Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies from

Oh, buttermilk.  You’re the key to this girl’s heart.

My kids always go crazy when I buy buttermilk.  I generally buy it a quart at a time, and they love using it for buttermilk pancakes, and more importantly buttermilk syrup.  I don’t often let them make buttermilk syrup because it’s even more candy-like than regular syrup, and it’s sort of a big mess too.

Personally, I would rather use my buttermilk for baked good than for pancakes.  I’m just not much of a pancake kind of girl, what can I say?

There is really no way to turn down cookies and muffins and cakes and scones made with buttermilk.  Maybe it’s the acidic quality of buttermilk that breaks everything down, and makes it soft and flavorful and amazing, I don’t know.  And I don’t care, as long as I have some buttermilk baked goods in the house.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies from

For today’s buttermilk creation, I decided to keep it simple and flavor the cookies with vanilla.

The problem with vanilla is that it is so frequently used in baking, it can actually be a hard flavor to recognize.  When my son, The Lizard, ate a cookie, I asked him what it tasted like.  He first talked about the texture (creamy, he called it), and then started guessing at flavors.  Cinnamon?  Lemon?

Maybe it’s his unrefined palate, but I suspect it’s at least partly because vanilla is a hard flavor to place.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.comVanilla Buttermilk Cookies from

My vanilla-obsessed daughter is always thrilled to have vanilla treats in the house!  I usually stick her with my triple chocolate treats every week.

This cookie makes us both happy! 


Leftover buttermilk?  Try one of these recipes:

chocolate muffinsChocolate
Buttermilk Muffins
sconesCoconut White Choc
Buttermilk Scones
vanilla cupcake recipeVanilla
Nutmeg Cookie recipeNutmeg
Buttermilk Cookies
Buttermilk Muffins
buttermilk cookiesChocolate
Frosted Cookies


4.9 from 11 reviews
Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies
Cook time
Total time
Cakey buttermilk cookies with vanilla buttermilk icing.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 4 dozen
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add buttermilk and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, and flour, and mix until well combined.
  3. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes.
  4. For icing, combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth and creamy.
  5. Lightly frost cooled cookies, and sit out to let icing set for a few minutes.


30 thoughts on “Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies

  1. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Baking with buttermilk is the best! I don’t go as far as Anita by drinking the stuff (you’re hard core, girl!) but I adore it and wish I always had it in my fridge too. These cookies look fabulous, especially with that yummy sugary glaze overtop. I’ve never made cookies with buttermilk before and now I totally want to. Also, tell me more about buttermilk syrup and it’s candy-like quality!

  2. Carla

    Vanilla extract is often used to enhance other flavors more so than make something taste like vanilla. That’s probably why it’s hard to detect unless it’s vanilla bean. Never made cookies with buttermilk before, and now I know what to make with leftover buttermilk!

  3. Stacy

    My mom drinks buttermilk but I never really got the taste for it. In baked goods, that’s a different story! These vanilla cookies with their shiny icing look wonderful, Jen!

  4. Shelby

    These look amazing! I’m definitely going to make these. Grumpy will only eat a soft cookie so I’m always looking for that reason!

  5. Kitchen Kelli

    Yay! I am a vanilla girl and I”m thrilled to have another reason to buy buttermilk. You and Anita have taught me lots and lots about how wonderful it makes a dish………..funny, I’m the one from the south and should KNOW it’s virtues! I really cannot wait to make these.

  6. Jocelyn

    I just made the batter for these and it’s got the texture of cake batter. I’ve never seen cookie dough come out like this. How do you form cookies from the batter like this? Any tips? It feels like it needs a fourth cup of flour to get anywhere close to traditional cookie dough you can roll into balls.

    1. Jen Post author

      Jocelyn, it is quite a thin dough. I just use a cookie scoop or spoon to scoop piles onto the baking sheet, since it definitely won’t form into balls. If you’re worried about the texture, you can add a little bit more flour. Good luck!

    2. Janet

      Thanks for telling us about the batter. I am letting my butter soften and would think I did something wrong if I didn’t read this! Soft loose batter isn’t usual but this sounds soooo good!

