3-Ingredient Shortbread

3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe

 The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 16 to 20 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
121 Calories
10g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16 to 20
Amount per serving
Calories 121
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 72mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 1g
Calcium 12mg 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.)

Traditional shortbread recipes only include three ingredients: flour, sugar, and butter. In modern times, recipes often call for powdered and granulated sugar, though traditional shortbread recipes used only granulated sugar. Today, people may substitute for alternative sweeteners.

Shortbread is typically associated with Scotland, where its origins are said to be. It was derived from a twice-baked biscuit bread that originally included yeast instead of butter. As butter became popular, it replaced the yeast and became one of the three ingredients.


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 1 cup butter (cold and cut into cubes)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
    The Spruce 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  3. Place flour and sugar in large bowl. Mix with a wire whisk.

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Add pieces of cut-up cold butter. Use a pastry blender, your fingers, or food processor to blend butter into flour/sugar mixture. It should be crumbly, but well combined.

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Dump the mixed ingredients into a 9- by 13-inch pan. Press down with your fingers and to level out the batter. 

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is lightly brown on top.

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
    The Spruce 
  7. Remove the shortbread from the oven. Cut the shortbread into squares and then into triangles while the shortbread is still warm. 

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired, then cool completely in pan.

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Serve and enjoy!

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe
     The Spruce

Watch Now: Traditional All-Butter Scottish Shortbread Recipe

The Evolution of Shortbread

Today, shortbread is still served in a biscuit or triangle shape, but it is also baked into a round cookie form or can be served as a bar. The cookies are versatile because they can be served plain or with other toppings.

Flavored shortbreads include other ingredients, such as chocolate chip, cinnamon, or brown sugar, and have also gained popularity. It is also served rolled in sugar or topped with sugar. Some varieties of shortbread feature a blob of fruit jam inside or on top.

Shortbread sandwich cookies are also popular and can be made by using the three-ingredient shortbread recipe to form cookies that sandwich an ingredient in between them. Some people enjoy plain shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, which is then cooked so it sets as a coating on the cookie.