How to make quick and easy shortbread

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How to make quick and easy shortbread

Baking shortbread so that it comes out perfectly is a bit of an art. It requires just the right amount of each of its three main ingredients — butter, sugar, and flour — to produce its signature crumbling, buttery lightness that also stands up to the sturdiness test. Many things can affect the outcome of this biscuit, but there are a few tips for baking shortbread that will help ensure its success. Using real, unsalted butter that is slightly softened, adding a bit of rice or cornflour, chilling the dough, and baking at a low temperature will all help shortbread rise to perfection.

Always use real, unsalted butter — never a butter substitute. The fat in butter is what gives shortbread its crumbly texture. Grade AA is the highest quality butter and is preferred for baking shortbread. Soften the butter until it is pliable but not melted or greasy and mix it with the sugar until the two ingredients are light and fluffy. One of the keys to perfect shortbread lies in the temperature, so it is important that the butter is not warmer than room temperature.

A little bit of cornflour added to regular all-purpose or cake flour gives shortbread a melt-in-the-mouth quality. Rice flour is also used in some recipes to give shortbread a sandy texture, if that is preferred. Once the flours are mixed, add a pinch of salt to the mixture, sift the flour and salt together and fluff up the mixture with a fork so it will blend well with the butter and sugar. Combine all of the ingredients until the dough starts to form, being careful not to overwork the dough, as this will make the shortbread tough.

Chilling the shortbread dough for 15 minutes helps firm it up so the shortbread biscuits maintain their desired shape as they bake. After chilling, take the dough out of the refrigerator and, using a rolling pin, gently roll it out onto a flour-dusted wooden cutting board until it is 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) thick. Cut the dough into the desired shapes and place on a cool baking sheet. Poke each shape once with a fork and place the baking sheet into the oven.

A tip for baking shortbread to its perfect color and consistency is to bake the shortbread at a low temperature — 200°F (93.3°C). This allows the shortbread to bake long enough to cook all the way through without browning or burning. By doing this, the shortbread will keep its customary pale, almost white color.

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100g soft unsalted butter

175g fine whole wheat flour, well sifted

50g light muscavado sugar

Pre-heat oven 175°c/350°F and prepare a baking tray. Mix the sugar, salt and flour together then rub in the butter to make a crumbly mixture. Press into a mould or form into a disc, crimp the edge, mark into 8 wedges then prick the surface to prevent the shortbread from rising and bake for 25-30 minutes or till golden.

Real Scottish Shortbread Petticoat Tails

This is the name for the wonderful melt in the mouth, 8 segmented shortbread round that is usually served at New Year (Hogmany) celebrations with a wee dram.

125g cold grated unsalted butter

50g caster sugar

225g plain flour

50g fine semolina

Extra caster sugar & 1 tbl ground hazelnuts to decorate

Rub the butter into the caster sugar to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Sift the flour & semolina tighter then rub into the butter. Press the crumble mixture into a shortbread mould, then turn out onto a baking tray and prick the surface to prevent the shortbreads from rising – but if you don’t have one then press the mixture into an 8” tin making it as level as possible, mark into 8 segments (without going all the way through) then prick the surface well to prevent the shortbread from rising. Bake at gas mark 4/350°F/180°c for about 20-25 minutes or till just beginning to colour, remove from the oven & cool the whole tray on a wire rack (dust with the extra caster sugar and ground hazelnuts now or it will all fall off when you try to eat them – very messy !) and only remove from the tin when firm enough as it is a bit fragile when first removed from the tin. Store in an air tight tin, it will vanish very quickly.

I like shortbread, but the ones I make always burn and the ratios of the three ingredients is never in right proportion. nextcorrea January 5, 2013

If I add chocolate or nuts to my shortbread does it change the way I bake it? whiteplane 10 hours ago

Do you guys like to serve your shortbread plain or with some kind of topping? I know that it is traditional to serve it as it is, but I have had some delicious shortbreads that had frosting or icing on top. And if it tastes good, why not do it, right? chivebasil 22 hours ago

My mother was an expert at baking shortbread and around the holidays she would turn our family kitchen into what was basically a professional bakery for around two days.

