Four Ingredient CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies

If you grew up in Chicago and attended a CPS school then you are more than likely familiar with the classic CPS lunchroom butter cookies that you used to be able to buy at lunch. These cookies were a favorite of students for years and years. If you didn’t attend a CPS school then maybe you were lucky enough to find a store that sold knockoff versions of the cookies. Either way, these cookies are near and dear to many a people who remember them from their youth.You’ll know the ones I’m talking about because of the distinctive ridges in the cookies.

So if you have had these cookies or you’re just a fan of a good, simple butter cookie then this is the recipe for you! These cookies are such a buttery treat and what makes them even better is that they only require four, yes I said four ingredients to make them. In the world of baking there are few things that are easy to make than these cookies.

4 Ingredient CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies

Once you mix the four ingredients you will see that you will end up with a drier dough that is almost crumbly.

4 Ingredient CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies

I used a 1 oz. scoop for my dough balls which is larger than your average cookie scoop. You can use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and then roll it into a ball. You follow that up with the classic finger press to flatten that gives this cookie its distinctive ridges.

4 Ingredient CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies

Don’t press down too hard or too far otherwise you will end up with edges that are overdone. You want their to be about 1/4″ thickness on the edges. That way the edges are just turning a light, golden brown when the cookies are done.

4 Ingredient CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies

4 Ingredient CPS Lunchroom Butter Cookies
Yields 18
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165 calories
16 g
27 g
10 g
2 g
6 g
33 g
90 g
6 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 165
Calories from Fat 91
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 27mg
Sodium 90mg
Total Carbohydrates 16g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 c. salted butter, softened
  2. 1/2 c. sugar
  3. 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  4. 2 c. all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and cream together on medium-high speed with a mixer until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the vanilla. In three batches stir in the flour and mix just until combined. Scoop out the dough with a 1 oz. scoop or use a tablespoon to scoop the dough. Roll into balls quickly as the more you handle the dough the more the butter melts. Place on the prepared baking sheets and using your three middle fingers press the dough down so that the edges are about 1/4" thick. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  1. There is a lot of butter in these cookies the more you handle the dough the more it melts. That is why I prefer to use a scoop over rolling. If that's not an option for you just do a very quick roll of the dough in your hands.
My Sweet Sanity

I bet if you remember these from your Chicago Public School days then you also remember the Lunchroom Peanut Butter Cookies as well. Make sure to grab that recipe too!

CPS Lunchroom Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are simple to make but are definitely a rich treat meant to share with others. Do you have any childhood treats that you miss?

Some of my favorite products to use to make these cookies are:

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Jennifer is a mom to 5 boys, 1 girl and 1 husband. Her kids range in age from 8-24 so things are always crazy with everything from school life, to autism and to college and beyond. She tries to bake, craft, travel and blog her way through all of the chaos and craziness that life, her kids and her husband throw her way.

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  1. Thank you so much , I made these and they taste just like I Remember,

    I was Wondering if you have a Recipe for the peanut butter Version of this? If so can you Share ,-p

  2. I made these but I was only missing one ingredient, vanilla extract. I was already halfway through with the butter and sugar so I decided to use almond extract instead and they were delicious! I imagine they taste different then if I had used vanilla but I am a sucker for anything almond flavored so I was happy. Everyone in my house has been sick and this was a quick and easy way to brighten up the day. Thank you for sharing!

  3. These look really good. I might have to cheat and make them 5-ingredient cookies and add some orange zest!

  4. I am from Chicago and I remember these cookies very well. The highlight of the day was getting to the lunchroom for some butter cookies.


    • Yes,indeed! And I hated the fact that I had a late lunch period and when I got to the window, they were almost always gone?? But I sure did enjoyed the days when I did

  5. Pingback: CPS Lunchroom Peanut Butter Cookies - My Sweet Sanity

  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m 38 years old now, I remember this cookie from elementary school. We were allowed to have 1. I would trade my lunch for another. The cafeteria lady started giving me 2. I’ve been a cookie lover since. I’m not a baker but I will whip up a batch or two soon!

    In school, our cookies had the perfect texture. The cook would use an ice cream scoop to shape them. She did not mash them down and they were delicious!

  7. I attended Chicago schools from kindergarten through high school, what a treat to have these cookies with a cold carton of chocolate milk. During my high school years, my cousins and I would walk and save our school bus money to buy cookies. My sisters and I would actually give money to our nieces to buy some cookies for us while they also attended Chicago public schools. I’m going to bake for Christmas, oh the anticipation . Thank you for sharing. Nothing like sharing something that warms the heart of memories.

  8. So happy to see this cookie recipe. Our twin grands are allergic to eggs and this will be great Christmas treat for them!

  9. I use to make these cookies for my business partners years ago and sold them for $10 bucks a dozen! Had to get my hustle on. LOL. They were awesome! Gotta start making them again – for ME!

  10. My husband has been asking for me to make the old school butter cookies for months I have tried twice but didn’t follow the direction lol so this time I surprised him when he woke up from his nap with a plate full of them. And I followed the recipe this time, so big smile on his face. The only thing I don’t like the salted butter, my question is,is it OK to use unsalted butter?.

  11. Pingback: We had a sweet Christmas! | Mark Breta

  12. Thank you so much for sharing. We went to a Christmas brunch at my friends home and one of her guest brought these cookies to share! My husband and I enjoyed this childhood memory. I said to myself I wanted to learn the recipe…I have the second batch in the oven now, they are truly delicious!

  13. I went to C P S and was lucky enough to work in the lunch room. If there were any cookies and or chocolate milk left They would let me take it home. Some days my bag was really full, that was a good day. Still love and bake both cookies today.

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  16. May I ask what’s the right texture of this cookie? Mine turned soft in the inside with a the outside a little bit crispy

  17. OMG, am glad the CPS recipes are still available. Thank you so much Jennifer. But I have a short story to tell I went to O’Keefe Grammar School on the southside of Chicago we had butter cookies everyday. My sister who was much older than I gave me $10 to buy her cookies and bring them home so I bought a $10 / butter cookies not knowing we had a new rule. You could not take the food out of the lunchroom. LOL my friend & I tried to eat 25 cookies before lunch time was over.

  18. They were 10 cent in the lunch line and made fresh everyday… back lunck ladies wore whote white and clear bags or hairnets on their heads. Lunch ladies cooked big pans of good food every day for kids. Sometimes it was the best meal u got to eat that day… I live in houston now but i still remember the smell of
    Those cookies baking 30 plus years later…
    Adam Clayton Powell elementary 75th @south shore dr.

  19. I had I had these cookies in 4th grade I’m 56 years old and I can still remember the taste I can’t wait to make them just in case I gave the recipe to three other family members in case I did not make it right.

  20. OMG! I’m 50, and I was telling my 10 year old grandson about theses cookies. He was saying the stores have them. I said yeah they do, but back in the day you couldn’t get them anywhere,but at school. Also the store bought cookies don’t taste like the school ones.

  21. I’m 57 years old I remember these cookies and fourth grade and the white wax paper that serve them to you in thanks for the recipe I made them all the time now they are the best and that’s in San Francisco Glen Park Elementary