Shortbread Cookies are traditional Scottish biscuits with a buttery taste that have a soft and crumbly texture. Try my Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies for another cookie with a shortbread-like foundation.

Overhead of The Best Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread dates many many years to 12th century Scotland. Shortbreads were a delicacy at that time and were reserved for only special events. So what makes a shortbread? Butter. Shortbread actually started out like biscuit bread, but by adding in a large amount of butter the dish became crumbly. Back in the day, the term “short”, meant “crumbly” (a high proportion of fat to flour). I also have Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies you may want to try!

Process of Raw Shortbread Cookie Dough

Shortbread Cookies Ingredients

This recipe only has five ingredients, as I tried to stick to a more authentic shortbread cookie (which can turn more into a sugar cookie when you add vanilla, cream, or eggs).

Butter: I prefer using unsalted butter in this recipe. 2 sticks are just the right amount of butter to keep the cookie dough held together, but not too much to cause the cookies to lose shape in the oven. The butter should be cold.

All-purpose flour: Bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour works fine.

Cornstarch: Using 1/4 cup of cornstarch kept the cookies together, but still soft. You could also use 1/4 cup rice flour in place of cornstarch.

Superfine Sugar: Also known as caster sugar, the superfine crystals make a difference in this recipe. If you don’t have caster sugar, simply process granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds. (Granulated sugar causes the cookies to be too coarse and confectioners’ sugar will make the cookies too dry.)

Salt: Yes, it’s a little amount of salt, but it makes a big difference in flavor, so don’t leave it out! I prefer using kosher salt.

Adding Holes to Shortbread Cookies

How to Store

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. To freeze the cookies, let them cool completely before freezing them. Separate layers of cookies with freezer paper or wax paper so they don’t stick together. Freeze for up to 3 months, making sure to label and date the freezer-safe container.

Hand Holding Shortbread Cookie

Best Way to Use Shortbread Cookies

Pie crust, of course!! I use it in my Caramel Pie, Lemon Cream Cheese Pie, even my Peaches & Cream Pie! It also works well as a complement to desserts, like in my Strawberry Shortcake Cups.

Hand Holding Shortbread Cookie

Shortbread Pie Crust Recipe

  • 2 cups crushed shortbread cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 

Mix all shortbread crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl. After it is well combined, press into the bottom and barely up sides of an 8-inch pie plate. (Can use a 9-inch, the crust will be thinner) Set aside.

5 from 2 votes

Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 48 minutes
Cooling Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 23 minutes
Shortbread Cookies are traditional Scottish biscuits with a buttery taste that have a soft and crumbly texture.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 ¾ cup (219 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch
  • cup (150 g) superfine sugar, or caster sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt at low speed until combined (about 5 seconds).
  • Cut the cold butter into ½-inch cubes. Place the butter cubes in a small bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the flour mixture.
  • Add the floured butter (with any extra flour) to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low speed until the dough is a mixture of small crumbs (about 4 minutes).
  • Remove bowl from stand mixer and use your hands to toss the mixture and rub any remaining butter bits into the flour mixture.
  • Press the shortbread mixture firmly and evenly into the lined pan, smoothing it with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the top and edges are lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. (Leave the oven on for additional baking.)
  • After cooling, press a piece of parchment paper onto the shortbread. Cover the top with a sheet pan. Invert the shortbread upside down, and carefully lift off the pan, leaving the shortbread on the parchment paper on the sheet pan.
  • With a knife, slice the shortbread in half. Then, slice into fourths the other direction (giving you 8 rectangular cookies). Pierce a few holes on the top of each section with a toothpick, wooden skewer, or fork.
  • With the shortbread still on the parchment paper and baking sheet, bake an additional 8 minutes to firm up. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Hi Amanda, just came across your version of shortbread cookies which looks delicious. Will try it out this weekend, for sure.

    Looking at all your other recipes too, as I just discovered your site.


  2. Hi Amanda
    I am following you in FB and I am so happy with all your recipies. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hi Amanda! Love your recipes. I have made many and they all turn out delicious! On this shortbread cookie, is the total amount of flour 1 3/4 cup? Do you combine 1 1/2 cup flour in the mixer with the dry ingredients and hold back 1/4 cup to toss the butter cubes in?

    1. Hi, Bonnie! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. Use all of the flour when mixing with the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Then, use 1/4 cup of the flour mixture to toss with the cold butter cubes. I hope this answers your question. Have a wonderful day!

  4. Shortbread cookies are my favorite ones. I have a recipe that uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. They are delicious, but I try not to make them because I’d eat everyone of them.

    1. Hi, Lexy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We used unsalted butter. Have a wonderful day!

  5. when making the shortbread cookie pie crust do you bake it first? If so what is the oven temperature and how long to bake it

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