Recipe: Swiss “Button” Biscuits with Rosewater – Thusner Hosenknöpfe

Thusner Hosenknöpfe

A recipe that originated in the Thusis region—within the Swiss canton of Graubünden, Thusner Hosenknöpfe are sweet little biscuits flavored with rosewater and lemon zest. Hosenknöpfe means “trouser buttons,” a name these biscuits earned for their shape and size. Popular during the time leading up to and during the Easter holiday, you can throw these 6-ingredient biscuits together rather quickly, although shaping them does take some time.

I first learned of Thusner Hosenknöpfe when I saw them among the list of traditional Swiss foods maintained by Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse (Culinary Heritage of Switzerland). These biscuits have been around for over 100 years, as the oldest recipe found for them dates back to 1905. Intrigued by rosewater as an ingredient, I tracked down a recipe from a 1998 school newsletter from Graubünden. The recipe that appears below was translated and adapted from this newsletter.

With a firm exterior and a softer center, these small round biscuits are very satisfying, especially for little hands, as my children will confirm. They are also a nice handmade gift for friends and family.

How to make them:

Thusner Hosenknöpfe

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Contains: egg, gluten, milk, wheat


  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • zest of one small lemon (or half a large lemon)
  • 50 ml rosewater
  • 3 1/2 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, mix the sugar, butter and egg together until well-combined.
  2. Whisk in the lemon zest and rosewater.
  3. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and gently combine to form a soft dough, without over-mixing.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, make long cylinders with a diameter of a little over an inch (about 3 cm). Then, cut them into pieces, with a length of about a little over a half-inch (1.5 cm) each.
  5. In the palms of your hand, rolls these pieces into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 17-20 minutes at 300º F / 150º C.

Updated: January 9, 2023

9 replies »

    • Hi Stella! There’s another Hosenknöpfe recipe from Appenzell. Totally different texture! Need to try making these too. Hope you’re having a great weekend. -Heddi

  1. Ms. Heidi, So many of your recipes and entrees look so delicious. I feel it is very important for people to be open to trying new tastes as often as they can, to live & experience life, & to provide great descriptions and feedback for many.

      • Your Most Welcome. Anytime. Where I reside there is so much culture. I have had the opportunities to try several different cuisines. I like to choose tastes that are nutritional. Ones that give our bodies nourishment in many areas. Key areas that are important to our growth. Thanks again.

  2. I think the temperature for the Fahrenheit is not correct. What is the correct temperature in Fahrenheit. It cannot be 150 F. Thank tou

    • Hello Sophia! Yes, of course you are absolutely correct. I just made the correction. Thank you so much for noticing this and telling me. Many thanks, -Heddi

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.