Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies are so buttery, crispy, and melt in your mouth. They only require 6 ingredients and I bet you have them all in your pantry! The dough comes together quickly and works great with embossing rolling pins that have adorable designs on them. These are the perfect Christmas cookie recipe for your next holiday cookie platter.

shortbread cookies tied with bakers twin with a glass of milk behind it


Want to see what other cookies I've been baking up? The latest are Mint Chocolate Pudding Cookies, M&M Cookies, Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies, and Chocolate Espresso Cookies.

These cookies are one of my favorites to bake and eat. You can cut them into cubes, add festive nonpareil sprinkles, use any kind of cookie cutter, and they'll hold their shape and taste great.

What are Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are cookies that are traditionally made with 1 part sugar, two parts butter, and 3 parts flour, but more modern recipes tend to use both powdered and granulated sugars, salt, and sometimes flavorings like vanilla extract.

brownie mix cookies
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Shortbread cookie recipes also don't use eggs or leavening agents such as baking soda or baking powder.

How to make Shortbread Cookies

Making these cookies is easy work. The hardest part is letting the cookie dough chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Add the butter, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Grab the hand mixer and beat until creamed.

Add in the flour and salt. Continue to beat with the mixer until the flour is incorporated and the dough can be pinched together without it crumbling.

collage showing the process of the shortbread cookie dough coming together

Press the dough together and then divide it in half. Form the dough into discs and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap on a white surface

After the dough has chilled, roll it out to ½ to ¼ inch thickness. This will depend on how thick you like your cookies.

If you want to use an embossing rolling pin, use a regular rolling pin to get the dough rolled out evenly and to the desired thickness, and use the embossing rolling pin for one last roll. Be sure to apply even pressure.

Cut out the cookies with your favorite cookie cutters or slice them into rectangles or squares with a sharp knife. Bake as directed.

stack of cookies with the top one broke in half showing the inside

How long do Shortbread Cookies last

Shortbread cookies will last stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks. You can also use a storage bag instead of an airtight container.

I can't image cookies hanging out around my house for 3 weeks though. They're usually gone within a day or two, but I do like to send treats to work with my husband for his coworkers.

Can you freeze Shortbread Cookies

Yes! You can either freeze the cookie dough or the baked cookie. They freeze well either way.

To freeze the cookie dough, wrap the disc of cookie dough in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Allow the cookie dough to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out.

If you would rather have the cookies already cut out, you can place the cut out cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until frozen.

Once the cookies are frozen, place them in a freezer container for up to 3 months. The dough is crumbly, so I don't recommend using a freezer bag.

To bake these cookies place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake as directed below. They may take an additional 1 to 3 minutes because they're frozen.

To freeze the baked cookies, stack them in a freezer container, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight for a slow defrost or on the counter at room temperature for a quicker thaw.

christmas cookie propped up against a glass of milk

Can you decorate Shortbread Cookies?

Yes! You can frost them, glaze them, drizzle chocolate on them and even add sprinkles into the dough.

Can I make these cookies ahead of time?

Yes! The dough can be made and store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

christmas tree cookies on a small white plate with a platter of cookies behind it and a glass of milk

Can you use margarine instead of butter for shortbread cookies?

I wouldn't recommend this substitution. Margarine contains more water than butter. The extra water will likely make your cookies spread more. The margarine also isn't going to provide that rich, dairy flavor that butter does.

When to put sprinkles on shortbread cookies?

Add the sprinkles in after you beat in the flour and before you press the dough together to form a disc. Add them to the dough and use your hands to work the sprinkles in.

glass bowl with shortbread cookies in it with a glass of milk behind it
image for recipe card showing an overhead of the cookies on a white plate

Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies only require 6 ingredients and are so buttery, crispy, and melt in your mouth.
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 22 cookies
Calories 137 kcal


  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Add in the butter, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium until combined.
  • Add the flour and salt. Beat until the flour is incorporated and continue to beat until the dough can be pinched together and hold its shape.
  • Divide the dough into two and shape each piece into a flat disc.
  • Wrap the two cookie dough discs individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough out to ½ inch to ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack or paper towel to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Calories: 137kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 100mgPotassium: 17mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 258IUCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg

(Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.)

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