Delicious and Buttery: Classic Shortbread Recipe

Are you looking for a buttery yet crumbly treat to go with your cup of tea or coffee? Look no further because I’ve got the perfect recipe for you – Scottish Shortbread! As a baker, I can attest that this classic recipe is easy and fun to make. Plus, the ingredients are easy to find and affordable.

Shortbread was originally known as ‘biscuit bread’ in Scotland, traditionally served as a Christmas treat. Its heavenly aroma and melt-in-your-mouth texture will leave you craving for more. This recipe has been passed down from generations, each bringing its signature twist. In this recipe, I will share with you my take on this classic biscuit that’s perfect for those who have never tried it before.

I know it’s tempting to indulge in other sweet treats during the festive season, but trust me, once you try Scottish Shortbread, you’ll fall in love with its simplicity and deliciousness. So grab your apron, roll up your sleeves and let’s get baking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


Greetings, baking enthusiasts! If you’re a fan of buttery, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, then you’ve come to the right place. Allow me to introduce you to my all-time favorite cookie recipe — the Scottish shortbread.

Why will you love this recipe, you ask? Well, let me count the ways. Firstly, there’s nothing quite like the rich and creamy taste of butter mixed with just the right amount of sugar and flour. The simplicity of the ingredients elevates each individual flavor, while the texture of the cookie itself is pure heaven on your tongue.

Additionally, this is a recipe that can be easily customized to suit your preferences. Perhaps you want to add some finely chopped pistachios or dried fruit for a bit of texture and complexity? Or maybe you want to experiment with different extracts such as orange or lavender for an exciting twist on this classic dessert.

But what really makes this shortbread recipe stand out is its versatility. It’s perfect for a casual afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee or dressed up as an elegant dessert for a special occasion. It pairs beautifully with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or even drizzled dark chocolate for some added indulgence.

Not only is it delectable and flexible, but it’s also quick and easy to make. The ingredients list is simple and straightforward, requiring items you likely already have in your pantry (hello butter and sugar!). Plus, I’ve laid out clear step-by-step instructions so that even novice bakers can achieve delicious results.

So there you have it – reasons aplenty why this Scottish shortbread recipe should make its way into your baking repertoire. Trust me; it’s a crowd-pleaser that never fails to impress.

Ingredient List

 Delicate and buttery, try out a classic Shortbread recipe today.
Delicate and buttery, try out a classic Shortbread recipe today.

The shortbread recipe requires only a few basic ingredients to make a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cookie. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of these ingredients. It is the exact combination of these simple elements that creates the beautiful and delectable Scottish Shortbread. These ingredients are easy to find at any grocery store and can be adjusted and substituted in case of any dietary restrictions or allergies.

The Recipe How-To

 Shortbread is like a biscuit that met a pound of butter and fell in love.
Shortbread is like a biscuit that met a pound of butter and fell in love.

Now that we have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to get started with the recipe! Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make the melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies.

Preparing the Dough

  • First, we need to soften 1 cup of unsalted butter until it reaches room temperature. You can either leave it out on the counter for about an hour or put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar using an electric mixer set on medium speed until they are light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add in 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and a pinch of salt to the bowl, mixing well to combine all the ingredients.
  • To enhance the flavor of your shortbread cookies, you may also add 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, but this is optional.

Shaping the Cookies

  • Divide the dough into two balls and shape each one into a flat disk.
  • Wrap them in plastic wrap and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Baking Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  • After removing the dough from the refrigerator, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into about 1/4″-inch thickness.
  • Using a cookie cutter, cut out heart-shaped or any desired shapes among your options.
  • Arrange them slightly apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the edges.
  • Remove from oven and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Now you have perfectly baked shortbread cookies that are crunchy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth tender inside. Be sure to store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks or freeze them for up to three months. Don’t forget to try different variations such as adding chocolate chips or drizzling caramel sauce over the top of each cookie!

Substitutions and Variations

 A cup of tea and a plate of Shortbread biscuits, the perfect afternoon snack.
A cup of tea and a plate of Shortbread biscuits, the perfect afternoon snack.

One of the greatest things about baking is that you can always make a recipe your own. Here are some substitutions and variations to try on this shortbread recipe:

– Sugar: While granulated sugar is the main sweetener in this recipe, you could substitute it with brown sugar or confectioners’ sugar for a different flavor profile.

– Flour: For a gluten-free version, you can swap out all-purpose flour for rice flour or cornflour. However, keep in mind that the texture may vary slightly. If you want to experiment with different flavors, consider using whole wheat flour or almond flour.

– Butter: This recipe calls for unsalted butter, but if you only have salted on hand, simply omit the added salt from the ingredients. You could also use vegan butter or margarine if you’re looking to make these cookies dairy-free.