She would bake up pounds and pounds of shortbread and give it all to all her friends, family and neighbors. I can’t even imagine how much butter she used. But everyone was glad to see her when she showed up with shortbread. It was like her calling card.

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How to make quick and easy shortbread

Shortbread is a type of crumbly, sweet cookie which is commonly produced in Scotland, a nation with which the dessert treat has become associated. These cookies are made all over the world, and often appear as a winter holiday treat in the United States. Dense, sweet, and highly rich, shortbread is adored by many consumers and bakers for its excellent and crisp flavor and ease of manufacture. It has been made since the 1700s, when butter as a cooking fat began to enter common use, especially in dairy-heavy areas like Scotland.

The name probably originates from the large amount of shortening used in the cookies. Traditionally, shortbread is made with three ingredients: butter, sugar, and flour. The cookies are generally made with one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts white flour. Thanks to health conscious consumers in the 20th century, shortbread made from a mixture of whole wheat and white flour can be found, as well as organic and low fat versions.

After the shortbread dough is made, it can be cooked in a number of forms. Many home cooks simply make rounds, resulting in round cookies which look quite attractive arranged on platters during the holiday season. Many commercial companies make large rounds which are cut into segments as soon as they are done cooking, resulting in an easily packaged cookie. Sometimes, shortbread is also made in large rectangular molds which are cut into fingers.

Shortbread dough holds shapes very well, and as a result is often patterned or decorated with stamps, forks, or other implements. The resulting cookie has an attractive pattern on the upper surface, with some companies having very distinctive crests or designs for their products. Some shortbread is also dipped in chocolate for an additionally rich touch.

After cooking, shortbread is a pale golden, crumbly cookie. When eaten plain, it can be very messy, and it is often dipped in tea or coffee to soften before consumption. The cookies taste very buttery, because of the large amount used to make them. Because shortbread is so firm, it is easily packed and frequently given out in tins or wrapped in decorative papers, especially at Christmas time. In addition to Scotland, Denmark is another major producer of these cookies.

To make shortbread, bakers can follow the traditional recipe of one part sugar to two parts butter to three parts flour, and bake the cookies at a low temperature on an ungreased sheet until they are a pale golden color. Low to medium baking temperatures are important to prevent the cookies from burning. If baking in large rounds, the cooks should be sure to cut them immediately after they are removed from the oven, before they become too brittle.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

How to make quick and easy shortbreadMary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

These super easy 3 ingredient butter cookies just might be my new favourite cookie to make. For Christmas or not. Why? Cuz they are literally that easy! With only Flour, butter and sugar you have an amazing soft, melt in your mouth cookie!

Not only that but these are so easy to decorate, IF you want to decorate that is!

So are you ready to make the easiest cookie of your life?

(P.S never did I say that these were healthy!)

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How to make 3 ingredient shortbread cookies

Since these really are so easy to make tihs won’t be long at all. These are also the perfect cookies for your aspiring baker to start with!

1.Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2.Cream together your sugar and butter until creamy. (If you want to add a little flavoring like almond or vanilla extract, do that now)

3.Then add in your flour. Mix until thoroughly combined. You can use your paddle on your mixer for this, BUT you’ll probably have to get in there with your hands to make it stick together.

4.Take 1-1.5 tbsps of dough and roll it into a ball, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or a silpat mat.

5.Take a glass and dip the bottom into sugar, then press the cookie ball down to flatten a little.

This is where you can add some sprinkles to the top of the cookie and press them in a little.

6.Bake for 10-12 minutes. You want the bottoms a golden color, and the edges JUST starting to brown. This will ensure that its still soft in the inside. If its hard/crispy throughout the whole cookie, its overbaked.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

Can I make these without butter?

