Shortbread Cookies Recipe

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The classic cookie that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face! These Shortbread Cookies show that the best cookies are sometimes the simplest, melt in your mouth and delicious!

Simple Twix Cookies also start with a shortbread cookie crust. So perfect and delicious. These Cake Mix Cookies are soft and chewy, and a reader favorite!

Round tin of shortbread cookies with parchment paper.
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Why Bake Shortbread Cookies

Enjoyed plain, or treated as a canvas for dipping in all kinds of frostings, candies and chocolate, Shortbread Cookies need to be in your baking repertoire.

  • The best shortbread cookies are extremely buttery with a light crunch.
  • They’re typically made with a much higher ratio of butter and sugar to flour than other types of butter cookies.
  • Best of all? They’re very easy to make. It only takes FIVE ingredients and enough time to let the dough chill in the fridge.
  • Add chocolate to make the riches chocolate shortbread cookies around!

I’m sure every family with generations of home bakers has their own idea of the BEST shortbread cookie recipe.

The recipe I’m sharing today is my very favorite version that I’ve been making for years!!

Instead of granulated white sugar like other butter cookie recipes, this one uses powdered sugar. That gives the crumb of these cookies the perfect texture–crisp bite that begins to melt in your mouth as you eat it.

It’s crumbly, sweet, buttery perfection.

Since I first posted this recipe years ago, I’ve come back to these shortbread cookies over and over.

Dozens of variations on it have appeared on this site over the years and I adore them all!

From Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies to White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Sticks, I’ve never met a shortbread I didn’t like.

Holiday alert: Make a batch of these shortbread bites with festive sprinkles to add to all your cookie plates!

Stack of shortbread cookies on marble surface.

Important Ingredient Notes

Here’s all you need to make the very best shortbread cookies recipe:

  • Butter- USE REAL BUTTER. Don’t skip it and use margarine or Crisco here.
  • Powdered Sugar- I prefer this to granulated sugar in shortbread cookies, keeps them melt in your mouth with no grains.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Flour
  • Kosher Salt

Really. That’s it. Shortbread isn’t intended to rise or puff when baking so you don’t need any baking soda or baking powder like other kinds of Christmas cookies.

You also don’t need any eggs meaning it’s a great naturally egg-free cookie choice for those with egg allergies.

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

Step by step photos for making shortbread cookies.
  1. Make the cookie dough.
  2. Shape the dough. Mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and mold it into a log shape.
  3. Chill. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes but preferably about 2 hours. I’ve even kept it in the fridge overnight.
  4. Bake. Slice the dough very thin, about ¼ inch (or less). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-13 minutes until just turning brown on edges. Remove and cool.


  • Dulce de Leche. Sandwich two cookies with a dulce de leche filling like we did with these Alfajores. Delish!
  • Add lemon. Make a batch of our lemon shortbread cookies instead by adding lemon juice and lemon zest.
Parchment paper lined baking sheet with cooked cookies.

Can you freeze Shortbread Dough

Because shortbread dough is high in fat content it holds up wonderfully in the freezer! You can prep the dough in advance and pop the plastic-wrapped dough in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Then, when you’re in the mood for shortbread cookies just thaw, slice and bake!

The baked cookies also freeze beautifully so don’t be afraid to bake more than you think you can eat! It never hurts to have a freezer stocked full of cookies, right?

Easy Cookie Recipes

See all Cookies recipes

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Shortbread Cookie Recipe

5 from 4 votes
By: Aimee
The classic cookie that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face! These Shortbread Cookies show that the best cookies are sometimes the simplest. You'll love these butter cookies.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
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  • Cream butter and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.
  • Add flour, salt and vanilla. It becomes very crumbly. Use your hands to finish mixing it until it becomes a ball.
  • Wrap in saran wrap, roll into a log shape and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (or longer). Slice very thin, about ¼ inch (or less).
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-13 minutes until just turning brown on edges. Remove and cool. Decorate or eat just the way they are! Enjoy!


  • Use soft butter. Cold butter will be hard to work into the dough and the cookie texture will be off. Did you forget to put your butter out at room temperature in advance? You can soften it with a few seconds in the microwave at 50% power!
  • This recipe makes cookies that are lightly crispy and crumbly. That means you’re going to take them out of the oven before they’re browned. If you want a crunchier cookie, feel free to leave the cookies in the oven for another minute or two. Just keep a close eye on them! They can burn quickly.
  • Don’t forget to chill! This dough needs ample time in the refrigerator to set. This is a requirement for achieving the crumbly texture and to keep the dough together. Set aside at least 30 minutes for this step, preferably an hour or two.
  • Let them cool completely. Before you store the cookies in a container or ziploc bag, be sure they’ve cooled completely. Put them in while they’re still warm and the steam will soften the cookies quite a bit.



Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 20mg, Sugar: 2g
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Nibble on these cookies with a cup of coffee, give a box of them to a friend in need of cheering or hand them out to the kids as an after school treat. You’re going to love Shortbread Cookies!

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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 March 25, 2011

Comments & Reviews

  1. Hi Aimee–(sigh) doc told me to cut out sugar and carbs till my labs tests look better. (double sigh) Do you have any low-carb/low-sugar recipes? i tried just substituting a sugar substitute for cane sugar–ugh. thanks,

  2. I am looking for your homemade jingle cookie recipe. I cannot find it on your website. Do you have it posted anywhere? Thank you

  3. All of your variations sound extremely good. A combo of those cookies would make a delicious gift. Thanks for linking these up.

  4. Thank you so much for adding to this week’s Recipe linky party on my blog!
    I hope you will join us every week!

    they look sooooo yummy!

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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