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Classic Shortbread Cookies

These Classic Shortbread Cookies are a delightful blend of buttery and sweet. Drizzled with melted chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios, they are perfect for the holidays.

If you enjoy these cookies, you may want to try our festive Raspberry Linzer Cookies and Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies.

Recipe Details

I adore these Classic Shortbread Cookies because they are delicious and incredibly versatile. You can shape and decorate them to suit your mood or the occasion, and they make a lovely addition to holiday cookie platters while also being great as gifts!

  • TASTE: These are so buttery and delightful. If you’re looking for a cookie that’s not as sweet as a sugar cookie but still satisfies your sweet tooth, this is the one.
  • TEXTURE: These cookies are delicate and crumbly, enhanced with gooey chocolate and crunchy pistachios.
  • TIME: This recipe takes less than 40 minutes to prepare.
  • EASE: Shortbread is simple to make and requires only a few basic ingredients. It’s the perfect recipe for the holidays.

What You’ll Need

Ingredients for Classic Shortbread Cookies: flour, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter- It is a key ingredient in these cookies, so use softened unsalted butter, as we are adding salt in the recipe.
  • Powdered sugar- This adds sweetness as well as a fine texture to the cookies.
  • Chocolate chips- Semi-sweet is a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, which is ideal for these sweet cookies.

Add-ins and Substitutions

  • Add chocolate dip/drizzle- As you can see, I chose to dip these shortbread cookies into melted chocolate, which looks gorgeous on a cookie platter.
  • Add icing- If you’re making holiday cookies, icing and sprinkles are perfect for bright and cheerful designs.
  • Make them with jam- These cookies also go really well with jam. A coating of your favorite jam or preserves (try this Strawberry Jam) on top gives them a pop of color and burst of flavor.
  • Change their shapes- Traditional shortbread is “forked,” with holes poked into the top. You can also shape them into circles, rectangles, or any other cookie cutter shape you like.
Classic Shortbread Cookies half dipped in chocolate with chopped pistachios on top, sitting in a pile on a white plate.

How to Make Classic Shortbread Cookies

  • Beat the butter, vanilla, and sugars. Using an electric hand mixer, beat together the softened butter, vanilla, powdered and granulated sugars in a large mixing bowl on high speed. It takes about 1-2 minutes for the butter to become lightly whipped.
  • Add in the flour and salt. Add the flour and a pinch of salt to the butter mixture, then mix it together on low until it comes together. It will be a little crumbly, but you can still form it with your hands.
Steps to make Classic Shortbread Cookies: cream the sugars and butter together with a hand mixer, then add the flour and salt.
  • Roll out the dough. Form the cookie dough into a ball and place it on top of a sheet of parchment paper. Then press it down and put another piece of parchment paper on top. Now roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/4-1/2 inches thick.
  • Cut out shapes. Remove the top parchment paper sheet and begin cutting out circles or any other desired shape.

Pro Tip: You can use cookie cutters or even a glass cup or pizza cutter to make the shapes you want.

Steps to make Classic Shortbread Cookies: roll the dough out between sheets of parchment paper, then cut out shapes.
  • Bake. Preheat the oven to 325°F and bake the shortbread cookies for about 12-14 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack.
  • Decorate. Leave the cookies as they are or dip them in melted chocolate and garnish with chopped pistachios for an extra fancy look. 
Steps to make Classic Shortbread Cookies: place the dough disks on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake, then dip them in a bowl of melted chocolate.

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t scoop the flour- Scooping packs too much flour into the measuring cup, so instead spoon the flour in and level it off with a knife for a more accurate measurement.
  • Use parchment paper for rolling- Wrapping the dough in parchment paper before rolling it out makes this step so much easier. No dough sticking to your rolling pin!
  • Let them cool- Don’t try to move the cookies to a cooling rack right out of the oven or they will fall apart. They are delicate, so let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring.
  • Don’t scorch the chocolate- If you are adding chocolate, then melt it in 10-20 second intervals in the microwave, taking it out when it is almost entirely melted. Mix it and the hot parts will melt anything still solid.
Tray of Classic Shortbread Cookies, some dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios, with some crumbs in the background.


Should butter be hard or soft for shortbread?

Butter is very important to a shortbread cookie recipe so make sure you are using softened butter, not melted. Too cold and it won’t mix, too melted and the cookies won’t hold up and will flatten.

What are common mistakes when making shortbread?

Common mistakes when making shortbread cookies are adding too much flour, which is why you should spoon and level the measuring cup not scoop it, and overworking the dough, which is why you should stop when it’s incorporated and little crumbly.

Stack of Classic Shortbread Cookies with a bite missing from the top one and more cookies in the background.

Serving Suggestions

These Classic Shortbread Cookies are a scrumptious dessert that tastes great with other sweet treats. Serve them with other cookies on a cookie tray, with cake, chocolate, or your favorite hot drink.

  • Cookies: Make up a cookie tray with these shortbread cookies and some Pecan Shortbread Cookies, Cookies And Cream Cookies, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, or Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies.
  • Cakes: Serve them alongside a slice of Chocolate Honey Cake (Spartak Cake), Tiramisu Cake (VIDEO), Pumpkin Cheesecake (VIDEO), or Easy Napoleon Cake Recipe (VIDEO).
  • Chocolate: Pair these buttery cookies with some Chocolate Covered Dates, White Chocolate Creme Brulee, Coffee Chocolate Mousse, or Chocolate Caramel Pretzels Bars.
  • Beverages: Enjoy them with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, Hot Chocolate, Iced Matcha Latte, or Iced Caramel Macchiato.

Make This Recipe in Advance

Make ahead: You can make the dough for these cookies ahead of time and store it covered in the refrigerator. When you’re ready, let it come to room temperature before shaping and baking.

Storing: To store these delicious Shortbread Cookies, you can leave them at room temperature in an airtight container for about 1 week. If you prefer to refrigerate them, then they will last for about 10 days.

Freeze: Just wait until the cookies are completely cooled, then wrap them in plastic wrap and foil and place them in a ziplock freezer bag. They will last for about 3-4 weeks.

More Festive Cookies!

  • Below is a list of images and titles for some tasty cookie recipes:

    1. Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

    2. Linzer Cookies with Raspberry Jam

    3. Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies

    4. Monster Cookies

    Here is a delicious shortbread cookie recipe:

    Full Recipe Instructions


    Classic Shortbread Cookies

    Crumbly, buttery, and delicious, these Classic Shortbread Cookies are just perfect for the holiday season. You can decorate them in so many ways!

    … (additional content) …

    5 from
    10 votes




Prep Time:

25 minutes

Cook Time:

14 minutes

Total Time:

39 minutes





  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened


  • Place 1 cup softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat it on high speed using an electric hand mixer. Mix until the butter becomes light and whipped (about 1-2 minutes)

Before you start, preheat your oven to 325°F. then, bake the shortbread cookie for about 12-14 minutes. Once done, let the cookies cool on the hot baking sheet for about five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  • After baking, you can either leave the cookies as they are or dip them in melted semisweet chocolate and decorate with chopped roasted salted pistachios. This will make them look extra fancy and perfect for a cookie platter.
    Steps to make Classic Shortbread Cookies: place the dough disks on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake, then dip them in a bowl of melted chocolate.
  • Notes

    How to Store these Classic Cookies

    To store these delicious shortbread cookies, you can keep them at room temperature in an airtight container for about 1 week. If you prefer to refrigerate them, they will last for about 10 days.


    Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg


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