Wonderfully tender buttermilk cookies will be your new go-to recipe. Simple to make and even easier to eat, they are topped with a delicious buttermilk glaze and a sprinkling of toasted almonds for a bit of crunch.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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Whenever I buy buttermilk, I never use it all. I always end up with a mostly empty container, wondering what I can do with the little that remains. Making cookies is the perfect solution.
I tested this buttermilk cookie recipe quite a few times before I landed on the final version. Traditionally, they are a similar to a plain sugar cookie, but a bit of almond extract added to the batter gives them another layer of flavor.
To make these easy buttermilk cookies, you’ll need the basics, plus a bit of buttermilk. If you choose to omit the almond extract, substitute with extra vanilla.
- Flour – the regular flour you have in the pantry.
- Vanilla – vanilla extract gives an unmistakable flavor to baked goods.
- Almond extract – gives another layer of flavor to these cookies.
- Egg – provides stability and structure. Large eggs are the standard size in recipes.
- Butter – unsalted, or “sweet cream” butter. Make sure it is unsalted so you can control the salt. Provides great flavor to baked goods.
- Sugar – just a touch of sweetness, not too much.
- Salt – all baked goods need salt, I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- Baking soda – gives the cookies bit of lift and helps the cookies spread just the right amount.
- Buttermilk – tangy and slightly acidic, it makes the cookies tender and delicious.
How to make them
Making this buttermilk cookies recipe is easy enough for every level of baker, even those with little baking experience.
First, sift the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Then cream butter and sugar.
Next, add half of the dry ingredients, followed by buttermilk, and finishing with remaining flour. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is fully incorporated.
The cookie dough will be very soft at this point. It will need to firm up in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 hours before baking. Plan accordingly!
Using a small cookie scoop, portion dough onto baking sheet. Make sure you leave at least 2 inches between each ball of dough – the cookies will spread. Bake until golden brown and dry on top.
As you can see in the photo above, the cookie on the left was baked at 325°F with convection. The result is a taller, fluffier cookie that didn’t spread as much.
The same dough baked at 350°F without a fan took a few extra minutes to bake. It was flatter than the other cookie and spread a bit more.
They are both delicious and they taste the same. However, each oven is different and I want you to know what to expect from the dough before you bake.
Once cookies have cooled completely, top with buttermilk glaze and toasted almonds, if desired.
Most buttermilk cookies do not have almond extract, mine do. Without it, the cookies taste a bit one dimensional. The almond extract gives them more flavor.
Absolutely! Freeze the cookies without icing. They should keep for 3 months.
Yes. Just replace with the same amount of vanilla.
Variations and substitutions
For a seasonal twist, try adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients, or dipping the tops in cinnamon sugar, like a snickerdoodle.
For a wintery spin on this buttermilk cookie, swap out the almond extract for peppermint extract.
Helpful tools and equipment
Here is a list of tools and equipment that is helpful for every home baker:
- Electric mixer – a great mixer for under $100.
- Baking scale – I cannot recommend enough. Weighing ingredients is much more precise than measuring with cups.
- Silicone baking mats – the best price for silicone mats that I can find!
- Small cookie scoop – the exact same scoop I used in the recipe.
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For the cookies
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled // 10 oz. // 284 grams
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened // 8 tbsp.
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar // 266 grams
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk // 4 oz. // 118 ml
For the glaze
- 2 cups powdered (icing) sugar // 240 grams
- 4 tbsp. buttermilk (adjust consistency to your preference)
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 tbsp. toasted almonds, optional
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
- In a larger mixing bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed, mixing until fully incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until fully incorporated.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts, beat on low to combine.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, beat just until combined, then add buttermilk and beat on low until incorporated.
- Add remaining flour and beat just until you no longer see streaks of flour. Use a rubber spatula to scrape sides and bottom of bowl, then fold mixture a few times to make sure everything is fully mixed.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 hours. Cookie dough will be slightly soft and a little sticky, but it should be firm.
- Preheat oven to 325°F with convection fan // 350°F without convection (150°C fan // 180°C // Gas mark 4). Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Using a small cookie scoop (1 1/2 tbsp.), portion dough onto baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. They will spread! Bake one tray at a time, rotating halfway through baking time. *See notes. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and dry on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Mix ingredients for glaze in a small bowl and use a small offset spatula (or knife) to spread glaze on cooled cookies. Top with toasted almonds, if desired.
If your oven has the convection fan feature - use it. Cookies with fan will bake in 12 - 14 minutes. Cookies baked in an oven WITHOUT a fan will need a few more minutes. Plan to add approximately 2 extra minutes to baking time.
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Escali Primo Lightweight Scale, Standard, Black
Amazon Basics Silicone, Non-Stick, Food Safe Baking Mat - Pack of 2
Cookie Scoop - #40, With Orchid Handle
Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet, 2-Pack, Silver
KitchenAid 7-Speed Digital Hand Mixer
Ateco Ultra Offset Spatula 3 Piece Set
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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