You could use lard or shortening, or even margarine as a substitute, but you won’t get the same flavour or results as using real butter.

Flavoring you can add to the cookies

Want to spice up the cookies a little? Add in 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract. (I personally always add almond) or you can add the zest from a lemon or an orange.

Another idea, is to roll the cookie ball in a mixture of cinamon and sugar before flattening.

Does this recipe work for cut out cookies?

No, it doesn’t they won’t hold their shape! I use this recipe for my cut out cookies.

How to decorate the cookies with sprinkles

After you flatten the cookies you can drop in some sprinkles and push them in to the cookies a little, or after baking you can let them cool and frost! (then let the kids decorate with the sprinkles.

Decorating hack: roll the dough into a log. Roll the log into sprinkles. Then get a large piece of saran wrap and wrap the log tightly, and then gently roll to make the sprinkles stick. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then unwrap and cut into cookies! Bake as directed.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

Best frosting to use for these cookies

I like to use the traditional butter frosting with icing sugar when i do icing. Honestly though, I almost never ice because:

A) it takes extra time LOL and

B) my kids eat the cookies with the sprinkles way better, my kids are probably one of the few kids who don’t like frosting.

  • 1/3 cup butter softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • food coloring

Mix all ingredients together. If its too thick, add a little more milk. Then frost cooled cookies!

Recipe tips:

Cookie scoop: Getting a cookie scoop makes this process go much faster! Especially when you have little hand who want to roll the cookies, having these little scoops ensure that the cookies are all the same size.

Silpat mat: I love, love my silpat mats. Think of it like parchment paper, but on steroids, they work better, plus they are reusable! I bought mine a year ago and they are still going strong. They are non stick, plus the make whatever is on there bake more evenly.

Proper spacing: Make sure you are spacing them out enough! These cookies do spread some so you don’t want them to be to close to each other. (you can buy these silpats that actually have the spacing on them)

Cool properly: Make sure you cool them properly! Let them cool on the cookie sheet 10 min before moving them to a cooling rack and then make sure that they cool on there for another hour before storing them.

How to store baked cookies

You can place them in an airtight container on the counter for 3-5 days, or in the fridge for 2 weeks! You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

How to make sugar cookie dough ahead of time

Make your cookie dough as the recipe directs, then roll the dough into a log and wrap well in saran wrap, and place in a freezer-safe bag. Take out and defrost in the fridge 24 hours before baking. Slice the cookies and bake as directed.

Alternatively, you can also roll the dough into individual balls, and freeze them on a cookie sheet and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. Then defrost and flatten before baking.

Buttery, crumbly shortbread cookies, just like grandma used to make! Just 3 ingredients and 10 minutes is all you need to enjoy these cookies with a hot cup of tea.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

All I had the energy to do on Friday was bake a batch of this shortbread. It was definitely a sick day! I cuddled up with a cookie and a cup of pumpkin spice tea, grabbed a big blanket and my favorite chick flick. Along with a handful of cold medicine, it put me right back on track for the weekend… Until we decided it would be a lazy, minimally productive one, starting Saturday with a big feast of a brunch and a boat ride through Austin. No complaints here!

How to make quick and easy shortbread

To feel like I was getting at least one thing done, though, I checked this wonderful buttery, crumbly shortbread off my list… and I’m glad I did! It was so simple to make. I’m not usually a girl for roll-out cookies, either. They always turn awry – the dough is too soft, the end result is too floury and dense. Just, no good. But these! Oh, people.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

Three ingredients: Butter, sugar, flour (What’s better in this world anyway?), and 10 whoppin’ minutes. Roll ‘em out, cut ‘em up and you have Christmas cookie perfection ready to slide alongside a mug of hot tea.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

I know you have the ingredients (I’m psychic like that) and I knoowwww you have 10 minutes, so why not whip these up? A ball of dough gets ya roughly 15 cookies, so keep some for your morning cup and toss the rest over to your cookie lovin’ friends. They’ll pay you in smiles, I promise.