    3. Sarah

      It is a pretty wet batter, but I didn’t fuss with adding extra flour (and I am glad I didn’t because that could have pushed them into dry, cough-inducing territory). I just plopped them into golf-sized lumps and they baked into lovely light golden brown mounds. Seriously, these are amazing. They are like a cross between a cake and cookie. Try baking them for the minimum amount of time, mine came out perfectly after 12 minutes.

      Thanks for the recipe!

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  11. Sara

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. These vanilla babies look and sound divine. I intend to make a full batch for a Christmas cookie exchange this Sunday!

  12. Amanda

    Butter milk cookies are my dads favorite cookie. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Im having trouble finding a sugar free recipe. I want to make these for him for Christmas. Could Some one let me know if i could used like “splenda” instead of real sugar? Maybe email me.

  13. amy

    YUM! These came out so good. Easy recipe with only a few ingredients. I didn’t even miss the chocolate chips 🙂

    I agree with another person who said to cook them “rare”. I pulled mine out as soon as I saw the tiny bubbles on the top.

    Hooray for buttermilk and thanks for posting this delicious recipe.

  14. Vanita

    These are the best and easiest cookies I have ever made. My husband loved them. I had extra buttermilk left so I made a tray for the office. Work in an office with 50 guys. Everyone of them turned into a little kid coming back for more. They wanted to know when I was going to make more. Thank you Jen. These are soooo easy to make.

  15. maria

    I just made these and they turned out great! As others have said, they are more like cake and less like cookies. These served two purposes for me: using up buttermilk and making something sweet to take to work to share with my coworkers. Thanks for the unique recipe!

  16. Mj Rawlings

    Cookies had nice, light texture but not enough flavor for my grown daughters, who are used to citrus icings, and the nutty cookies.

  17. Holly

    Just made these for a quick midnight baking fix! These cookies are absolutely amazing. I can’t stop eating them and wish I’d baked more! My family loves them too! Depending on your preference, you may want to cook them longer than 12-15 minutes (they are a very soft, fluffy cookie… Think pound cake!). Otherwise, they are completely cooked despite the lovely pale color they produce which may have you wondering if they’re under done (just give the top of a cookie a little tap with your finger to make sure it feels dense). The edges closest to the pan will be golden, though!


    These cookies are amazingly good and super easy to make. DO IT… For your tastebuds’ sake.

  18. L. Rouff

    I made these in a muffin tin, so they kept a shape and looked cute. After the first dozen, I decided to try filling them with Nutella. Yum!

  19. Peg

    Just found this recipe and I cannot wait to try them. I will chill the dough before baking, it seems doing not only enhances flavor but wi help prevent excessive spread.

  20. Vic

    Jen, I made these vanilla buttermilk cookies with the buttermilk frosting for the first time today. More than fifty cookies were yielded. They were so good that my family member ate them while they were cooling before they even got iced. She wanted to eat other people’s cookies. My other family members said they were delicious and thank you. Each member got at least 12 cookies. One member got 13, and someone else got about 14. The dough was scrumptious! 🙂 Thanks for posting this recipe, Jen. I am looking for ways to get rid of the rest of this buttermilk.

  21. Natalie

    I made these cookies for our local fair and the judge called them “perfect”. Friends and family agree. Five stars!

  22. Haley

    First-time visitor here, already a fan. I made this recipe after googling “what can I bake with buttermilk” (lol), as I had plenty of extra from the biscuits & things I’ve been trying. ANYWAY, REVIEW: I love the cookies. Not too sweet. Now, the icing is OVERTLY sweet. I drizzled it then set them in the fridge but I’m glad I didn’t dunk them or pour a ton. Just for fun, I added cinnamon to the last batch (had to cook 3, I have a tiny cookie sheet) & didn’t add the icing & they’re my FAVOURITE ONES! Anyway, my husband teased me about these calling them shortbreads, but I think they’re far from it simply because they’re puffy & retain a cake-like texture. Will use again & am already bookmarking recipes on this page to try at another time!

  23. Yolanda

    I made these cookies for the first time today, and they are delicious! The only change I made was to the icing. I added fresh squeezed lemon juice and added lemon zest on top. It made the cookies taste even that much better!

  24. Jan Carter

    Can anyone tell me if these would freeze well? I would love to add them to my Christmas cookies. I try to make as many types asi can and freeze them. Any ideas?


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