– Flavorings: The sky’s the limit when it comes to flavoring your shortbread cookies. Try adding citrus zest – such as lemon or orange – to the dough for a bright pop of flavor. Or consider incorporating dried lavender flowers, chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips or caramel bits into the dough for extra crunch and sweetness.

– Shapes and Sizes: You don’t have to stick to traditional round-shaped cookies. Get creative with heart-shaped cutters, butterfly shapes, stars or even alphabet letters for personalized treats.

Remember that making substitutions can impact the texture and taste of your cookies, so don’t be afraid to play around with different ingredients and see what works best for your preferences.

Serving and Pairing

 Shortbread is a remedy for everything, from a bad mood to a broken heart.
Shortbread is a remedy for everything, from a bad mood to a broken heart.

Ah, the moment of truth. We have finally arrived at the serving and pairing section of this shortbread recipe article. This is the part where we get to indulge in our homemade delicacy and let our taste buds do the talking.

Firstly, I must say that these buttery and melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies will leave you beyond satisfied. But who says we can’t have a bit of extra luxury? Here are a few ideas for how to serve and pair your shortbread:

1. Classic tea time – There’s no better way to enjoy a traditional Scottish shortbread recipe than with a cup of tea in hand. Brew yourself a pot of Earl Grey, Darjeeling or even English Breakfast, add a dash of milk and voila! You’ve got yourself a classic combination.

2. Ice cream sandwich – Why settle for plain vanilla when you can have it sandwiched between two buttery shortbread cookies? Trust me when I say that this combination will make you feel like you’re on cloud nine.

3. Chocolate drizzle – For all my chocolate lovers out there, try drizzling some melted chocolate over your shortbread cookies for that extra indulgence. Be sure to keep wiping those drool stains off your chin!

4. Whipped cream delight – Top your shortbread with whipped cream and some fresh fruit such as strawberries or cherries for a refreshingly light combination.

5. Caramel gooeyness – If you’re feeling particularly sinful, pour some caramel sauce over your shortbread and watch as it oozes into its crevices, creating a buttery-caramel explosion in your mouth.

No matter how you decide to serve and pair these delicious shortbread cookies, I suggest investing in some quality loose-leaf tea or a smooth cup of coffee to elevate your experience even further. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you later!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A simple combination of flour, sugar, and butter is all you need for the perfect Shortbread.
A simple combination of flour, sugar, and butter is all you need for the perfect Shortbread.

As a baker, I know how important it is to plan ahead when making your sweet treats. That’s why I’m here to provide some tips on making your shortbread recipe ahead of time, storing it properly and reheating it to perfection.

If you’re short on time, you can make the dough for your shortbread cookies up to two days in advance. Simply wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. For longer storage, freeze the cookie dough. When you’re ready to bake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Once your shortbread cookies are freshly baked, they’ll keep well at room temperature for up to a week if stored in an airtight container. You can also store them in the refrigerator for longer shelf life of up to 2-3 weeks. If you prefer, you can also freeze your shortbread cookies for longer storage of up to three months.

Reheating shortbread cookies is simple and can be done in just a few steps. If they’ve been sitting out and have lost some of their crispness, simply place them in a preheated oven at 350°F for a few minutes until they’re warmed through and crisp again. Another way to reheat your shortbread is by placing them over a cup of hot tea or coffee – this will gently heat the cookie without losing its delicate texture.

As always, be sure to label and date your storage containers so that you can keep track of when your shortbread cookies were made and stored. By following these tips and tricks, your delicious homemade shortbread cookies will maintain their melt-in-your-mouth texture even after being made ahead or stored for later enjoyment.

Tips for Perfect Results

 With just three ingredients, this Shortbread recipe is easy enough for any level baker.
With just three ingredients, this Shortbread recipe is easy enough for any level baker.

As a baker, I’ve learned that even the simplest of recipes can use a few tricks to make them exceptional. Here are some tips to help you achieve perfect results with your shortbread cookies:

1. Use room temperature butter: Make sure your butter is soft at room temperature before creaming it with sugar. Softened butter ensures that your dough comes together evenly.

2. Don’t over mix the dough: Over mixing the dough can make it tough and crumbly. Mix until just combined for tender and melt-in-your-mouth shortbread.

3. Chill the dough: Chilling the dough before baking helps the cookies to retain their shape during baking.

4. Use rice flour or cornstarch: Adding rice flour or cornstarch to the dough produces a tender texture that’s unique to shortbread cookies.

5. Cut into uniform shapes: For an even bake, cut your cookies into uniform shapes and thicknesses.

6. Watch the baking time: Shortbread cookies don’t need long in the oven; they should be pale golden in color when done. Check them at 12 minutes and adjust if necessary for your oven’s particular quirks.

7. Let them rest before dusting with sugar: After you take them out of the oven, let them rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

By following these tips, you’ll have perfectly baked shortbread cookies every time.


