Salerno Cookies: The ones we truly remember and miss so much.


Classic Salerno Butter Cookies Box
The cookies are still around, but they are not the same.

Hello everyone. Today I will be talking about my memories of Salerno Cookies. They are still around, but this entry will focus on the ones that were classics. When I was very little, growing up in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago in the 1960s, the very first thing I remembered was my mother bringing home was a box of Salerno Butter Cookies from The High-Low Foods Store on E 75th St for me and my two brothers. I remembered vividly the box was blue and the cookies were displayed on it. I also remembered the commercials which featured some kids, putting the cookies wrapped around their fingers and eating the ends of them. I did that as well and dunking them in a big glass or cup of milk. That sort of thing continued well into my adulthood which I am embarrassed to admit when no one is watching. The flavor of those cookies melted in my mouth and there were sinfully delicious. In June 1969, we moved to Roseland and my mother continued to buy them. Whether it was at the A&P, National Foods, Jewel, or downstairs at Gatelys People Store, they carried them. She bought other kinds of Salerno cookies and my brothers and I have tried them all. Here is a list of them that I remembered:

  • Butter Cookies
  • Bonnie Shortbread
  • Mini-Butter Cookies
  • Coconut Bars
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Royal Stripes
  • Royal Grahams
  • Astro Cremes
  • Jingles
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Oatmeal and Iced Oatmeal
  • Gingerbread
  • Dainty Graham
  • Genuine Fig Bars
  • Macaroon Crisp
  • Chocolate & Vanilla Sundae
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Royal Bon-Bons
  • Royal Strawberry Mallows
  • Almond Windmill
  • Fudge Sundae
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich
  • Angel Cake
  • Coconut Crisp
  • Banana Flavored
  • Assorted Creme Sandwich Cookies
  • Animal Crackers
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Ginger Snaps
  • Holly Hobbie Mini-Cookies
  • Oyster Crackers
  • Graham Crackers
  • Scooter Pies
  • And many more

Those are the ones that I remembered and have researched them on the internet. The famous slogan which we’ve heard time and time again was, “Mommy!” Yes, dear?” “I want a Salerno Butter Cookie!” The slogan was very popular on the radio and on television. According to the history of the company, it was founded in 1923 by Fred Salerno. The factory was located at 4500 W Division St and made those wonderful cookies for years. The building was demolished a few years ago. There was the other factory located in Niles, IL. I’m not sure if they both existed at the same time, or the factory opened thereafter the one at Division St closed. Someone can verify that for me in the comments. As the years went on, Salerno cookies have changed considerably. Some of the most popular flavors were dropped and new ones were introduced. The owners have long since passed and the company was sold a few times to other businesses. Salerno Jingles are now made by another company, dropping the Salerno brand. I believe Keebler makes them. Every Christmas, Salerno makes Santa Favorites Cookies. They are Anise flavored, Almond Crescent, and Gingerbread. I haven’t those in a long time, but they don’t taste the same. As I pointed out earlier, Salerno Butter Cookies are still made today. People have made numerous comments on social media and said that they don’t taste the same when they had them when they were children. I have seen them in some stores and they are a little expensive. I haven’t eaten them in years, because of the reasons that were mentioned earlier. I am hoping that Salerno Cookies will make a huge comeback, with the butter cookies tasting the way it supposed to be and bringing back all the flavors, liked Bonnie Shortbread, Royal Stripes, and Vanilla Wafers. It’s a long shot that Jingles will return to Salerno, but you never know. Salerno Butter Cookies were absolutely wonderful, but my all-time favorite was those Royal Stripes. When you bit into those, they were somewhat addictive. The chocolate in those cookies was uniquely scrumptious. I miss those days when I would have some Salerno Butter Cookies, dunking them in a big glass or cup of milk and watching Bozo’s Circus or any other show that was on during the day. Sometimes if I dunked them too much, they would fall apart and I would drink the entire cup with cookies on the bottom. Wow! They tasted that good! Please leave your comments and memories of Salerno Cookies here, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of my social media platforms. Thank you. Pete Kastanes, Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

25 thoughts on “Salerno Cookies: The ones we truly remember and miss so much.

