This easy Shortbread Cookie recipe produces the most delicious shortbread you will ever have. It's hard to believe they can taste so good with only 5 ingredients including salt and vanilla!
Why you'll love this recipe
- They are super simple to make.
- They aren't too sweet. It's all about the butter!
- They last for weeks and also freeze well.
- They make perfect gifts. Just wrap in cellophane, tie with a ribbon and everyone is happy!
- You only need 5 ingredients.
- It only takes a few minutes to get them into the oven.
🥘Ingredients and Substitutes
Here's what you will need to make this recipe with substitutes where applicable.
- Unsalted butter - If using salted butter reduce salt in recipe to ¾ teaspoon.
- All purpose flour - Gluten free all purpose flour works as a straight swap.
- Kosher salt - if using regular or fine salt reduce amount to 1 teaspoon.
For the full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card below.
🔪How to make this recipe
Here's how this recipe comes together. For full instructions see the recipe card below.
- First, lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
2. In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream together the soft butter and sugar on high speed until it's light and fluffy. You can also do this with a hand mixer. Add the vanilla and mix on low until incorporated.
3. Next, with the machine off, add flour and salt and mix on low speed until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes together.
Then pat the dough into the pan using your fingers. Flatten it evenly. Cut into rectangles and then pierce with a fork. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cut and pierce again while the cookies are still hot. Let cool for 15 minutes then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
One of the best things about these shortbread cookies is how long they last. Not to mention they get better as they sit!
Store shortbread at room temperature, in an airtight container or tin, for 3 weeks or freeze for 6 months.
- Whip the butter and sugar well to incorporate air. This helps create a flaky texture.
- Pre-cut the pieces before baking so you can correct any cutting mistakes.
- Using unsalted butter allows you to control the salt. This recipe has a perfect balance of salty-sweetness when followed as written.
Frequently Asked Questions
One isn't necessarily better than the other but they will each produce entirely different results. Powdered sugar produces a softer texture while granulated sugar produces a more crisp texture. Granulated sugar is used in this recipe to create an old fashioned Scottish-type shortbread.
The word "short" is an old word used in baking that means crisp and crumbly as apposed to long and stringy (think bread dough). The word "bread" comes from "biscuit bread" which was made from leftover bread dough that was sweetened and dried out in the oven to make biscuits.
The holes allow the moisture to escape during baking and more even heat distribution. This helps dry out and crisp up the cookies.
Best Shortbread Cookies
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, soft
- ¾ cups sugar, granulated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, pure extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Using a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix on low until incorporated.
- Stop the machine and add the flour and salt. Mix on low just until the flour is incorporated and it comes together.
- Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Using your hands, press the cookie dough evenly into the pan. Cut into rectangles by dividing the pan into 24 pieces (8x3). Poke each piece, all the way through, with a fork 3 or 4 times.
- Bake in center of preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. The cookies should just be starting to turn golden brown around the edges.
- Remove from oven. Cut and poke holes again while still hot. Let cool for 15 minutes then remove from pan onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Shortbread can be stored in an airtight container or tin, on the counter, for several weeks and frozen in an airtight container for 6 months.
- Cutting the dough before baking allows for mistakes or correcting crooked lines. If you make a mistake simply use your fingers to “erase” the line and start again. Poking holes allows the moisture to escape for more even baking and crispier texture.