The Best Butter Cookies

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Updated March 20, 2022

It’s the first day of SPRING and I am so excited to share the revamped version of my butter cookie recipe! There are many delicious butter recipes, but the fun part of this one is the hidden rainbow surprise that you find! I was inspired to bring this fun hidden rainbow idea to life when I saw my friend Sam from Buttermilkbysam create a hidden rainbow bundt cake. So I kept that beautiful idea in mind when I created this fun cookie. Also, this diy cookie is also SO much fun for kids to try!! I’d just recommend throwing an apron on them to help contain the mess that may occur! Hedley & Bennett have some super cute kids aprons that I highly recommend (plus you get a discount if you use DESSERTPANTRY code!!).

Butter Cookie 101

It’s important to note that butter cookies are soft. They will spread, and are not meant to hold a sturdy shape. So this recipe is usually my go to when I want to have FUN with a cookie – like make a hidden rainbow inside! If you are looking for a sturdier cookie to hold it’s shape AND still want the sprinkle look, then I suggest heading over to the Birthday Cake Sugar Cookie recipe.

Tips before baking

Butter: Make sure your butter is room temperature. Remove from refrigerator about 1 to 2 hours before you plan to prepare the dough. Room temperature butter is much easier to work with. And do NOT melt the butter! This will only cause your cookies to spread far too much.

Eggs: one egg but at room temperature as well. Remove from fridge about one hour prior to preparing the dough.

Milk: the milk will be added at the edge of the mixing, and does not need to be at room temperature. The milk helps soften the dough and make it more pliable in handling. You can substitute heavy cream or low fat milk at a 1:1 ratio.

Sprinkles: You can use rainbow jimmies or nonpareils, but I recommend mainly only to use jimmies (the sprinkle rod ones). These sprinkles remain soft and do not bleed into the dough.

Food Color Gels: Any food color gels will work. I use the 6 main rainbow colors, but you can use any colors you would like. I do recommend using gels and not powder because the gel is easier to use (and makes less of a mess).

Chill Time: After you have created the hidden rainbow cookie, its crucial to refrigerate. This will allow the butter within the dough to get cold once again so that when you bake it does not spread out into a pancake. So don’t skip the chill!

Creating Hidden Rainbow Cookies

This blog post is only to share the recipe for creating these delicious butter cookies. If you would like to create the hidden rainbow effect, follow this recipe below as written and once your dough is prepared follow this link to take you to the How To steps on creating the hidden rainbow cookies.

If you do try this recipe, please do not forget to leave a star rating and comment on how you liked it!

Rainbow Butter Cookies

Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter cookie, rainbow cookies, sprinkle cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12 cookies
Author: Sharon Alvarenga


  • 2 ¾ cup all purpose flour 360 g
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature, 227 g
  • 1 cup sugar 200 g
  • 1 ea large egg room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt


Making Butter Cookies

  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar and vanilla.
    1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Turn mixer on medium high and cream ingredients – about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and mix on medium until well incorporated.
    1 ea large egg
  • Add flour and salt to wet ingredients, and mix on medium until the flour is just combined.
    2 ¾ cup all purpose flour, ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • With the mixer on low, add 2 – 3 tablespoons of milk. The amount added depends on how soft your dough is. If your dough is already soft, then only add 1 or 2 tablespoons. If your dough is heavy, then add 2 – 3 tablespoons.
    2 – 3 tbsp milk
  • If you are going to color your dough then separate as desired, and color each section. If you plan to create the Hidden Rainbow visual, then please click the link in the notes above to jump over to the Let's Get Creative page for further instructions.
  • Prepare your baking sheet fitted with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Take your star piping tip and place nozzle down into the disposable piping bag. It will only go so far until it cannot continue – this is where you will cut the opening for only the piping tip nozzle end can pass through.
  • Place about ? of your dough inside the disposable piping bag, secure at the top, and hold over your baking sheet – just about 1" above.
  • Gently but firmly squeeze until dough comes out and you create about a 1" – 2" diameter star. Stop squeezing, and gently lift the piping bag away. The dough should disconnect from the piped dough, but if not you can gently use your fingers to separate.
  • Alternatively you can create circle cookies by placing the piping tip once again close to the baking sheet, gently squeezing and rotating into a circle as you squeeze. This should create about a 3" cookie.
  • Repeat until all dough has been used, and then place baking sheet in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, but no more than 12 hours.
  • After it's chilled for a few hours, preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Bake cookies for approximately 12 – 15 minutes as it timing will be dependent upon how small or large you piped your cookies. Watch for browning along the bottom edges and along the top ridges.
  • Remove from heat and place on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before decorating or enjoying.

1 Comment

  1. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVED THESE. Sorry for all caps but I’ve got a lot of enthusiasm for this recipe. I made it with my rainbow crazy 5yo and the dough was like edible playdough, so easy to work it and we made the cutest rainbows inside. She loved it, especially forming the rainbows and dipping in sprinkles. And they were so tasty!

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