Shortbread Cookies

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

4.88 from 32 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
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • 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.

Video

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About Kristyn

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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Comments:

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe reminded my kids of those packaged frosted cookies from Walmart that they love so much!! These are delicious and so very easy to make!! Definitely have a little milk handy, just a drizzle worked for me. I also added a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of baking powder. I didn’t have a press, so, I hand formed them. This one’s a keeper!!

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe today and I loved it! The cookies were delicious. Thank you for this recipe, Kristyn!

  2. 5 stars
    They are awesome!!!!!!!! I pulsed them up in my food processor and added 1/2 cup of finely chopped pistachio nuts. Best short bread cookies I have ever had. Thank you for this rescipe!

  3. 5 stars
    I”ve been looking for an easy recipe like this to make thanksgiving and holiday treats for the grandkids.thank you for posting this one

  4. Interesting to try it, but how many gram is 1 cup of butter? I am always confused with American measuring. Thank you.

    1. You would have to find a measurement converter on google. I don’t know the gram amounts, I’m sorry. Good luck!

  5. 5 stars
    These cookies are delicious. Because of gluten issues, we swapped regular flour for some pulverized pecan meal (couldn’t quite chop it up to a flour consistency) with some almond and chickpea flour.

    We also cut a half-cup of butter due to the natural pecan oil. but will add it back in next time. reminded us of pecan sandies when wewere kids!

  6. 5 stars
    Judging by the battter, I forward to enjoying a freshly made proper batch.

    Batter tasted good and instructions are very clear and simple.

    Sadly my first attempt I read 350degrees I assumed it was celcius (yes I did think it was high, but it was my first time making shortbread biscuits so I didnt question too deeply)

    Again, batter was yummy

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Kristyn,
    I have to admit, before I baked these cookies the dough was kinda yucky. It smelled strongly of vanilla extract and I had to hold my breath. But after it baked, voila, it was perfect! I could just smell the cookies from the kitchen. Delicious aroma. I couldn’t wait to eat them because of the smell. Biting into one of the cookies was like . . . heaven.
    Thank. You. So. Much!
    I’ll be sure to make these often.
    Thank you!
    Maya

  8. 5 stars
    Just the recipe I was looking for, started the batter and then found out my daughter broke my cookie press….. I was livid!!! So I pressed them out and used a heart shaped cookie cutter….it worked! Still mad about the press!!

  9. 5 stars
    Love this recipe and the way you wrote it up. Makes everything so much easier for us no so great bakers. Thank you

    1. You can still make them! 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.

  10. 1 star
    these sound great but in all the description not once is there quantities. how much flour? how much sugar? how much vanilla? how much butter? how much Milk?

    1. Hi Scott! If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, the recipe (including quantities) is listed. There’s also a tab at the top of the post that says “Jump to Recipe” that will take you to the measurements as well. Hope that’s helpful!

    1. I have never tried, but I imagine you could. The texture might be slightly different? You’ll have to let us know how they turn out if you do!

  11. 5 stars
    My husband loves Shortbread cookies. So glad you sent us this one. I love this too. I even like to put icing on them and decorate them. Your recipes are so yummy ❤️

  12. 5 stars
    Bought a cookie press to make these and the press was a dud and had to send it back. Ordered a second one and it arrived broken with cookie dough inside. I used a small glass to press and it worked fine. I used regular unsalted butter and not the European as was suggested. They were delicious! Ordered some pretty cookie stamps with the wooden handles. Now that I’d found the perfect recipe they could also be beautiful. This time I bought the fancy expensive European butter. The dough stuck like crazy to the little presses. Tried everything so finally decided to use the glass method. Stuck horribly to the glass. Chilled the dough, still stuck. I finally was able to get them all in some sort of ugly flat shape to bake. This time they tasted nothing like the first batch. Very bland. The only difference was the butter. I’ll make again because the first time they were so good but I’ll stick to regular Land O Lakes.