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Irish Butter Shortbread

Make this classic Irish recipe from Rachel Gaffney for a melt-in-your-mouth St. Patrick's Day treat.

  • Yield: Makes about 3 dozen
Irish Butter Shortbread

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, March 2010


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Irish unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour. Continue mixing until dough comes together to form a ball.

  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness, dusting rolling pin with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Using a 2 1/4-inch round, fluted cutter, cut out dough. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Gather up any scraps, gently re-roll, and repeat cutting process. Take care not to overwork dough.

  4. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until shortbread just begins to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Shortbread may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cook's Note

Due to its high fat content, Irish butter only needs a few minutes to come to room temperature. It is best when used 15 minutes after removing from the refrigerator.

Reviews (6)

  • Sue7 16 Mar, 2014

    I should have read the other reviews. It really needs salt. It took much longer for the cookies to bake than stated in the recipe. I made two batches to take to a St. Paddy's party and am disappointed.

  • arabela 10 Mar, 2013

    In Ireland we have a particular a fondness of salted butter rather than unsalted. It is certainly used in home baking more frequently. Though, of course, either can be (and is) used, quite a different flavour is produced when using either salted or unsalted. I think salted is probably a more traditional Irish ingredient though.

  • chrmd72 13 Oct, 2010

    I'm surprised that it doesn't use any salt to balance out the flavors. Is it possible that it was forgotten?

  • kske 21 Mar, 2010

    Rachel Gaffney is charming and her shortbread is the best!

  • daglish 19 Mar, 2010

    These are wonderful Rachel...what else do you make!!!!!

  • emilysophie 17 Mar, 2010

    On the show she said it should definitely be 1/8" thickness, and that the disc of dough should be chilled before rolling out. She also said that the cookies should be the same color coming out of the oven as they were going in.

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