Bake up these crisp, buttery rounds of love and I bet you’ll see why it’s become my new go-to for a basic shortbread. You can also use this as the base for any recipe that calls for shortbread. I recommend rolling them out with powdered sugar, though, since additional flour can make them too dense… and I have experience with dense cookies!

How to make quick and easy shortbread

I love caramel shortcake, or millionaire’s shortbread. But there’s no denying that the traditional recipe can be a faff to make. Baking the shortbread base, attempting to make caramel that’s just the right consistency from sweetened condensed milk, and then topping with chocolate. Hence this cheat’s, no bake millionaire shortbread tiffin.

Why bother with all the baking and caramel making when these millionaire shortbread bars taste every bit as good? They are also made in minutes. Simply melt the chocolate, stir in the shortbread biscuit and fudge pieces, add sprinkles, then refrigerate. Done.

I’ve gone for fudge rather than caramel for a couple of reasons. Firstly, some of the best millionaires shortbread I’ve tasted has a fudge rather than caramel topping. Also, I use Rolos in my honeycomb tiffin, so I wanted to make this one more different from that. The sprinkles I used are Dr Oetker Glamour and Sparkle.

The first time I made these millionaire bars I was impressed with how like caramel shortbread it tasted. As well as how little time it took to make in comparison. Why bake millionaire shortbread when there’s this easy shortcut? The best millionaire shortbread recipes is a quick one, in my book. Admittedly you don’t have the usual layering going on. Both neither do you have to make a biscuit base, then a caramel layer, then top it all with chocolate. This all-in-one easy caramel shortbread does away with all that.

There are just 4 ingredients in this millionaire tiffin – shortbread, fudge, chocolate and sprinkles. As the last is optional, this is really just a 3 ingredient cheat’s millionaire shortbread. Various recipes I’ve seen include all sorts things – coconut oil, almond flour, maple syrup, coconut flour, brown sugar, golden syrup and even peanut butter. Why weigh, mix, bake and stir all that when this version has that classic taste we all know and love?


  • Chocolate, milk, dark or both, 400g
  • Shortcake biscuits, 200g
  • Fudge, 200g
  • Sprinkles, to decorate


  • Rectangular or square ceramic dish
  • Baking paper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board

How to make No Bake Millionaire Shortbread

  • Line a rectangular or square ceramic dish with baking parchment paper. This will stop the finished quick millionaire shortbread from sticking, making it far easier to remove.
  • Melt the chocolate. Break into squares first, then microwave in a large bowl for 30 seconds, then 20 or 10-second bursts until done, stirring each time.
  • Allow the chocolate to cool to around room temperature while you chop the biscuits and fudge into small pieces.
  • Stir in the shortcake and fudge pieces before the chocolate sets.
  • Press the mixture into the lined tray and add some sprinkles (I used Dr Oetker ‘Glamour & Sparkle’ mix), then refrigerate to set.
  • If you can, remove the tiffin from the fridge a while before cutting, so it can soften a little.

Note – This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy via these, I may earn a small fee. This has absolutely no effect on the price you pay. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to make quick and easy shortbreadPIN it!

How to make quick and easy shortbread

    Makes 25 45 minutes Difficulty Easy 4 Ingredients

so easy… so delicious !

Ingredients ( makes 25 )

  • 250 grams Butter- softened slightly
  • 2 tablespoons Rice flour
  • 1/3 cup Icing sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour


  1. Rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture comes together to form a dough
  2. Knead slightly on a floured board
  3. Roll to 1/2 cm thickness and cut into desired shapes with biscuit cutters
  4. place on to paper lined oven tray
  5. Bake in 170 degree oven for approx 25-30 minutes


A Traditional Christmas recipe in my family .. but good any time of the year really ! To make a little fancier , melt a little chocolate and drizzle over biscuits

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  • How to make quick and easy shortbread
  • ThisIsMe said
  • 10 Feb 2020
    12:54 pm

I LOVE shortbread! Never realised it was this easy to make..

