What's great about basic buttery shortbread cookies is how you can add flavors to them. Or just leave them as is.

Everyday Food, December 2010


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

10 mins
55 mins
Makes 24


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a food processor, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt; process until smooth. Add flour and pulse just until combined. Form dough into an 8-inch-long round or square log; wrap tightly in plastic and freeze until firm, 30 minutes (or up to 1 month).

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Dip edges in sugar if desired and transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Cook's Notes

Give these cookies festive flair. Add 3/4 cup chopped mix-ins, such as dried fruit, nuts, or bittersweet chocolate, along with the flour in step 1.


To make these chocolate, use 1/3 cup cocoa powder in place of 1/3 cup flour; add 6 ounces of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate to the dough.


Reviews (14)

339 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 52
  • 4 star values: 92
  • 3 star values: 108
  • 2 star values: 63
  • 1 star values: 24
Rating: 5.0 stars
I love these cookies and they usually come out fine, but I used a different butter (kerrygold) and it came out crumbly and very difficult to hold together. I'm not sure what went wrong this time.
Rating: 1.0 stars
It crumbled; never held its shape and I threw away the dough. This is the case for many Martha Stewart recipes!
Rating: 1 stars
The recipe needs baking soda (1/2 teaspoon) and baking powder (1/4 teaspoon) otherwise they come out flat. I made them twice. Once with the original recipe and once with the additions mentioned here.
Rating: 5 stars
These cookies are fabulous! They are exactly what shortbread should be, buttery, slightly salty, not too sweet, hearty...... We refrigerated our dough for 30 minutes and then rolled the dough and cut with heart shaped cookie cutters. To make them more festive we rolled the edges in red and white sanding sugar before baking. We then packaged them in clear bags, tied with red jute and attached little "I LOVE YOU" tags to gift to family and friends for Valentine's day. If you love shortbread, you will LOVE this recipe!!!!!
Rating: 5 stars
I love these cookies! Now my kids help make them and they are always requested at holiday time. Try letting the dough sit for about five to ten minutes After Taking Out Of The Freezer If You are having trouble cutting it.
Rating: Unrated
I just made a couple of batches. I added orange and lemon zest but still thought these cookies were flat. And as much as I dislike overly - sweet cookies, these need more sweetness.
Rating: Unrated
This is a question, not a review. Will this recipe triple well, or do I need to make 3 separate batches? It rather looks to me as if separate batches are needed.
Rating: Unrated
Made these cookies today- thought they were a great shortbread cookie! I did not find them too salty. My food processor was not big enough for the whole mixture so when I added the flour, I mixed it all with a regular mixer. Added dried cherries and chopped walnuts. Will make again!
Rating: 5 stars
I have made this recipe dozens of times. In fact I used it to bake 80 pounds of cookies for a fundraiser. 80 pounds!!! It is perfect but the dough should hold together before you chill it. If it is dry and crumbly prior to refrigeration it may not pull together. Add a drop of water in your food processor if it is a bit dry. Just a tiny drop. Like pie crust, humidity has an impact on this recipe. Also let it sit out about 20 minutes prior to slicing so that the butter gives a little.
Rating: Unrated
It is not at all "odd"! Traditional shortbread doesn't contain eggs.
Rating: Unrated
These were so good!! Exactly what shortbread should taste like. If they didn't turn out, you did something wrong. :)
Rating: Unrated
this seems odd. no eggs?
Rating: 1 stars
I am making these today - well, made the dough up yesterday and I'm baking them today. I won't make them again though - dough is way too dry and I had real problems cutting them - the dough kept crumbling. I don't know if it's my flour or what but I need to try another recipe.
Rating: Unrated
Fabulous! I added extra salt to mine and then partially dipped the one side in dark chocolate and sprinkled maldon salt and pepper on top. This is a keeper for excellent and easy to make shortbread. Thanks Zan for the suggestion!
Rating: 4 stars
they tasted very good, I added pecans to mine. Only problem is I find they taste a bit salty.