12 Best Shortbread Recipes

Brown sugar shortbread cut-out cookies.
Diana Rattray

My first introduction to shortbread came in the form of trefoils, the classic Girl Scout cookie I peddled door-to-door for years as a kid. But I didn't appreciate the buttery, crumbly, simple elegance of the form until I learned to bake it at home. Shortbread not only makes a delicious basic dessert all on its own, but provides the perfect base for a whole range of flavors. Some of our favorites involve chocolate, chopped nuts, or other embellishments to elevate it from excellent to extraordinary. Add a few of these to your baking repertoire and you'll see what we mean.

  • 01 of 12

    Classic Shortbread

    Shortbread Cookies

    The Spruce

    You know what they say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. These three-ingredient shortbread squares get their satisfying texture from pricking them all over with a fork before baking. Use a 9x13 pan for thinner squares or an 9x9 for thicker bars.

  • 02 of 12

    Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

    chocolate shortbread

     Diana Rattray

    For those who just don't consider a dessert worth it unless it contains chocolate, this shortbread will hit the spot. The dough also freezes well, so make half now and save the other for a quick treat later.

  • 03 of 12

    Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies

    Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies

    Diana Rattray


    Combine two classic cookie flavors with this peanut butter shortbread recipe. This one also contains no eggs, making it great for those with food allergies. Drizzling a little melted chocolate over the finished cookies adds extra flare.

  • 04 of 12

    Butter Pecan Shortbread Cookies

    Cookies and coffee.
    Diana Rattray

    Fans of butter pecan ice cream or Keebler sandies will love these shortbread cookies that have a similar taste. Sprinkling with coarse or vanilla sugar would add a little extra crunch, but they taste great without too.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Three-Ingredient Shortbread

    3-Ingredient Shortbread Recipe

     The Spruce

    You read that right: all you need for a buttery basic shortbread is three ingredients and an oven. A food processor would make mixing the butter into the sugar and flour easier, but a pastry blender works too.

  • 06 of 12

    Keto Shortbread Cookies

    Keto shortbread cookies

     The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

    Using keto-friendly almond flour and a sugar substitute like Stevia means you can still enjoy a sweet treat while following the popular diet. Lemon juice and zest plus whole almonds give these pretty cookies extra flavor.

  • 07 of 12

    Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

    Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
    Anita Schecter

    Give basic shortbread cookies extra excitement by adding warming cardamom and nutty pistachios in a recipe that's reminiscent of the Middle Eastern version, called Ghoraibi. They taste wonderful alongside a cup of tea.

  • 08 of 12

    Mexican Tea Cakes

    Mexican Tea Cakes

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

    With the taste and texture of a shortbread cookie but shaped like a drop cookie, you may also know these holiday favorites as butternut cookies, sand cookies, or Mexican wedding cakes. No cookie spread would feel complete without them.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Maple Shortbread Cookies

    Maple Cookies

    The Spruce / Jennifer Perillo

    With the signature sweetness of maple syrup, these butter cookies taste just right for a crisp winter's day. If you don't have a leaf-shaped cutter, you can also roll and slice them but allow for plenty of time for chilling so the cookies keep their shape.

  • 10 of 12

    Scottish Shortbread

    All-Butter Scottish Shortbread Recipe

    The Spruce

    Adding cornstarch to this basic shortbread recipe makes the cookies crispy on the edges while staying soft and crumbly in the center. Use good-quality butter, since it will really stand out among the few ingredients making up these teatime sweets.

  • 11 of 12

    Brown Sugar Shortbread

    Brown sugar shortbread cut-out cookies.
    Diana Rattray

    The addition of brown sugar gives these shortbread cookies a deeper, almost nuttier flavor than the classic. But with just five ingredients, they still weigh in as some of the quickest and easiest cookies out there.

  • 12 of 12

    Austrian Linzer Cookies

    Austrian Linzer Cookie Recipe

     Claire Cohen

    Powdered sugar-dusted butter cookies and a sweet jam center create a lovely textural contrast that makes Austrian Linzer cookies the star of any cookie platter. Traditionally, red raspberry or currant jam forms the center, but you can use any flavor that tickles your taste buds.