Candied Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Candied Shortbread Cookies are a delicious old fashioned recipe with just 5 ingredients. Easy to make buttery, airy cookies with holiday candied cherries.

This simple Dessert Recipe is just a simple change to Classic Shortbread Cookies. They’re just as quick to make, but with red and green candied cherries on top that make them into a perfectly festive Christmas treat.

Candied Shortbread Cookies in Christmas gift box


Candied Shortbread Cookies are the perfect Christmas Cookie recipe. They’re a great recipe to serve at a holiday party, package as a Christmas gift, or just enjoy at your home throughout the season.

With just butter, sugar, flour, and cornstarch you can make this delicious dough recipe. Whipping the butter and sugar together helps make the shortbread biscuit much airier and light, instead of dense without a lot of extra work. It’s a quick and easy recipe. Plus the baking time is just 20 minutes, so you’ll be enjoying these rich, buttery cookies with candied cherries in no time at all.

The cherries give the cookies a lot of extra sweetness and give them a beautiful, cheery look. However, if you want to add different toppings to the cookies try spreading Chocolate Ganache or Sugar Cookie Frosting over the top.


  • Prep: Start by preheating your oven and lining the baking sheet with parchment paper. This will make sure the dough doesn’t stick to pan.
  • Dough: Add in the butter and powdered sugar to your stand mixer or use an electric mixer to cream it together. Whip it together on high speed for 1-2 minutes until light and airy. Lower the speed before adding the flour and cornstarch to the butter mixture. Be careful not to overmix at this step. Shortbread can be dense, so you want to keep all the airiness created by whipping the ingredients.
  • Shaping: Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place them on your prepared baking sheet. Use a fork dipped in flour to press the cookie down gently. This adds a signature shortbread pattern and stops the dough from bubbling up while baking. Add the candied cherries to the top.
  • Bake: Let them cook until lightly gold for 20-22 minutes. They’ll be fragile and easily to fall apart, so wait to move them until completely cooled and still be careful.



You can make this recipe ahead of time and keep the cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months. Making your holiday cookies in advance is a great way to make your Christmas less stressful.

  • Prepare the cookie dough, and bake the cookies as usual.
  • Once the recipe has cooled to room temperature, put them in the freezer still on their parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Leave them in the freezer for an hour, then you can transfer them to an airtight container. This ensures that the cookies won’t stick together in the freezer.
  • To thaw the shortbread let it sit uncovered at room temperature. After the recipe has defrosted you can reheat them in the oven for a couple of minutes to make them warm again.

Candied Shortbread Cookies in stack


  • Chocolate: To make a chocolate shortbread biscuit replace half of the all-purpose flour in the cookie recipe with unsweetened cocoa powder. To add even more chocolate try mixing in some mini chocolate chips with the dough.
  • Mix-ins: There are plenty of mix-ins you can add besides candied cherries. For some crunch top the cookies with almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. You could also mix in raisins or cranberries for some other fruits.
  • Flavor additions: For some different flavors in your Shortbread Cookies add a teaspoon of vanilla, almond extract, or lemon juice.
  • Sugar: To make a slightly darker sweet flavor in your Shortbread recipe, you can use half brown sugar and half confectioner’s sugar.
  • Gluten-free: To make a gluten-free Candied Shortbread Cookies replace the regular all-purpose flour with oat flour, almond flour, or any other gluten-free alternatives.



  • Serve: You can keep Shortbread Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. If you’re in a humid environment put a paper towel at the bottom of the container.
  • Store: Candied Shortbread will last for up to a month in the fridge in an airtight container separated by parchment paper.
  • Freeze: Shortbread cookies will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Candied Shortbread Cookie with bit removed on cooling rack

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Candied Shortbread Cookies

Candied Shortbread Cookies are a delicious old fashioned recipe with just 5 ingredients. Easy to make buttery, airy cookies with holiday candied cherries.
Yield 24
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup candied cherries , chopped (green and red)


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Add butter and powdered sugar to a stand mixer and cream on high speed for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Lower speed to the lowest setting and add in the flour and cornstarch slowly until just combined.
  • Roll the dough into 1" balls then place it onto the baking sheet.
  • Press the cookies down gently with a fork (that you've dipped in flour) then top with candied cherries.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes then cool completely before removing from pan (they will be fragile).


Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Candied Shortbread Cookies collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Would this recipe be too dense to use in a cookie gun ( as a spritz dough). I love how this recipe sounds . Many yummies to you.

    1. Cookie guns vary. I wouldn’t recommend it but if you do try yours, please let us know how it turned out!

  2. When you say powdered sugar, do you mean granulated sugar, or confectionner sugar?

    Thanks! I’d like to make them next week.

    1. Confectioners’ sugar, is powdered sugar with starch added, to prevent it from caking as it sits. Most sugar companies use cornstarch, which helps keep the confectioners’ sugar from melting into cakes, cookies, and other sweets. I used powdered sugar. Did you try the recipe and did you like it?