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Delicious and crumbly homemade shortbread cookies are the simplest and easiest bake ever, but they bring so much happiness into your kitchen. These cookies are so versatile. You can add variations like chopped hazelnuts, citrus zest or even dip them in chocolate for different flavours and textures.

I love shortbread cookies. By now, I think you know I’m not a fan of cookies overall. They are normally too hard for my liking. But shortbread cookies are something else…

My love started almost 15 years ago when I visited London for the first time and my friend offered me some of these cookies. From the first bite, I was hooked. They are delicious with their crumbly, buttery texture. After that, I remember my friend would bring at least 5 packs of these cookies every time she’d come to Lithuania.

Fast forward to these days, and nothing much has changed. These cookies are still at the top of my list and my Fussy Eater knows if he wants to surprise me, he just needs to buy a pack of shortbread cookies.

However, you know me, if I enjoy something, I always need to make them at home. These homemade shortbread cookies follow a classical recipe that combines a lot of butter and flour to make this treat incredible. It’s happiness on a round disk with some sugar dusting. What more could you want?

Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Homemade Shortbread Cookies: Tips

Making this recipe is very easy. Basically, you just need to incorporate, chill and bake. That’s all. However, as always with the simplest recipes, every single step plays a massive role in the result.

So, for the best results, follow these tips:

  • Ensure the butter is softened but not melted. This helps achieve the right texture in the dough.
  • Don’t overmix the dough. Overmixing can develop gluten and result in a tougher cookie.
  • Chill the dough before rolling and cutting. This makes it easier to handle and reduces spreading during baking.
  • Roll the dough to a consistent thickness (about 6mm). This ensures even baking.
  • Pricking the dough with a fork helps prevent air pockets and helps with even baking.
  • Chill the cut cookies on the baking tray before baking. This helps them maintain their shape and prevents excessive spreading.
  • Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven. They’re delicate when hot.
Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Homemade Shortbread Cookies: Variations

The classic recipe is just one option, but you can go crazy with the flavour variations. What is incredible about these cookies is that you can add almost any flavour and it will work. Here are just a few ideas to start with:

  • Citrus craving. Add the zest of a lemon, lime or orange to the dough for a refreshing and tangy flavour.
  • Almond world. Replace 50g of the flour with almond flour and add a touch of almond extract for a delicate almond flavour.
  • Lavender field. Add a teaspoon of dried culinary lavender to the dough for a subtle floral aroma.
  • Sugary cinnamon. Roll the cut cookie shapes in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking for a warm and comforting flavour.
  • Chocolate passion. Gently fold mini chocolate chips into the dough for a delightful chocolatey surprise. After the homemade shortbread cookies are baked, dip half the cookie in chocolate ganache.
  • I need my coffee. Mix in finely ground espresso powder for a rich coffee-flavoured cookie.

If you’re looking for more delicious cookie recipes, try these:

Pistachio Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Linzer Cookies with Cranberry Jam
Brown Butter Cookies with Raspberries
Oat Cookies with Cranberries and Pecans
Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Homemade Shortbread Cookies



200g softened butter
60g caster sugar
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter with sugar until the mixture is smooth and pale.
  3. Add the flour, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough a few times until it comes together. Shape the dough into a disk.
  5. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool down.
  6. Roll out the dough to about 6mm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes.
  7. Place the cut-out cookies on the baking tray.
  8. Using a fork, prick each cookie a few times.
  9. Leave the cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to cool down.
  10. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
  11. Sprinkle some caster sugar on top and let them cool down before eating.
Homemade Shortbread Cookies