Classic Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread Cookies
The Spruce
Ratings (142)
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 36 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
84 Calories
6g Fat
7g Carbs
1g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This basic butter shortbread is a simple 3-ingredient cookie, and it is always a hit. Pat the shortbread into the pan(s) or roll it and cut the dough out in squares or circles. The rich buttery cookie can be made in any shape. Dip the cookies into melted chocolate or white chocolate or frost them for a festive holiday treat.

Shortbread is typically baked at a low temperature for a longer period of time than most cookies.


  • 1 cup/8 ounces butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups/9 ounces all-purpose flour

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 300 F / 150 C / Gas 2.

    Tools for shortbread cookies.
     The Spruce
  3. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.

    Combining butter and sugar.
     The Spruce
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

    Creaming butter and sugar.
     The Spruce
  5. Gradually stir flour into the creamed mixture until well blended.

    Gradually adding flour.
     The Spruce
  6. Spread or pat the dough in the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan (or use a 9-inch square pan for thicker shortbread). Or, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out with round or square cookie cutters. Prick the dough all over with a fork.

    Shortbread dough.
     The Spruce
  7. Bake at 300 F for 30 to 40 minutes, until just lightly browned.

    Shortbread cookies.
     The Spruce
  8. Remove from oven and immediately pierce all over with a fork. Cut into bars. Cool completely before removing from pan.

Tips and Variations

  • Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the creamed mixture before you add the flour.

  • Melt about 1 cup of semisweet chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies or dip a corner or half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the dipped cookies on waxed paper to dry. If desired, sprinkle with finely chopped nuts or finely broken red and white peppermint candies or candy canes.

  • Toasted Pecan Shortbread - Knead about 1/2 cup of finely chopped toasted pecans into the shortbread dough. If desired, dust the finished cooled cookies with sifted powdered sugar.

  • Orange Flavored Shortbread - Add 3 tablespoons of finely grated orange zest to the butter and sugar mixture.