…September. (#dork) Thank you so much for hosting again!! The lineup is spectacular! Looks like I’ll be late to work…🤣

    1. Haha!! It’s true. Such a special cookie, a special lady, and a special holiday tradition. No wonder these are my all-time favorite :) Let me know if you try any of the recipes!! Hope you weren’t late for work ;) xo

  2. Okay, those have to be the prettiest cookies I’ve ever seen! And, I love, love, love that you’re carrying on the family tradition. So sweet. What kind of oil or shortening do you use for yours? I think I actually might have everything to make them in the pantry – except that beautiful bowl. Off to troll Etsy for vintage glassware, based solely on their bottoms. (Weird sentence.)

    1. Thank you so much, Julie! I used Crisco for the oil / shortening… I’ve tried “healthier” options in the past (like coconut oil) and it’s not the same. Ha! My g-ma sometimes just uses plain vegetable oil. Happy vintage glassware, based solely on the bottom shopping :)

      1. Thanks, Sarah! I’m with you – cookies are not the place to be worried about healthy substitutions! :)

  3. Wow! I’m not much into baking but these do look delicious 😋 And I never thought of creating a pattern with a vintage dish. That is genius and such a wonderful way to honor your sweet grandmother 💓 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much, Colleen! It’s definitely a special recipe and holiday tradition for me. I promise they’re easy- let me know if you try them.

  4. 5 stars
    Im in a puddle of tears! You are so thoughtful to send your grandmother some cookies. Wishing her all the best.
    The holidays remind me so much of my grandparents and all the traditions growing up.
    Using a vintage glass/crystal dish to make patterns in cookies looks so beautiful and a great idea. Aren’t our ancestors ways so sweet, enduring, timeless and smart?
    I am not a baker but must try your recipe. They look so yummy!

    1. Aw thank you, Danna. The holidays also remind me of loved ones and childhood traditions. It’s true- our ancestors (and their methods) are so timeless! Let me know if you give the recipe a try :)

  5. 5 stars
    Def going to make these and love that they do not need icing! :)

    1. Yay!! Let me know what you think, Karen

  6. Amy Pease says:

    Sugar cookies are my absolute favorite and I’ve never seen a recipe quite like this one. I think I’ll make them this weekend. Do you know whether these are the right consistency to use with a spritz cookie press? I’ve been trying to find a good spritz recipe and so far they all just taste like flour. Your grandma’s recipe looks amazing!

    1. I think you’ll love them, Amy! I’m not familiar with the spritz cookie press, but you could give it a try. These definitely don’t taste like flour :)

  7. Debbie Schaeffer says:

    Hi Sarah, I have been baking the same cookie recipes for years – which is good – traditions right! But I am going to add your Butter cookie to my repetoire. Not only are they classic and lovely to look at, they sound delicious! And the fact that this recipe is so old, handed down and different family members have their own “stamp-crest” – that just puts this cookie over the top!!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family Sarah.
    So glad I found you on the blog cookie exchange. Can’t wait to make these this Saturday – my cookie baking day.

    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Debbie! Let me know what you think when you make these on Saturday and enjoy your cookie-baking day!

  8. Debbie Schaeffer says:

    Oh one more thing! Meant to ask this in my last post.
    You said you use Crisco oil/shortening in your recipe.
    Which do you prefer and which gives you the best flavor and texture – the oil or shortening?
    I am thinking the shortening is he way to go.
    This recipe is an oldie and shorteing/lard was always used back in the day.
    Please share your preference Sarah.
    Thank you.

    1. I use Crisco shortening… exactly why you mentioned- it’s an OLD recipe! Enjoy :)

  9. Debbie Schaeffer says:

    Sarah, I received a reply for Karen, not a reply regarding whether YOU use the oil or shortening. :)
    Please reply.

    1. Sorry about that Debbie! I use shortening :)

  10. 5 stars
    Well you look pretty darned and adorably stylish, Ms. Sara, as do these luscious cookies. My thanks to you and the other cookie chefs for so generously sharing these recipes. Cheers and Merry Christmas to all, Ardith

    1. Thank you so much, Ardith! Merry Christmas :) hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. xo

  11. Hi Sarah! First of all, I just discovered your blog/insta this year and am so inspired by everything you and your husband do. I look forward to all your posts, so thank you for brightening up my days. I was looking for a simple cookie recipe and these seemed perfect. I made the cookies and they really are delicious. My only question was about texture. I expected them to be a little soft, but they were on the crunchier side (though not brown on top and I actually pulled them before 12 mins). They were great as is, just wondering if I got it right? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jamie! Thank you so much for that. I truly mean it! This comment made my day. Great question about the cookie texture… yes- they’re not supposed to be soft. It’s more of a butter cookie / shortbread almost. Not super crunchy, definitely not soft, but melt-in-your-mouth kind of cookie. I feel like you got them exactly right! Enjoy :)

