Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

16 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Refrigerate 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are buttery and crisp with just 5 ingredients. Simple shortbread recipe with cocoa powder added for delicious chocolate taste.

If you love Shortbread Cookies and also love chocolate, then this is definitely the recipe for you. It’s the perfect, easy treat to make for Christmas.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies in stack


Shortbread Cookies are the ultimate, simple holiday treat. They have an easy and delicious base that you can build off of with different mix-ins and flavors. Which is why we’ve been experimenting with lots of different shortbread recipes this season. You can find Walnut Shortbread, Chocolate Chip Shortbread, Pistachio Cranberry Shortbread, and now this Chocolate Shortbread all on our blog. 

Shortbread Cookies are the perfect melt-in-your-mouth treat. They’re buttery, rich, and sweet but not too sweet. Enjoy Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with a cup of coffee or Hot Chocolate in the morning for a sweet holiday breakfast. They’re also great for holiday parties, as an edible gift, or to leave out with a glass of milk for Santa if you have kids.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies on cookie sheet


Shortbread Cookies are a great holiday gift for your neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers. To package the Shortbread cookies either wrap them in clear cellophane with a holiday bow on top or put them in an old fashioned cookie tin. If you’re packaging them in a cookie tin, separate each layer of cookies with wax paper. 

It’s easy for Shortbread Cookies to break in transit. If you’re planning to ship the cookies, make sure to package them carefully so they don’t crumble. Put plenty of cushioning at the bottom of the container so the cookies aren’t hitting anything hard. You can also wrap each cookie in plastic for extra safety. 



  1. It’s important to use softened butter in the recipe. Let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours ahead of time so that the butter is nicely softened. Leaving the butter out in advance works much better than putting it in the microwave. 
  2. Mix the butter, vanilla, and sugar on high speed until they’re all creamed together and fluffy. This should only take 1-2 minutes. 
  3. Make sure to refrigerate the dough for at least a half hour. Refrigerating the dough helps the cookies to keep their shape and makes the butter cold, which helps the shortbread cook properly. 
  4. Piercing the top of the cookie dough with a fork gives the Shortbread Cookies their signature look, and helps them to cook evenly throughout.

top-down view of Chocolate Shortbread Cookies in stack


  • Chocolate chips: Make a Double Chocolate Shortbread Cookie by adding in chocolate chips. You can use semisweet, milk, dark, or white chocolate in the recipe. Another option is mixing in butterscotch or cinnamon chips for a contrasting flavor. 
  • Mix-ins: For different mix-ins try adding nuts, dried fruits, or other candies. Pecans, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, or cashews will add some nice crunch to the recipe. For fruit try cranberries, cherries, or dates. You can also mix in peppermints, toffee bits, or mini M&M’s. 
  • Gluten-free: To make Chocolate Shortbread Cookies gluten-free replace the regular flour with almond flour, oat flour or arrowroot flour.
  • Flavors: For some flavor additions try mixing in almond extract, peppermint extract, or orange zest. You can also add seasonal spices like ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. 



  • Serve: You can keep Chocolate Shortbread Cookies at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Store them in an airtight container in the pantry. If you live in a humid area put a paper towel in the bottom of the container to soak up the moisture. 
  • Store: To keep the cookies fresh for up to 1 month, store them in the fridge. Put the cookies in a ziplock bag or other airtight container separated by parchment paper.
  • Freeze: You can freeze Shortbread Cookies for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature then reheat them or eat them cool.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookie bitten in half

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Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are buttery and crisp with just 5 ingredients. Simple shortbread recipe with cocoa powder added for delicious chocolate taste.
Yield 16 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


  • Preheat oven to 325 and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Add butter, vanilla, 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 cocoa powder slowly until just combined.
  • Roll the mixture into a 2-inch wide log and wrap with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Cut into ½ thick slices and bake for 20 minutes.


Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

Chocolate 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. These cookies are soo delicious. I added 1/3 cup of chopped up Hershey’s kisses to the recipe and my bf and I loved it. This recipe made 14 cookies for us

  2. I made these for Christmas presents last year and people really enjoyed them. I chose this recipe over several others because I liked its simplicity, and the fact that the chef includes a lot of really useful tips, including using softened butter and refrigerating the dough, and why this makes a difference.
    I did add chocolate and peppermint oil (note extract — it’s very strong, so just a few drops); people said the cookies reminded them of the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mints – which I think is a compliment!