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Shortbread Cookies

These soft, sweet, and buttery shortbread cookies only require 4 ingredients! BONUS: the cookie dough is easy to make days or even weeks ahead of time until you’re ready to bake! 

Be sure to try my super popular No Bake Oreo Truffles next!

A tall stack of shortbread cookies on a white surface with sprinkles around it. Top cookies has a bite taken out of it.

I’m not much of a baker, but I don’t know if there would ever be a time that I didn’t have some butter, flour, sugar, and vanilla extract on hand, which is all you need to make this recipe.

Shortbread Cookies

✔️You can make the dough ahead of time. (See below.)

✔️You can decorate them with sprinkles

✔️You can serve them with Cookie Dip.

✔️They make great gifts for friends and family. 

Overhead shot of butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla extract to make shortbread cookies

How To Make Shortbread Cookies

-Combine the softened butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until creamy and well combined.

-Add the vanilla extract and the flour and mix again, until a sturdy dough has formed.

Roll out the dough until it’s 1/2 inch thick:

  • TIP: Shortbread dough can be slightly crumbly, and needs to be rolled out gently. 
  • Take the rolling pin and press your hands down on the top of it and press down slightly as you slowly roll it out. If you place your hands on the handles and roll more aggressively you’ll see the dough start to come apart.
  • I like to roll the dough out in batches and cut 2-4 cookies out at a time, then gather up the remaining dough and roll again.

-Use a thin spatula to lift the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

-Chill unbaked shortbread cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking in a 350 degree oven for 12-18 minutes. (Check on them at 10 minutes and ever 2 minutes thereafter.)

overhead shot of shortbread cookie dough being mixed and formed into a ball

Can You Make Shortbread Cookie Dough Ahead of Time?

Yes. Shortbread cookie dough is perfect for preparing days or weeks ahead of time.

TIP: Whether you’re making shortbread cookie dough days or weeks ahead of time, I always recommend that you roll and cut the dough before storing them refrigerating or freezing them.

If you freeze or refrigerate a ball of shortbread dough, the consistency of it becomes very hard and it’s difficult to roll it out after it’s been refrigerated or frozen.

overhead shot of cutting out shortbread cookies and placing them on baking sheet

Refrigerating Shortbread

Rolled and cut shortbread cookies can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days prior to baking.

Freezing Shortbread

-If you’re making shortbread dough longer than 3 days ahead of time, it’s best to freeze the rolled and cut cookies.

Flash freeze them on a plate in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then remove them and stack them in an airtight freezer bag for up to 3 months.

-Frozen cookies may take a few minutes longer to bake than chilled cookies.

A stack of shortbread cookies on a white surface with sprinkles around it.

Storing Shortbread Cookies

-Shortbread cookies can be stored in a dry, airtight container for a week, or in the refrigerator for 10 days.

-They can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months and allowed to come back to room temperature before serving.

These Cookies are Perfect for the Holidays!

Shortbread cookies on a white plate with a red holiday bow in background

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Shortbread Cookies

5 from 3 ratings
These soft, sweet, and buttery shortbread cookies only require 4 ingredients! BONUS: the cookie dough is easy to make days or even weeks ahead of time until you're ready to bake! 


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

If adding sprinkles:

  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles


  • Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and flour and mix until well-combined.
  • Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick and use a cookie cutter to create the shapes (I used a round, 3-inch wide cutter).
  • Place the cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. (It's much easier to chill them after you've cut them, vs. rolling out chilled dough.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake the cookies for 12-18 minutes, (set the timer for 10 minutes and check them every 2 minutes after that)- they're done when they just begin to get golden brown on the side.
  • If adding sprinkles, brush just enough milk on each cookie to get it slightly wet on the top, then scatter the sprinkles over it. The milk helps them to stick. Let them cool slightly to prevent the sprinkles from bleeding onto the cookie.
  • Serve with Cookie Dip or by themselves!


Here is the cookie cutter that I used!


Calories: 208kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 109mg, Potassium: 24mg, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 380IU, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 0.8mg
Did you try this recipe?Mention @TheCozyCook on Instagram or tag #thecozycook!
These soft, sweet, and buttery shortbread cookies only require 4 ingredients to make and are a classic holiday treat. #christmascookies #cookie #christmas #dessert #shortbread #holidays #sprinkles

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20 comments on “Shortbread Cookies”

  1. Very helpful. I love these Shortbread Cookies, it’s sweet and delicious

  2. It’s absolutely excellent. There are only four ingredients in these soft, sweet, and buttery shortbread cookies! 

  3. Is there a trick to rolling this dough?  I followed the recipe exactly as written and my dough is dry and crumbly – it doesn’t hold together when rolling. Can you suggest a trick to make this dough rollable with my rolling pin?  These cookies sound absolutely amazing to me, a crazy shortbread cookie lover!  🙂
    Thank you!

    • Hi Brenda! Shortbread is typically a bit crumbly but I haven’t had any issues with it holding together, especially with the butter to flour ratio here. I would try working it more with your hands and if needed, add a little bit more butter. Be sure not to add too much flour, spoon flour into a measuring cup by sifting it in 🙂

  4. Do you use salted or unsalted butter? And have you ever tried using coconut sugar versus white sugar? These sound delicious and super easy! Thank you

  5. What did you cut the cookies with? Darling !
    Thank you 

  6. Hi – if I wanted to add additional flavoring how much would You suggest I add? Do I just do 1/2 teaspoon of my flavoring and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract? Or still do 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of my additional flavoring?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Nicole! I would keep the teaspoon of vanilla extract and then the amount of flavoring that you add will depend on exactly what it is and how potent. A teaspoon of cinnamon, for example, would be fine to add! Here are some other ideas for making sugar cookies a little bit more fun, the same ideas can be applied to these shortbread cookies.

  7. awesome cookies! thanks!

  8. Hi Stephanie, what gluten free flour could I use to make these cookies turn out like yours?

  9. So easy. Delicious. Already made twice!!!!

    • AAHHH aren’t they the BEST?! Thank you so much for letting me know that you made them twice! I can’t blame you on that one! Happy Holidays! ❤️

  10. I have to make these now!!! They look pretty tasty!

    • Oh my gosh Lindsey, they’re to die for. My husband is usually strictly a chocolate chip cookie guy so I thought I was in the clear and would have these all to myself, but NOPE! He ate three in a row after dinner yesterday and wasn’t very pleased with himself afterwards, but they’re addicting. (And thankfully, super-duper easy)- I really hope you make them! 🙂

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