  1. Mommy!
    What is it, Dear?
    I wanna Salerno Butter Cookie!

    What is it, dear?
    Forget the cookie, bring me a beer!

    I think it was Salerno that used to take all the end-of-batch and other rejected cookies and put them in a brown paper bag (labeled, of course). They were pretty good, too.

    1. To bad no one can find the original recipe for the butter cookies and make some

    2. Mommy
      What is it dear?
      I want a Salerno Butter Cookie
      I heard you dear
      Salerno cookie coming right up
      You can lookie,lookie,lookie,but you’ll never find a cookie like Salerno Butter Cookies

      1. My mother passed away this past January, 2023, at the age of 94. Seeing that little slogan written out here brought tears to my eyes, because I OFTEN started singing the song at home, and my dear sweet mother would reply in her little Greek accent, “What is it dear?”, and I would continue and finish by singing the last line. I would start this little jingle with her all the way well into my adulthood…into my 40’s, my 50’s, before she was beset with dementia.

        My sweetheart has passed, and I’ll adore her forever. She is at peace with my father now, her one and only.

        As for the cookies, they are not at all the same. They taste a little too chewy, which I like in some cookies, but not butter cookies. And, they are much lighter in color. The original ones were a much darker tan color, and tasted like true bakery butter cookies, and, I think they were a little larger.

        Now, the cookies are smaller, the price is exorbitant for the much smaller, shorter, two-row box, and the cookie, as I said, is chewier and probably filled with way more chemicals and preservatives, and simply not the same.

        They need to bring back the originals. I don’t think Lorna Doones have changed their recipe in all their years in business. The Salerno company should respect the heritage of the Salerno Butter Cookie as well as its 50-year customer base and their children, and return to the original recipe. It’s disgraceful.

  2. I follow your Facebook posts, and I remember Salerno very well, having grown up in northwest Indiana.

    I think when trans fats were removed from snack products, that did it’s part to alter the taste. That and changes in the recipe over time.

  3. I am currently eating my way thru a box of santa’s favorites. taste great, but the cookies look tiny 🙂

  4. I miss these cookies so much; both the butter variety and Jingles. My mom would buy them all the time, growing up in Buffalo.

  5. When I was a kid, the “butter” cookies were much larger. You will notice that now the box is marked butter “flavored” cookies; I’m sure the butter is long gone and that’s the main reason for the taste difference. The coconut bars were also much larger and better tasting in the 1950’s!

    1. I just opened a box of Salerno Butter Cookies—a childhood favorite that I haven’t had in almost a half century. My observations coincide with everyone else’s. The recipe has changed. Maybe this aids in shelf life, but it does little to inspire a repurchase any time soon. These faux butter cookies are nothing like what we all enjoyed so many years ago.

  6. After they had the contract for Girl Scout cookies, they made a delicous cookies with a mint filling rounded on top and all covered in Chocolate. (I actually like them better than Thin Mints). My children loved those butter cookies and it just wasn’t vacation Bible School unless they had Salerno Butter Cookies.

  7. Growing up in Niles, IL, I lived only a few miles from the Salerno Bakery. In the summertime, when the windows were open and the breeze was coming from the right direction, the smell of butter cookies would waft through my bedroom window. I loved those cookies!

    1. I grew up in a little piece of Chicago north of Touhy between Warwick & Wilson Jones. We could smell those butter cookies too. Such memories!

  8. My father Jack Scott was the ad agency for George Salerno, a lovely man, he made up the slogan for the butter cookies, I used to go to the cookie factory and eat the chocolate chip cookies right off the line while still warm and runny.

  9. Does anybody have an actual recording or link to the jingle they used to sing!!?? (“Mommy, what is it dear, I want a Salerno butter cookie…..Looky looky looky….etc etc”). We have sung that song to our kids and now our grandkids almost like a catchy family tradition for 3 generations now. But we can’t find the actual singing commercial ANYWHERE! If you can help, please send it to my Gmail address: SteveTownes75 (at) Many thanks!!!

