Classic Shortbread Cookies

About this Recipe

Buttery shortbread, like this shortbread recipe melts in your mouth in just the right way. We all have our favorite holiday cookie recipes, and this one is most certainly one of mine. Each time this recipe gets made, the tin of cookies seems to just disappear. That being said. I have been known to love butter. In fact, a long time ago at a health conference, I proceeded to eat 8 balls of butter on some pita bread thinking that I was eating soft cheese balls! It was the 8th butter ball that I realized my error and was silently so embarrassed as I sat with my nutritionist colleagues wondering what they must be thinking of my love for butter.

Grandmother’s TIPS for Classic Shortbread Cookie Recipe:

1. In this recipe, we want the butter room temperature for mixing.

2. Sift the flour before you start mixing.

3. For smooth slices, cut the shortbread while it is still warm.

4. Work the dough gently when rolling out and shaping.

5. Looking for something a little different? Check out this recipe for Lemon Chocolate Shortbread Squares.

6. One of the best tips for making the best shortbread cookie recipe is to ensure the butter is at room temperature before mixing it with the other ingredients. This way, you won't overwork the cookie dough which can result in tough cookies and not the desirable cookies that melt in your mouth.



Makes: 24 cookies

1 cup butter at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

confectioners' sugar - Optional for dusting on baked cookie


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until pale.

4. Add the flour a little at a time and the salt and beat in until you get a crumbly dough texture.

5. Transfer the dough to a counter working surface. Lightly flour the surface.

6. We like working on a Sil-Pad. It is a nice surface that you can roll out on plus you can make gentle cuts into it with a knife. We always wash our mat after using, hang it to dry and roll it up for safe keeping

7. Use your hands to gently incorporate into a dough that you can roll out with a rolling pin.

8. Roll gently and evenly and use your hands and a small knife to push the outer edges and to form a rectangle shape.

9. Roll the dough to 1/2 inch in thickness. Keep working the edges in while you roll make the rectangle shape.

10. Once you get the desired shape and thickness, use a small sharp knife to mark where you will make your cuts then proceed and cut the cookies out. We made ours about 2-inches long and 1-inch wide and we got 24 all together.

11. Cut off the ragged edges as you cut your cookie shapes. Collect the discarded dough and when you are done, roll it into one half inch thick piece and cut it into smaller pieces.You can bake these pieces at the same time as you are baking your cookies. If you have room put them onto the main sheet and if not put them on a small baking pan.

12. Use a fork to poke two sets of holes in the top of each cookie and arrange them onto the baking sheet. Leave about half an inch between the cookies.

13. Continue the process until you have all the cookies ready and placed on the baking sheet.

14. Bake for 15-20 minutes on the middle rack until golden brown on the bottom and top.

15. Remove to a cooling pad.

16. While the cookies are still warm, take a small sharp knife and cut around each of the cookies. When they bake they swell up, touching each other and need be cut apart. Let them sit in the pan for 5 minutes to cool then transfer out of the pan onto a cooling rack.

17. Leave them sit until completely cooled. Dust with confectioners' sugar if you like.

18. Place the cooled cookies either into a decorative cookie can if you have one or you can use any container with a lid.


Return to this Classic Shortbread Cookies recipe or check out more recipes at Grandmother's Kitchen

Homemade cookie recipes from scratch usually make the best cookies, especially when it comes to shortbread cookies. Shortbread cookies are the cookies that melt in your mouth with that irresistible buttery texture and flavour. The traditional shortbread cookie recipes include two parts butter, one part white sugar, and three parts oat flour. Over the years other starches have been added like rice, cornstarch or cornflour.

These cookies are one of the easy homemade cookies that pretty much everyone enjoys making over the holidays. Some decorate them while others, leave them plain. Shortbread is not to be confused with sugar cookies though as they have some differences.

Compared to sugar cookies, shortbread cookies are lighter and softer in texture while sugar cookies can be harder. Shortbread cookie recipes were the result of biscuit bread recipes from medieval times. The yeast was removed from the original recipe and replaced by butter which made it the cookie recipe we know and love.

Even though this dessert recipe was made during the 12th century, it was more popularly associated with the 16th century and Mary, Queen of Scots. The shortbread of this time was cut into triangular pieces and topped with caraway seeds for added flavour. It was a luxury and for the rich, mostly served at Christmas and New Year's Eve or at weddings.

Did you know it's actually a tradition in Shetland to break a decorated shortbread a new bride as she enters into her new home?

While enjoying the sweetness of these cookies is part of the pleasure of eating them, you can balance out the sweetness with a cup of your favourite bitter tea like green tea which will also help balance your blood sugar levels.(1)


"Does green tea inhibit nutrient uptake?,", published on 4 April 2012, last updated on 22 October 2018,

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