Before we delve into the FAQs, let me assure you that baking a perfect shortbread cookie doesn’t have to be an intimidating undertaking. I understand that you may have some concerns or queries regarding this recipe, but don’t worry. In the following section, I answer some commonly asked questions to help you achieve flawless results every time. So, if there’s something holding you back from trying out this recipe, read on for solutions to any problems or doubts you might be having!

What is the secret to good shortbread?

When making cookies, it’s important to use good quality butter. Whether you opt for name brand butter or a store brand, as long as it’s real butter, it’ll give your cookies the richness and flavor that is expected of a well-made cookie. In addition, it’s best to keep the ingredient list simple, opting for just a few high-quality ingredients. Remember that adding flavors such as vanilla, spices, or even nuts can easily take your cookie game to the next level. Keep in mind that the less you work with the dough, the better. It’s simply best to shape the dough and chill it before baking. Once the cookies are ready to go in the oven, bake them until they are perfectly golden. Finally, don’t forget those finishing touches that can make all the difference, like adding a drizzle of chocolate or a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

What is the difference between English shortbread and Scottish shortbread?

Scottish cookies differ from shortbread in terms of their ingredients, as they often contain more components such as baking powder and baking soda that help with leavening. This results in a distinctive crunchy and open composition that is less crumbly compared to that of a typical shortbread.

Should butter be soft or cold for shortbread?

When making shortbread, always ensure that the butter is at room temperature and soft enough to easily mix with the other ingredients. Avoid using melted butter as this can potentially ruin the dough texture, leading to a final product that is too tough. Overworking the dough can also lead to tough shortbread, which is certainly not what we want. So, let’s aim for soft, room temperature butter to make the perfect shortbread.

Should you chill shortbread dough before baking?

One of my secrets to achieving the best shortbread is to let the dough chill in the refrigerator before baking. Don’t be tempted to hurry to the oven; rather, give the dough enough time to cool off and solidify the butter. You can keep the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes or more, and it’s absolutely alright to leave it overnight as well. This process helps to firm the cookies and minimizes the incidence of spreading too much. As a result, you’ll have perfectly shaped and deliciously crunchy shortbread cookies.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a delectable and easy-to-make cookie, this shortbread recipe is the perfect choice. It boasts a timeless simplicity that has kept it a classic favorite for centuries. Once you take that first bite of the irresistible buttery flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, you’ll see why it stands the test of time.

With its minimal ingredient list and straightforward steps, this recipe can be easily adapted to suit different flavors and settings. Whether it’s for a family gathering or afternoon tea, these cookies are sure to please everyone’s taste buds.

So, gather your ingredients and get ready to embrace your inner baker! You won’t be disappointed in creating the perfect batch of shortbread. Treat yourself to the impeccable taste and enjoy the satisfaction that comes with indulging in something homemade. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different variations like adding chocolate chips or dipping them in caramel sauce.

In sum, this recipe is perfect for both seasoned bakers and novices alike who seek out flavor and simplicity without sacrificing results. Its versatility makes it an easy go-to dessert all year round. So go ahead, put on your apron and give this recipe a try; after all, nothing beats the appeal of homemade cookies!


Shortbread Recipe

Tartine Bakery, San Francisco, CA
No ratings yet
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: < 60 Mins, Bars, Cookie and Brownie, Dessert
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 60 two x 1/2 inch bars
Calories: 57.3kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, plus softened
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar or 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for topping


  • Preheat oven to 325°; butter a 10x6 inch glass baking dish.
  • Add butter to a mixing bowl—the butter must be very soft, the consistency of mayonnaise or whipped cream.
  • Add the salt to the butter and mix well with a wooden spoon or whisk sot that it dissolves completely before you add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Sift the flour and cornstarch together into a bowl.
  • Add the sugar to the butter and mix just until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix just until a smooth dough forms.
  • Pat the dough evenly into the prepared baking dish; the dough should be no more than 2/3 inch deep.
  • Bake until the top and bottom are lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
  • The middle of the shortbread should remain light; let cool on a wire rack until warm to touch.
  • Sprinkle the shortbread with the superfine sugar; tilt the dish so that the sugar fully and evenly coats the surface and then tip out the excess sugar.
  • With a very thin, sharp knife, cut the shortbread into rectangular fingers, about ½ inch wide and 2 inches long; if the cookies have become cold, they will not slice well, so they must still be warm to the touch at this point.
  • Chill thoroughly before removing from the baking dish; the first cookie is difficult to remove, but the rest should come out easily with the aid of a small, thin offset spatula.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 689g | Calories: 57.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.1g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 3.5g | Saturated Fat: 2.2g | Cholesterol: 9.2mg | Sodium: 20.1mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1.9g

Recommended Recipes Just For You