Swedish Rye Cookies

Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for anyone after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie.

Swedish Rye Cookies

Powder-kissed and pretty, these Swedish Rye cookies are perfect for holiday cookie enthusiasts (or, anyone really!) after a not-too-sweet, shortbread-style butter cookie. I make them with a blend of rye and whole wheat pastry flours, and also break with tradition when it comes adding a secret ingredient. Because I love the taste of toasted rye bread slathered with cream cheese, I use a butter/cream cheese combination for the dough - instead of a butter-only dough.
Swedish Rye Cookies and Powdered Sugar
These cookies can be baked into all sorts of shapes although I do like to roll & stamp them. The dough is generally easy to work with and I've found that cutters from super small up to medium-large in size work really well. 

Swedish Rye Cookie Dough

Other Ideas

I suspect you could experiment with other flours in place of the rye and expect good results - barley or oat flours might work well. I was also thinking about doing a savory version of this cookie with herbs and grated cheese in place of most/all of the sugar - turning it into a buttery rye cream-cheese herb cracker...

Swedish Rye Cookies before Baking


A number of you have commented over the years with successful variations on this recipe. I wanted to highlight a couple here with the hope that it might be helpful!

  • Can these be adapted to be vegan? Truman notes, “I replaced the butter and cream cheese with earth balance vegan buttery stick and tofutti better than cream cheese. This made it a bit more heart healthy, and vegan as well.” And along those lines, Keri adds, “I made the vegan version of these as well! They are delicious – I added some grated orange zest and ground anise seed, and they remind me of a less-crispy version of my grandma’s pepperkaker.”
  • KanelBulle spiced things up, “I combined this with the gingerbread idea by adding spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – and using a dark sugar that is called “molasses sugar”. It came out brilliantly (even if I don’t have the cutters to make those rings).”

Swedish Rye Cookies on Baking Sheet

I like to make these cookies not just around the holidays, but throughout the rest of the year as well tbh. If you're here and on the lookout for holiday/ Christmas cookie recipes, I've compiled a bunch of favorites from past holidays into one place. Or, here if you're simply looking for more cookie recipe inspiration. I particularly love these chocolate puddle cookies, this shortbread, these special snickerdoodles, this millionaire's shortbread, and these triple ginger cookies.

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Swedish Rye Cookie

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5 from 1 vote

I use whole wheat pastry flour here, but you can substitute unbleached all-purpose flour if you like.

  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fine grain natural cane sugar, sifted
  • large grain sugar (for sprinkling)
  • organic powdered sugar (for snow)
  1. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine the flours and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer (or by hand) beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, add the butter and do the same, mixing until the two are well combined. Beat in the sugar and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir only long enough to combine the two. The dough should no longer be dusty looking. Turn the dough out onto the counter, knead once or twice to bring it together, shape into a ball, flatten, wrap in plastic and chill it in a refrigerator.
  3. Heat your oven to 350F degrees, and arrange the racks in the top and bottom thirds.. When you are ready to roll out your cookies do so on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into shapes with the cookie cutter of your choice. Place on the prepared baking sheets an inch apart, and sprinkle each cookie with a bit of large-grain sugar. Bake for six or seven minutes, just until cookies are fragrant, and getting a bit golden at the edges - avoid over-baking or they will come out on the dry side. Allow to cool completely, and dust cookies with a bit of powdered sugar.

Makes dozens of tiny cookies, less if you are cutting them larger.

Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
7 mins
Total Time
37 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

Post Your Comment


These look fabulous, and delicious. Fantastic photos - as always!!


These are stunning! So are your pictures!


Just made these. They. are. awesome. One thing *not* mentioned in the recipe is how easy the dough is to work with! Rolls out easily and even the scraps stay tender when rolled several times. The cream cheese helps that as does the low (no?) gluten in rye flour, I imagine. So cute, so tasty. HS: Glad you liked them Miss Molly.

I've gone a little crazy for rye this year. So much so that I almost stomped my feet and threw a little fit when the grocery store was out of rye flour yesterday. This cookies sound perfect!


Heidi, would this work with Coconut flour and adding a bit of candied ginger?


    Hmm - I'm not sure. I think a portion of coconut flour could work. Report back if you experiment!

Glad that you included gingerbread cookies in your list. I just wanted to mention that gingerbread houses are a longtime favorite in Sweden this time of year, as I believe that is where they originated.

Culinary Artist

Very yummy recipe! And the pictures are simply lovely!


Looks interesting and looking forward to making these. How about a cookie recipe with almonds? My Mom used to make something like this for the holidays.Thanks


These cookies look so pretty! I've never made a cookie with cream cheese before, looking forward to trying this combination :)


These cookies look beautiful and delicious. Thanks!


Hi there, I just wanted to tell you that I made the pine nut-rosemary shortbread, and I really like it. So buttery and crispy and exotic. Perfect with a cup of tea, I think. Thanks for the good recipe! -JJ Ps. I may post about it later, so thanks in advance...

Mama JJ

The white powder sugar against the white background looks so amazing. That's a photo worth selling for an ad.

Culinary Cory

I love the photos of these cookies and the stages of preparation. So many contrasts - both in aesthetic and taste - and so many lovely, delicious variations. Thanks for yet another fantastic recipe that's getting me back into cooking!


These look excellent...I make a thumbprint cookie with a cream cheese dough, and I bet these would be great with a little jam on top, too!


yumyum..these cookies, looks so good and rye's my favorite too, am gonna make today..thanks so much..........


The rye flour sounds great. I'd love to see your savory version too--would you roll the dough thinner for savory? HS: You know, I think it's completely up to you. I think I would go thinner for a savory cracker with shredded cheese in it. That way it would have a bit more snap, and more of the cheese would get golden toasty. I would absolutely go extra thin if I would going to do any sort of dip or slather...


those cookies look so good!


mmmm.....love the sound of these cookies. i'm going to experiment w/home made yogurt cheese to replace the cream cheese and use oat flour since where i live in the world no one has heard of rye flour. thanks so much!!!!!!!!!


I must make these immediately!


Coming from a Swedish background, my grandma always made Swedish rye bread. I've never heard of rye cookies though - these sound delicious!

Amy Warden

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