Shortbread Cookies Recipe

These easy homemade shortbread cookies are crunchy, crumbly, and sweet. I love making this cookie recipe around the holidays or on chilly winter days when I want my home to feel extra cozy. They’re perfect for gift giving or for enjoying with your favorite warm beverage!

Looking for more cozy cookie recipes? Try these gingerbread cookies, or these soft snickerdoodle cookies!

A white plate with heart shaped shortbread cookies on top of a red and white striped towel.

Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies have my heart. They’re super simple and have only a few ingredients, and you can make them for special occasions, holidays, or just a normal day when you need something sweet to munch on! They’re no frills, which I love because it means they’re tough to mess up. Just be sure to pierce them with a fork so they they don’t bubble up and get distorted in shape.

This recipe makes a subtly sweet, buttery, and crunchy cookie that the whole family will love to snack on. They’re super fun to bake alongside a variety of other cookies for a holiday cookie tray or end-of-year plate of goodies for teachers! Feel free to have fun with the shapes, but do pay attention to the baking time. If you have a bunch of varying shapes, just make sure to bake the same-sized ones on the same cookie sheet so they turn out. Happy baking!

A glass jug of milk with two white straws polka dotted with silver, next to a stack of heart shaped shortbread cookies.

What is the difference between a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie?

Sugar cookies are usually much sweeter than shortbread cookies, and they have far more ingredients. Sugar cookies are also commonly decorated with frosting and sprinkles, while I prefer to keep shortbread cookies plain.

What do shortbread cookies taste like?

Shortbread cookies are just lightly sweet and buttery, like a melt-in-your-mouth treat of your dreams. They go so good dipped in milk, hot cocoa, or tea! Or, of course, just by themselves!

A close up of heart shaped shortbread cookies by a glass jug of milk.

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

Step 1: Make the Shortbread Dough

  1. Beat the butter and the powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the flour and salt, and mix together on low until combined.

Two pictures, on the left is a bowl with all of the ingredients for the cookies before being mixed. On the right is some of the dough on a counter covered in flour waiting to be rolled out.

Step 2: Press the Dough Together and Roll It Out

  1. Press the dough into a ball and knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is very smooth.
  2. Roll the dough out, between 2 pieces of parchment paper, until 1/2-inch thick.

Two pictures, on the left is a ball of dough with a measuring cup of flour in the upper right and a red and white striped dish towel in the upper left. In the picture on the right is parchment paper peeling back to reveal the rolled out dough.

Step 3: Cut Out Your Cookie Shapes and Bake!

  1. Cut into shapes, and place the cut cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Gather the dough scraps, re-roll, and cut again.
  3. Score the cookies with a fork to prevent any bubbles.
  4. Refrigerate the dough on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  5. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Sprinkle the cookies with the granulated sugar, and bake until lightly browned on the edges, about 8 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, and then move them onto a wire rack.
  6. Let them cool completely before eating.

Two pictures, the picture on the left shows the rolled out dough with heart and star shapes cut out of it. On the left is a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper with some heart and star shaped cookies on it, waiting to be cooked.

Common Questions About Making Shortbread Cookies

Why are my shortbread cookies hard?

Sometimes using granulated sugar in shortbread cookie recipes makes for a hard cookie if it doesn’t dissolve all the way while baking. That’s why I use powdered sugar, to ensure it dissolves as they bake and creates a softly crunchy consistency.

How long do homemade shortbread cookies last?

Shortbread cookies will last for up to a week in an airtight container stored at room temperature, and frozen they’ll last for about 3 months.

How do I keep shortbread cookies from spreading?

This is so important! After you’ve cut out the cookie shapes and placed them on a baking sheet, do not skip chilling them in the fridge for 20 minutes. This keeps the dough nice and firm as it bakes, allowing them to hold their shape.

A close up of shortbread heart shaped cookies on a decorative white plate, on top of a red and white striped dish towel.

Print
Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 dozen medium cookies 1x

Description

These easy homemade shortbread cookies are crunchy, crumbly, and sweet. I love making this cookie recipe around the holidays or on chilly winter days when I want my home to feel extra cozy.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the powdered sugar together with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add the flour and salt, and mix together on low until combined.
  3. Press the dough into a ball and knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is very smooth, about 3 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough out, between 2 pieces of parchment paper, until 1/2-inch thick.
  5. Cut into shapes, and place the cut cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Gather the dough scraps, re-roll, and cut again.
  7. Score the cookies with a fork to prevent any bubbles.
  8. Refrigerate the dough on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  9. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Sprinkle the cookies with the granulated sugar, and bake until lightly browned on the edges, about 8 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, and then move them onto a wire rack.
  10. Let them cool completely before eating.

Notes

  • Don’t use margarine (ever).
  • Don’t skip chilling the cookies; it is integral for the texture of the finished cookie.
  • The baking time varied a lot depending on the size of the cookie. I suggest making them all a similar size or baking different sizes on separate sheets for different times.
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 24
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122.2 Fat: 7.8g Cholesterol: 20.3mg Sodium: 49.8mg Carbohydrates: 12g Sugars: 3g Protein: 1.3g Vitamin A: 64.7µg Vitamin C: 0mg

Keywords: shortbread, vanilla shortbread, shortbread cookies, shortbread cookie recipe, how to make shortbread cookies, easy shortbread recipe, best shortbread, homemade shortbread

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Easy shortbread cookies are crunchy, crumbly, and sweet (both to eat and look at!) and are so simple and fun to bake. You can feel the coziness in your home grow stronger when the wafting smell of these easy cookies fills your space, and it's kinda the best thing ever. #shortbreadcookies #cookies #shortbread #shortbreadcookierecipe #baking #cookierecipe

Easy shortbread cookies are crunchy, crumbly, and sweet (both to eat and look at!) and are so simple and fun to bake. You can feel the coziness in your home grow stronger when the wafting smell of these easy cookies fills your space, and it's kinda the best thing ever. #shortbreadcookies #cookies #shortbread #shortbreadcookierecipe #baking #cookierecipe

Looking for more easy cookie recipes?

This post was originally published in 2012, and has been updated and rephotographed in December 2019.

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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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Yowza….I am singing it….
Oh….so yummy, yummy, yummy
In my tummy, tummy, tummy!
Eat another and repeat and repeat!!!!
Thanks for the great recipe!!!

oh my gosh! my husband is the same way, he is not a lover of sweets. I don’t even understand how that is possible. If I make a cheesecake he’ll eat maybe one piece-maybe. It’s not very helpful for healthy eating 🙂 He doesn’t eat maple syrup on pancakes either-he prefers yogurt and applesauce. He does love shortbread cookies though!

We need to be neighbors 🙂

Love shortbread cookies and yours are SO pretty!

Those are gorgeous! Ok, so I have made the salsa… and the tortilla chips, about four times now. I’m not even kidding. I don’t think we’ll ever go back to buying it! I’m going to fit it into a post somewhere 🙂

I’m so glad you liked them. Are they helping with the cravings?!

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.