A classic cookie with a simple blend of butter, sugar, and flour, these simple shortbread cookies have a crisp texture and a deliciously mild, buttery flavor.

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Top down view of decorated shortbread cookies, lined up in rows.

About Shortbread Cookies

Classicly simple and yet perfectly delicious, shortbread cookies are a baking staple. And thanks to their minimal ingredients, they’re great for both elaborate decorating and eating plain. They’re even a wonderful choice for pairing (and dunking!) in hot beverages.

What are shortbread cookies?

The best way to describe a shortbread cookie would be to say that they’re like a more rustic and dense sugar cookie. This is because while sugar cookies have many more ingredients that impact sweetness and texture (such as eggs or leveling agents) shortbread cookies have far fewer ingredients (typically just butter, sugar, and flour), leaving you with a more simplistic – yet still delicious – cookie.

Shortbread cookies are perfect for those seeking more crunch or less sweetness. However, a shortbread cookie doesn’t have to be plain; due to the reduced sweetness, shortbread is great for decorating as you can add multiple layers of chocolate and sugar without it overpowering the cookie.

Close up top down view of shortbread cookies arranged in rows.

Do you need to chill the dough?

This particular recipe calls for chilling the cookie dough for about 20 minutes.

I know it can be frustrating to put your baking on hold, but when it comes to cookies, chilling the dough is totally worth the impact it has on your baking.

The short explanation for chilling has to do with the butter. The firmer the butter is at the time of baking, the slower it will melt, which makes cookies less likely to spread while baking. So, as a general rule of thumb, chilling the dough will lead to more dense, fluffy cookies while not chilling will lead to flatter, chewier cookies. This is not always the case, though. Whether you need to chill depends largely on the amount of butter used AND the composition of the other ingredients.

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of chilling dough (with examples!) then check out this article: To Chill or not to Chill.

Holding a shortbread cookie up to the camera, with half of the cookie dipped in white chocolate and decorated with candy hearts.

What type of chocolate should you use?

There are many different brands of chocolate chips – even some made by popular candy companies – but from my experience, the best chocolate for decorating, baking, fudges, or truffles is Ghirardelli. It consistently performs well while baking, has a great texture (never chalky), and has a delicious flavor. This brand is a little more expensive, but trust me, you’ll appreciate the flavor and consistency you’ll get from the premium quality.

You can find their semi-sweet chocolate chipssemi-sweet chocolate bar, white chocolate bar, or white chocolate chips either in the bakery aisle of most grocery stores or you can buy it online.

How long are shortbread cookies good for?

Once prepared, cookies can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. However, shortbread cookies do begin to soften over time, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Two shortbread cookies slightly stacked, sitting on a piece of tissue paper for wrapping.

Can you freeze shortbread cookies?

Yes! You can totally freeze these cookies, but there’s a catch.

I can only recommend freezing the cookies before they’ve been decorated. Save the decorating for after the cookies have been thawed.

For best results, allow the baked and undecorated cookies to cool completely, then arrange them in a single layer (without touching) on a baking sheet or large plate. Freeze the cookies first, then once completely chilled, they can be transferred to a sealed container or freezer bag of your choice. If possible, separate layers of cookies with wax paper or parchment paper.

When stored correctly, baked cookies can be frozen for up to three months.

Notes & tips for shortbread cookies

  • If you’re doing a lot of holiday baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper.
  • Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie baking extravaganza!
  • For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to make by hand with a whisk.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled without needing to make any adjustments.
Side view of a stack of shortbread cookies.

More delicious cookie recipes

How to make shortbread cookies

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Step 2 – Drop mixer speed to low and blend in the dry ingredients to the batter, then mix until a soft dough forms.

Step 3 – Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, then flatten it into an oblong shape. Once done, wrap the flattened dough completely in plastic wrap.

Step 4 – Transfer the dough to the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.

Step 5 – Dust your work area, then bring out the dough and unwrap it. Flour up a rolling pin and roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. From there, flour your desired cookie cutters and cut out shapes in the dough. Once cut, transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or baking silicone mats. Continue flouring, rolling, and cutting the shortbread dough until all of it has been used.

Step 6 – Bake!

Step 7 – Once the cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate per the package instructions. Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate, then lay the cookies on a fresh piece of parchment paper to dry. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the wet candy with sprinkles.

Step 8 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Top down view of decorated shortbread cookies, lined up in rows.
5 from 2 votes

Shortbread Cookies

45 mins prep + 10 mins cook + 20 mins Chilling Time
128 kcal
Yields: 24 cookies
A classic cookie with a simple blend of butter, sugar, and flour, these simple shortbread cookies have a crisp texture and a deliciously mild, buttery flavor.

Ingredients 

Instructions

  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
    3/4 cup salted butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Drop mixer speed to low and quickly scoop in flour, adding about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time. Once added, continue to mix until dry ingredients first appear to be incorporated; be careful not to overmix.
    1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Turn off mixer and lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Gather dough in your hands and form it into a loose ball. Place dough ball on plastic wrap, then use your hands to mold the dough into a flat oval shape. Completely wrap the flattened dough with plastic wrap (use another piece if necessary).
  • Chill dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, then set aside.
  • To cut cookies, prepare your work surface by dusting it with flour. Also coat your hands, cookie cutters, and rolling pin with flour, and set a bowl of flour nearby in case the dough begins to stick. When ready to work dough, unwrap dough from plastic and place on your work area. Lightly dust the top side of dough with flour. Use the rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, then cut the dough with your floured cookie cutters. Arranged cut cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. When you have cut all the cookies you can from a roll of dough, collect the scraps, flour your surface and tools, and roll dough out again. If dough ever becomes too soft, repeat the step of flattening and wrapping it in plastic wrap and place it back in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes. Repeat this step until all the dough is used or cookie sheets are full.
  • Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies begin to turn a light golden color. If baking two cookie sheets at once, rotate baking sheets halfway through cooking time.
  • Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • While cookies cool, place semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate microwave-safe bowls. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power, then stir. Continue to heat for 15 second intervals, mixing in between, until all chocolate has completely melted.
    1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • Lay out a piece of parchment paper. Dip cooled cookies in melted chocolate in decorative patterns, shake off any excess, then place coated shortbread cookie on the parchment paper. While chocolate is still wet, decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Repeat this step until all the cookies has been coated.
    sprinkles
  • Allow chocolate coating to cool and harden completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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