What are Shortbread Cookies?

This very simple, crisp, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie is made with only five ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry! When properly refrigerated, the cookies last for weeks, and the dough may be made ahead of time for quick treats! Cookies with a shortbread crust aren’t just for the holidays! These delectable, sweet snacks have a crisp texture that melts on your lips. They may be the ideal accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea, but be warned: if you prepare a batch, you will be munching on them all day!

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are a Christmas classic; there isn’t a single person who doesn’t enjoy them. They’re excellent for Christmas, but they’re also great all year because they’re so easy to make, and they go great with a cup of coffee or tea!

Shortbread Cookies Nutrition Facts

short bread cookies nutrition facts

What are Shortbread Cookies?

A traditional Scottish biscuit made with one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three to four parts plain wheat flour is known as Shortbread or shortie. Unlike many other biscuits and baked foods, Shortbread does not contain leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. Shortbread is widely connected with Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland, and several Scottish brands are exported worldwide.


Shortbread was first made in medieval Scotland (where cookies are known as biscuits). Scottish Shortbread originates from medieval biscuit bread, a twice-baked, enriched bread roll coated with sugar and spices and hardened like a rusk, according to EnglishTeaStore.com. Shortbread was created when butter was substituted for yeast.

In the Beginning

Shortbread may have been manufactured as early as the 12th century. However, it is frequently credited to Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) in the 16th century for its development (or at least the refinement to its modern form). She had a team of French chefs who had the time, energy, and ingredients to perfect the recipes (more on that later). Shortbread recipes first appeared in cookbooks during the time, though their origins sometimes predate the earliest print reference by several years. Because tea did not reach England until September of 1658, neither Queen Mary nor her cousin Queen Elizabeth I [1533-1603] was able to enjoy their Shortbread with tea.)

Although herbal infusions have been around since man could boil water, and there was hot cider and hot spiced wine, it may be difficult for modern people to fathom a world without a comfortable hot cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. While the Shortbread is traditionally eaten with tea (and, of course, coffee, milk, and hot chocolate), it is equally delicious with wine, Champagne, ice cream, sorbet, puddings, fruit, and other sweets.

7 Shortbread Cookie Variations

Here are the seven shortbread cookie variations you can try:
  1. Semolina shortbread: Swap some of the all-purpose flour for semolina, yielding a grainier cookie.
  2. Smooth Shortbread: Substitute some of the all-purpose flour with rice flour, or add cornstarch to a basic shortbread recipe to produce a smooth-textured cookie.
  3. Millionaire shortbread: Top a shortbread cookie base with caramel and melted chocolate to make decadent millionaire shortbread.
  4. Oatmeal shortbread: Fold rolled oats into your shortbread dough for texture and a rustic look.
  5. Chocolate chip shortbread: Fold chocolate chips into the cookie dough for added sweetness.
  6. Spiced Shortbread: Some of the earliest shortbread recipes featured spices like caraway seeds. Try adding fennel seeds, coriander seeds, pink peppercorns, or fresh rosemary to your Shortbread.
  7. Vanilla Shortbread: Work scraped vanilla beans into the sugar before mixing the dough, or add a little bit of vanilla extract with the wet ingredients to make vanilla Shortbread.

Why is Shortbread Called Shortbread?

Shortbread gets its name from the typical sugar-to-butter ratio of one part sugar to two parts butter, which gives the dough a high-fat content. Like shortcrust pastry, this results in a delicate, buttery crumb that melts in your mouth. This proportion is also one of the reasons why Shortbread is so addictive.

Shortbread, a traditional Scottish biscuit, is served on special occasions and hasn’t altered much since its inception in the Middle Ages. When you eat or bake classic Shortbread, you’re essentially eating or baking the same buttery delights that the Scots ate hundreds of years ago.

Shortbread is still given to loved ones on Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year’s celebration. When the clock strikes midnight, people rush out onto the streets for the first time of the new year to visit friends and relatives. It’s usual to give the homeowner a box of Shortbread to wish them luck (and a bottle of whisky for good measure).

What is the Difference Between Shortbread and Sugar Cookies?

Because of their perfect sweetness and pleasing crispness, shortbread and sugar cookies are sometimes mistaken for one another. Ingredients, flavor, texture, and customary decorations are all different.