  • How to make quick and easy shortbread
  • LCotte60 said
  • 26 Dec 2018
    9:02 pm

I made shortbread for the first time this week and the recipe while good, was heaps more complex. Wish I saw this sooner.

  • robyn_smithwick said
  • 24 Feb 2018
    4:59 pm

You cant beat a good, quick shortbread recipe.

  • MichelleKeene said
  • 23 Jan 2018
    11:25 am

I would love to make these with the kids, sounds easy! YUM!

  • mom103914 said
  • 17 Jan 2018
    8:03 am

This recipe makes it sound so easy, also basic ingredients that are generally in the cupboard. I am hosting an afternoon tea tomorrow will give them a try and see how they turn out.

  • mom81879 said
  • 04 Jan 2018
    6:58 pm

Basic ingredients, super easy to make, delicious and a drizzle of chocolate takes them to another level

  • How to make quick and easy shortbread
  • mom93821 replied
  • 30 Nov 2018 , 5:20 am

A drizzle of chocolate on biscuits and all baked goods makes me happy!

  • 03 Jan 2018
    1:51 pm

These look great, thanks for sharing your recipe I would like to try this

  • mom62527 said
  • 30 Dec 2017
    2:25 pm

I have always wanted to attempt making shortbread but have never gotten around to it. These do look very easy to make and delicious.

  • Shell24 said
  • 27 Dec 2017
    7:33 pm

We make shortbread every christmas. I’ll have to give these a go. The addition of some melted chocolate sounds delicious!

  • youngoldlady said
  • 21 Dec 2017
    6:21 pm

Love good shortbread biscuits in any form.

  • mom62624 said
  • 14 Dec 2017
    1:31 pm

Simple, delicious and great to make; thanks.

  • mom266216 said
  • 13 Dec 2017
    5:35 pm

Just thanku for sharing this recipe. I have tried this recipe over the weekend, and the result everyone liked it so much.

  • How to make quick and easy shortbread
  • Kymichelle said
  • 09 Dec 2017
    3:17 pm

Thank you – I cam here looking for a quick shortbread recipe and this is perfect. I love the addition of the chocolate – perfect for gifts!

  • taynik46 said
  • 07 Dec 2017
    6:46 am

what a great idea to decorate with just some simple choccy drizzle – makes them look very elegant – thank you for sharing – I think we will add these to our teacher gifts

  • 04 Dec 2017
    9:26 pm

I like the presentation from the chocolate drizzle and really enjoy a nice shortbread buiscut thanks a bunch

This easy recipe guarantees perfectly crumbly, buttery, melt-in-the-mouth vanilla shortbread cookies every single time. Requiring less than 45 minutes, it’s ideal for satisfying sneaky cookie cravings, or as a mid-week bake when you want something sweet and delicious, but are short on time.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

We’re going really basic today. We’re making quick vanilla shortbread cookies. I’m not being patronising. It’s highly likely you’ve made them before, and yes, they are really simple to make. But perhaps you’ve had problems with them being too crumbly or not crumbly enough or too dry or without the ‘snap’ or, or, or. What I’m getting at is that we shouldn’t underestimate how much can go wrong even with simple recipes. Which is why having a good basic recipe is so important and why you should definitely read on. Because this recipe ensures you get perfectly buttery, crumbly vanilla shortbread cookies that will melt in your mouth and can… also be used as air fresheners. Just put a cookie in each room and your house will smell a-h-mazing. Plus, you won’t have to leave the room when that sneaky cookie craving strikes. It’s a win-win situation, really.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

These quick vanilla shortbread cookies come out perfect every time. (I’m not just saying that. They really do.) We start by creaming together butter and sugar – because shortbread cookies have no baking powder or bicarbonate of soda, we need that little bit of airiness. Plus, it’s butter, and sugar, and together they make fluffy magic. We’re also putting in some vanilla extract because we can’t help ourselves and because you can never go wrong with vanilla.

