Shortbread cookies on a wooden cutting board.
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Shortbread Cookies Recipe

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This incredibly easy homemade shortbread cookies recipe is so amazing and only requires 3 ingredients. Chances are you already have the ingredients on hand at home. My few Scottish ancestors would be proud! If you are a fan of shortbread, you have got to give this traditional Scottish shortbread recipe a try. If I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!

Shortbread cookies as they are known in the States or just shortbread or shorties as they are called in Scotland and the UK are traditional holiday biscuits or cookies. But you can certainly make these yummy treats all year round. I am not a tea or coffee drinker but I know lots of people love paring these delightful morsels with a cup of something hot.

Homemade shortbread cookies

If you like shortbread, make sure to check out this thumbprint shortbread cookies recipe.

Where did shortbread come from?

Traditional shortbread comes from Scotland during Medieval times. It was made with just three ingredients, butter, sugar, and flour. Now it is very common to see recipes that include salt (especially if the butter doesn’t have salt), cornstarch, and vanilla extract.

This is a classic old-school traditional shortbread cookie recipe. Now on to making these yummy treats.

What is the difference between Shortbread cookies and Sugar cookies?

While three of the ingredients are similar, the flour, sugar, and butter, Shortbread and Sugar cookies are different. Shortbread does not have any leavening agents like eggs or baking powder/baking soda. Also, sugar cookies are usually sweeter than Shortbread and the texture is lighter and softer.

If you love sugar cookies, make sure to check out my sugar cookies recipe.

Ingredients and Equipment for this Shortbread cookies recipe

Butter, sugar, and flour in bowls on a wooden cutting board.

In order to make this shortbread cookies recipe, you need just 3 easy-to-find ingredients. You may even have them in your pantry and fridge already.

  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter when baking, but you can certainly use salted if you like.
  • Sugar
  • Flour – Make sure to use all-purpose or plain flour. Do not use self-rising flour.

Tools

  • Bowl
  • Fork, pastry blender, mixer, or food processor
  • Granola/candy bar pan or normal sheet pan
  • Spoon or small cake spatula
  • Toothpick or Wooden skewer

Step 1: How to make this Easy Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Hand blending sugar and butter together with a fork in a bowl.

Set your butter out about an hour before wanting to make your shortbread. If you forget, soften the butter in the microwave on high for a few seconds. Or place it in an oven-safe bowl in the oven for a few seconds while it is preheating if you don’t want to use a microwave.

Preheat the oven to 300 F/150C.

Add the butter and the sugar to a large bowl and mix them together. I usually just use a fork for this.

Hand mixing shortbread cookies dough in a large bowl.

Then add all the flour and mix again with the fork, or you can use a food processor, hand or stand mixer, pastry blender, or just use clean hands.

Finished homemade Scottish shortbread dough.

Mix until a nice dough forms. It won’t take very long the dough comes together really quickly.

Step 2: Bake those Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies recipe dough in a candy bar mold.

Next, add an equal amount of dough to a granola bar/candy bar pan. You can also put it in a bread pan with parchment paper, or double the recipe and use a standard 8x8 inch baking pan.

I really like using my granola bar pan because then I don’t have to do any cutting, they are already the perfect size.

Press the dough down firmly into each cavity. Then spread it out smooth on to with the back of a spoon or use a mini cake spatula.

Hand poking holes in the shortbread with a wooden skewer

Next, poke several holes on top with a toothpick or wooden skewer. This will help them to bake evenly.

NOTE – ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Another way to do it is to shape the dough into a small “bread loaf” and then just slice it into cookie shapes with a knife and place them on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, then poke holes in them.

Finished baked homemade Scottish shortbread

Bake the Scottish shortbread cookies on the middle rack in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until very slightly golden brown. The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be.

Step 3: Cool and serve that delicious Scottish Shortbread

Fresh homemade Scottish shortbread cookies on a wooden cutting board.

Once they come out of the oven allow them to cool completely. Then remove them from the pan and serve.

TIP: If you want to see the holes again, most likely they baked shut, just poke holes in them again with your toothpick.

