You Must Prepare Shortbread Cookies Recipe

An easy Shortbread Cookies recipe! It’s a deliciously buttery, lightly sweet, nicely crisp, yet perfectly tender cookie. They’re made with only FIVE ingredients and optional (but highly recommended) chocolate! 

Looking to make those pretty swirly shaped cookies? Also, try my butter cookies recipe.

Overhead image of shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate on a blue plate lined with parchment paper.

Shortbread – The Perfect Christmas Cookie

These are such simple, humble cookies with rich and tempting flavors. They are delicious classics on their own but they are also very easy to customize (see variations ideas below).

Here it’s just all that butter that does the trick in this Scottish-style shortbread. A lot of the best foods start out with a generous dose of butter.

Not only does it bring an abundance of rich flavor but it gives them their distinctive crumbly and slightly flaky texture.

Sure you have lots of options to buy store-bought shortbread this time of year but homemade is a game-changer. They are fresher, cheaper, have a better butter flavor and more tender texture, and they just have that satisfying homemade goodness to them.

Plus these travel and ship well so they are great for gifting. Tis the season for cookies so let’s get baking!

Shortbread cookies with a icing tree decoration.

Shortbread Cookie Recipe Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter: Salted butter can be used too (cookies will just be lightly saltier), just omit the salt in the recipe.
  • Granulated sugar: If you want cookies a little sweeter you can increase sugar to 2/3 cup.
  • Salt: Just use standard fine table salt.
  • Vanilla extract: Use real vanilla for the best shortbread.
  • All-purpose flour: I like to use unbleached all-purpose flour. I’ve really converted to baking mostly with that this year. It has a better flavor than bleached and I wonder about the chemical bleaching process of bleached flour. If bleached is all you have, it will work.
Image of ingredients needed to make shortbread. Includes flour, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and optional chocolate for dipping.

How to Make Shortbread Cookie Dough

Stand Mixer

  • Mix cold diced butter, sugar, and salt in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until combined.
  • Blend in vanilla and mix well.
  • Add flour and mix until fully combined. It will seem dry at first but it will come together as you keep mixing.
  • Compress dough together.

Food Processor

  • In a large food processor pulse flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Add butter and blitz a few times then dot over with vanilla.
  • Pulse until it comes together.

By Hand

  • Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  • Add butter, dot vanilla over, and rub the mixture with fingertips until there are small crumbles.
  • Knead the mixture until evenly blended and dough comes together well.
  • Chill dough to make it easier to work with before slicing if needed.
Collage of six images showing how to make shortbread cookies. Shows cutting cold butter into cubes, then mixing with sugar in a stand mixer. Then flour is added and mixed until it comes together.

Shaping and Baking Shortbread Cookies

Roll dough and slice with a knife: This method is what I’ve used here. You’ll roll the dough out into a 1/3-inch thick rectangle on a floured surface. Trim away uneven edges, then cut dough into rectangles (or squares). Transfer to baking sheets and chill until firm, then bake in 350-degree oven 13 – 16 minutes.

Roll the dough and cut with cookie cutters: Roll dough as directed then instead of cutting into squares or rectangles cut into desired shapes (re-roll scraps), chill, and bake as directed.

Shape dough into logs and slice: This option simplifies things a little because you don’t have to roll the dough out. Rather you can roll dough into 2 log shapes (press firm so there aren’t holes inside). Slice 1/3-inch thick then refrigerate and bake as directed.

Pressing the dough into a pan: This is the simplest method. Rather than shaping beforehand just press dough into a 9 by the 9-inch baking pan. Bake 325 for about 35 minutes then cut into squares while warm.

How to Store Shortbread Cookies

  • Let cookies cool completely on the wire rack.
  • Then store in an airtight container.
  • Cookies can be stacked.

Shelf Life

  • Shortbread should keep up to 3 weeks at room temperature.
  • Or freeze up to 3 months.
Close up image of shortbread cookies with chocolate.


  • Try with other extracts such as almond, coconut, maple, coffee, rum extract, etc.
  • Add citrus zest. Lemon or orange is delicious.
  • Mix in finely chopped nuts.
  • Add mini chocolate chips.
  • Season with spices such as cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Blend in sprinkles, as I did here.
  • Sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking.
  • Decorate with royal icing (like the Christmas tree design above).
  • Prick the cookies with a fork for a classic shortbread appearance.
  • Dip in white chocolate or milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet. Finish with festive sprinkles.

Helpful Tips

  • Using cold butter in the recipe skips the need to chill dough 1 – 2 hours beforehand. I highly recommend this to save time, also using butter makes the dough easier to work with and cookies spread less.
  • Mix long enough to fully incorporate ingredients.
  • Work to roll dough an even thickness for even baking.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheets so cookies spread less (don’t worry with all the butter in them they don’t stick).
  • Bake one sheet at a time for even cooking, keep the other sheet chilled (again so cookies spread less).
Rectangular shortbread cookies shown on a plate at a side angle.

Source :

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