Simple Shortbread Cookies

simple shortbread cookies

If there is one type of cookies that no one dislikes, I think it should be shortbread. Buttery, crumbly, simple. Almost no reason to not fall in love with shortbread. We always have a jar in our house because it takes no time to make, and the ingredients can’t be more basic: butter, sugar, vanilla and flour.

I like to keep one or two shortbread doughs in the freezer. When the mood comes, I will use it for cookies, pies, tarts or ice cream sandwiches. Versatility!

simple shortbread cookies

The shortbread cookie recipe here is very basic. Once you have the batter done, you can dress it up however you want. Add chocolate chips, lemon zest or herbs to your batter before baking. Or drizzle icing or dip your baked cookies into melted chocolate.

Ingredients (about 40 cookies):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt.
Cream butter and powdered sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
Gather dough and form a dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. I love these cookies and want to make them in advance for an event. What do you recommend for storage and shelf life?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Mandy, you can make the cookies, and freeze them before baking. When you are ready, just bake them frozen! For baked cookies, they are good in air tight container for 5 days.

  2. These cookies remind me of my mom’s cookies. Unfortunately, she lost the recipe which was on a Japanese cook book, but now I can bake with your recipe! Thank you so much! I will make checkerboard cookies this weekend.

  3. How to use dough to make a pie crust ?

    How much chocolate powder should I use to make chocolate shortbread ?

    1. Hi Camille, you can either press the dough evenly across a greased pie pan, or roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and line it on the pie pan. For chocolate shortbread, add two tablespoons cocoa powder with the flour mixture. :)

  4. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, Fanny! It’s perfect for my mother-in-law who is diabetic. It’s got just the right amount of sweetness in it that she wouldn’t have any trouble enjoying them. Thanks again! :D

  5. I made these last night and used a cookie mould. Easy to do and consistency for moulds was perfect. They just we’re not very sweet I wonder if I could use a little more vanilla or powdered sugar???? What do u think??

    1. Thanks, Linda. Yes, you can definitely put more sugar or vanilla if you want. Mine baked goods are always on the not too sweet side. :)

  6. Just made these tonite. They are very buttery and good. I’m putting them in the freezer till Thanksgiving because my husband has been all over them. I used a square wavy cookie cutter and put some coarse sugar on a few to try.

  7. Hi Fanny, shortbread is my favourite! I would like to try your recipe at home. But how much of butter does one stick actually mean? I have no idea at all. First time to bake cookies. Hope I’m not asking a silly question, haha. And thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Stacy, one stick of butter is 1/2 cup, 8 tablespoons, 4 ounces or 113 grams. Hope it helps! Happy baking! :)

  8. These look so amazing and just right thickness. I want some in my kitchen today, okay maybe over the weekend. But having livingroom & stair carpets shampooed and will be painting. Hmmmm… I will find a way. xo :)

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