Shortbread cookies are a classic cookie recipe everyone should know. They’re simple in appearance, but their rich, buttery flavor makes it impossible to eat just one!
Along with peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and sugar cookies, shortbread cookies are a classic for a reason—they’re so good! Don’t make the mistake of thinking shortbread is “plain.” It’s loaded with butter, which makes these cookies incredibly rich. Between the butter and the powdered sugar, they have almost a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Shortbread Cookie Recipe
Shortbread is a traditional cookie recipe from Scotland—although in Scotland, cookies like this are known as biscuits. While they might look a little bit like sugar cookies, and they share some of the same ingredients, shortbread cookies contain less sugar and they have a crumbly texture, rather than crispy and chewy.
The best thing about shortbread is that it’s a great starting point for virtually endless customization options. I share some of my favorite variations below!
- All-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar
- Kosher salt
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter – The butter needs to be room temperature so it’s easy to work with.
- Fold minced dried fruit and nuts into the dough.
- Dip the shortbread in melted chocolate.
- Instead of vanilla extract, use a vanilla bean.
- Add grated orange zest to the cookie dough.
How to Make Shortbread
1. Start the Dough
Beat the butter and vanilla extract in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment until creamed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and mix until combined.
2. Finish the Dough
Scrape down the bowl and add the flour ¼ cup at a time while beating on low speed.
3. Chill the Dough
Scrape down the bowl again, then transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and pat it into a rectangle. Wrap and chill for at least an hour, or until firm.
4. Cut the Cookie Dough
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/2-inch-thick slices or cut the dough with a cookie cutter.
Place the slices an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet in the oven halfway through to ensure even baking.
Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
How to Store
Shortbread cookies keep nicely! You can store them in an airtight container for about a week at room temperature, or refrigerate your cookies for up to 10 days.
What is the secret to good shortbread?
The secret to good shortbread is high-quality butter since that’s the main ingredient. Aldi has fantastic (and affordable!) Irish butter that I love using for baking.
Why do you put shortbread in the fridge before baking?
Refrigerating shortbread dough keeps it from spreading when you bake it. If you don’t want over-sized, flat cookies, make sure you chill the dough until it’s firm!
How do you know when shortbread is cooked?
Shortbread is a bit pale and it doesn’t get that golden brown color of other cookies. The bottoms will be juuust starting to turn golden and the tops will feel dry to the touch when the cookies are done.
More Cookie Recipes to Try
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperautre and cut into pieces
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and vanilla extract until creamed.
- Add confectioners sugar and salt; mix until combined.
- Scrape bowl down and add flour ¼ cup at a time while beating on low.
- Scrape bowl with a spatula and mix until combined.
- Shape the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic and chill until firm. At least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350F Use a sharp knife to cut 1/2 inch thick slices or you can use a round cookie cutter.
- Place slices, spaced at least an inch apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet in the oven halfway through.
- Transfer to a wire sheet to cool.