Homemade Shortbread Cookies

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You’ll love these Homemade Shortbread Cookies! They melt in your mouth and are perfectly buttery and milky. You only need 3 ingredients for this buttery cookie recipe.

Shortbread Cookies on a platter with milk on the side

I love classic cookie recipes. Give me some Danish Butter Cookies or some Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I’ll be a happy girl!

Make It At Home

The first time I had classic shortbread cookies was at a family friend’s house. The cookies had the perfect mouth texture. They weren’t crumbly shortbread cookies, but it was clear that they were made with a classic shortbread recipe because of their incredible flavor and consistency. I wanted more… and more, but there wasn’t enough to go around.

So, I started searching for the best cookies in the stores because my taste buds were eager to enjoy some. The price at which they were sold could make me faint. I believed it was so much money just for “biscuits.”

But they taste really good and they are very rich so I understand but I couldn’t keep churning out all that money for delicious cookies. So, I had a good idea: I would find a way to make my own flavorful shortbread cookies. To bring my favorite cookies to life in my own kitchen.

I’m happy I created this base recipe for shortbread fingers because next time I crave these sweet treats, I can refer back to this easy shortbread cookie recipe (and you can, too)! So, what do these butter shortbread cookies entail? Let’s get into it!

Homemade Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

These milky, buttery cookies (did I already say that?) are just divine. I thought the recipe would include milk since they taste milky, but nope. The very present milky taste comes from the butter.

So, no milk is needed in this shortbread recipe. The butter makes it taste milky because butter is dairy. It isn’t too sweet, either, almost like a shortbread biscuit. If you love easy shortbread cookies, also check out these Lemon Shortbread Cookies.

Shortbread cookies with one bitten to reveal crumbly texture

Ingredients for Homemade Shortbread Cookies

You only need 3 main ingredients for homemade shortbread cookies. These are similar to Scottish shortbread cookies since you don’t need added leavening agents!

  1. Butter. You can use either salted or unsalted butter. If you choose to use salted butter, omit the salt from the recipe! European butter is also a fantastic option, as it has a high fat content. It is up to your personal preference.
  2. Sugar. This recipe calls for icing sugar (or confectioner’s sugar) instead of granulated sugar.
  3. Plain Flour. You can use all-purpose flour for this recipe. I have never tried this recipe with rice flour or other kinds, and I believe AP flour is best here.

Homemade Shortbread Cookies ingredients

How To Make Homemade Shortbread Cookies

This simple recipe is easy to make since you can make the dough by hand. However, you can make it in different ways: if you want to use a stand mixer, use a paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer, as long as you are careful not to overmix.

Prep the parchment-lined baking sheet: Line one large or two medium baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.

1: Set the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put room temperature butter and sugar in a large bowl.

1st Step - Homemade Shortbread Cookies

2: Cream together until well incorporated. (If using a mixer, use medium speed).

Creaming butter and sugar for shortbread cookies.

3: Sieve your flour into the mixing bowl. Then, add a pinch of salt. (If using an electric mixer, start with low speed then slowly increase it).

Adding flour to butter and sugar.

4: Mix together. The mixture will be slightly tough. Just try to get everything together.

Mixing Shortbread Cookie Dough

5: Now mold into a ball of dough.

Homemade Shortbread Cookies Dough

6: Wrap shortbread dough in a plastic wrap and try to form it into a rectangle as much as you can. It should be about half an inch thick.

Rolling out dough for homemade shortbread cookies.

7: Now place the dough in a fridge and let it cool for about 30 minutes. You need to do this so you can shape your cookies properly. Take it out and use a rolling pin to roll it out to about a quarter inch thick.

Tip: Leave the plastic wrap on while doing this so you don’t have to work on a lightly floured surface. Your work surface will remain clean with the plastic!

Rolled out dough for shortbread cookies.

8: Remove the plastic wrap and trim the edges to form a rectangle—or something in the form of a rectangle. Ha. With a sharp knife, cut out into little rectangles—about 2-4 inches long. If you have cookie cutters, you can use them to cut different shapes.

Cut out homemade shortbread cookies

Join together your trimmed edges to form a ball, roll it out, and cut out more cookies. Note that if your dough starts feeling melty (butter will melt fast if the atmosphere is warm), put it in the fridge to harden for a few minutes, then take it out and continue. You can also place the cookies in the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking if they feel too soft.

9: Place your cuts in a single layer on your prepared cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke each piece a couple of times.

Shortbread cookies ready to be baked.

10: Bake shortbread on the prepared baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown in color. The bake time can vary slightly depending on your oven.

Baked Shortbread Cookies

Note that your baked cookies will be slightly soft once they come out of the oven. But that’s okay. They will firm up as they cool down.

Avoid moving them around or off of the baking pan too soon while they are very hot so you don’t break them. Wait until they are firmer to place them on a wire rack.

Shortbread cookies on plate and platter served with milk


  • Decorate Them: You can decorate these cookies like you would sugar cookies! Make a delicious royal icing to create designs on them, or simply heat some chocolate chips and use the melted chocolate to do so.
  • Sugar: Before baking them, sprinkle on a small amount of brown sugar or coarse sugar for added sweetness and texture.
  • Jam: Bake these shortbread cookies with jam! Use a round cutter and put a small dollop of your favorite jam before baking for a fruity flavor.
  • Edible Flowers: If you can get ahold of small edible flowers, you can gently press them against the dough. First, apply egg whites with a pastry brush so the flowers will stick.
  • Sprinkles: Mix sprinkles directly into the dough or add them on top before baking, gently pressing them so that they don’t fall off during baking.

