Shortbread Cookies

16 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Easy Shortbread Cookies are the best Christmas cookie! Crumbly, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth dough made with just butter, sugar, and flour.

Butter Cookies are an easy classic Cookie Recipe that no holiday dessert tray would be complete without. These classic shortbreads are even easier to make and just as essential this holiday season!

Shortbread Cookies in gift box

These 3 ingredient shortbreads are the easiest cookie to make for the holidays! Festive, classic Christmas cookies with no chilling or rolling out dough, and no need to cut-out shapes or use cookie cutters. Simple, melt-in-your-mouth cookies from the mixing bowl to your cookie tray in less than an hour.

This Shortbread Cookie recipe is as easy as one-two-three! A classic shortbread cookie recipe is one part sugar, two parts butter, and four parts flour and bake it until it’s just starting to turn golden. Since there are no eggs in this recipe, you don’t have to worry about under-baking your cookies. They will firm up as they cool, so you want the shortbread soft when you remove from the oven.

These buttery, crumbly Shortbreads are sure to be your new favorite cookie! They are perfect for dunking in a cup of hot tea or coffee, or you can dress them up for a cookie exchange. For a simple decoration, you can sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar or sparkling sugar right from the oven. Once they have cooled, dip your cookies in Chocolate Ganache or frost with Sugar Cookie Frosting and top with festive sprinkles.

Shortbread Cookies Collage of prep

Shortbread Cookies last for weeks at room temperature, but you do want to be careful when storing them so they don’t crumble. Use parchment paper between layers if you stack the cookies, and don’t store them in a plastic bag unless it’s laying flat. You can chill the dough for up to a week before using, or freeze for up to 3 months and bake from frozen. Simply slice the cold dough into rounds or freeze in a disposable baking dish.


Tips for Making Shortbread Cookies

  • Pricking the top of the dough before baking keeps it from bubbling up while the cookies bake. It also adds that signature shortbread pattern!
  • You can use a cookie press instead of a baking dish to make festive, easy cookies. Cut your cookies about ¼ inch thick onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and chill before baking so they don’t spread. They are done when the edges just start to turn golden.
  • Don’t overmix the flour into the butter-sugar mixture. Shortbreads are a dense cookie with no leavening agent so you don’t want to loose any of the air you created by creaming the butter and sugar.
Shortbread Cookies in gift box with hand breaking one


What is the difference between Scottish Shortbread and Classic Shortbread?

The biggest difference between a Scottish Shortbread and this Classic Shortbread Cookie recipe is the sugar used. Some Scottish Shortbread Cookie recipes use a mixture of brown sugar or confectioner’s sugar with the granulated sugar. These Traditional Shortbreads are made with white sugar only.

How do you make Chocolate Shortbread Cookies?

Replace ¼ cup all-purpose flour with unsweetened cocoa powder to make Chocolate Shortbread Cookies.

What can be mixed into Shortbread Cookie dough?

Fold in chopped pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, slivered almonds or other dried mix-ins. Try orange zest, cranberries, and slivered almonds for a tasty Christmas Shortbread!

Can you use brown sugar in Shortbread Cookies?

You can substitute half the white sugar with brown sugar, or use a mixture of brown sugar and powdered sugar.

What flavorings can be added to Shortbread Cookies?

Add 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract to give your buttery cookies a vanilla flavor or almond flavor. You can add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, or Pumpkin Pie Spice for easy holiday flavor.

Shortbread Cookies in stack



  • Serve: Shortbread Cookies can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. If it is humid, line your container with a paper towel to absorb moisture.
  • Store: Refrigerate Shortbread Cookies in an airtight container, with parchment paper between layers, for up to 1 month. Enjoy cookies at room temperature or warmed up.
  • Freeze: You can freeze baked Shortbread Cookies for up to 3 months. To keep cookies from sticking, freeze for 1 hour on a parchment lined cookie sheet before transferring to a sealed container. Leave at room temperature uncovered to thaw.
Shortbread Cookies in gift box

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Shortbread Cookies

Easy Shortbread Cookies are the best Christmas cookie! Crumbly, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth dough made with just butter, sugar, and flour.
Yield 16 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray an 8×8 baking pan with baking spray.
  • Add butter and 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.
  • Press into baking pan then poke with fork.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes (you do not want the cookies to brown).
  • Cool about 10 minutes then cut into squares while still slightly warm.



Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Shortbread Cookies Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Shortbread Cookies in baking pan before baking
Shortbread Cookies in baking pan
Shortbread Cookies in stack
top-down view of Shortbread Cookies in stack
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.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. This is a wonderful and easy shortbread recipe. It comes together quickly and is so easy to decorate. I added a chocolate drizzle and holiday sprinkles to add to my cookie platter. They are tender and melt in your mouth. Delicious!

  2. This is the exact ingredient recipe I’ve been using for over 40 years! I got it from a college friend whose Grandmother was from Scotland.
    After creaming sugar and butter, used a spoon then hands to mix the batter. Then pressed it into pans with your hands, fluted edges with fork and pricked with fork all over. 275-300 oven 50-60 mins.
    Everyone raves ! Best recipe ever. May need to try brown sugar.
    Of course, you sprinkle colored sugars to make it festive!
    Thanks for more info on this cookie!

  3. Thank you for such an easy recipe! We made these cookies and decorated them for Christmas (early I know but we had too:)) These cookies were delicious and so fun for the kids to decorate!

  4. The taste is great, but I must have done something wrong because the texture is so crumbly. Any tips on what may have gone wrong?

    1. They have a high fat content so they must be handled carefully to prevent crumbling. Also, make sure to sift your flour. Hope this helps for next time.


    It is:
    4 – correct to 4 parts flour (1/2 cup times 4 = 2 cups)
    2 parts butter
    1part sugar

  6. What a fantastic recipe.thank you so MUCH.I will definitely try making these and I plan to use the cocoa
    Chocolate shortbread cookies sounds awesome.

    1. I havne’t tested it so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!