Shortbread cookies are a timeless classic, originating in Scotland in the 12th century and evolving over the years into the beloved treat we know today. Known for their rich, buttery flavor and crumbly texture, shortbread cookies are a favorite among baking enthusiasts, home cooks, and cookie lovers alike.

shortbread cookies


To make these delicious cookies, you'll need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients

Ensure your butter is at room temperature. Measure out all your ingredients and have them ready.

Step 2: Cream the Butter and Sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer.

Step 3: Add Flour and Salt

Gradually add the all-purpose flour and salt to the butter mixture. Mix until the dough comes together. If you’re using vanilla extract, add it during this step.

Step 4: Chill the Dough

Form the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This helps to firm up the dough, making it easier to handle and shape.

Step 5: Shape the Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters or a knife to cut the dough into your desired shapes.

Step 6: Bake to Perfection

Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to turn golden. Keep a close eye on them, as they can quickly go from perfect to overdone.

Step 7: Cool and Enjoy

Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips for Success

  • Butter Temperature: Ensure your butter is softened but not melted. This is crucial for achieving the right texture.
  • Chill the Dough: Don’t skip the chilling step. It makes the dough easier to work with and helps the cookies hold their shape.
  • Even Thickness: Roll the dough to an even thickness to ensure uniform baking.


Shortbread cookies are incredibly versatile. Here are some ideas to add your own twist:

  • Chocolate-Dipped: Dip half of each cookie in melted chocolate and allow it to set.
  • Lemon Zest: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to the dough for a citrusy kick.
  • Herbal Infusion: Incorporate finely chopped herbs like rosemary or lavender for a unique flavor profile.

Serving and Storing

Serve your shortbread cookies with a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful treat. To store, place them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to three months.


There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of biting into a perfectly made shortbread cookie. With this guide, you’re well on your way to mastering this classic treat. Happy baking!

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