Easy Shortbread Cookies

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These easy shortbread cookies are only 3-ingredients, no crazy mixing or chilling required, and wonderfully buttery.

Shortbread cookies are a staple for so many people around the holiday season, but in Scotland, famous for its shortbread, they’re on the menu year-round!

In this recipe, you’ll only need 3-ingredients, no electric or stand mixer required, and it is one of the most low maintenance recipes you could ever make.

You’ll love using this as the base for more intricate desserts like Millionaire’s Shortbread, or just cutting up into slices and enjoying as is.

Ingredients for Shortbread Cookies

Seriously, the ingredients for shortbread are so simple.

No eggs, no baking soda or powder, just:

  • plain flour
  • butter, softened
  • sugar

How to Make Easy Shortbread Cookies

To make shortbread, first you want to grease a pan – it can be square or rectangle.

I used an 8 inch circle pan for these.

Make sure it’s super greased up with butter, or even better, line it with parchment paper so there’s no hope of anything stiking to the sides.

In one bowl, dump in your flour and sugar, and mix together.

Then, add your butter (room temperature, but not incredibly squishy) to your mixture and go at it with your hands, “rubbing in” the butter to the flour.

This technique basically means that you’re going to squeeze the butter into the dry mixture, and you will notice it working, even if it feels weird at first.

The shortbread dough is going to be pretty dry and crumbly, but once you get to the stage where you feel like it’s all mixed in and it looks a bit like large breadcrumbs, dump it out onto the counter.

Knead the dough together two or three times.

This is a technique that will help bring together a dry dough, have faith!

Put the dough into your pan and squish it all down until it’s evenly spread.

Using a fork, poke holes all over the shortbread dough.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden browned on top.

What Substitution Can I Make?

There aren’t too many ingredients to be able to substitute in shortbread as we’re not working with much as it is.

However, you can use vegan butter to make these vegan, and if you want to go gluten free, use a blended gluten free flour plus about a 1/2 tablespoon of xantham gum.

Why Do We Poke Fork Holes in It?

Using a fork to poke holes in shortbread is such a tested technique and creates that iconic shortbread look.

It has a practical purpose, too, though!

Because the dough is very dense, the holes allow it to bake more evenly and not puff up at the top.

How to Store These Cookies

You can store shortbread at room temperature for up to four weeks.

And THAT is why shortbread cookies are the easiest ever – talk about low maintenance and long returns!

If you want to try another recipe popular in the UK, check out these cornish fairing cookies!

Yield: 10 slices

Easy Shortbread Recipe

Easy Shortbread Recipe

This easy shortbread recipe makes authentic British shortbread with only 3 ingredients, no difficult techniques, no chiling, and all around fun!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour (250 grams)
  • 3/8 cup sugar (75 grams)
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (175 grams)

Instructions

    1. First you want to grease a pan - it can be square or rectangle. I used an 8 inch circle pan for these.
    2. Preheat the oven to 400 F (180 C)
    3. In one bowl, dump in your flour and sugar, and mix together.
    4. Then, add your butter (room temperature, but not incredibly squishy) to your mixture and go at it with your hands, "rubbing in" the butter to the flour. This technique basically means that you're going to squeeze the butter into the dry mixture, and you will notice it working, even if it feels weird at first.
    5. The shortbread dough is going to be pretty dry and crumbly, but once you get to the stage where you feel like it's all mixed in and it looks a bit like large breadcrumbs, dump it out onto the counter.
    6. Knead the dough together two or three times.
    7. Put the dough into your pan and squish it all down until it's evenly spread.
    8. Using a fork, poke holes all over the shortbread dough.
    9. Bake in the oven at 180 C (370 F) for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden browned on top.

Notes

1. You want the butter to be soft enough that you can leave a dent in it with your finger, but not so soft that your finger will smush right into it with no push back.

2. To measure flour in cups, make sure to spoon the flour into the cup and then level it off with a knife.

3. The recipe will feel very crumbly and unlike other cookie doughs, but keep kneading and it will come together.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g

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5 thoughts on “Easy Shortbread Cookies”

  1. I’m from Scotland and make tons of shortbread in fact at xmas I sell seventy some tins of shortbread at my church bazaar. First you don’t have to grease a pan there is so much butter in shortbread you don’t need it. Second you always beat sugar and butter together first. Then add the flour a bit at a time. We never call them cookies it’s just shortbread. I go thru anywhere from 18lbs of butter to 20lbs never use margarine.

  2. I just tried these and followed the recipe to a T! Taste like flour and water. I even bought Irish butter which I had used previously when I was in Scotland

    1. intothecookiejar

      Hi Stacy, how odd! I’ve tried this recipe multiple times – it’s our go-to shortbread recipe. It definitely doesn’t have a super strong flavor, but definitely not flour and water. Sorry you didn’t have great results!

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