Our Very Best Shortbread Cookie Recipes

traditional scottish shortbread
Mike Krautter

The best things in life are simple and sweet, which is exactly why we love these shortbread cookie recipes so much. Brought stateside by Scottish immigrants, shortbread cookies (sometimes called biscuit, especially by our friends in the U.K.) are generally made from a combination of all-purpose flour, granulated or confectioner's sugar, and lots of butter. Flavorings such as vanilla or almond extract may be added to the dough, as well as chopped or ground nuts, fresh citrus zest, or cocoa powder. Here, we're sharing our best buttery and flaky shortbread cookie recipes.

While there are many delicious variations worth mastering, you'll want to start with our Classic Shortbread cookie recipe. The process is so simple—combine all of the ingredients together and mix to form a dough, press into a pan, refrigerate, then bake and enjoy! Whether you eat them on their own or pair them with a cup of tea, there's no mistaking just how good these cookies are.

If you're a chocolate lover, then you'll adore our recipe for Mocha Shortbread; a tablespoon of instant espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor. Looking for a subtler chocolate flavor? Try a batch of Oat-and-Spelt Shortbread, which are nutty cookies dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. The balance is just right. For the holidays, why not serve a batch of Meyer-Lemon Shortbread Wreath Cookies? Adorned with sugared thyme and rosemary—as well as red, white, and green sprinkles—they're the most stunning (and edible) holiday greenery.

Grab a few sticks of butter, cookie cutters or a tart pan, and get baking.

01 of 11

Brown Sugar-Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

brown sugar–cornmeal shortbread cookies served on a white platter
Con Poulos

With only 30 minutes of prep required to make these tasty cookies, you can make these sugary cornmeal shortbread cookies anytime you want. Pair them with after-dinner coffee or tea for a special treat.

02 of 11

Shortbread Swirls

Aaron Dyer

How fun are these cookies? Classic shortbread just got a colorful upgrade. The dough is divided and dyed an array of bright hues (choose any colors that you like!), then pipe each cookie into the shape of "S."

03 of 11

Classic Shortbread


A tried-and-true staple, this classic shortbread recipe is as dependable as it is delicious. Cut it into triangles like the traditional Scottish way for a buttery slice of heaven.

04 of 11

Almond-Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

almond cookie sandwich martha bakes
Mike Krautter

Just like the nostalgic peanut butter sandwich cookie (but better!), this treat is made with an almond shortbread cookie base and a sweet almond butter filling. They're a delicious option for anyone with a peanut allergy.

05 of 11

Meyer-Lemon Shortbread Wreath Cookies

meyer-lemon shortbread wreath cookies
Mikkel Vang

One of the prettiest treats we've seen, these delicate, aromatic wreath cookies are showstoppers. Meyer lemon juice is incorporated into both the dough and the glaze. They're also a great make-ahead dessert: Prep and freeze the dough up to a month before baking.

06 of 11

Oat-and-Spelt Shortbread

oatmeal spelt shortbread
Sidney Bensimon

If you or someone you know has a gluten sensitivity, these spelt flour and rolled oat-based cookies will hit the spot!

07 of 11

Mocha Shortbread


For an easy, snackable bite, cut the dough for these chocolate and coffee-flavored shortbread cookies into individual bars. Cacao nibs add even more richness and texture.

08 of 11

Pistachio-Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

pistachio cookies
Johnny Miller

Thought your shortbread cookie had everything it needed? Think again. The addition of chopped pistachios to the dough adds very appealing crunch and color. Create a sweet sandwich by filling the cookies with jam (we used strawberry here, but use any kind you like!).

09 of 11

Peppercorn Shortbread

peppercorn shortbread
Johnny Miller

If you don't have much of a sweet tooth then you're definitely going to enjoy snacking on these slightly spicy cookies. Buttery shortbread is topped with four varieties of peppercorns—white, black, pink, and green.

10 of 11

Walnut Shortbread


Preparing these cookies couldn't be easier. The dough is pressed into a cake or tart pan, divided into eight sections, and pricked with a fork to create holes to let the steam escape while it bakes. Dust with confectioners' sugar for a pretty, picture-perfect finish.

11 of 11

Espresso Shortbread Cookies

Anna Williams

Tastes of espresso ring throughout these crunchy, crumbly shortbread cookies.

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