Easy shortbread cookies are made with only 5 ingredients: flour, confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.

three rectangle shortbread cookies on white round plate; plate on pink kitchen towel

Shortbread cookies are a simple recipe that requires only 5 ingredients. They are the perfect cookie to enjoy with a hot cup of tea. They also are suitable for Christmas cookie exchanges!

Why this recipe works: These shortbread cookies are soft and buttery. The cookies don’t spread in the oven and they are incredibly easy to make!

shortbread cookie ingredients in bowls on top of pink surface
photo collage of how to make shortbread cookie dough in the bowl of a stand mixer

How to make shortbread cookies

  1. Make the dough: Beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly add flour and salt. Mix just until combined.
  2. Shape the dough: Shape dough into a rectangle (9 inches by 3 inches).
  3. Chill the dough: Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Cut the dough: Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide rectangles. Place on prepared baking sheet and use a fork to poke holes into the cookies.
  6. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Don’t have a silpat mat? You can get one here. It makes it easier to chill the dough and the dough won’t stick. They can go in the oven too!

photo collage demonstrating how to shape and cut shortbread cookies

Helpful recipe tips

How to prevent shortbread cookies from spreading: Cookies spread when there is too much fat (butter). Try adding 2 more tablespoons of flour and make sure the dough is cold when you cut the cookies.

How to make shortbread cookies not crumbly: This is the opposite effect of cookies spreading. There is probably too much flour. Use 2 tablespoons less flour and, again, make sure the dough is cold when cutting the cookies. Remember shortbread cookies are supposed to be a little crumbly.

Looking for more simple cookie recipes? Try butter spritz cookies, which have a similar texture to shortbread, or these lemon thyme shortbread cookies from Love and Lemons blog. If you love a good shortbread crust, make lemon bars or apple crisp bars.

shortbread cookies on wire rack and round white plate; hand holding mug of coffee cappucino

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you decorate shortbread cookies?

Yes, once you cut the cookies you can top them with sprinkles. You can also dip the baked cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts.

Can you freeze shortbread cookie dough?

Yes, once you shape the dough into a rectangle, wrap it securely with plastic wrap. Freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before cutting and baking the cookies.

Can you make shortbread cookies with granulated sugar?

Yes, you can use granulated sugar (same amount). However, the cookies won’t be as soft. They will be a little more like sugar cookies.

stack of rectangle shortbread cookies tied up with red bakers twine

Easy shortbread cookies are the perfect cookie when you want to bake something simple. The buttery texture makes the cookies melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. I love adding sprinkles to the cookies and including them in my Christmas cookie tray. What occasion are you trying this recipe for? Show me on social media by tagging @ifyougiveablondeakitchen.

shortbread cookies in a stack and tied in red bakers twine

Easy Shortbread Cookies

Easy shortbread cookies are made with only 5 ingredients: flour, confectioners' sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.
5 (5 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter,, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (90 g) confectioners' sugar,, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour

Instructions 

  • Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute, and scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour. Mix just until combined.
  • Shape the dough: Place the dough on a silpat mat and shape into a rectangle 9 inches long and 3 inches wide.
  • Chill the dough: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  • Ten minutes before baking the cookies, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Cut the cookie dough: Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a sharp knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide rectangles. Place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Use a fork or toothpick to poke holes in the shortbread.
  • Bake the cookies: Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes

Freezing shortbread cookie dough: After shaping the dough into a rectangle, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before cutting the cookie dough and baking.
Recommended tools:
  • Kitchen scale to accurately weigh ingredients. This is important to make sure you have the right ratio of flour to butte.r
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer to quickly and thoroughly combine the ingredients.
  • Silpat mat is a good surface to shape the dough on without it sticking to the surface.
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 174kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 66mg, Potassium: 22mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 315IU, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg

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