New This Month

Easy Basic Shortbread


This buttery cookie gets better with age: It can be stored up to a month, and over that time its flavor deepens. Dip the tips of the cookies in melted chocolate for a decorative touch.

  • Yield: Makes 36 bars


  • 1 1/3 cups (2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-by-1-inch baking pan, and line bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add salt and vanilla, and beat to combine. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until just combined.

  2. Press dough into prepared pan, leveling and smoothing the top. Using a dough scraper or the back of a knife, cut dough lengthwise into nine strips, each slightly less than 1 inch wide. Cut the strips crosswise into thirty-six 3-inch bars. Using the tines of a fork or a wooden skewer, create a decorative pattern on the surface.

  3. Bake shortbread until evenly pale golden, but not browned, 70 to 85 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. Invert pan, and remove parchment. Turn shortbread over, and carefully break, or cut with a serrated knife, into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Reviews Add a comment

  • lotsaprizesliv
    21 NOV, 2016
    Great recipe - don't eat these cookies the day you bake them though. Plan on letting them age for a week minimum. Eating them the day they're made is such a waste.
  • MS10304142
    30 DEC, 2015
    I absolutely love this recipe for basic shortbread!! I just discovered it about three weeks ago and have made it about 6 times and everyone who has tried it, loves it too. It is the closest to Scottish shortbread that I have ever tried or made. I recommend this to everyone who enjoys baking. Watch the video where Martha shows you step-by-step on how to make this and run with it. Bravo Martha
  • Julia Deutsch
    4 JAN, 2013
    Best shortbread ever! One of my husband's favorite treats. They really do get better with each passing day. I have made these many times and have never tweaked the recipe. After reading other comments I will definitely try the orange zest in the next batch!
  • Kathy Stone
    23 DEC, 2012
    making now i hope they tasate yummy?Wish me luck?
  • PhotoJennie
    11 FEB, 2010
    Simple enough. It's in the oven now. I added orange zest and homegrown dried lavender buds just for grins. It smells amazing. I should get snowed in more often! ;)
  • BonneMaman
    1 MAY, 2009
    Never saw a shortbread recipe that whipped the butter and sugar before. I have always cut the butter in. Can hardly wait to try this.
  • lindastratford
    16 NOV, 2008
    Is regular granulated sugar used? I usually use Fruit Sugar when I make shortbread. Thanks Linda
  • mellie08
    15 SEP, 2008
    This shortbread is so easy!! Made a batch for my college-aged girls - they pack and mail easily, and the girls love them. Definitely will make them again.
  • rsvoboda
    26 AUG, 2008
    Anyone know why these recipes aren't printer friendly? If they were smart they would format them to 3x5 cards like the Food Network does.
  • holycook
    5 AUG, 2008
    Perhaps someone on the site can answer - per previous postings - why do these bake at such a low temperature (vs 350o) for so long? I tried to take them out after 70 mins and they seemed too soft, so I kept them in for 12 mins more. However, since they harden a bit as they cool, I'd do them for 70 mins next time, since the longer baking time makes them harder when they cool. What's the reason for a slow temp and long baking time rather than the usual process?