Danish Butter Cookies are copycats of the Royal Dansk cookies that come in the iconic blue tin. This twist on a Traditional Shortbread Recipe is perfect for the holidays!

I tested recipe after recipe. Some baked up like pancakes, others were difficult to pipe. The hubby was happy to eat them all despite how imperfect many of my test batches of these Cookie Swirls looked. Thankfully, this is the winning recipe!

Overhead view of white chocolate dipped Danish butter cookies on a round white plate.

Why You Must Make

  • The flavor palate is simple, sweet and buttery. 
  • They’re perfect for picky palates.
  • They can be decorated for any occasion just by changing the sprinkles. 
  • These shortbread cookies stay fresh much longer than ordinary cookies, so they’re perfect to package in tins as gifts for the holidays.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Butter – Salted, at room temperature. PRO-Tip: European style butters like Kerrygold work best. They have less water content so will spread less than American brands.
  • Sugar – Regular granulated white sugar
  • Salt – I prefer table salt for baking as the finer grains disperse better
  • Real Vanilla Extract – Avoid imitation as the taste is inferior.
  • Egg – I always use large eggs in my baking unless otherwise noted.
  • Flour – All-purpose
  • White chocolate, dark chocolate, M&M’s and/or sprinkles – Optional garnishes
Ingredients for Danish butter cookies on a metal tray with labels.

How to Make

  1. Make the dough using a paddle attachment.
  2. Scrape the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
  3. Pipe out rings or circles onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  4. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator to make the dough nice and cold.
  5. Bake as directed or until the edges are light golden brown.
  6. May garnish with melted white chocolate, sprinkles, and/or M & M’s if desired. 
  7. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Decorated Danish Butter cookies on a white tray.

Expert Tips

  • This cookie dough is thick so make sure to use a piping tip with a large opening.
  • I used a 1M Piping Tip (affiliate link), but Ateco 844 or 827 will also work. They will all form slightly different kinds of swirls.
  • If the batter warms up while piping, pop your baking sheet with the piped cookies into the refrigerator to let them rechill. This will help minimize spreading.
  • To keep the cookies tender with the right texture, stir in the flour until just incorporated. Do not whip it or air will be added to the dough and mechanical beating will activate the gluten, making tougher cookies.
  • I used vanilla extract to flavor these cookies, but a 1/4 teaspoon almond extract can also be added for a flavor boost.
  • Once your cookies are piped, you can use the tip of a damp finger to tap any dough spikes or malformations into place before baking.
  • I like dipping the side of the cookie where the swirl ends so that the prettiest part of the cookie is left unadorned.

Danish Butter Cookies in a white bowl

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between Butter Cookies and Shortbread?

There are a few subtle differences. Butter cookies have more sugar and a lower ratio of butter to flour which makes them hold their shape. They bake at a higher temperature so may have some browning around the edges, unlike shortbread.

How Long Do Butter Cookies Last?

Butter cookies keep nicely at room temperature for up to a week, plus they freeze well (if ungarnished) for up to 3 months. Just make sure to store them in an airtight container.

Why Do You Recommend European Butter for these Cookies?

With a lower water content, European butter will minimize the spreading of these cookies as they bake.

What is the Texture of Butter Cookies?

They are light, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookies. Not overly sweet, they’re perfect for embellishing with chocolate and sprinkles.

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Danish Butter Cookies in a round white bowl

Danish Butter Cookies Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yield 30 cookies

Buttery shortbread cookies that can be dressed up for any occasion!


  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature (European style butter like Kerrygold work best)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • White chocolate, M&M's and/or sprinkles to garnish, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper/
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and the egg, and mix until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  4. Slowly add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Place the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. I used a Wilton 1M, but Ateco 844 or 827 will also work. Or use a cookie press if you don't have the tools to pipe these cookies (baking time may be different).
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown.
  7. May garnish with melted white chocolate, sprinkles and/or M & M's if desired. See notes for details.
  8. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


Use European-style butter for the best results. It contains less water than American brands.

To garnish, melt chopped white chocolate in the microwave. Dip one side of the cookie into the melted chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add sprinkles immediately before the chocolate hardens.

Adapted from Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 250Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 127mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g

Thatskinnychickcanbake.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although thatskinnychickcanbake.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on thatskinnychickcanbake.com recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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