  12. 5 stars
    Long time reader first time commenter. I don’t usually have the time to make more than one or two kinds of cookies during the holidays and these looked so promising and the story was so captivating I jumped right in and made a double batch! So, so perfect. I made one modification because I exhausted my supply of granulated sugar in the dough. I almost reserved the dough in the fridge until i could go shopping because I like to be a purist when trying a recipe for the first time. My children however were counting on cookies so we sprinkled them with the red and green colored sugar we had on hand. The colored sugars highlighted the star burst pattern created by the bottom of my husbands favorite beer glass beautifully! And these are THE holiday cookie for us, thank you so much for sharing and starting a family tradition for our family too!!! Going to do the recipe as written with the second batch!

    1. I love hearing that Rebecca! So glad they were delicious :) My grandma liked to used colored sugar too!

  13. Ha. I thought I commented on THIS post, but apparently I commented on one your other sugar cookie posts. My bad.🙄 Here’s my comment and hoping you or one of your readers has some insight!

    I made them this past weekend, Sarah and they are DELISH! Can totally see how Emmett can eat 10! They’re so light and really do melt in your mouth. The only issue I had was they looked beautiful when they went into the oven (also used the bottom of a vintage glass for the pattern), but during baking, they completely cracked on the top and the pattern was lost, even though I pulled them out when they were just golden on the bottom. Bummed, because I’ve never seen such pretty sugar cookies and was excited to give some away to some neighbors.

    I’m wondering if it was because I’m at a higher altitude here (almost 9k ft) and my dough seemed a bit crumbly when I was rolling it into balls. (I also used vegetable oil instead of shortening, because that’s all I had.) Have you or your family had the cracking issue, as all? I’d love ideas on how to remedy it. Thanks for hosting such an awesome cookie swap! I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes!

    1. I just commented on your other comment, haha! I definitely think it’s the altitude! Check out my response and let me know how the second batch turns out :)

  14. 5 stars
    Sarah, I made these today to bring to a couple family get-togethers, and they are seriously the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had! I added the zest of one orange and they really taste like the perfect Christmas cookie. Thank you for sharing the recipe as well as the story behind it. Going to make these again soon!

    1. I love hearing that Amber! SO glad you loved them :) Why have I not thought to add orange zest?! That would be the perfect addition. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays! xo

  15. 5 stars
    I have been trying to recreated my grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe. It is basically the same as yours (and with the secret ingredient of cream of tartar), but the recipe called for less flour. She made the cookies without thinking about the measurements, so my grandmother’s recipe cards may not have had the precise measurements. She had a beautiful imprint from a crystal glass, like yours, but the cookies were flatter. My cookies taste similar to hers, but I have not been able to replicate her famous imprint from the bottom of a glass. The imprint melts away. I will try again with more flour and a deeper imprint. Thank you so much for sharing! I have been looking for a similar recipe to my grandmother’s for years. These cookies always were my favorite!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Amy! It makes my day hearing this. I have wonderful memories with my grandmother and these cookies, so I love hearing that you’re trying to replicate your grandmother’s! Let me know how it goes :) Enjoy! xo

  16. 4 stars
    I love everything about the cookie and the story behind them!
    I did have one problem. I have almost the same glass dish that made a great imprint, but as soon as they baked the imprint disappears. Any suggestions?

    1. Thank you, Denise! I have some tips for you :) Make sure your oven temperature is heated all the way before baking… you really need a hot oven- you could even try baking 10-12 degrees hotter than recommended. Be careful not to overmix (especially the butter and sugar because it creates too much air in the dough). Chill the dough first! You can also chill the dough on the cookie sheet right before baking. Give those things try and let me know how it goes :) Hope that helps!

  17. I saved this recipe last year and will be finally making the cookies today with my kids! Quick question— does the butter need to be softened? Thanks!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      I’m so excited to hear that, Brooke! I do soften the butter, so it mixes more easily (not melted though). Let me know what you think!

  18. Marisa Figueiredo says:

    The recipe is great but the shape doesn’t stay when it comes out of the oven! I’ve tried numerous times. You know why?

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Are you using oil or shortening? You may want to try Crisco (if you’re using oil), or add a bit more flour… I do both depending on what I have in my pantry. A tablespoon or two of more flour will make them a bit more puffy. Also make sure you’re pulling them out of the oven before they begin to crack.