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Classic Shortbread Cookies

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 4 dozen 1-1/2x2-inch bars.



  • 8 oz. (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour


  • Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn’t perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 min. Add the flour and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don’t overmix.
  • Roll: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking.

  • Cut: Cut the dough into bars or squares with a sharp knife or, using cookie cutters, cut out shapes as close to one another as possible. Press the scraps together, roll them out, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 min.
  • Bake: Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Bake the cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (After 15 min., swap the position of the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking.) If the cookies are done before 30 min., reduce the oven temperature to 275°F for the remaining batches; if they take longer than 1 hour, increase the temperature to 325°F.


For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.


Rate or Review


  • user-4233951 | 12/09/2014

    Very easy to make. They are wonderful, I used real salted butter. I will make more batches for the holiday.KellyGaylord, MI

  • user-4233951 | 12/09/2014

    Very easy to make. They are wonderful, I used real salted butter. I will make more batches for the holiday.KellyGaylord, MI

  • badrise1 | 01/26/2012

    Have tried many ,many different recipes on shortbread cookies this is definatly the shortest easiest and GREATEST tasting cookies. Rave reviews all around even from seasoned bakers This is a great recipe and this is a great web site.all that's needed is a love of baking and some fresh ingredents and you can't go wrong Thank You Fine Cooking

  • CTNutmegger | 03/04/2010

    This cookie is my workhorse cookie--holidays rarely go by without it! Dip it in chocolate! Or caramel! Use it as a base, bake til barely golden, cover it with your favorite jam, then top it with this dough, latticed for a special look, and bake for 20 min more! Top it with coarse sugar! Alter the flavorings, brush it with milk then sprinkle it with finely chopped nuts. The possibilites are endless, and always becomes a crowd favorite. In fact, I've created my own cookie: use this dough as a base, bake until barely golden, top with homemade caramel, sprinkle with finely chopped pecans or walnuts, add chocolate chips, bake for 5 min more. When barely warm, cut into scauares. It's like eating candy.... By far my most requested recipe. Thank you, Fine Cooking!

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