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These shortbread cookies are so easy to make with only 5 ingredients, melt in your mouth, and turn out beautiful every time. They are perfect to make cut out, pressed or stamped shortbread cookies.

shortbread cookies on white plate
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Easiest Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies are the perfect recipe to make when you’re wanting to whip up last minute Christmas cookies. They are so easy prepare and I bet you already have all the ingredients on hand. You don’t even need any eggs!

They have a rich buttery flavor and will literally melt in your mouth with each bite. They’re not overly sweet, but just sweet enough to do the trick. You can keep them plain, or customize the cookies with mix-in’s or toppings. They are so versatile.

Trust me, you need these traditional shortbread cookies on your Christmas dessert board this year. And you can’t host a cookie exchange without shortbread. It’s a classic cookie recipe that everyone loves!

slicing shortbread cookies

Sugar Cookies vs. Shortbread

Although the two contain similar ingredients, shortbread cookies are eggless and also contain more butter than your classic sugar cookies. This gives them a texture that’s more dense and firm, while sugar cookies are usually on the softer side. Sugar cookies also rise and spread a bit more than shortbread, giving them a bigger surface for decorating.

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

This shortbread cookie recipe starts with 5 simple ingredients: butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and flour. That’s it!

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the flour slowly and stir just until combined. Roll into a log and refrigerate.
  4. Slice the cookie dough into rectangles or stamp lightly into flour. I like to add holes with a toothpick on top.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.
shortbread cookies on pan

What is the Secret to Good Shortbread?

  • Make sure to use only real butter and vanilla in these shortbread cookies to get the best flavor.
  • Chill the dough for about an hour, or until it’s firm to touch. This helps the butter solidify, so that the cookies don’t spread while baking.
  • Bake them in the oven just until the bottoms are slightly golden. You don’t want to overcook these, unless you like crunchy shortbread cookies.
  • A little tip if using cookie stamps. Make sure to dip the stamp into flour BEFORE stamping (preferably after each stamp) to keep the dough from sticking.

Customize Your Cookies!

These shortbread cookies taste delicious plain, but could also be dressed up with frosting, glaze, lemon, a chocolate drizzle, nuts, chocolate chips or sprinkles. I love to double the recipe and make one batch plain and the other batch into cranberry orange shortbread cookies. They are so delicious!

Storing + Make Ahead

These cookies will stay fresh for up to 1 week in an airtight container or about 3 months in the freezer. You can also prepare the dough up to 1 week in advance. Shape into a log and then wrap tightly with saran wrap. Then store in the fridge until ready to bake.

shortbread cookies on plate

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shortbread cookies on plate

Shortbread Cookies

5 from 6 votes
Author: Jamielyn Nye
These shortbread cookies are so easy to make with only 5 ingredients, melt in your mouth, and turn out beautiful every time. They are perfect to make cut out, pressed or stamped shortbread cookies.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 18


  • 1 cup unsalted butter , 2 sticks at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar , or powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Whip the butter using an electric stand mixer on medium speed, until it is nice and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Slowly mix in the flour and stir just until combined and the dough is smooth.
    shortbread cookie dough in bowl
  • Shape the dough into a log, wrap with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
    shortbread dough log wrapped in plastic
  • Slice the cookie log into 1/4-1/2" thick cookies. Then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    slicing shortbread cookies
  • Use a toothpick to add holes on the top to create the look of a traditional shortbread cookie. You could also use a cookie stamp or keep plain if you'll be dipping in melted chocolate.
    pressing toothpicks into cookies
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are barely golden. You don’t want the tops or edges to brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.
    shortbread cookies on white plate


Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. 
Make ahead: This dough can be made up to a week in advance. Simply wrap the log in the wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

stamped shortbread cookies on a blue plate

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