Coconut Shortbread Cookies

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These slice-and-bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies are buttery, light, and airy. Packed with coconut on the inside and a light layer on the outside, these cookies will melt in your mouth.

If you’re a true coconut fan, you’re going to love our easy coconut cream pie and impossible coconut pie recipes. But don’t forget to bake a batch of coconut brownies too!

Coconut slice-and-bake cookies stacked on a baking sheet.

Why Coconut Shortbread Works

If you’re a coconut lover like me, these shortbread cookies are delicious and incredibly easy to make. All you need is six pantry staples, and you’re good to go. Here are a few reasons why this recipe works so well, 

  • They’re fast, without a mess. With 10 minutes of hands-on effort, the cookie dough comes together in one bowl. You’ll have it in and out of the oven and cleaned up in under an hour. 
  • Baked to perfection. The shortbread has crispy edges with a light, airy center that melts in your mouth. 
  • Freezer-friendly dough. You can freeze the cookie dough and bake the cookies whenever you have a “dessert emergency” or when unexpected visitors show up.

Grab some extra coconut and whip up a batch of these Raspberry Coconut Muffins for an easy on-the-go breakfast idea too!

Ingredient Notes 

Ingredients needed to make coconut shortbread.
  • Unsalted Butter – Softened room-temperature butter is easy to cream with sugar. Use my tips and tricks on how to soften butter quickly. 
  • Powdered Sugar – Apart from making the cookies sweet, it also adds a lightness to the crumb of the shortbread. 
  • All-Purpose Flour – It gives the shortbread the ideal crumbly texture. For the best results, try my tips on how to measure flour properly. 
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Vanilla Extract – Be sure to use pure vanilla extract since imitation vanilla can have an artificial flavor which can overpower and ruin the recipe. Our homemade vanilla extract is perfect.
  • Sweetened Shredded Coconut – If you can’t find sweetened coconut, soak plain shredded coconut in hot water, strain it properly, and mix it with a tablespoon of powdered sugar.

Add chocolate to make my easy chocolate shortbread cookie recipe.

How to Make Coconut Shortbread

Step by step photos showing how to make shortbread dough.

Make the cookie dough.

  • Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.
  • Drop the cookie dough onto plastic wrap and shape it into a log.
Step by step photos showing how to shape shortbread cookie dough.

Shape the dough.

  • Roll the log of cookie dough in the remaining shredded coconut. Wrap it and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  • Use a paper towel tube that has been sliced open if you want to freeze the dough. This helps the dough maintain it’s round shape.
Step by step photos showing how to cook shortbread.

Slice and bake.

  • Slice the dough into ¼-inch thick cookies.
  • Bake at 350°F for 13-15 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Remove and cool completely. 
Shortbread cookies with coconut stacked on top of each other.

Recipe FAQs 

How do I store these Coconut Shortbread Cookies?

Store the baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Can I make the cookie dough in advance?

Yes. You can plastic wrap the cookie dough and refrigerate it for up to a day. If you don’t plan on baking the cookies anytime soon, then freeze the cookie dough by sliding the wrapped dough into a Ziploc freezer bag or wrapping it in foil. Then freeze it for up to 3 months.

Can I freeze the baked cookies?

Absolutely. You can freeze them for up to 3 months. Make sure you cool them completely before putting them in a Ziploc freezer bag. 

How do I prevent the cookies from spreading and losing their shape?

The answer is simple. Make sure you chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before you slice and bake them. If your kitchen is hotter than usual, you can chill the sliced cookies for an additional 10-15 minutes before you bake them. 

More Easy Coconut Recipes

Easy Cookie Recipes

See all Cookies recipes

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Coconut Shortbread Cookies

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By: Aimee
These slice-and-bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies are buttery, light, and airy. Packed with coconut on the inside and a light layer on the outside, these cookies will melt in your mouth.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut packed, divided
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  • In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar with a paddle attachment of an electric mixer. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Add in flour, salt, vanilla extract, and 3/4 cup packed coconut. Mix on low speed just until dough comes together (if it's still crumbly, use your hands to combine).
  • Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on counter. Drop cookie batter onto plastic wrap and shape dough into a log (about 2 1/2 inch thick). Press remaining coconut into the sides of the log, then wrap up with plastic wrap (see photos in blog post).
  • Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Remove plastic wrap from cookie dough log. Using a sharp knife, slice dough about 1/4 inch thick, turning the roll of dough 1/4 turn after each slice (to help keep the shape). Place cookie on baking sheet (press in any coconut that may have fallen off).
  • Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and cool completely.


  • Chill the dough. Allow the dough to sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This helps the cookies hold their shape while slicing and baking.
  • Use a sharp knife. It helps you neatly slice the dough and make cookies with clean edges.
  • Add some dried berries. To add some extra color and flavor to the shortbread, mix ⅓ cup of any dried berries into the cookie dough.
  • Add coconut extract. To make the coconut flavor more intense, add coconut extract instead of vanilla extract. 
  • Store cooled, baked cookies in airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze baked cookies for up to 3 months.
  • You can also freeze the cookie dough, by sliding the wrapped dough into a ziploc freezer bag or wrap in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.


Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 104kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 28mg, Potassium: 20mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 189IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.4mg
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.

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Posted on January 29, 2024

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