★★★★★

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Try these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies for a fun and flavorful twist on classic shortbread. Fragrant vanilla bean paste and a sprinkle topping make these melt-in-your-mouth cookies totally irresistible!

Shortbread cookies never go out of style! Add these Easy Whipped Shortbread Cookies to your dessert menu next.

Shortbread cookies on a cooling rack.

Why These Cookies are Best

You’ll love the simple buttery sweet vanilla taste of these shortbread cookies–and how easy they are to make!

  • Easy shortbread – You only need 5 ingredients for dough!
  • Made with real vanilla – We use vanilla bean paste for a rich, fragrant vanilla flavor that makes these buttery cookies stand out from the crowd.
  • White chocolate – Spread a little melted vanilla bark on top for even more sweetness.
  • Covered with sprinkles – Mix up the sprinkle colors for different occasions!

Love easy slice and bake cookies? Try our cinnamon roll cookies next!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for vanilla bean shortbread cookies.
  • Vanilla bean paste is a baking ingredient made by combining the finely ground seeds from a vanilla bean with vanilla extract. It puts the creamy vanilla flavor front and center in these cookies. Dont’ have any on hand (you can order on amazon), use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the seeds from one vanilla bean.
  • Unsalted butter is my preference over salted varieties in shortbread cookies. It gives you more control over the ultimate taste of the cookies.
  • Powdered sugar sweetens these cookies and helps provide that light and delicate crumb we love in shortbread.
  • White chocolate melting wafers create the perfect topping for these shortbread cookies! If you can’t find them, use melted vanilla almond bark instead.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make vanilla shortbread cookies.
  1. Make the shortbread dough: The dough may be crumbly. That’s totally normal. Just use your hands to work the dough until it starts to stick together.
  2. Roll and chill: Continue using your hands to roll the dough into a foot-long log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Slice and bake: Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into individual slices. Bake until the cookies begin to brown on the edges.
  4. Decorate: Once the cookies have cooled, melt the white chocolate (or vanilla bark). Spread a small amount onto each vanilla bean shortbread cookie then immediately add a few sprinkles.
Vanilla bean shortbread cookies with sprinkles and white chocolate.

Tips and Tricks

  • Make ahead: This shortbread dough can be stored in the fridge for several days before baking. When you’re ready for homemade shortbread just slice and bake. As easy as store bought refrigerated cookie dough but tastes so much better!
  • Storing: These cookies keep well for about one week in an airtight container. But good luck not eating them all long before then!
  • Add-ins: Add mini chocolate chips to make Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies.
  • Holiday variations: Customize these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies by using different colors of sprinkles. We love them with pink and red sprinkles for a Valentine’s Day treat! Or add festive sprinkles for Christmas!
  • Freeze Cookies. Use my tips on how to freeze cookie dough for later.
  • Caramel. Spread some dulce de leche between two cookies like we do with our alfajores.
Christmas shortbread cookies on wire cooling rack.

Recipe FAQs

How do you slice raw cookie dough?

To slice raw cookie dough, use a sharp (not serrated) knife. Rotate the log of dough a few inches after each slice to help keep the dough smooth.

Why is my shortbread dough crumbly?

Shortbread dough often gets crumbly because, unlike most cookies, it has no egg to bind the ingredients together. If it’s too crumbly to shape, knead the dough a few times to soften the butter and help the dough become more cohesive. It may take a couple of minutes but eventually you should be able to form it in a smooth log.

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!

Can I freeze them?

Yes, vanilla shortbread cookies are freezer friendly! 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.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies for a fun and flavorful twist on classic shortbread. Fragrant vanilla bean paste and a sprinkle topping make these melt-in-your-mouth cookies totally irresistible!

Ingredients

  • 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 sprinkles

Instructions

  1. In a a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla bean paste and mix until fully blended.
  2. Add flour and kosher salt. If the mixture is still crumbly after blending, use hands to fully combine.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured counter. Roll into a 12inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Once cooled, spread a small amount of melted vanilla bark onto each cookie and immediate add sprinkles.
  6. Allow to set, about 15 minutes. Store in a covered container for up to 7 days. ENJOY.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

48

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Vanilla isn’t a background player in these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies. It’s the star!

Avatar photo

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 February 17, 2022

Comments & Reviews

  1. These shortbread cookies are delicious! Just made them for Christmas cookie plates and I’m so happy I doubled the recipe since my family’s already eaten almost half of them! Thanks for the delicious cookies!

  2. Such pretty and festive cookies!! Vanilla bean make everything so tasty and I’m addicted to vanilla bean paste 🙂

  3. These cookies sound amazing! I cannot find vanilla bean paste at any of my shopping locations and I will not have time to order it befor Christmas. Can vanilla extract be used instead?
    Thanks!

    1. Instead of extract, I would use a whole vanilla bean and scrape out the seed. It will create a much stronger vanilla flavor! ENJOY 🙂

  4. These look so Soft and pillowy! I want to try them and I can’t wait to see the next cookies on the countdown!

  5. Those look incredible! I LOVE shortbread and am going to try them out for my Christmas cookies this year!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. How nice is this 10 days of Christmas? I love it, and I also love vanilla bean paste. I’m going to have to check out their products! These shortbread cookies look delicious and perfect for the holidays!

  7. I’ve never seen Rodale Vanilla! I’ll have to keep a look out for it. I love using vanilla paste and bet it’s amazing in these shortbreads. Pinned!

  8. I made a list too! We do an annual baking day which is tomorrow and I have had a list prepared for weeks so I could make sure I had all of the ingredients. I am going to a cookie exchange as well next weekend so I will have more cookies to bake. These cookies would be most welcomed at our exchange!

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