These Classic Shortbread Cookies are the perfect mix of buttery and sweet. They are also perfect for decorating for the holidays or just enjoying with a cup of coffee at dessert.
If you love these cookies, you should try our festive raspberry linzer cookies and chocolate pecan thumbprint cookies.
Classic Buttery Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread cookies are so buttery and delicious! If you want a cookie that’s not as sweet as a sugar cookie, but still makes your sweet tooth happy, you have to try these classic cookies. Shortbread is really easy to make and uses only a few simple ingredients. These tasty cookies are also really versatile, so you can shape and decorate them to fit your mood or the occasion. They look beautiful on holiday cookie platters and make great gifts!
What you’ll need to make them
Classic shortbread cookies use just a handful of ingredients to achieve their sweet, crumbly texture. You’ll need Unsalted butter, Granulated sugar, Vanilla extract, Powdered sugar, All-purpose flour, and Salt. For decorating, you’ll need Semi-sweet chocolate chips.
How to Make Shortbread Cookies
1. Beat the butter, vanilla, and sugars. Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the softened butter, vanilla, powdered and granulated sugars in a large mixing bowl on high speed. It takes about 1-2 minutes for the butter to become lightly whipped.
2. Add in the flour and salt. Add the flour and a pinch of salt to the butter mixture, then mix it together on low until it comes together. It will be a little crumbly, but you can still form it with your hands.
3. Roll out the dough. Form the cookie dough into a ball and place it on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Then press it down and put another piece of parchment paper on top. Now roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/4-1/2 inches thick.
4. Cut out shapes. Remove the top parchment paper sheet and begin cutting out circles or any other desired shape. You can use cookie cutters or even a glass cup or pizza cutter to make the shapes you want.
5. Bake. Preheat the oven to 325°F and bake the shortbread cookies for about 12-14 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack.
6. Decorate. Leave the cookies as they are or dip them in melted chocolate and garnish with chopped pistachios for an extra fancy look.
Ways to Decorate these Shortbread Cookies
There is really no wrong way to decorate these delicious cookies, but here are a few ideas:
- Chocolate dip/drizzle- As you can see, I chose to dip these shortbread cookies into melted chocolate, which looks gorgeous on a cookie platter.
- Icing- If you’re making holiday cookies, icing and sprinkles are perfect for bright and cheerful designs.
- Jam- These cookies also go really well with jam. A coating of your favorite jam or preserves on top give them a pop of color and burst of flavor.
- Shapes and holes- Traditional shortbread is “forked,” with holes pokes into the top. You can also shape them into circles, rectangles, or any other cookie cutter shape you like.
How to Store these Classic Cookies
To store these delicious shortbread cookies, you can leave them at room temperature in an airtight container for about 1 week. If you prefer to refrigerate them, then they will last for about 10 days.
Can you Make these Ahead of time?
Yes! During the busy holiday season, you can prepare these classic cookies ahead of time and store them in the freezer until you are ready to serve or gift them. Just wait until the cookies are completely cooled, then wrap them in plastic wrap and foil and place them in a ziplock freezer bag. They will last for about 3-4 weeks.
More Amazing Cookie Recipes!
- Lace Cookies with Chocolate (Florentine Cookies) VIDEO
- Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- Amaretti Cookies (VIDEO)
- Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (VIDEO)
- Nutella Cookies
Full Recipe Instructions
Classic Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips for drizzling/dipping
Mix the cookie dough ingredients in a bowl
- Place 1 cup softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat it on high speed using an electric hand mixer. Mix until the butter becomes light and whipped (about 1-2 minutes)
- Now add in 2 cups all-purpose flour, and a pinch of salt. Mix the cookie dough together on low speed until it begins to come together. It will look crumbly but should form shape once your hands compress it
Roll and cut the dough
- Form the shortbread dough into a ball and place it on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Then press it down and place another sheet of parchment paper on top.
- Now use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough to about 1/4-1/2 inches thick.
- Remove the parchment paper from the top and begin cutting out circles or desired shape. ￼if you don’t have a cookie-cutter, you can use a glass cup to cut out the circles.
Bake and cool
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and bake the shortbread cookie for about 12-14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the hot baking sheet for about five minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. ￼￼￼
- You can leave them as they are or dip them in melted semisweet chocolate and garnish with chopped roasted salted pistachios. This makes them look extra fancy and looks great on a cookie platter.
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Absolutely great shortbread cookies! I’ve been using my grandmother‘s (straight from Scotland)shortbread recipe for years and thought I would try a new one. They are wonderful! My gram’s recipe uses a pan similar to a jelly roll pan to bake the shortbread. You pat the dough into the pan – prick it and bake. Easier than rolling and cutting! Have you tried baking the dough all at once rather than cutting?
Hi Jan, I am so glad you found my recipe! I am intrigued by the “bake first and then cut” method! I have never tried it, but I would love to test it out! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Will the powdered sugar make the cookies overly sweet?
Hi Stephanie 🙂 If you are worried about these cookies being overly sweet then you can do a light dusting. Let me know how it goes! 🙂
My dough seems too dry and crumbled when I started rolling
Hi Michelle, try adding 1 tbsp of ice-cold water. That should help 🙂
Hii, trying this recipe but my cookies spread out too much :/ any suggestions?
Hi Justine 🙂 Sorry to hear that. It sounds like it may need a little more flour. If the liquid/dry ratio is off then the cookies can spread like that. I have noticed that different brands of flour sometimes require different amounts of flour to get the same consistency. I hope that helps clarify 🙂
It was the best recipe I think I’ve ever made thank you so much for posting it.
Thank you so much for your kind feedback, Linda!
You dont use eggs in this recipe?… curious as to why 😊
Hi Cynthia, that’s a great question. If you add eggs to shortbread cookies, they won’t have that crisp, crumbly texture that distinguishes a classic shortbread cookie. I hope that helps answer your question.
Awesome recipe! Dough was easy to work with and baked up exactly as described, perfect mix of buttery and sweet.
Renee I am so happy to hear that you loved this shortbread recipe! 🙂
Would I be able to use a cookie cutter on this cookie? Sometimes the dough is so soft they fall apart.
Hi Jen, I haven’t tried to use any cookie cutters other than a round one so I am not too sure how they will hold up their shape.
What is the reason for using 2 different sugars? Usually it is just powdered sugar or granulated sugar. After the cookies are baked, is it a more firmer cookie?
Hi Chris, great question. I use powdered sugar to make the cookies more melt-in-your-mouth 🙂