Shortbread Cookies

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What’s not to love about these delicious and buttery shortbread cookies that just melt in your mouth? It only takes a small handful of common ingredients!

We have a recipe for super Easy 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies that we love for simplicity sake, but this recipe for a more classic version is top notch! If you like the subtle flavor and crumbly texture of these, you may also like our Butter Cookies.

Pile of shortbread cookies on a white plate

Best Shortbread Cookies!

Aren’t shortbread cookies the best? I love the flavor of shortbread cookies—buttery, crunchy, and melt-in-your-mouth amazing. It’s one of the simplest cookie recipes and so great to make for any reason!

Something about these shortbread cookies is so comforting. They are perfect for packing up in a bag or cookie tin and delivering to a friend or neighbor in need of a pick-me-up. The flavor is subtle but so tasty which makes it great for kids and adults alike!

I personally love using a cookie press to get beautiful designs for these yummy bites of heaven, although you don’t need a cookie press to make these—see my tips below!

Cookie press used to make homemade shortbread cookies

No Cookie Press?

If you do not have a cookie press you can still make these cookies. Here are a few easy alternatives:

  • Smooth top cookie: roll into a log and use a sharp knife to slice even circles
  • Use a cookie cutter: roll the dough out on top of a piece of parchment/wax paper. To keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, place a second piece of paper over the top of the dough. Roll to about ¼ inch thick, then use a cookie cutter to make your shape. A scalloped cookie cutter is particularly pretty. 
  • Pipe a design: Use a large piping tip. Put the dough in the bag and pipe it out in a circular motion. Make the size and shape as uniform as possible. 

Placing shortbread cookies on a baking sheet with a cookie press

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

PREP. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

DOUGH. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Add milk as needed until the dough reaches the consistency of play dough.

PRESS & BAKE. Scoop the dough into a cookie press. Hold the cookie press down on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet, and press to form the cookies. Bake 10-12 minutes, until very lightly golden on the bottom. Make sure you do not over bake these!

Tips/Notes: Make sure the baking sheet is not greased or lined, or the cookies won’t stick to the baking sheet when they’re pushed through the cookie press. The dough needs to be about the consistency of play dough so it’s easy to press through the cookie press. I had to add a few tablespoons of milk to make my dough moist enough to press.

Variations: The beauty of shortbread cookies is their simple elegance. The intricate design that a cookie press makes is all that’s needed. If you do wish to decorate them, add a sprinkle of white sugar or colored sugar sprinkles before baking. If you have any smooth top cookies you can add a drizzle of chocolate or dip a cookie halfway.  

Best shortbread cookies on a baking sheet

Baking Tips + STORING INFO

Tips: Shortbread cookies should snap when broken in half and melt in your mouth.

  • My cookies spread and the design was ruined:  Often the culprit behind this happening is that the butter being too warm. You want softened butter that is still cool. If you feel the dough has warmed too much chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before baking. 
  • Chewy: used too much sugar or over worked the gluten. Also, do not use brown sugar as the molasses will give a too soft texture. 
  • Use high end butter like unsalted European butter. It has a higher milk fat content than other butter leaving these buttery shortbread cookies with the best flavor.

Storage: These shortbread cookies store wonderfully. You can keep them in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. You can also freeze them for 2-3  months. 

A stack of classic shortbread cookies next to a glass of milk

Who wouldn’t love a batch of these shortbread cookies?? I hope you love them as much as we do.

For more cookie recipes, check out:

Shortbread Cookie Recipe

5 from 7 votes

What's not to love about these delicious and buttery shortbread cookies that just melt in your mouth? It only takes a small handful of common ingredients!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 48 cookies
Calories 123 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk as needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Add milk as needed until the dough reaches the consistency of play dough.
  2. Scoop the dough into a cookie press. Hold the cookie press down on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet, and press to form the cookies. Bake 10-12 minutes, until very lightly golden on the bottom.

Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative – from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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