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A stack of classic shortbread cookies on a wire rack tied with twine.
Classic Shortbread Cookies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Chilling Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

These classic shortbread cookies are tender, buttery squares perfect with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Simple to make and simply delicious!

Course: Cookies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Keyword: shortbread cookies
Servings: 36 cookies
Calories: 127 kcal
  • 12 oz unsalted butter, cold (3 sticks good quality butter)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups AP Flour
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

  2. Cut the butter into 1 inch chunks. Add the butter, salt, sugar, and scraped vanilla bean pulp (if using) to a food processor and pulse a few times just until combined.

  3. Add the flour and pulse just until dough begins to come together.

  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press together. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness (between 2 pieces of wax paper if desired). Use a 2 inch cookie cutter to cut out cookies (as closely as possible) and place on the lined trays, about an inch apart.

  5. Gather the scraps, press together and re-roll. Cut out remaining cookies. Use a fork to press three rows lightly into each cookie (9 dots). Chill cookies on sheets for at least 20 mins before baking.

  6. Bake the cookies for about 15 mins or until just golden and set. Cool on wire racks. Store for up to 3 days in a airtight container. 

Recipe Notes
  • Cold butter is key for that sandy, delicate classic shortbread texture.
  • Don't over-mix! A light hand means a light bite.
  • Play around with this recipe. Prefer thin and crispy cookies? Roll it thinner. Like a softer, denser texture? Roll it thicker.
  • Don't grease the pan for these cookies. Instead use parchment paper so the cookies won't stick or be greasy.
  • I love the fleck of scraped vanilla bean in this recipe. If you don't have vanilla bean, a tsp of vanilla extract will do or you can even leave it out altogether.
  • Don't over-bake! A light golden color and we're good to go!
Nutrition Facts
Classic Shortbread Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 127 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 65mg3%
Potassium 13mg0%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 235IU5%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.