Eggs, vanilla, salt, and a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda are common ingredients in sugar cookies. Sugar, butter, flour, and sometimes vanilla are the only four components in traditional Shortbread.


Shortbread and sugar cookies are frequently cooled before rolling out and cutting with cookie cutters. On the other hand, Sugar cookies can be prepared in the style of a drop cookie without having to be rolled out.

Texture and Taste

A sugar cookie is nearly always thinner and denser than Shortbread, and it also has additional butter, which gives it a deeper flavor.

Baking Time

Although the baking periods are similar, Shortbread is frequently baked for 2 to 5 minutes longer than sugar cookies.


Because of its rich flavor, Shortbread is normally eaten pure and unadorned, whereas bakers frost and decorate sugar cookies with sprinkles or granulated sugar.

What do Shortbread Cookies Taste Like?

Shortbread Cookies

The flavor of Shortbread is buttery and gently sweet, and they don’t have a lot of sugar in them. Sugar cookies are a good alternative to shortbread biscuits if you like your cookies really sweet.
Because there are so few ingredients in Shortbread, you can’t afford to scrimp; top-quality butter and sugar, in large quantities, are required. Rice flour gives it a unique sandy texture that distinguishes it from other biscuits, and a dash of salt balances out the rich, wonderful sweetness.
The secret to superb Shortbread is to bake it slowly until it is pale yellow and cooked through – if it is overbaked or baked too quickly, the ‘burned’ butter will make it slightly harsh in flavor.

Steps to Follow

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving plenty of overhangs.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
  4. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly with some large pieces of butter remaining.
  5. Add the egg yolks, and pulse a few more times to incorporate.
  6. Transfer the shortbread mixture to the prepared pan and press down into an even layer, using your hands or a measuring cup.
  7. Using a fork, poke holes across the surface.
  8. Alternatively, on a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 2-inch-thick disc.
  9. Cut the disc into wedges, like a pizza, or use a cookie cutter to cut out circles or other simple shapes. (The crumbly dough isn’t suited to complicated shapes.)
  10. Transfer the cookies to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown, about 25–30 minutes.
  12. Remove the pan or cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool to room temperature in the pan.
  13. When completely cool, gently use the parchment paper to lift the layers out of the pan.
  14. Use a serrated knife to cut the Shortbread into 25 equal squares.
  15. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

How to Store Shortbread Cookies?

Shortbread may appear simple, but it’s easy to fall in love with its delicately sweet, buttery flavor and crisp texture. It’s produced from butter, sugar, and flour in its most basic form. A cherry garnish, orange or maple flavor, or a sweet chocolate coating are all options. Shortbread can be kept at room temperature for about a week or frozen for three to four weeks in an airtight container.

Room Temperature Storage

After baking, allow cookies to cool fully. (If you put the cookies in an airtight container while they’re still warm, they’ll go mushy.) Wax paper should be used to line an airtight container.
Place the cooled cookies on the wax paper in the container in a single layer. Place a piece of wax paper between each layer of cookies if you need to use several layers to fit all biscuits. The date the cookies were saved should be written on the container. Keep the cookies in an airtight jar at room temperature for one week.

Freezer Storage

Wrap the cookies tightly in two pieces of foil if you wish to freeze them. Wrap the cookies in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag or an airtight container. The date frozen should be written on the container. Place the cookies in the freezer for three to four weeks before eating.


Shortbread cookies should not be wrapped with other cookies because they will absorb the flavors of the other cookies.


Shortbread is a crumbly Scottish cookie (biscuit in British English) prepared with butter, sugar, and oat or wheat flour with a crumbly texture. Chocolate chips, almonds, and confited fruit are now used as alternatives to plain Shortbread. Make these simple, buttery, shortbread biscuits for a fun afternoon pastime with the kids.

Chocolate chips or orange zest can be added to the shortbread batter for a different flavor. Shortbread biscuits are a delightful buttery and easy cookie that you may create for your children. It’s quite adaptable and may be tailored to your preferences.

A traditional Scottish biscuit made with one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three to four parts plain wheat flour is known as Shortbread or shortie. Unlike many other biscuits and baked foods, Shortbread does not contain leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. Shortbread is widely connected with Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland, and several Scottish brands are exported worldwide.