These old fashioned Spritz Cookies are soft, buttery, and so festive. They’re great for sharing or gift giving for the holidays!
Now these may look fancy, but I promise you this recipe for Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies isn’t complicated.
I shied away from making spritz for years, thinking they took lots of time and energy. The good news is, the cookie press does all the work for you!
The dough is simple—a simple butter cookie recipe with almond extract. It’s similar to shortbread, but with an egg added so it doesn’t fall apart.
The dough goes into the cookie press, you push the lever, and you’re left with an adorable miniature cookie. You can keep them as-is or decorate as you like (more on that below!), then bake and serve.
They’re such a fun, festive treat for Christmas (just like these Church Window Cookies)—for all ages!
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Origin of spritz cookies
Spritz cookies are a German invention, where they are called “Spritzgebäck”. The word “spritz” comes from the German word “spritzen”, which means “to squirt”, since they are extruded through a cookie press.
Spritz cookies are also popular in Scandinavia, where they are made and shared at Christmas time.
Do I need a cookie press to make spritz?
I highly recommend using a cookie press to make spritz. I own this cookie press from OXO —it’s easy to clean and comes with 12 disks to make different shapes including wreaths, teddy bears, Christmas trees, snowflakes, hearts, etc.
I also own an electric cookie press that uses batteries. It’s a little clunkier to assemble and clean, but you just need to push a button and it shapes the cookie.
If you don’t have a cookie press, you can use a piping bag and a large tip to create your own shapes. You’ll likely need to add 1–2 tablespoons of milk to the dough to make it pipe-able.
- Don’t grease the cookie sheet. The key to the cookies sticking on the cookie sheet is that the cookie sheet is clean, dry, and not greased.
- Start with a room temperature cookie sheet. This also ensures that the cookies stick (if it’s hot from the oven, the dough will melt slightly and pull away when you lift the press up).
- You can decorate the cookies both before AND after baking. More on that in the “spritz cookie decorating ideas” section below!
- This recipe makes 5–6 dozen cookies, so we’ll need 3 whole sticks of butter.
- The butter gets creamed with granulated sugar, then we’ll add one egg to keep the dough from being too crumbly.
- A little bit of baking powder gives the cookies lift. We’ll also need salt and flour.
- A mixture of vanilla extract and almond extract give the spritz their flavor.
- You can dye the dough with gel food coloring, and decorate with sprinkles.
How to make old fashioned spritz cookies
First, make sure that the butter is room temperature.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix just until combined.
At this point, you can dye the dough if desired. I split the dough into thirds, then added one third back to the mixer at a time to dye it. I used gel food coloring.
Load a portion of dough into the cookie press, and press the dough out onto a clean, dry baking sheet. Make sure that the baking sheet is at room temperature as well.
The cookies do not spread, so don’t worry about leaving much space between them.
At this point, you can bake them OR do some decorating with sprinkles first. If the sprinkles don’t stick, brush the tops of the cookies very lightly with water, then add the sprinkles.
Bake the spritz at 400°F for 7–9 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown.
Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies are super customizable!
- Make lemon spritz by using lemon extract in place of the almond extract. Add the zest of one lemon to the dough as well.
- Substitute rum extract for the almond extract.
- Make chocolate spritz by substituting ½ cup of cocoa powder in place of ½ cup of the flour (so you’ll use 3 cups flour total).
Spritz cookie decorating ideas
The possibilities are endless with this. You can decorate both spritz cookies both before and after baking. Here are a few ideas for both:
- Add non-pareil sprinkles (the tiny ball-shaped ones) or sanding sugar to the tops. Brush the cookie dough lightly with water so they stick better.
- Press dragées into the cookies (these are the larger pearl-shaped sprinkles).
- Dye the dough with gel food coloring.
- Add a candied cherry to the middle of each wreath spritz.
- Drizzle with melted white chocolate or milk chocolate. You can also dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate.
- Add sprinkles on top of the melted chocolate
- Add any type of sprinkle after baking by brushing the tops of the baked cookies very lightly with corn syrup.
I found this variety container of sprinkles to be helpful!
Can I freeze spritz cookies?
Spritz cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place them in a resealable freezer bag or a freezer-safe dish with a piece of wax paper between layers of cookies.
Defrost the cookies at room temperature for several hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
In order for spritz to stick to the pan, the pan should NOT be greased. Don’t even use parchment paper or a silicone mat—just pipe directly onto the pan. The pan should also be clean, dry, and at room temperature before attempting to pipe cookies onto it.
Spritz cookies are similar to shortbread in that they contain a higher ratio of butter to flour than a typical cookie. However, spritz cookies contain an egg, so they won’t crumble when baked.
You can decorate before or after baking. See the decorating ideas above for more specific instructions.
More old fashioned cookie recipes
- Grandma’s Rum Balls
- Cocoa Drop Cookies
- Snowball Cookies with Pecans (Mexican Wedding Cookies)
- 7 Layer Bars
- Easy Sour Cream Cookies
- Poinsettia Cookies (these are SO festive!)
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Old Fashioned Spritz Cookies
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For decorating: assorted sprinkles gel food coloring, melted white chocolate
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer). Beat for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, vanilla, and almond extract, then scrape down the sides.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and beat until just combined. Add food coloring if desired.
- Transfer the dough to a cookie press. Pipe the cookies onto an UNGREASED baking sheet (no need to leave much room between the cookies—they won’t spread).
- Top with sprinkles if desired.
- Bake for 7–9 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the edges. Let cool and decorate as desired.