Shortbread Cookies

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These are the best shortbread cookies – buttery with crispy edges and soft centers. It only takes 6 ingredients to make the most delicious shortbread recipe ever!

round Shortbread Cookies on a plate


Shortbread cookies are a testimony to the fact that there is so much beauty in simplicity.

Recipes don’t have to be complicated to be amazing, and this shortbread recipe is delicious proof.

Six common ingredients come together beautifully to make shortbread cookies that are buttery and perfectly sweet. They have crispy edges and chewy centers and are complete cookie perfection.

stack of 4 Shortbread Cookies, top one has a bite taken out of it

Shortbread Cookies Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the ingredients in this shortbread recipe
  • Salted Butter. Unsalted butter can be used in place of salted butter. 
  • Granulated sugar. I recommend using organic cane sugar or white sugar.
  • Egg yolks. There are no substitutes for egg yolks in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract. You can substitute up to ½ teaspoon of vanilla with different flavor extracts such as lemon, orange, peppermint, almond, etc.
  • All-purpose flour.  For a gluten-free version substitute a 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Fine sea salt. Use fine (not coarse) sea salt. If using iodized table salt, decrease the amount by half. 
5 Shortbread Cookies, one with a bite taken out of it

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

We’ll walk through this shortbread recipe step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video!

Begin by beating the butter and sugar for 1 minute, either in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer.

two photos showing How to Make Shortbread Cookies - beating butter and sugar

Then, add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and beat for an additional minute.

two photos showing How to Make Shortbread Cookies - adding egg and vanilla

Next, add the flour and beat until the mixture begins to clump together (60-90 seconds).

two photos showing How to Make Shortbread Cookies - adding the dry ingredients

Once the mixture clumps together, gather the dough and roll it into a log that is 2” in diameter (about 16 inches long).

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).

shortbread cookie dough rolled into a log wrapped in plastic wrap

After chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mats.

Then, slice the cookie dough into ½ inch thick circles.

Use a Tape Measure

I recommend using a ruler or tape measure to get the measurements exact. This will ensure that the cookies bake evenly.

two photos showing How to Make Shortbread Cookies - slicing the dough into circles

Then, evenly space the shortbread cookies on the prepared baking sheet.

Shortbread Cookies on a baking sheet before baking

Once they’re on the baking sheet, bake them in the preheated oven for 11-12 minutes until the cookies look set and the bottom edges just barely start to turn brown.

Shortbread Cookies on a baking sheet after baking

Let the shortbread cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Shortbread Cookies on a wire cooling rack

Serve

If you are a shortbread purist, you will probably opt to serve them plain. However, you can also add icing or frosting to the cookies if you wish. Here are some suggestions:

Shortbread Cookies on a plate

Store/Freeze

Store shortbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

You can also slice, then flash-freeze the cookie dough. Freeze it in an airtight container then thaw and bake fresh according to the recipe instructions.

a shortbread cookie cut in half with the inside visible

Shortbread Cookies Recipe FAQS

What is the secret to good shortbread?

Here are some tips to making the best shortbread!
Use high-quality ingredients, especially butter and vanilla extract.
Beat the dough until large clumps form.
Chill the dough before baking.
Do not over-bake. You want them to still be nice and moist.

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

The difference is that butter cookies also contain almond extract to give them a slightly different flavor. Also, butter cookies have slightly less sugar so the buttery flavor really shines.

Should you use soft or hard butter for shortbread?

Butter should be softened to room temperature.

Should you refrigerate shortbread dough before baking?

Yes. This dough must be refrigerated before baking for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

a stack of 8 Shortbread Cookies

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Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Laura
These are the best shortbread cookies – buttery with crispy edges and soft centers. It only takes 6 ingredients to make the most delicious shortbread recipe ever!
5 from 3 votes
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 32 Cookies
Calories 101
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Chilling1 hour
Total Time1 hour 22 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat together butter and sugar for 1 minute.
  • Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and beat for an additional minute.
  • Add the flour and beat until the mixture begins to clump together (60-90 seconds).
  • Gather the dough and roll it into a log that is 2” in diameter (about 16 inches long).
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  • After chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mats.
  • Carefully slice the cookies into ½ inch thick circles.
  • Evenly space the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 11-12 minutes until the cookies look set and the bottom edges just barely start to turn brown.
  • Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Salted Butter. Unsalted butter can be used in place of salted butter. 
  • Granulated sugar. I recommend using organic cane sugar or white sugar.
  • Egg yolks. There are no substitutes for egg yolks in this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract. You can substitute up to ½ teaspoon of vanilla with different flavor extracts such as lemon, orange, peppermint, almond, etc.
  • All-purpose flour.  For a gluten-free version substitute a 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Fine sea salt. Use fine (not coarse) sea salt. If using iodized table salt, decrease the amount by half. 
Store/Freeze
Store shortbread cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
You can also slice, then flash-freeze the cookie dough. Freeze it in an airtight container then thaw and bake fresh according to the recipe instructions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 193IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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2 Comments

  1. I have a question, if I am going to
    use unsalted butter, would I need to add extra salt.
    Im new to baking and I’m not sure how the science of it works and do not think I should assume anything at my level. 😊
    Thank You