Quick & Easy Shortbread Cookie Recipe

My favorite shortbread cookie recipe has just 4 ingredients and makes delicious cookies that melt in your mouth. This easy recipe is perfect for tea parties, holidays, birthdays, or any time!

shortbread cookie recipe in holiday shapes with text overlay

Easy shortbread cookies

Today I’m sharing one of my go-to recipes for a sweet treat. It’s my classic shortbread cookie recipe and the cookies just melt in your mouth!

They’re perfect to include in you’re tea party ideas or to add to a dessert table. It’s the recipe I use to make witch finger cookies at Halloween, and for a cookie exchange party at Christmas.

They also make great cutout cookies, because they hold their shape and don’t spread out when baking.

shortbread cookie recipe in holiday shapes like hearts, bats, shamrocks

I love to add food coloring to the dough, and use themed cookie cutters to make special cookies for St. Patrick’s day, Valentine’s day, or Halloween. You can also decorate them for Christmas, using icing and dragées. They’re so versatile!

If you don’t have a cookie cutter, just roll the dough into small balls and press them down to form round cookies. You can also roll them out into log shape and then slice them into discs to bake.

More Cookie Recipes

shortbread cookie recipe, red hearts shapes
shortbread cookie recipe, green shamrock shapes
shortbread cookies for Halloween, bat shapes

A while back I found these great “cuppie” cutters at World Market, and couldn’t wait to make my own cuppie cookies. These cookies look so adorable hanging on the side of a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. For these I decorated them using cookie icing, which is great for adding color as it dries to a hard, candy-like coating.

cutout cookies on rim of milk glass
Best Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Best Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes

This is my go-to shortbread cookie recipe and has just 4 ingredients. They're light as a feather and melt in your mouth.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cookie icing if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on low.
  3. Add vanilla and combine.
  4. Gradually add flour while continuing to mix on low.
  5. With your hands form a ball with the dough and then press out on a lightly floured surface. Spread dough out to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness.
  6. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove cookies with a spatula and let cool on a wire rack.
  8. Decorate with cookie icing and sprinkles if desired.


Use almond, coconut, or orange extract instead of the vanilla to impart a different flavor into the cookies.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Thank you for including World Market in your post. The cookies look great (and yes the cookie cutters are adorable). We love the presentation too on your post. Thanks again, we’d love to work with you in the future.

    ~ World Market

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