These melt-in-your-mouth Gooey Butter Cookies are full of flavor and none of the preservatives that are in the traditional cake mix version. This recipe makes 3 dozen cookies in less than an hour. Recipe includes a how-to video!
These gooey butter cookies are the less messy, more portable (and adorable) version of gooey butter cake. They’re a soft and chewy, beautifully flavored, melt-in-your-mouth dessert that is super simple to make, and I think you’re going to love them just as much as I do!
Typically these cookies are made with a box of vanilla cake mix as the base. While cake mix has its place, today we’re baking completely from scratch. Rather than start with a box mix, I used my vanilla cake recipe as the base for today’s cookies.
If reading that makes you panic, don’t! My homemade recipe is so easy and only takes a minute longer than the box mix version (the only extra step is whisking together the dry ingredients!). Once you taste them, you’ll never want to go back to the box-mix version–I promise.
Let’s get to it!
What You Need
These cookies are simple to make, and I think you’ll find they taste much, much better than the cake mix version. Here are the key ingredients you’ll need:
- Butter. This ingredient should come as no surprise! You’ll need one stick of softened, unsalted butter.
- Cream cheese. Cream cheese helps create the gooey texture in these cookies and adds a subtle but important flavor to the finished product. Use the block-style cream cheese (not the kind in the tub!) and make sure it’s softened before you get started.
- Vanilla. No, the measurement below is not a typo; you’re going to add a lot of vanilla to these cookies! To get that strong vanilla flavor that most boxed vanilla cake mixes have, we’ll be adding 1 ½ Tablespoons of vanilla extract.
- Eggs. Your eggs should ideally be at room temperature so they incorporate nicely with the butter and cream cheese.
- Flour. Stick with all-purpose flour, and make sure you know how to measure your flour properly, or your cookies may turn out dry.
- Sugar. We’ll add granulated sugar to the cookies themselves, then roll them in powdered sugar just before baking.
- Salt. Just a teaspoon helps to balance the sweetness and round out the flavor!
SAM’S TIP: I know many of you don’t like cream cheese and may be hesitant to try this recipe when you see it listed under the ingredients. The good news is, these cookies don’t have an overwhelming cream cheese flavor. Instead, they have a strong vanilla flavor and a soft, gooey texture with just a hint of cream cheese–just like gooey butter cake!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Gooey Butter Cookies
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese until well combined, then stir in eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with your mixer on low speed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Scoop the chilled dough into 1 ½ tablespoon sized balls, roll between your palms until smooth then roll through powdered sugar.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. Don’t over-bake, this will make the cookies dry and hard!
SAM’S TIP: You can chill your dough for longer than 30 minutes, but just keep in mind that you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a little bit before it’s soft enough to scoop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gooey butter cookies are the cookie form of gooey butter cake, which originated in St. Louis. The creation of the cake itself was actually an accident, but it was so delicious that it became a hit!
There’s extra vanilla in this recipe because the “original” cake mix version has a very strong vanilla flavor, and I wanted to replicate that. The end result has a great vanilla flavor tempered by rich cream cheese and no artificial, “fake-taste” like you’d get from the box!
Yes! These cookies can be frozen before or after baking. Just make sure to wrap them tightly before freezing.
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Gooey Butter Cookies (Made from Scratch!)
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened (113g)
- 8 oz brick-style cream cheese softened (226g)
- 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla extract (this is equivalent to 4 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar for rolling cookies
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and well-combined.
- Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- With electric mixer on low-speed, gradually stir dry ingredients into butter/cream cheese mixture until completely combined.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place powdered sugar in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Once dough has chilled, scoop by 1 ½ Tablespoon-sized ball and roll between your palms until smooth. Roll through powdered sugar until completely coated and then place on prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2” apart.
- Bake on 350F (175C) in center rack for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet before enjoying.
StoringStore cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.