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Shortbread Cookies

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  • Prep 20 min
  • Total 40 min
  • Servings 24
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Can a cookie that’s so buttery tender and delicate really be only 3 ingredients? Yes, it can! This iconic shortbread cookie recipe magically mixes flour, sugar, and butter together for a not-to-sweet cookie that’s irresistible! Customizable for any holiday or occasion, you can change the shape or flavor, with our easy-to-follow tips.
Updated Dec 4, 2023
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What Are Shortbread Cookies?

Classic tender and buttery shortbread cookies are more dense and less sweet than most cookies. The dough was traditionally pressed into a round earthenware mold with a decoration carved into it. After being baked, the shortbread was turned out of the mold and cut into wedges.

How Do You Make Shortbread Cookies?

For the best shortbread cookies, be sure your butter is at room temperature but not so soft that any has melted. With our shortbread cookie recipe, sugar is mixed into softened butter first before adding the flour, to help the mixing go faster and easier. The dense dough is rolled and cut into shapes with a knife or cut with cookie cutters, so you don’t need to buy a special mold just to make these delicious, not-to-sweet cookies.

How Can I Customize Shortbread Cookies?

Try any of our flavorful stir-ins (see the Tips below) or change the shapes to fit the occasion by changing the shape you cut them in or the cookie cutters you use.


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
Make With
Gold Medal Flour


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir butter and 4 tablespoons of the sugar until well mixed. Stir in flour. (If dough is crumbly, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons more softened butter.)
  • 2
    Roll dough on lightly floured surface until 1/2 inch thick; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut into small shapes with knife or use cookie cutters. On ungreased cookie sheets, place shapes 1/2 inch apart.
  • 3
    Bake about 20 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Shortbread Wedges: Make dough as directed. On ungreased cookie sheet, pat dough into 8-inch round. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet on cooling rack. Using sharp knife, cut into 24 wedges.
  • tip 2
    Shortbread with Dried Fruit: Stir in 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries with the flour.
  • tip 3
    Ginger Shortbread: Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger with the flour.
  • tip 4
    Shortbread with Nuts: Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachio nuts or silvered almonds, toasted if desired, with the flour.
  • tip 5
    Toffee Shortbread: Stir in 1/2 cup toffee bits with the flour.
  • tip 6
    Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread: Heat 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon oil until mixture can be stirred smooth. Dip cookies; wipe excess on edge on bowl. Place on waxed paper to set.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the dough hard to mix?

Be sure your butter is room temperature (let it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes) before making our shortbread cookie recipe. This dough is stiffer than most rolled cookie doughs, so we have you mix the sugar into the butter before adding the flour. Follow our measuring guide to be sure you’re adding the right amount of flour.

Why do my shortbread cookies taste floury?

For the best shortbread cookies, it’s important to scoop and fill your measuring cup, rather than dipping your measuring cup into the flour. (See Tips for How to Measure Flour above). We’ve had many kitchen experts try dipping the measuring cup into the flour and then weighing it. The weight can range quite drastically—you can be a light measurer or a heavy measurer—and it really can impact your baking. By using the spooning method, you can more accurately and consistently measure flour. Shortbread cookies are not as sweet as most cookies. If you are not a fan of plain shortbread, try one of our delicious variations in the Tips section.


100 Calories, 6g Total Fat, 1g Protein, 11g Total Carbohydrate, 3g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Cookie
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
3 1/2g
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Shortbread cookies are now widely made year-round, but it started as just a Christmas cookie or Scottish New Years cookie. If you’re a shortbread fan, like we are, check out this shortbread recipe collection for loads more yummy ways to enjoy shortbread cookies.
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