Shortbread Cookies


This classic shortbread cookie recipe makes 2 dozen rich, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth press cookies using just 4 simple ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. They're easy to decorate and perfect for Christmas cookie plates.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
2 dozen

If you're searching for the best shortbread cookie recipe on the internet, stop right there! You've found it. These buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies are perfect for any day of the week, but will also make great additions to your holiday dessert table. Whatever the occasion, you can never go wrong with a rich and customizable shortbread cookie.

Want to know the best part? This recipe only requires four pantry staple ingredients.

closeup of plain round cookies topped with sparkling sugar on a baking sheet

What Are Shortbread Cookies?

Shortbread cookies originated in Scotland and are traditionally made with butter, sugar, and flour. Unlike other cookies, shortbread cookies don't have any leavening agents (like baking powder or baking soda). Because of this (plus the high fat content) shortbread cookies are incredibly tender and crumbly — a good shortbread cookie will almost melt in your mouth.

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are extremely easy to make with a hand or stand mixer. You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief breakdown of what you can expect when making these cookies:

Cream the butter and sugar together. Then, add the vanilla and flour. Mix until combined. Use a cookie press or roll out the dough and cut or shape into desired shapes. Bake until cookies are golden brown.

Shortbread Cookie Variations

This four-ingredient shortbread cookie recipe is about as easy as it gets. But, if you want to mix it up a little bit, try some of these tricks for fun and delicious shortbread cookie variations:

Add a few drops of almond extract for a nutty flavor.
Mix in chocolate chips or chopped nuts for extra decadent flavor.
Top with sprinkles, your favorite jelly, or sugar cookie icing for a cookie that looks as good as it tastes.
Dip in white chocolate or milk chocolate for a sweeter finish.

How to Store Shortbread Cookies

Store shortbread cookies in an airtight container (such as a cookie jar) or zip-top bag at room temperature for seven days. To extend their lifespan, you can transfer them to the fridge. They will stay fresh there for 10 days.

Can You Freeze Shortbread Cookies?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze shortbread cookies. Store completely cool shortbread cookies in a zip-top bag or airtight container (be sure to place a layer of parchment paper in between each cookie layer so they don't stick together). Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"So, so perfect! We let the dough sit in the fridge to harden, then rolled and cut with cookie cutters and it worked out great," says Jaime Jovanovich-Walker.

"This was my first time ever making shortbread cookies. Can I just say that this recipe is AMAZING!! Just like, if not better than, those I've purchased," raves Rita.

"This is a delightfully easy recipe and the result is immaculate. The cookies were perfect and buttery in each bite. My family absolutely loved them. This is certainly a keeper and will be a staple for quick dessert snacks at home," according to Jeri-Lee Prescod-Alexander.

Editorial contributions by Bailey Fink


  • 2 cups butter, softened

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

  2. Cream softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add flour and mix well until combined.

  3. Fill cookie press with the dough and form cookies onto two ungreased cookie sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown.

  4. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven, and set them on a wire cooling rack for 2 minutes. Then transfer the shortbread cookies to the rack to cool completely.

    star-shaped shortbread cookies on a plate. Some are half-dipped in white chocolate sprinkled with red and green sugar, the rest are half-dipped in dark chocolate
    Grumpy's Honeybunch

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

490 Calories
31g Fat
49g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 490
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 20g 98%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 219mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 5g
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 55mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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