Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (2024)

The result of this basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies recipe is a tender, rich, buttery-flavored sturdy cookie that stands great just as it is, or provides a wonderful canvas for added embellishments. -- Like a dip in chocolate or a big smear of frosting. Personally, I enjoy them best plain, just as they are. Just pass a big cup of coffee or glass of milk to go alongside, please!

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (1)

You know those basics for which it's just great to have a fabulous, no-fail, go-to recipe? One that tastes amazing and you know you can count on to turn out beautifully every time? Like the perfect creme brulee ... or no-fail homemade lemon bars ... or the best oatmeal cookies around, perhaps.

Well, this basic rolled Shortbread Cookies recipe is just one of those go-to recipes!

With their rich buttery flavor and tender texture, you'll find yourself coming back to this tasty shortbread cookie recipe over and over again.


Now in it's truly simplest form, traditional shortbread contains just four ingredients -- butter, sugar, flour, and a touch of salt. No flavoring. No leavener. No liquid. No egg.

Which results in its classic crumbly texture.

With this rolled cookie version, a couple of tweaks are made to the classic traditional shortbread dough to make it more suitable for rolling.

With this rolled shortbread cookie version, a couple of tweaks are made to the classic traditional shortbread dough to make it more suitable for rolling -- while still maintaining the rich, buttery shortbread flavor that's so loved. (And if you like even more rich buttery flavor, check out our basic rolled butter cookies recipe.)

This basic rolled shortbread dough still relies on the traditional combination of sugar, butter, and flour with just a touch a salt. And while it sticks to the traditional lack of egg, it does include a small bit of milk to bring the dough together into a rollable consistency.

The dough also contains just a tiny bit of baking powder to give the cookies a tiny bit of lift. And then a tiny hint of vanilla extract for added flavor deliciousness.

The result is a shortbread dough that's just perfect for rolling that bakes up into a tender, rich buttery-flavored, sturdy cookie.

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookie Ingredients:

This basic rolled shortbread cookie recipe veers outside the lines a bit of traditional shortbread ingredients (butter, sugar, flour, and salt) to make the dough more suitable for rolling and to create a flavorful tender-textured cookie. To whip up a delicious batch, you'll need:

  • Butter - A traditional shortbread ingredient, butter serves as the foundation of the rolled shortbread dough. We recommend unsalted butter so as the baker, you can better control the amount of salt in the dough.

  • Granulated sugar - Another of the 4 traditional shortbread ingredients, granulated sugar is the shortbread's sweetener.

  • All-purpose flour - Also a traditional shortbread ingredient, all-purpose flour creates the structure of the cookie dough.

  • Salt - The final of the 4 ingredients in traditional shortbread cookies, a small touch of salt amps up the flavor the cookies.

  • Milk - A non-traditional shortbread ingredient, a small touch of milk brings the dough together into a rollable consistency. Just 2 tablespoons is all that's needed. We recommend whole milk for its richness, but 2% or skim work fine as well.

  • Baking powder - Leavening agents are not traditional in shortbread recipes. However, a small bit of baking powder gives these rolled shortbread cookies a tiny bit of lift when they bake, helping create a tender-textured cookie.

  • Vanilla extract - Though also not traditional in shortbread cookies, vanilla extract brings wonderful flavor to the finished cookies. Choose pure vanilla extract, rather than imitation, for the best flavor result.

How to Make Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies:

Start a batch of these tasty cookies by first mixing up the dough.

In a mixing bowl, beat some softened butter for about 30 seconds with an electric mixer. Then add in some granulated sugar and a bit of vanilla extract, and beat everything together until it's light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together some all-purpose flour, baking powder, and a touch of salt. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add this flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until the ingredients are just combined. To get the dough to come together into a consistency suitable for rolling, add a little milk and blend on low speed until the milk is just combined.

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (2)

Divide the dough into two equal parts and use your hands to form each part into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 1 hour before rolling.

It may be tempting to skip this chilling time, but chilling the dough is essential to easy cutting of the cookies and to keeping the shortbread cookies from spreading while baking.

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (3)

After the dough has chilled, you're reading to roll it and cut out the cookies.

Working with one disc at a time, remove the dough disc from the refrigerator and roll it to just slightly thicker than 1/8-inch thickness. To prevent sticking and tearing of the dough, sprinkle your work surface, the top of the dough, and your rolling pin with a bit of all-purpose flour before rolling.

Cut the dough into shapes with cookie cutters, and carefully transfer the cut cookies to a baking sheet with a small spatula. Re-roll the remaining dough scraps and continue to cut until all the dough is used. This shortbread cookie dough can stretch out of shape easily when warm. -- For the best result, keep the dough as cold as possible while cutting the cookies.

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (4)

Pop the cut cookies into the oven to bake for about 10-12 minutes until they're just starting to turn pale golden brown on the edges. Once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Then you're ready to decorate these little beauties, if you'd like.

The result of this rolled shortbread cookie recipe is a tender, rich buttery-flavored sturdy cookie that stands great just as it is, or provides a wonderful canvas base for added embellishments ... like a dip in chocolate or a smear of frosting ... or for more complex creations like homemade Samoas or Twix cookies.

As for me? -- Personally, I enjoy these rolled Shortbread Cookies best plain, just as they are. Just pass a big cup of coffee or glass of milk to go along with them, please!