  10. My very favorite was animal cookies that were frosted and also had little round sprinkles in different colors on top. They didn’t taste like Nabisco animal crackers or other animal cookies that I’ve had when trying (unsuccessfully) to find something that is like them, because they had a flavor which was something like pumpkin spice. I think Salerno made them, but I’m not positive. Are these the animal cookies you were referring to on your list? (I lived in South Shore back then, too.)

  11. I remember, as a kid in the ’70s, visits at the Niles factory with my Girl Scout Troop.

    They had rolling vats of the sandwich cookie cream. During the tour they would tell us not to put our fingers in the cream filling. I was so tempted.

  12. Mommy
    What is it dear
    I want a Salerno Butter Cookie
    I heard you dear
    Salerno Butter Cookie coming right up
    You can lookie lookie lookie but you’ll never find a cookie
    With a better butter batter than Salerno
    Salerno Butter Cookies

    That was the complete jingle!
    It is September 2021 and just got my box of Salerno Butter Cookies from an online retailer after decades of not eating this brand…although I live in California now I grew up in the Chicago area and saw those old commercials. The box looks the same but I was disappointed when I saw “high fructose corn syrup” in the ingredients which I typically avoid. “Since 1933” it says on the box but I doubt that was in the original recipe so I was hoping to find it somewhere on the ‘net. I’d love to compare the original ingredients!

  13. I have just bought two boxes of Salerno’s “Santa’s Favorites” cookies (or as they used to be labeled “Jingles”,) This was a “go to” Christmas cookie, and we all grew up eating them while watching Scrooge or “Garfield Goose”. My husband loves Anise. Well, there goes another childhood memory down the drain. They don’t taste the same, they’re “weaker” in flavor. I seem to remember they used to be sort of a crunchy cookie. Now they’re soft and they kind of taste more like a vanilla cookie with just a hint of Anise in the colored sugar topping. But, I had to check to this with my husband (maybe it’s me). We did split a fresh box and I asked him what he thought of those cookies…and he said, they don’t taste the same. They don’t taste like Anise anymore. I checked the back of the box…there is no mention of “Anise anything” on list of ingredients….but there’s “carnauba wax”. yum, yum…just like Mom used to make. I told my husband, this is the “curse” of being older…we know the difference. The kids today will never know what a “real Jingle” cookie tasted like….but…they’re growing up on Lunchables, Pop Tarts, Hot Pockets and washing it down with Tampico (pure syrup). I guess I’m going to have to start making my own Anise cookies. At least I’ll know what’s in them

  14. Boy, did you bring back memories! I was born and raised in Blue Island, IL (1950s) and my Mom used to shop a lot in Roseland. I remember Gatelys People Store and High-Low Food Store, two of my favorite stores. I too was a huge fan of Salerno butter cookies, windmill cookies, chocolate striped cookies, chocolate covered grahams, chocolate crowns (chocolate covered marshmallow with a very small raspberry gel center) to name a few. Would love to find these cookies again.

  15. Grew up a little north of Chicago and we would go there on field trips to the factory. Remember they would give us fresh ones off the lines. At home we would put them on all fingers and dip in milk! Driving through the city now and made me remember!

  16. MBAs are destoying America. We just bought some Jingles for XMAS. They have been downsized, and there is hardly any sugar on top, all to boost greedy profits. They have destroyed this product. I am getting sikc of it, not to mention the endless surveys the MBAs are putting out asking me how I like my Egg McMuffin, and the endless phone redirects (Press this to go to Nowhere). After a half an hour, you get patched through to someone in India or Thailand who directs you to 3 or 4 other people and you never get a correct answer. Maybe this is saving them money, but they are still paying for something, but they are getting nothing. And of course, you cannot contact a company anymore to complain.

  17. Every year I wait for Santa Favorites (used to be Jingles). While shopping today I saw them and bought 2 boxes. I was so happy until I tasted them. They are awful. No flavor whatsoever. Its fine that they are small and almost no colored sprinkles but NO anise flavor. The last few years my local store did not carry them so I very pleased when I found them. It says on the box “Original Holiday Recipe”. But it’s not the Jingle recipe. Only thing that looks the same is the box. Will never buy them again.

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