Scottish Shortbread Cookies

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

Scottish Shortbread Cookies are light, crispy buttery biscuit cookies made with brown sugar, powdered sugar, flour, and butter. A Classic Scottish cookie!

Butter Cookies are an easy, traditional Christmas Cookie Recipe that make any cookie tray more festive. You’ll love these even easier buttery cookies, made with just 4 ingredients!

Scottish Shortbread Cookies in stack on cooling rack


A Classic Shortbread Cookie recipe is just butter, sugar, and flour – no eggs, no vanilla extract, no frills! By simply swapping out granulated sugar in our original shortbread recipe with powdered sugar and brown sugar, you get a delicious new cookie recipe. These Scottish Shortbreads are like a cross between a biscuit cookie and a butter cookie, perfect for a cup of hot tea or Hot Chocolate!

Scottish Shortbread Cookies are a traditional recipe for holiday cookies that are budget friendly and can be made months in advance. You can bake the cookies and freeze or refrigerate, or you can keep the dough frozen for months before baking. Bake from frozen or thaw overnight in the refrigerator to make cutting easier.

You can use Scottish Shortbread Cookie dough as a crumbly tart crust too! Halve the recipe and bake in a tart pan or shallow pie tin for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Fill the baked crust with your favorite no bake pie and custard fillings like Lemon Curd. Upgrade your go-to Pumpkin Pie recipe with a buttery shortbread crust this year. 

You can drizzle your Scottish Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Ganache or Salted Caramel for a tasty topping. Refrigerate until drizzle is set. You could also frost your shortbread cookies with Buttercream Frosting and add festive sprinkles.

For a cute holiday gift, tie two decorated biscuit cookies together with ribbon and gift in mug with a pack of tea bags or instant coffee. It’s like biscotti but so much easier! 



Tips for Scottish Shortbread Cookies

  • Don’t over-mix your Scottish Shortbread Cookie dough when you add the flour. The easiest way to keep from over-mixing the dough is to sift your powdered sugar and flour before starting this cookie recipe.
  • Soften the butter to room temperature before you cream it with the sugars. Room temperature butter will mix easier when you add the flour and the heat adds more lift. This is important since there are no leavening agents (like baking soda) in this dough.
  • If you forgot to soften the butter, melt in the microwave on 30% power in 5-10 second bursts. You don’t want melted butter, just soft enough to indent easily with your finger.
  • For perfect bars that won’t spread, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before cutting. Use a sharp knife for even cuts without sawing back and forth.

Scottish Shortbread Cookies on baking sheet before baking


  • Chocolate: Melt white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips. Dip baked cookies in halfway in melted chocolate. You can add mini chocolate chips to the dough too!
  • Dried Berries: Gently stir in ½ cup dried cranberries, freeze-dried chopped fruit, or candied cherries, for a festive, fruity flavor to these holiday cookies.
  • Nuts: A go-to nut to add to Scottish Shortbread Cookies is slivered almonds, but you can try pistachios, peanuts, pecans, or walnuts too.
  • Dippers: These tasty Scottish Shortbread Cookie bars are perfect for dunking in sweet dessert dips like Peppermint Bark Dip or scooping a Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball.
  • Shortbread Tart: Grease a tart pan well with butter and flour, or spray with baking spray. Press dough into tart pan evenly. Prick top with a fork several times. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cut shortbread into wedges and cool.



  • Serve: You can keep Scottish Shortbread Cookies at room temperature for up to 1 week in an airtight container or covered in a cool, dry place. Use a paper towel to absorb moisture.
  • Store: Once cooled, store Scottish Shortbread Cookies flat in an airtight container, lined with wax paper or parchment paper, for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Use parchment between layers so the cookies don’t stick together.
  • Freeze: Cool cookies and freeze in a sealed container with wax paper between stacked layers. Baked Scottish Shortbread Cookies can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Scottish Shortbread Cookies in stack on cooling rack

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Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Scottish Shortbread Cookies are light, crispy buttery biscuit cookies made with brown sugar, powdered sugar, flour, and butter. A Classic Scottish cookie!
Yield 24 servings
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 brown sugar , packed
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour


  • Preheat oven to 325 and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Add butter, brown sugar 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 slowly until just combined.
  • Refrigerate dough for a minimum of 20 minutes before rolling.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle that is ½ inch thick.
  • Cut into batons and press a fork into the dough all over.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely.


Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

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. As far as cookies go, these are my Achiles heel. I love them too much. I have to put them high up so it takes extra effort to get them. These are SO good!