Expert Tips

  • These homemade shortbread cookies are great for any time of year, but especially for Christmas time, New Year, Valentine’s Day, or any celebration! Try making them during the holiday season and using them in cookie exchanges. These shortbread cookies also make great edible gifts!
  • There are lots of options in regard to how you can shape these cookies. Although I mentioned cutting them with knives or cutters, you can also create a log shape with the dough and slice the log to create uniform cookies. Or, use a cookie press to create pretty shapes!
  • If you want a deeper flavor, add a small amount of vanilla extract or another baking extract. Just remember that a little goes a long way!
  • If you don’t have icing sugar, you can make your own with granulated sugar and corn starch. Use a blender or food processor and mix the two until it forms the consistency of confectioners’ sugar. For every 1 cup of granulated sugar, you only need a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch.
  • You can also bake these cookies on a silicone mat instead of parchment paper.

If you would love to store some, be sure to keep the cookies in an airtight container so they don’t get bad. Check out the full printable recipe below!
homemade shortbread cookies on a serving tray

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the secret to making good shortbread?

A couple of helpful secrets when making this recipe are to not overmix the dough and make sure it is thoroughly chilled when you roll and bake it.

As mentioned, if it seems soft after rolling it, I suggest popping it back in the refrigerator to firm it up again. This prevents the cookies from spreading thinly and not keeping their shape. Another secret to amazing shortbread is having the right butter-to-flour ratio, but I already figured that out for you!

What is the difference between a butter cookie and a shortbread cookie?

Although they have a similar makeup, the ingredient ratios are different for these types of cookies. Butter cookies typically have more dry ingredients, so they are less tender than shortbread.

What is the mistake in making shortbread?

A huge mistake to avoid is overworking the dough because it affects the gluten structure in the flour. If you mix the dough for too long, the cookies will turn out tough and dense instead of having that pleasant buttery, tender texture.

Watch How to Make Homemade Shortbread Cookies

If you make this recipe for Homemade Shortbread Cookies, please take a moment to leave a star rating and comment below. I love hearing from you!

homemade shortbread cookies on a serving tray

Homemade Shortbread Cookies

5 from 4 votes
These Homemade Shortbread Cookies melt in your mouth when you try them. They are so milky and buttery, not overly sweet and easy to make at home. Only 4 ingredients needed for shortbread cookies!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 36 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (225g) it has to be butter and not margarine.
  • 2 cups flour (250g)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees Farenheit. Grease a baking tray or line with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Put room temperature butter and sugar in a bowl. Use a fork or wooden spoon to mix together until well combined.
  • Add in half of your flour and the salt. Mix together. The mixture will be very crumbly at this stage.
  • Add in the remaining flour and mix well. Use your hand to combine everything to form a ball of dough.
  • Wrap dough in a plastic wrap and try to form it into a rectangle as much as you can with your hand. It should be about half an inch thick.
  • Now place the dough in a fridge and let it cool for about 30 minutes. You need to do this so you can shape your cookies properly.  While the dough is in the fridge, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).Take out dough and roll with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick. Leave the plastic wrap on while doing this.
  • Now open the wrap then you cut the dough into rectangles. If you have a cookie cutter, you could just use it to cut to desired shapes.
  • Place your cuts on trays lined with parchment paper.
  • Use a fork to poke each piece a couple of times.
  • Now bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until light golden in color.


1. Note that your shortbread cookies will be slightly soft once they come out of the oven. But that’s okay. They will firm up as they cool down. Avoid moving them around while they are very hot so you don’t break them.
2. If you make your shortbread cookies in a hot environment, the dough might feel very soft due the butter melting. In that case, place the dough in the fridge for about 10 minutes to harden then you continue working with it. The cookies should be firm before you place them in the oven. This will prevent them from burning too quickly. If you notice they are soft, place them in the fridge for about 10 minutes then proceed with baking.
3. You could use salted butter instead of unsalted butter. If you choose to do so, omit the salt in this recipe.
4. The nutritional information here is per cookie.


Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 77
Tried this recipe?Mention @preciouscore or tag #PreciousCore!

*This recipe has been updated with new pictures, doubled measurements, nutritional information, and lots of tips.

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16, MSG)

About Precious

Welcome to my core! I am Precious Nkeih, the recipe developer and writer right here on my blog, Precious Core. My goal is to show you insanely delicious recipes you can replicate in your kitchen. And I love to tell stories too. Hope you find recipes here that will make cooking easier for you! Check me out on YouTube at YouTube.com/PreciousKitchen.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hie l love the shortbread now that l got the recipe l am definitely going to bake my own thank you

  2. You are doing a wonderful job sister Precious. Please I want to know if there is an additive that can be added to homemade shortbread biscuit to make it stay longer on the shelf. Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Benedicta, unfortunately you need to chill the dough so it remains rich and the shortbread is buttery as shortbread should be. You could try adding more flour so the dough easily binds together but I haven’t tried it that way before.

  3. Thanks a bunch Precious for this recipe. Definitely going to try it before the week runs out. Pls can I grease and dust the pan to use I head of lining with baking sheet?

  4. Thanks so much for the recipe. Please can i use granulated sugar as a substitute for icing sugar for in the shortbread cookies?

  5. Loving this, it’s quite easy but not tried it yet, please Presh, how can I bake this without oven cos I don’t have oven but need to bake this for birthday…. thanks