Vanilla cookies recipe

(1659 ratings)

Our vanilla cookies use just six ingredients and are under 100 calories

Vanilla cookies
From chocolate chip to iced biscuits, cookies are a great choice
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time15 mins (plus 15 mins chilling)
Cooking Time20 mins (plus cooling time)
Total Time35 mins (plus chilling and cooling time)
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories98 Kcal5%
Fat4.5 g6%
Saturated Fat3 g15%

These vanilla cookies take 20 minutes to bake and the recipe makes between 15 and 25 depending on the size and shape of your cutters. 

These make a great alternative to our easy chocolate chip cookies, if you want something a little simpler in terms of flavour and a base that can be decorated with icing or melted chocolate. A batch of cookies will take around 30 minutes to make and then you need to cool before icing. 


  • 125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g (5oz) caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 medium egg
  • 250g (8oz) plain flour




  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg and then the flour until the mixture binds together to form a dough. If the dough is very soft, wrap it in plastic film and chill it until it’s firm enough to roll out.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 3-4mm (nearly ¼in) thick and use cutters to cut out shapes, re-rolling trimmings as necessary until all the dough is used.
  4. Place the cut-out shapes on the lined baking sheets. If there is time, chill the shapes for 10-15 minutes and set the oven to 160C (140C fan, Gas 3).
  5. Bake the biscuits in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies start to turn golden at the edges. Remove the baking sheets from the oven.
  6. Leave the cookies to cool for a few mins on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely and decorate as you wish.

Top tips for making vanilla cookies

For the best vanilla flavour use the most expensive vanilla extract you can afford or scrape the seeds from a pod instead. The benefit of using a pod is that your cookies will have a lovely speckled finish too.

How can I make chocolate and vanilla cookies?

Reduce the amount of flour to 200g and add 50g cocoa powder to the dough.

Does vanilla extract matter in cookies?

Vanilla is the main flavour of these vanilla cookies so it’s important you don’t leave it out. For different flavour cookies you can swap the vanilla for the zest of an orange, lemon or lime, add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or even some almond extract for a subtle nutty flavour. 

How long do vanilla cookies last?

Once baked, your cookies should be stored in an airtight container and will last for up to a week. You can also freeze the raw dough. We recommend wrapping it tightly in small portions so you can defrost only what you need. 

You could also try baking from frozen by slicing small discs of pastry off. It will likely need a couple more minutes in the oven versus if you were baking from defrost or fresh. 

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

“A mistake that many people make when baking is not creaming the butter and sugar together correctly. This guide on how to cream butter and sugar will help ensure you are successful every time!” 

With an adjustable rolling pin you can be confident you are rolling the biscuit dough to the perfect thickness. This one is one of our best kitchen gadgets under £50.

Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin - View at Amazon 

Joseph Joseph Adjustable Rolling Pin - View at Amazon 

Another practical piece of equipment from Joseph Joseph we don’t think you’ll want to live without. It comes with four sets of removable discs which will help you achieve thicknesses of either 2mm, 4mm, 6mm or 10mm.

Try our sugar cookies recipe next, it makes 18 and uses only seven ingredients. These peanut butter cookies are another great option to make with kids or our Snickerdoodle biscuits are a twist on the American classic. 

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.