Scottish Shortbread Recipe
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Scottish Shortbread Recipe

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Scottish settlers first came to this area over 150 years ago. My mother herself was Scottish, and—as with most of my favorite recipes—she passed this on to me. I make a triple batch of it each year at Christmas, to enjoy and as gifts. —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min./batch + cooling
MAKES:48 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min./batch + cooling
MAKES: 48 servings


  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Nutritional Facts

1 cookie: 123 calories, 8g fat (5g saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 62mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 3-3/4 cups flour; mix well. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead for 5 minutes, adding enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Roll to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut into 3x1 in. strips. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with fork. Bake until cookies are lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Cool. Yield: about 4 dozen.
Originally published as Scottish Shortbread in Country Woman July/August 1995, p29

Reviews for Scottish Shortbread

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SUSAN User ID: 9076753 261175
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2017

"I had to cook these longer than the recipe called for. I found these to be good but not great. I did add a pinch of salt. I am glad I did. They are not as sweet as I would like."

Bob User ID: 8994980 258509
Reviewed Dec. 23, 2016

"This is the easiest shortbread I've ever made and it was unspeakably delicious.

I used a medium brown course granulated sugar, which gave it a nice texture. Salted Butter, NoName AP flour - all basics.
I have lipped cookie sheets so I simply rolled the dough out inside of them, turned them out on a floured surface and cut scores with a rolling cutter, then pricked with a fork. I didn't separate them, I baked them touching and they came out fine; separated easily without crumbling.
But this means no brown edges, so it's a question of presentation. The dough is easily worked and would be ideal for press forming into wooden molds if you have them. ( cookie molds)
They will crumble, though. Don't just throw them higgledy-piggledy into a ziplock bag as I did. You could easily create a block of cookie strips and have an easier time wrapping them.
BTW, there were none left over for gifting. I suggest doubling the recipe, at the very least.
Keep this in mind as a tart crust! They are definitely sturdy enough, and the base flavor would complement most tart fillings; even a simple jam filling would be wonderful.
If I were to vary this at all, I think I'd substitute part of the brown sugar with maple syrup. I'm sure that would be delicious."

dladymay User ID: 5878279 257149
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2016

"Perfect Shortbread cookie, I love shortbread cookies these are way better than any store bought shortbread cookie. I only added a tsp of vanilla to this exact recipe It's easy and delicious They aren't bland they have the perfect amount of sweetness for a shortbread cookie. I definitely will be making this recipe a lot. I had to drizzle some chocolate on top of some for the kids they really don't like shortbread cookies but will eat these with the chocolate. Oh I also chilled the dough before working it."

jeanemed User ID: 1512060 252801
Reviewed Aug. 16, 2016

"Very good. I like this better the recipe we used when I was a child. I make them smaller though--1 inch by 2 inches. These expand more than my old recipe did so I can't put them as close on the cookie sheet."

[email protected] User ID: 8813758 245872
Reviewed Mar. 23, 2016

"I love this recipe! I have made this shortbread a couple of times and have sent to friends who rave about them. Right after piercing with the fork, I sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top before baking. It just adds a little more sweetening on the top! Thank you!"

msrigo User ID: 7048613 244153
Reviewed Feb. 19, 2016

"I read the reviews. I was so excited to bake these cookies. I LOVE shortbread.

I was so disappointed. These are so bland and dry. I even tried variations. Nothing I did changed the shortbread.
I'm sorry but these are not good at all to me."

melissasueryan User ID: 8774330 243992
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2016

"I would like to start by saying I usually NEVER leave a review. I read them but don't leave them. I create an account JUST so I could give credit to this recipe. I have tried about 13 different variations with shortbread. Playing with amounts, ingredients and temperature. This recipe was hands down the BEST I've ever made. The texture was flaky and delicate. The flavor was buttery and sweet with a hint of vanilla. I rolled them thin, cut them out and pricked them with a fork. Cooked them at 315 degrees for 18 minutes. They were absolutely perfect, and exactly what we were trying to re create. Thank you!"

Lea2u User ID: 8705146 242130
Reviewed Jan. 20, 2016

"Everyone loves them & can't believe it' takes only 3 ingredients to make."

Corwin44 User ID: 7541400 240770
Reviewed Jan. 1, 2016

"This was excellent shortbread! Coming from a Scottish family we have shortbread for every holiday and I made this version for Hogmanay (New Years). Some don't think it's "real" shortbread if rice flour and castor sugar isn't used in the recipe. Many people will use about a 1/2 cup of rice flour and 4 cups flour. Castor sugar is somewhere in between white sugar and powdered sugar (you can make this in a food processor using white sugar). However, many don't have these ingredients on hand and shortbread is just flour, sugar, and butter (and a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter), so why not mix it up? Not everyone's recipe for any dish is the same and this is a great shortbread. My shortbread was done after 18 minutes (ovens vary just as recipes do). I will definitely be making this easy and tasty shortbread again."

ReaganDobler User ID: 8669218 239809
Reviewed Dec. 20, 2015

"My grandmother was born and lived in Glasgow, Scotland until she was in her twenties. Her family had a working farm and they raised every bit of food that they ate. Everything was homemade even their butter and cheeses! This shortbread recipe is exactly what she made for all of us. She passed it down to my Mom and now both of my sisters and I make it too. We are in our 60's... So yummy! Grandma made shortbread every week and it was always in a jar all by itself next to her coffee pot. She cooked on a wood burning stove until I was 15 years old! (by choice) Her Scottish Shortbread was the best that I have ever eaten. All of Grandma's food was simply amazing as she used the freshest, purest ingredients always. This recipe is easy and delicious. Thank you for sharing this with others. I can smell my Grandmothers kitchen just looking at it!"

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