Christmas Shortbread Cookies

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Christmas Shortbread Cookies are the perfect way to deliver holiday cheer. These buttery shortbread cookies are topped with melted white chocolate and holiday sprinkles. They’re easy to make and great for sharing.

While I love making our delicious cut out sugar cookies, homemade shortbread cookies are a delicious alternative!

Vanilla shortbread cookies topped with white chocolate and holiday sprinkles.

Why Bake Christmas Shortbread Cookies

I’m an equal-opportunity cookie eater, but when it comes to the holiday season, I’ve found that many people gravitate toward thick and heavy treats.

I created these Christmas shortbread cookies based off our delicious vanilla bean shortbread recipe.

  • They’ll melt in your mouth. The key ingredient is butter. It makes the cookies exceptionally soft and crumbly.
  • They’re great for sharing. Cookies are always the perfect shareable, and over the holidays, this is doubly true if you’re watching your wallet. In my experience, these cookies offer a unique and contrasting texture to what the neighbors are baking.
  • One bowl recipe. The cookie dough comes together in one bowl..and we all know what that means. Clean-up is a cakewalk!

Don’t forget the chocolate! My chocolate shortbread cookies are a delicious twist on this classic cookie.

Ingredients needed to make christmas shortbread cookies.

Ingredient Notes 

  • Butter – Use good quality unsalted butter, as shortbread needs a lot of it. A tip to remember while buying butter for baking is that it should have at least 82% fat content for the best results.
  • Powdered Sugar – Using powdered sugar gives the shortbread a crumbly consistency. Alternatively, you can use granulated sugar to make your cookies slightly sturdier and tougher.
  • Vanilla Bean Paste 
  • Flour – All-purpose flour works best for this recipe and gives a soft bite to the shortbread.
  • Kosher Salt
  • White Chocolate – I prefer Ghirardelli wafters, which are easy to melt and handle. You can also use vanilla almond bark for some extra crunch. 
  • Sprinkles – Holiday sprinkles are perfect for the Christmas theme. You can also use other colors or shapes of sprinkles.

How to Make Christmas Shortbread

Step by step photos showing how to make christmas shortbread.
  1. Mix the dough. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Then add vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Mix it into a doughy consistency.
  2. Roll and shape the cookies. Roll the dough into a 12-inch log and wrap it in plastic wrap. Then refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Slice the dough into thin slices and place on a lined baking tray.
  3. Bake, cool, and top. Bake for 12-14 minutes, and then allow the cookies to cool completely before topping. Then spread melted vanilla bark, add sprinkles, and let it set.

Tips and Tricks 

  • Try adding orange zest to the cookie dough. If you find shortbread cookies too sweet, add 1 tsp of orange zest to the cookie dough. It will cut through the sweetness of white chocolate really well.
  • Don’t overmix the dough. Once you add the dry ingredients, mix until the dry ingredients are just combined. Over-mixing will lead to tough cookies.
  • Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before you add the melted topping. Otherwise, it will run off.
  • Swap nuts for sprinkles. Top the cookies with roasted and chopped hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans to add texture instead of sprinkles.
  • Chill the dough properly. Shortbread dough has a lot of butter in it. So if you don’t let it chill properly, the cookies will spread and lose their shape. They will also come out hard and crunchy instead of soft and crumbly.
  • Coconut- skip the topping and roll the dough in coconut like we did with this easy coconut shortbread recipe.
Christmas shortbread cookies stacked on a wire cooling rack.

Recipe FAQs 

How do I store these Christmas Shortbread Cookies?

Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes. You can prep the baked cookies in a freezer-safe container or plastic-wrapped tray for up to three months. Thaw them before adding melted white chocolate and sprinkles on top.

What can I substitute for vanilla paste?

I recommend using a whole vanilla bean if you don’t have vanilla paste available. Scrape out the seeds and add them to the dough for a wonderful strong vanilla flavor!

Can I use other types of chocolate instead of white chocolate?

White chocolate pairs well with vanilla shortbread and is on theme for the Christmas Cookies. However, you can use semi-sweet or dark chocolate and follow the same recipe. 

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Christmas Shortbread Cookies

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By: Aimee
Christmas Shortbread Cookies are the perfect way to deliver holiday cheer. These buttery shortbread cookies are topped with melted white chocolate and holiday sprinkles. They’re easy to make and great for sharing.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
Servings: 48 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups Ghirardelli white chocolate wafers or vanilla almond bark, melted
  • ¼ cup holiday sprinkles
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  • In a a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla bean paste and mix until fully blended.
  • Add flour and kosher salt. If the mixture is still crumbly after blending, use hands to fully combine.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured counter. Roll into a 12-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, slice dough into thin slices. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until cookies begin to lightly brown on edges.
  • Once cooled, spread a small amount of melted vanilla bark onto each cookie and immediate add sprinkles. Allow to set, about 15 minutes.


  • What can I substitute for vanilla paste? If you don’t have vanilla paste available, I recommend using a whole vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and add them to the dough for a wonderful strong vanilla flavor!
  • Storage: Store in airtight container at room temperature.
  • Freeze: Store the baked cookies in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the cookies cookies before adding melted white chocolate and sprinkles to the top.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.


Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 104kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 15mg, Potassium: 7mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 118IU, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 0.2mg
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on December 15, 2023

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