Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Brown sugar shortbread cut-out cookies
Diana Rattray
Prep: 8 mins
Cook: 22 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 36 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
66 Calories
5g Fat
6g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 36
Amount per serving
Calories 66
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 82mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 13mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Who doesn't love buttery, crispy shortbread? This brown sugar shortbread is always a winner, and, with only 5 ingredients, it is one of the easiest cookies to prepare and bake. 

These simple brown sugar shortbread cookies are delicious with or without decoration. Add a little vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar to the tops just before baking or dip them in some melted chocolate or white chocolate after they've cooled. 

You might also like this classic butter shortbread or the rich chocolate version.


  • 1 cup/8 ounces unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark, packed)
  • 2 cups flour (9 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: cinnamon sugar (or plain granulated sugar)
  • Optional: vanilla sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for brown sugar shortbread
    Diana Rattray
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or leave them ungreased.

  3. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.

    Beat the butter and brown sugar together
    Diana Rattray
  4. To the first mixture of butter and brown sugar, add the flour, cornstarch, and salt; beat on the lowest speed of the mixer just until the dough comes together but still appears crumbly.

    Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture
    Diana Rattray
  5. Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth. Lightly roll the dough out to a thickness of approximately 1/2-inch. 

  6. Cut the dough into rectangles or strips with a cookie cutter, pizza cutter, or knife. Arrange on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies. Using a fork or skewer, pierce each cookie in several places. If desired, sprinkle the unbaked cookies with vanilla sugar, granulated sugar, or a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon (combine about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of sugar).

    Cut or slice the rolled cookie dough.
    Diana Rattray
  7. Bake the shortbread cookies in the preheated oven for about 20 to 24 minutes, or until the cookies look dry and the edges begin to brown.

    Brown sugar shortbread with coffee.
    Diana Rattray
  8. Carefully remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Store the shortbread in a tightly covered container at room temperature.

  9. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies: Cool the cookies completely. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons of shortening. Microwave on High for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth and well blended. Dip a portion of each cooled cookie in the melted chocolate and place on a sheet of wax paper or parchment until the chocolate is firm and set. If desired, sprinkle the chocolate with finely chopped nuts before it has set.
  • Instead of rolling the cookie dough and cutting it out, pat it into two lightly greased 9-inch round cake pans or tart pans. Prick the dough all over. Bake as directed and then immediately turn the shortbread out onto a work surface and cut each round into thin wedges while it is still warm.
  • Beat 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract into the butter and sugar mixture before adding the dry ingredients.