My French Butter cookies recipe creates crisp, rich, buttery, melt in your mouth deliciousness. These classic cookies are super easy to make with just 5 basic ingredients!
French Butter cookies or Sable as they are known in French are probably the most loved cookies in France.
Deliciously crisp on the outside and buttery and crumbly on the inside. Rolled in sugar and sliced creates a beautiful glittery ring around the baked cookies. They make the ideal gift or perfect for any celebration.
The dough is super easy to be made in advance, ready for you to simply slice and bake.
Ingredients for French Butter Cookies
You need a few staple ingredients to make French Butter cookies. With so little ingredients, you want to make sure you’re using the right ones, and the best quality ones.
Scroll down to the end of the page for the printable recipe card with all measurements and complete instructions
- Butter: Use what you have, either salted or unsalted. If you are using unsalted butter, then add a pinch of salt to your flour. Salted butter will not require adding salt to the recipe. Make sure that you are using room temperature butter.
- Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar, it mixes easily with the butter to form a smooth creamy consistency.
- Egg yolk: Just one egg yolk is needed to help bind the dough together. It also contributes to the flavor and texture of the cookies. Its best to let the egg yolk come to room temperature before mixing in.
- Vanilla extract
- Flour: Use either cake flour, all purpose or plain flour. Do not use self rising flour. Self raising flour is not recommended as it changes the flavor and texture, making it dense instead of crisp and light.
How to make French butter cookies
This is just the overview so you can see the process. When you are baking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
All you need to mix the dough is a bowl and spatula. That is why its best if your butter is softened to room temperature. It makes it much easier to work with when combining with a spatula.
- Make the dough
Cream the butter and sugar: Use a spatula to mix the butter and sugar until it turns pale in color and light in texture.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract: Mix in until combined.
Sift in the flour: Add the sifted flour and mix to form a soft dough.
- Refrigerate the dough
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes
- Divide and roll the dough
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in 2 pieces
Roll each piece into a log shape of approximately 4 inches (10cm) in length and 1 inch (3cm) in thickness (diameter)
- Freeze the shaped dough
Wrap the log shapes separately in plastic wrap and freeze for 45 minutes.
- Roll in sugar, slice and bake
Remove from the freezer and unwrap the shaped dough
Roll each of the log shaped dough in sugar, coating them evenly.
Cut each log into slices that are ⅜ inch (1 cm) thick, and then arrange them on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden.
Remove the tray from the oven but leave the cookies on the baking tray for 5 minutes. The baked cookies will be soft when you take it out of the oven but crisp as they cool.
After 5 minutes on the baking tray, the cookies will be firm and crisp enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
Once completely cool store the cookies in an airtight jar.
Frequently asked questions
The cookie dough can be prepared up to 2 months in advance! Make the dough, refrigerate for 20 minutes then shape into a log (according to the recipe size suggestions).
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.
When ready to use, remove from the freezer and as soon as you are able to, slice the dough into disks while still cold.
Don't allow it to get too warm, as the dough will be soft making it difficult to handle and slice.
Yes, sure, simply roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Then refrigerate for 45 minutes before cutting into shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes if cut thinner than 1 inch (3cm) thickness.
Tips for the perfect French Butter Cookies
Ensure that your butter is softened to room temperature. Get it out of the fridge at least 1 hour before baking. All the ingredients are incorporated much easier and quicker in soft butter. This also prevents overworking the dough, which produces dense instead of crispy cookies.
Refrigerate the dough if it becomes difficult to handle: The dough has a high ratio of butter and can get difficult to work with if it gets too warm. If the dough gets too warm, simply put it back into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. This helps to cool the butter, making the dough much easier to work with.
Do not skip the steps of chilling the dough. First after mixing (refrigerated for 20 minutes) and second after dividing and shaping into a log (freezing for 45 minutes) These are important steps. The first refrigeration firms the dough, making it easy to roll into a log. The second time (freezing) cools and firms the log shapes making it easy to slice into disks.
Adjust the baking time if cutting the cookies thinner or thicker than specified in the recipe
Do not overbake the cookies. They will be soft after baking straight out of the oven, but will crisp and get firm as it cools.
Want even more delicious recipes? Subscribe free to receive new post notifications emailed to you. Or follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you love sharing recipes please come and join my All about cooking and baking Facebook group or Subscribe to my YouTube channel