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Swedish Buttermilk Cookies

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Swedish Buttermilk Cookies and soft and light with a touch of vanilla and nutmeg. They are perfect sugar cookies for holidays or any occasion!

The recipe for these Swedish Buttermilk Cookies was passed down from my Great Grandma Jenny Rosenquist. My family has been making them every Christmas for as long as I can remember, and just the taste of an unadorned, freshly-baked cookie brings with it a flood of memories. My brother, dad and I used to be quite competitive with our decorating skills, but today I prefer to keep the cookies simple, yet festive in appearance. The buttermilk in the dough makes the cookies extra tender and the hint of nutmeg gives them a wonderfully unique flavor!

The Process:

Mix the dough a day in advance. This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and for the gluten structure to soften. The buttermilk helps create a tender texture. Roll out the chilled dough on a well-floured surface and cut any shapes that you like. I have a special fondness for Dala horses :). The dough should be about 1/4-inch thickness.

Transfer the cut-outs to parchment-lined baking sheets and be sure to give them enough space between each other, as they will puff a bit in the oven.

Cool the baked cookies on racks. At this point they may be decorated or frozen for icing later. This recipe will make a lot of cookies!

I use the Simple Vanilla Almond Cookie Glaze found in the recipe notes for dipping. It is easy to dip the tops of the cookies and then let the excess icing drip away by placing them on racks above waxed or parchment paper for easy clean up.

My mom demonstrates below how she likes to add some flair to the pretty snowflakes.

My daughter likes to do these simple Swedish trees with chocolate trunks.

These are traditional red Dala horses. Once the Simple Vanilla Cookie Glaze has hardened, I use royal icing to pipe on a little extra design work.

I hope you will enjoy these Swedish Buttermilk Cookies as much as my family has!

Swedish buttermilk cookies on platter

Swedish Buttermilk Cookies

Print Recipe
Swedish Buttermilk Cookies and soft and light with a touch of vanilla and nutmeg. They are perfect sugar cookies for holidays or any occasion!


  • Rolling Pin
  • Cookie Cutters


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg


  • In a heavy mixer bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla. Add buttermilk to mixer bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add to the mixer bowl and carefully combine all ingredients until well mixed.
  • Gather dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375º. Allow dough to soften slightly at room temperature.
  • Divide dough into 4 parts. Knead the dough gently with a little flour to make sure it isn’t sticky. Roll dough into a thin layer on a well-floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes depending on size, or until just barely starting to brown (do not overbake!). Cool slightly and transfer to cooling racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • This recipe makes many dozen delicious cookies! Ice and decorate as desired. I like using the Simple Vanilla Almond Cookie Glaze below!


Simple Vanilla Cookie Glaze

  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons light vanilla corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Food coloring, if desired
Mix all of the ingredients until smooth.  You may need to add a bit more milk for dipping consistency.  If adding color, paste food colors will yield the best result.  This glaze will dry hard and shiny.
Course: Dessert, Fika, Snack
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: Swedish Buttermilk Cookies

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