It may be tempting to just dump the flour in and start mixing, but do sift it. Seriously, what did we just say about airiness? And you’ll be making it snow in your kitchen. Your inner child will squee in delight, just wait and see. A pinch of salt (to bring out all the flavours – it’s the abracadabra ingredient), and then mix mix mix until the cookie dough comes together in a ball. Don’t over-mix it: one word – gluten.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

I know people are often put off recipes because of the looooooooooong refrigeration periods for cookies. Now, refrigeration is important. But we’re totally OK with only 15 minutes – just enough time to have a nice cuppa (cup of tea, for the uninitiated… a.k.a. anyone non-British), and to ponder whether it’s shortbread cookies or shortbread biscuits. I never know. It’s probably another one of those British-American English conundrums made up only to confuse people. But shortbreads by any other name are just as yummy, so I’ll stick to calling them cookies, and you stick with whatever you like best. There, problem solved (or rather a non-problem not solved, but you know, we like non-problems, there are so terribly entertaining) – just in time to get the cookie dough out of the fridge.

How to make quick and easy shortbread

Next… well, you know the drill. We’ll roll out the dough and cut out pretty shapes. Stars, flowers, hearts, anything you want. Or you can be boring like me, and go with circles. And no matter what various conspiracy theories (are there conspiracy theories about cookies?) say, the pricking of the cookies is really is just for decorative purposes.

You can decide how much of a ‘snap’ you want the quick vanilla shortbread cookies to have by varying the baking time slightly – no more than by a minute or two either way. They are finished in 15 minutes, which means you can go from feeling like the cookie monster (Me. Needs. Cookie. Now. An hour ago. Me. Cookie.) to stuffing you face with warm cookies (again, like the cookie monster) in under 45 minutes. See – quick!

How to make quick and easy shortbread

Because this is a basic recipe (ahem, a good basic recipe), you can easily dress it up (as I’ve done previously with lemon thyme shortbread cookies). Chocolate chips? Cocoa powder? Lemon zest? Orange zest? Cinnamon? Peanut butter (because you don’t say no to peanut butter)? Yes, please. It may require slight tweaking, but if you use this recipe as your starting point, I’m certain it will turn out out-of-this-world delicious. And this is what good basic recipes are about. It’s about the comfort they give us in knowing that no matter what happened in our day, if we mix together butter, sugar and flour in the right way… all is well.

About the bake

What could be more perfect that a few bites of buttery homemade shortbread? The ideal accompaniment to a warm cup of tea or even a thoughtful gift to a friend or family. It’s no surprise that this recipe is one of the most popular on our site.

Find out below how to make our easy shortbread recipe.


  • Method
  • Ingredients
  • Reviews ( 20 )

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C, gas mark 4) and line an 8″ round tin.

Sift flour into a bowl with the sugar. Chop the butter into cubes and then add to the other ingredients.

Rub the butter into the flour and sugar with your finger tips. When the dough begin to form shape, add a few drops of vanilla extract.

Rubbing in butter and flour

Shape the dough into a round and then press into the tin, ensuring that all of the tin is evenly covered.

Chill the dough in the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the shortbread begins to brown on the top. When golden, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack before cutting into triangles.


  • 300g Allinson’s Plain White Flour


Recipe Reviews

First time my granddaughter made this and it turned out really well so easy to put together she enjoyed making it

Not a review but a question. Can you make the dough into individual round biscuits and what gas mark and how long to bake for

Yes that would work well, I would bake at the same temperature but check the biscuits after 10-12 minutes to see if they are cooked.
Happy Baking!