Check out these other classic cookie favorites:

  • The BEST Snickerdoodles
  • Insanely DeliciousTurtle Cookies
  • Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
  • The BEST Oatmeal Cookies
  • Molasses Crinkles
  • 7-Layer Cookies
  • Morecookie recipes

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (5)

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Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (6)

Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies

The result of this basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies recipe is a tender, rich, buttery-flavored sturdy cookie that stands great just as it is, or provides a wonderful canvas for added embellishments. -- Like a dip in chocolate or a big smear of frosting.

prep time: 1 H & 30 Mcook time: 12 Mtotal time: 1 H & 42 M

ingredients:

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. milk

instructions:

How to cook Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat softened butter for about 30 seconds with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the milk and blend until just combined.
  3. Divide dough into two equal parts and use your hands to form each part into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. It may be tempting to skip the chilling time, but chilling the dough is essential to easy cutting of the cookies and to keeping the cookies from spreading while baking.
  4. Working with one disc at a time, remove from the refrigerator and roll to just slightly thicker than 1/8-inch thickness. To prevent sticking and tearing of the dough, sprinkle your work surface, the top of the dough, and your rolling pin with a bit of all-purpose flour before rolling.
  5. Use a round cookie cutter (or other shapes as desired) to cut the dough into cookies. Carefully transfer cut cookies to a baking sheet with a small spatula. Re-roll the remaining dough scraps and continue to cut until all the dough is used. The cookie dough can stretch out of shape easily when warm -- For the best result, keep the dough as cold as possible while cutting the cookies.
  6. Bake cookies at 350for 10 - 12 minutes until just starting to turn pale golden brown on the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (7)

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Basic Rolled Shortbread Cookies Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What are common mistakes when making shortbread? ›

The most common mistakes when making shortbread are over-working the dough, and incorporating too much flour. The less you work the dough, the more crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth your shortbread cookies will be.

What happens if you put too much butter in shortbread? ›

Greasy mess: Extra butter means more fat, making the dough greasy and difficult to handle. Spreading like crazy: Cookies lose their shape, spreading thin and flat instead of staying nice and round. Uneven baking: The excess fat can burn easily on the edges while leaving the center undercooked.

Should you chill shortbread dough before rolling? ›

Roll out the shortbread dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to a ½ cm (¼ inch) thick. Note: if the dough is too soft at this point then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes or longer until it firms up slightly and makes it easier to roll out.

Should you chill shortbread dough before baking? ›

Step 3: The Secret to the Absolute Best Shortbread

After shaping the cookies, don't rush to the oven! Instead, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so (overnight is OK, too). A short stay in the fridge will firm up the cookies and solidify the butter. This will help keep them from spreading too much.

What is the difference between Scottish shortbread and regular shortbread? ›

Traditional Scottish shortbread is a simple recipe made with sugar, butter, flour, and salt. Other shortbread styles will include leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda, which makes them crisp instead of crumbly like traditional Scottish shortbread.

Should butter be cold for shortbread? ›

If it's too warm, the butter and sugar cannot properly cream and the cookies will taste dense. Many shortbread recipes call for cold butter worked into the dry ingredients and that gives you a wonderfully flaky cookie but if not mixed properly, the results can be inconsistent.

What happens if you don't chill shortbread? ›

But in this shortbread cookie recipe, it really makes a difference. Chilling the dough helps the cookies hold their shape. If you don't chill your shortbread dough, the cookies will spread as they bake.

Why do you put an egg in shortbread? ›

This unexpected addition will make buttery confections like shortbreads and shortcakes even more tender and flaky. “Biscuits should be crumbly, buttery and sweet,” reads a headnote for a cinnamon sugar-spiced shortbread recipe in the Ritz London Cookbook.

What is traditional shortbread made of? ›

Shortbread or shortie is a traditional Scottish biscuit usually made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three to four parts plain wheat flour. Shortbread does not contain any leavening, such as baking powder or baking soda.

Why use unsalted butter in shortbread? ›

Unsalted butter is most commonly called for in baking recipes. Unsalted butter has a very neutral, creamy flavor—a great base for many baked goods. In baking, precise measurements are key for achieving the right flavor and texture. This even extends to small amounts of ingredients like salt.

Why do you put holes in shortbread? ›

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. Why do you poke holes in shortbread? The holes allow the moisture to escape during baking and more even heat distribution. This helps dry out and crisp up the cookies.

How do you know when shortbread is done? ›

Check doneness by looking for an even, light brown colour across the top of the biscuits, with slight darkening at the edges. Begin checking at the tail end of the cooking time. Undercooked shortbread will be doughy and chewy. Slightly overcooked and it will become chalky, brittle and hard.

Why did my shortbread fail? ›

There are a variety of reasons why the shortbread could be damp underneath but it is most likely that either the dough is being pressed out too thickly, the pan is not metal so heats up too slowly, or the oven temperature is too high causing the top to brown before the bottom has cooked sufficiently.

Should shortbread cookies be soft or hard? ›

Shortbread should always have a tender, melting texture, but be slightly crisp when you bite into it. It should not generally be damp or wet underneath. A classic shortbread recipe will also only have flour, butter and sugar as the ingredients (in a 3:2:1 ratio) and not egg, which could lead to excess moisture.

What's the difference between Irish shortbread and Scottish shortbread? ›

Irish Shortbread Is Distinct From Scottish Shortbread

Irish shortbread not only sometimes changes up the butter-to-sugar ratio (possibly going with 2/3 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of butter), but also adds cornstarch in place of some of the flour present in the traditional recipe.

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