Classic shortbread is one of the most delicious and easiest recipes to make. Buttery and soft, classic shortbread will melt in your mouth!
Shortbread is one of the first things I remember making as a kid. Three simple ingredients. So easy, yet so delicious! Shortbread at its purest contains nothing but butter, flour, sugar and a pinch of salt.
This recipe comes from our Glaswegian neighbor who used confectioner’s sugar instead of granulated sugar.
The resulting shortbread is crisp and buttery, yet melts in your mouth. Shortbread is equally at home with a cup of tea as it is during holiday baking.
(This recipe for shortbread was originally published on January 10th, 2102. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.)
Short dough is the basis for many cookie recipes.
Want something a little richer?
How about Brown Sugar Walnut Shortbread?
I’ve also made a savory version, like this Rosemary Cheddar Shortbread!
Maybe it’s the Scottish blood, coursing through my veins, on both sides, that makes my pulse race at the sound of bagpipes. It makes my eyes tear when listening to Auld Lang Syne, making me weak in the knees hearing a Glaswegian man’s accent. So, not surprisingly, shortbread is my favorite of all cookies.
Cookie or Biscuit?
While Americans would consider a piece of shortbread a “cookie”, it’s considered a “biscuit” outside of the US. This can be confusing since Americans consider a “biscuit’ something similar to a British scone. There are cookies in Britain, like these, but they tend to be softer and filled. What ever you call Shortbread, I just call it delicious!
Making Classic Shortbread
Pat the shortbread into a sheet pan to get square sides.
Trim and pat excess pieces to get it as square as possible. You can also use a lightly floured rolling pin and roll to about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thickness. I usually make them somewhere in between.
Use a knife and cut into rectangles. Prick each rectangle three times. They don’t have to be perfect. Chilling the dough at this point makes it easier to remove the shortbread from the baking sheet, and also helps it keep its shape on a warm day, but it’s not necessary.
Transfer the shortbread onto a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet. After baking, dust with sanding sugar if desired.
Shortbread stays fresh in a tin for up to a week.
Some of the items used in this post are available here for your convenience, at no additional cost.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt don't use table salt or it will be too salty!
- 8 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar some recipes call for granulated sugar..some call for cornstarch. Confectioner's sugar is both mixed together
- 2 Tablespoons sanding sugar optional, for dusting on cooked shortbread
- Cream butter until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add sugar, scraping down sides.
- Mix flour and salt together. Add flour all at once, mix just until incorporated. Do not over-mix!
- Using your hands, pat into a cookie sheet, about 1/3" to 1/2" thick.
- Trim edges to make neat sides. Using a knife slice into rectangles about 2"x1 1/2". Prick with a fork three times on each rectangle. Put rectangles on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes at 325* F. The shortbread should be pale and light golden. Dust with sanding sugar if desired as soon as they are pulled from the oven.
- Makes about 3 dozen.
- if it's a particularly warm day, you might need to chill the dough for 15-20 minutes before baking.
- the quality of ingredients is important, use the best sweet cream butter you can afford.
- If you are using salted butter. DO NOT add additional salt. If you do not have kosher salt, which is less salty that regular salt, use less.