Easy Shortbread Cookies

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Easy shortbread cookies are as simple as 1-2-3! Flavor with your favorite extracts and enjoy with a cozy cup of tea.

I’m here to tell you that cookies don’t need to have a lot of ingredients to be incredibly satisfying.

Shortbread cookies are a classic, and they couldn’t be easier to make. This no-roll, no-chill recipe simply presses into a baking pan and is ready for the oven in 10 minutes or less.

Sliced shortbread cookie resting on a cup of chai.

If your only experience with shortbread is the packaged variety, I encourage you to give this homemade version a try.

Perfectly buttery with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, homemade shortbread is one of the easiest cookie recipes you’ll ever make.

Ingredients for shortbread cookies

This recipe uses the ratio method for shortbread cookies. Ratio baking makes it easy to scale the recipe up or down depending on how much you want to make.

For shortbread, you will need 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour. From this basic ratio you can create all sorts of varieties of shortbread!

Keep in mind that the ratio works best using weight measurements, so this is your cue to get a kitchen scale if you don’t have one already!

Ingredients for shortbread cookies on a tile surface with labels.

My recipes uses:

Sugar – While granulated sugar will also work in this recipe, I like to use powdered sugar (also called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar). This helps the sugar melt into the butter and give the cookies a wonderful texture.

Note that if you use granulated sugar, the cup measurements will be very different. Use weights if you can!

Butter – Shortbread relies on a lot of butter, so don’t skimp on it. Using salted butter means you don’t need to add any salt to the cookie dough. If you use unsalted butter, add just ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt to the dough.

Make sure the butter is softened just to room temperature.

Flour – Use all-purpose flour for this recipe. I have not tried using other flours, but a pastry flour would likely work well!

Vanilla paste or vanilla extract – I add a little vanilla for a touch of flavor to these cookies. Feel free to use a different extract or skip it completely to make the most of the buttery flavor!

Sliced shortbread cookies on a cutting board from overhead.

How to make easy shortbread cookies

I recommend using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer for this recipe. While you can mix by hand, it is much, much easier with an electric mixer!

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with butter or nonstick spray. You can also line the pan with a piece of parchment paper (a bit of nonstick spray will help it stick).

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat together powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Beat in flour. The mixture will look very crumbly at first.

Keep beating until the mixture comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl.

Dump the cookie dough into the prepared pan and press it into an even layer to all the edges and into the corners.

Now, take a bench scraper or a knife and cut the dough into pieces, making sure the cut goes all the way through.

You can cut into squares, diamonds, or rectangles, as I have done here.

Use a fork, chopstick, or small dowel and dock each piece with a few holes. The holes will help moisture escape, making the cookies cook evenly all the way through.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until pale golden brown.

Do not overbake! The edges will likely be browner and that’s OK. You can cut off the edges for more uniform cookies or leave as-is.

Let the cookies cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then cut them again along the same lines as you did before baking.

If you used parchment paper in the pan, lift it out and let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack. You can fully separate the cookies for quicker cooling, or leave together.

Sliced shortbread cookies on a cutting board.

Serve with your favorite tea or cup of coffee!

Storage tips

Because shortbread cookies only have a few ingredients, they store very well!

Keep the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

For longer storage, keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

You can also freeze shortbread cookies. Place them in an airtight container with pieces of parchment or waxed paper in between the layers.

Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply remove from the freezer and let come to room temperature.

Recipe suggestions

Looking for other ways to flavor your shortbread? Try these options.

Extracts – Use lemon, almond, orange, or even peppermint. Or, go for more unusual extracts like butter rum or root beer.

Add chocolate – Swap a small amount of the flour for cocoa powder. Or, dip the baked shortbread pieces into melted chocolate for a delicious coating.

Go nuts – In place of some of the flour, add finely chopped nuts, like pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or almonds.

Layer it – After baking, add caramel and chocolate to make millionaire’s shortbread, or try coconut and white chocolate. You can also sprinkle on a layer of granulated sugar before baking.

Two pieces of shortbread stacked on an orange plate showing the cookie texture.

More cookies you’ll love

Need more excuses to make cookies? Try these recipes:

These buttery, easy shortbread cookies are a staple in my kitchen. You’ll love them!

Sliced shortbread cookie resting on a cup of chai.

Easy Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are a snap with the 1-2-3 ratio. This recipe requires no chilling or rolling, so it's ready quickly.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Scottish
Servings 14
Calories 209 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 100 grams powdered sugar
  • 200 grams salted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or vanilla paste
  • 300 grams all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch square baking pan with butter or nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or using a bowl with an electric mixer), beat together powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until light and creamy.
  • Beat in flour. It will be crumbly at first, but keep beating until it comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl.
  • Press dough into an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut into rectangles, squares, or diamonds. Dock the dough with a fork.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut again along the same lines. Let cool completely.

Notes

  • Weight measurements are recommended.
  • If using granulated sugar, the cup measurement is ½ cup.
  • If using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon salt to the dough.

Nutrition

Calories: 209 kcalCarbohydrates: 24 gProtein: 2 gFat: 12 gSaturated Fat: 7 gCholesterol: 31 mgSodium: 92 mgPotassium: 27 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 7 gIron: 1 mg
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