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Scottish Shortbread Recipe

Scottish Shortbread Recipe

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 YIELD:48 servings


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


  • 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.

Nutritional Facts

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

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!"

Gran32 User ID: 8661470 239377
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2015

"A recipe from the Land of the Selkirk Settlers? No wonder it's a winner. I lost my Granny's recipe so am thrilled to find this as I recognise the pound of butter and 4 cups flour. Though Granny used the lighter Golden Yellow sugar, I tried it with Brown, and I think I like it better. Sorry Granny."

Aubey User ID: 8661459 239373
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2015

"Thank you, this recipe is fabulous and just as good, if not better, than the shortbread I was buying at the local Scottish bakery. All my friends and family love this shortbread and it disappears very quickly. I don't understand the comments about it not being traditional Scottish shortbread as shortbread is basically flour, sugar and butter, of which this recipes consists. Like bread the key to success is not so much ingredients as method, you gotta knead this this dough sufficiently to get the best finished cookie texture. I knead mine for between five and ten minutes. These are very hard to resist hot out of the oven."

ClydeWoman User ID: 7322761 239319
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2015

"This recipe most DEFINITELY deserves an award. My friend has been bringing these to the past 3 cookie parties and they are the best shortbread I have ever had!"

Keyron User ID: 8380218 226526
Reviewed May. 18, 2015

"@RoziKess your husband probably did the scoop method with the flour....the proper way to do it is to scoop spoonfuls of flour into the measuring cup then level off the over flow with the back of a knife. You'll get to much flour if you dip the measuring cup into your flour."

RoziKess User ID: 6692367 223363
Reviewed Mar. 22, 2015

"Hubby just made a batch for me . He was worried because the butter and flour mixture was to dry ,like cornmeal . Every time he tried to knead it ,it would crumble . He didn't add the remaining flour because he thought it might dry it out and he'd never be able to knead it to roll it out. Some how, even with out the remaining flour he got the mixture to form a roll like the cookie dough that you buy in a tube and he cut them and baked them . They came out great , but he wants to know what he did wrong as he couldn't knead the dough like he was suppose to . Can someone tell him what he did wrong. The cookies are a little harder then I think they should be but the taste is spot on !"

wisconsineats User ID: 8207327 217511
Reviewed Jan. 11, 2015

"Best shortbread I have ever tasted. I followed the recipe exactly except for adding one teaspoon of almond extract. I divided the dough into two rolls using wax paper and put them in the refrigerator for a few hours while I ran some errands. I unrolled them and cut them into circles with a sharp knife. I baked them for 25 minutes at 375 F and they turned out amazing."

Dosena User ID: 7506530 217098
Reviewed Jan. 6, 2015

"Everyone begs for these. Best and easiest recipe I have found for


Mfmgibbs User ID: 7850594 214920
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2014

"Really good. I did chill the dough just a bit to ease the rolling out and cutting process."

Sprush User ID: 8144312 214293
Reviewed Dec. 7, 2014

"For years my family have purchased shortbread at the store, dipped it in chocolate, and added it to our traditional family cookie platter. My husband has begged me to try my hand at making it. I looked at several recipes, and they all seemed to have the basic ingredients, but I liked how this one brought brown sugar to the table. It was a super easy recipe to make, and it yielded delicious results, although, unlike our store bought shortbread, my family preferred this shortbread without the chocolate. I will definitely be making it again this holiday season!!"

MrsOwens User ID: 7095603 200923
Reviewed Jun. 2, 2014

"These are very good. Simple and tasty, although not a "traditional" shortbread."

LadyeWitch User ID: 7728558 11700
Reviewed Mar. 22, 2014

"Curious , do you use salted or unsalted butter with this recipe?"

Raygina User ID: 5647626 11157
Reviewed Dec. 21, 2013

"I like the recipe because it's easy and really tasty. I started them at 20 minutes and they burnt so next time I'll start them at 15 minutes."

DeAnna2077 User ID: 1501556 15049
Reviewed Nov. 14, 2013

"This recipe is so easy and absolutely delicious. Will make again and again. Great for the holiday season!"

Lisantana User ID: 7301365 200922
Reviewed Sep. 27, 2013

"I made this recipe yesterday, it was delicious!!!! My husband and my neighbors love them!"

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 25551
Reviewed Sep. 19, 2013

"Delicious! Only change I made was to add a little vanilla."

emmiehelm User ID: 6453066 22031
Reviewed May. 16, 2013

"The brown sugar made me skeptical but after baking and EATING these beauties, this is my new go-to shortbread recipe. You will love the great taste and texture of these classics."

ewsonera User ID: 5356285 11516
Reviewed Apr. 13, 2013

"Awesome, just like the real ones bought in Europe!"

Lynnyssa User ID: 6977769 22030
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2013

"Super easy and delicious! My husband loves them."

Liz Provencher User ID: 4994915 15047
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2012

"Such a wonderful recipe! easy and nice, wonderful texture and flavor. I added 1/2 tsp of Vanilla. I put in the 4 cups of flour then split the dough and added another 1/4 cup of flour to one batch and a 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the other batch. I made 8 dozen bite sized cookies from each batch. Will be making them often, so much better and cheeper then store bought!"

maryhope User ID: 872546 9969
Reviewed Feb. 7, 2012

"So easy and much more economical than purchasing tiny boxes of shortbread for more than the cost of a pound of butter"

digbugsgirl User ID: 1242416 11514
Reviewed Sep. 15, 2011

"Wonderful basic shortbread recipe! I always have requests for these."

Karyan User ID: 3390757 8076
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2010

"My sister-in-law was over today and tried one. She has lived in England annd visited Scottland, she could not stress enough that these were the best shortbread she ever had!"

Karyan User ID: 3390757 9958
Reviewed May. 7, 2010

"I was a little nervous to make this recipe because it differs from other recipes I've seen. My husband loves them! I've had to make three batches this week! (He told me that he would be happy if he could always have them with his tea!)"

jsheets User ID: 4625767 21299
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2010

"These have got to be the easiest and tastiest cookies ever! I made them for Christmas and my family gobbled them up. I had a relative, who is known for her fabulous cooking, ask me for the recipe and was shocked when she heard it only had 3 ingredients! A definite keeper that made it into my recipe file!"

digbugsgirl User ID: 1242416 6444
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2009

"These are delicious! Classic buttery shortbreead. Will definitely be making again."

lisapeters User ID: 2378584 11671
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2009

"I've always baked treats for our office staff, to make the month-end 'crunch' more tolerable. These disappeared fast, and the staff all agreed -best ever. I dipped half the cookies in melted semi-sweet chocolate for those who cannot live without it ..."

rharkless User ID: 1200027 8054
Reviewed May. 18, 2009

"The best shortbread cookies! I make these for my dad and he loves them - everybody else does, too!"

jas1906 User ID: 1656127 8043
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2008 Edited Feb. 17, 2016

"I make these every year and get sooo many compliments on them! They are definitely worth the effort!"

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