Butter Cookies | American Society of Baking
Recipes and Formulation:

Butter Cookies

What are butter cookies?

Butter cookies are one of the most  consumed cookies around the world. They are  made with simple ingredients such as butter, wheat flour, sugar, and less frequently, eggs.

  • These cookies resemble English tea cakes and Scottish shortbread. 1
  • Danish butter cookies sold in round tin cans with separated assortments are often consumed with coffee or tea.2


The exact origin of butter cookies is not clear. However, home-made high fat ratio Danish butter cookies, have been known, since the late 1800s.3

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Commonly used ingredients for the production:2

Ingredient Type Function
Flour Low protein flour (all- purpose flour or cake flour)
  • Provides structure
  • Absorbs liquids
  • Aids in ingredients binding
Fat Butter, margarine or shortening
  • Imparts tenderness and butter flavor and mouthfeel
  • Dough lubricant
  • Creaming helps with air incorporation
Sugar Granulated white sugar, brown sugar or a combination of both
  • Provides sweetness
  • Aids in fat creaming
  • Contributes to cookie spread
Salt Granulated
  • Flavor and taste enhancer
Vanilla Extract or fresh
  • Provides a characteristic sweet  flavor

Eggs are used in some recipes to enhance cookies’ texture and enrich their taste. Leavening agents can also be used to add crispness.


Typical nutritional value of commercially available danish butter cookies per 100 g:4

Component Grams
Carbohydrate 63.33
Fat 23.33
Protein 6.67
Water 6.67

These cookies have a high fat and sugar content. Their caloric value  is 467 kcal/100 g cookies.4

Commercial production

Butter cookies are industrially produced through the following process:2

  • Scaling and weighing ingredients separately.
  • First stage mixing: fat, sugars, salt, vanilla and eggs (if used) are mixed in a horizontal or vertical mixer.
  • Second stage mixing: flour is added and mixing continues till homogeneous.
  • Forming: using a special nozzle for direct deposit onto the baking tray.
  • Baking: at 180 oC (350 oF) for 12-15 min typically in a convection oven.
  • Cooling: cookies are cooled down for 30 min.
  • Packaging and storage.


Butter cookies have a commercial item description established by the USDA of Style C. All ingredients used in its production are considered GRAS when following Good Manufacturing Practices.5

No specific regulations exist in the EU for these cookies. All core ingredients are considered safe when following Good Manufacturing Practices.


  1. Davidson, I. Biscuit Baking Technology: Processing and Engineering Manual. Netherlands, Elsevier Science, 2016.
  2. Serna-Saldivar, Sergio O. Cereal grains: properties, processing, and nutritional attributes. CRC press, 2016.
  3. Stradley, L. “History Of Cookies.” What’s Cooking America, 2015, https://whatscookingamerica.net/history/cookiehistory.htm .
  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 23 March 2021. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1828875/nutrients . Accessed 20 September 2021.
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Commercial Item Description: Cookies. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/CID%20Cookies.pdf. Accessed 20 September 2021.