Easy Shortbread Cookies only have three ingredients and require just a few minutes of prep time. You will love how they melt in your mouth!
Shortbread is a unique texture that’s so crumbly and flaky – perfect for dunking in Hot Chocolate. If you love these Easy Shortbread Cookies, try our pressed Shortbread Cookies or Butter Cookies!
3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
Homemade Shortbread Cookies are rich and buttery, but not overly sweet.
This recipe is pretty basic (and only requires THREE ingredients!!), but I am sharing a few tips to help ensure that it turns out perfectly every time.
Easy Shortbread Cookies aka “shortbread” may have received their name because of their “short” list of ingredients. Just butter, sugar, and flour!
They have a higher butter to flour ratio than sugar cookies or butter cookies. They are also denser than a Sugar Cookie, but more crumbly than a Butter Cookie.
Melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread Cookies originated in Scotland and it is customary to serve them on special occasions. They make great Christmas cookies and are traditionally served to welcome in the New Year!
Making simple Shortbread Cookies
WET INGREDIENTS. In a medium bowl, cream butter until soft and creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
DRY INGREDIENTS. Stir in flour until the mixture is well combined; press the dough together to form a ball.
SHAPE. Flatten the dough and place it in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, close the bag tightly. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough 1/4″ thick inside the bag. It will form a perfect square inside the bag!
Carefully cut away the sides of the bag. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into rectangular shapes.
CHILL. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets about an inch apart. Place pans of cookie dough in the refrigerator.
BAKE. While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes until the bottom edges are barely light brown.
ENJOY! Let cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove to cooling racks. If desired, drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate.
Let your cookies cool completely (at least a couple of hours if you can) before eating them. Unlike a freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookie, these Shortbread Cookies do NOT taste the best straight out of the oven!
Powdered sugar. It’s all about texture with these Shortbread Cookies! Powdered sugar combined with butter makes the perfectly crumbly and flaky texture that melts in your mouth.
Regular sugar is too grainy, and brown sugar is for chewiness, which isn’t what we want.
Butter. Use real butter in this recipe, using anything else will not give the same texture or buttery flavor.
Flavor. For a little variety, add some spices to the dough such as cinnamon or nutmeg. Or add in a splash of vanilla extract or lemon or orange zest for extra flavor.
Decorate. We like Shortbread Cookies best drizzled with a bit of chocolate, and of course, it is always fun to add some festive sprinkles for the different holidays or even top with a few mini chocolate chips!
Crumbly dough. Shortbread dough is typically a little dry and crumbly, but if the dough is too crumbly, add just a little more butter until it reaches the desired consistency.
Shaped cookies. Instead of rolling out the dough and cutting it, use a cookie press or roll and shape with a cookie cutter. Chill the dough on the pan in the fridge for 15 min before baking.
Spreading cookies. If cookies spread in the oven, it means the butter in the dough was too warm. It’s important to keep the cookies in the fridge while the oven is preheating (at least 10-15 minutes).
STORE. Cool Easy Shortbread Cookies on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
FREEZE cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag for 2 months.
Make ahead of time. Premade easy Shortbread Cookies dough can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic followed by aluminum foil for up to 3 months before baking.
Just keep in mind that once the dough is thawed it shouldn’t be frozen again.
For more holiday cookies, try:
- Peppermint Meltaways
- Italian Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
- Butter Cookies
- Christmas Snickerdoodles
- Spritz Cookies
Easy Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups salted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Beat butter until soft and creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
- Stir in flour until the mixture is well combined; press the dough together to form a ball.
- Flatten the dough and place it in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, close the bag tightly. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough 1/4" thick inside the bag. It will form a perfect square inside the bag!
- Carefully cut away the sides of the bag. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into rectangle shapes.
- Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets about an inch apart. Place pans in the refrigerator.
- While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes or till the bottom edges are barely turning light brown.
- Let cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove to cooling racks.
- If desired, drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate.
UNIQUE TASTE AND TEXTURE!
Thank you for stopping by!
What steps to take if the dough does not form a ball? Do you add any water?
You might need to or a little milk. You don’t really need to roll into a ball. Just mix well & roll.
Easy to follow recipe, excellent cookies!
Glad you think so 🙂 Thank you!
I love this recipe and will make it next week@
Yay!! Enjoy & thank you!
I hope my cookies turn out sometimes my cookies are like flat saucers once it was because I forgot the eggs and the other not sure
I hope they turn out as well!
Can the cookie dough be refrigerated while still in the ziplock bag then be cut? Thanks
Yes it can. You may not need to chill it as long (or even at all) after you cut them.
While this recipe is amazing (and easy to make / few ingredients recipes are just perfect for quarantining times), I got wondering about the fact that the cuisine is listed as American. Shouldn’t it be Scottish, or at least British? Is there any substantial difference between this and the original? Thank you very much!
I don’t know how much of a difference there is between this recipe and the original because there are so many different original recipes floating around. One of the recipes does trace back to the days of Mary, Queen of Scots from the mid-16th century. It has been said that Mary was very fond of Petticoat Tails which is a thin, crisp, buttery shortbread that was originally flavored with caraway seeds.
Beat I ever had and so easy to make.
Thank you! I’m so glad that you enjoyed them!
I see in the pictures that you have pierced the top of the shortbread with a fork. Is that necessary and what does it do for the shortbread?
I love shortbread cookies! The recipe was easy enough and fun to do. Happy to have this recipe on this site! Thank you.
These are so soft & buttery!! Making them this week for a cookie exchange I am going to!
Using the ziplock bag to get a perfect shape was a fun baking hack to learn. Also, to answer a previous question- poking holes in the shortbread helps moisture to escape evenly from the cookie and help the cookies bake evenly throughout.
Very crumbly. However if u continue to press together with warm hands it will come together enough to place in zip bag. The warmth of your hands continues to soften the butter. We will be serving these with sherbert for a gathering of 8. Just the right taste mixture . This recipe reminds me of cheese straws with added chili powder and no powered sugar. I used a skewer to add heart shaped and crosses to the tops.
I haven’t made them yet. We don’t have salted butter, can unsalted be used? Would I add salt?
Yes, you could use unsalted & maybe add a little pinch. I haven’t personally tried, so I would just start with a small amount. Maybe a 1/4 tsp.