NOTE: If you place all the dough in a few bread loaf pans or double the recipe and place it in an 8x8 inch pan, make sure to cut them right away while they are still warm. The easiest thing to do is line the baking pan with parchment paper. Once done baking, you can lift up the parchment paper and remove the whole thing. Then it is super easy to cut that way. Instead of cutting them in the pan. Although I prefer the granola bar pan method or the loaf method briefly mentioned.

How long do the shortbread cookies last?

These cookies will last a few weeks if stored in an airtight container. You can also freeze them if you like. They are always best fresh, and I usually gobble them all up within a few days, haha.

Easy homemade Scottish Shortbread pin for Pinterest
(Pin it!)

Here are other easy cookie recipes you might like:

Pie Crust Cookies

Danish Butter Cookies

Snowball Cookies

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Snickerdoodles

To find all my cookie recipes make sure to click here.

Shortbread cookies on a wooden cutting board.
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5 from 5 votes

Shortbread Cookies Recipe

These traditional Scottish shortbread cookies are amazing and incredibly easy to make with just 3 ingredients.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Cooling Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Cookies, Dessert, Snack, Treats
Cuisine: American, British, Scottish
Keyword: buttery, crunchy, easy, sweet
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Matt Taylor

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • Fork, pastry blender, mixer, or food processor
  • Granola/candy bar pan or normal sheet pan
  • Spoon or small cake spatula
  • Toothpick or Wooden skewer

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter softened (113g)
  • 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar 50g
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour 120g

Instructions

  • Set butter out to soften about an hour before baking. Or soften in the microwave for a few seconds.
  • Preheat the oven to 300 F/150C.
  • Mix the butter and the sugar together in a large bowl with a fork, or use a mixer, food processor, etc.
  • Add the flour and mix again until a dough forms. Using Clean hands to mix the dough works really well for this part, or wear gloves, of course.
  • Fill up the cavities of your granola bar pan about halfway with the dough. Or use a bread loaf pan, or double the recipe and use an 8x8-inch pan. Another method is to shape it into a bread loaf and slice it down to create the individual cookies, then place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Smooth the top of the dough with the back of a spoon or cake spatula. Then poke holes in them with a toothpick or wooden skewer.
  • Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until very slightly golden brown. The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be. In my oven they take about 28 to 30 minutes.
  • Once they come out of the oven allow them to cool completely. Then remove them from the pan and serve.

Video

How to Make Shortbread | Easy Homemade Traditional Scottish Shortbread Recipe | 3 Ingredients

Notes

NOTE: This is a “half” recipe. Perfect if you want a smaller amount of shortbread. Double it for a standard amount.
TIP: If you want to see the holes again after baking, most likely they baked shut, just poke holes in them again with your toothpick.
NOTE: If you place all the dough in a few bread loaf pans or double the recipe and place it in an 8x8 inch pan, make sure to cut them right away while they are still warm. The easiest thing to do is line the baking pan with parchment paper. Once done baking, you can lift up the parchment paper and remove the whole thing. Then it is super easy to cut that way. Instead of cutting them in the pan.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD – Shape the cookie dough into a bread loaf and then just slice down about 1/4 inch or so wide and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Then bake them. 
List of nutritional facts for this shortbread cookies recipe

Do you like the easy shortbread cookies recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. Save the Pin to Pinterest! If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.

Check out my other website 101 Creative Dates for fun date ideas. Food and dating go hand in hand!

10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thankyou so so much for such an easy recipe for wonderful Shortbread. I don’t have a tray such as yours so I gently patted out the dough and used a round biscuit cutter to cut them out. They baked up beautifully and were enjoyed by all. Once again many many thanks for such and easy recipe for a wonderful biscuit.

  2. 5 stars
    Delish.

  3. 5 stars
    I did this recipe yesterday and we love how the cookies turned out! Thanks for the recipe I’ll definitely make these again next time with chocolate or raspberry.

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, so simple and easy to make! I also feel like these shortbread cookies would be fantastic dipped into chocolate. What a great treat!

  5. 5 stars
    My absolute favorite cookie. I am so happy I found this recipe, simply delicious!

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