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Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 40 rectangular cookies or 24 cookie wedges

Cardamom adds just a subtle intriguing note to classic shortbread. To give the cookie a more exotic flavor, see the Pistachio-Cardamom variation below.


  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan(s)
  • 15 oz. (3-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 5-3/8 oz. (1-1/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract or paste

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 120
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 60
  • Fat (g): 7
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 20
  • Sodium (mg): 60
  • Carbohydrates (g): 12
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 1


  • For rectangular cookies, lightly butter the bottom of a straight-sided 9×13-inch baking pan. For wedges, lightly butter two 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms.
  • Combine the flour, cornstarch, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form moist clumps, about 1 minute.
  • Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (if making wedges, divide the dough between the two pans). Using lightly floured fingertips, press the dough into the pan(s) to form an even layer.
  • For rectangular cookies, use a bench knife or a paring knife to cut the dough all the way through into 40 bars. With the tines of a fork, prick each bar twice all the way through, spacing the holes evenly and on the diagonal. Lightly flour the tines as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking
  • For wedges, cut each pan of dough all the way through to form 12 wedges. With the tines of a fork, prick the wedges three times all the way through, spacing the holes evenly over the dough.
  • Freeze the dough while the oven heats. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
  • Bake the dough, rotating the pan(s) halfway through, until the top(s) looks dry and goldenbrown, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan(s) to a rack. Using a paring knife or bench knife, immediately re-cut the cookies along the lines. Cool completely before removing them from the pan(s).

Make Ahead Tips

Once the dough is pressed into the pan and cut, it can be wrapped and refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. If freezing the dough, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Baked and cooled cookies can be layered between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Variation: Pistachio-Cardamom Shortbread

In a small bowl, toss 3/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios with 1 Tbs. of the flour. Combine the rest of the flour with the dry ingredients as directed. Proceed with the recipe as written, adding the pistachio-flour mixture to the batter after incorporating the last of the dry ingredients. Shape and bake as directed.



Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • lucyg22 | 11/02/2019

    I thought these were good but not great. I like thinner shortbread cookies better.

  • perlgrrl | 07/01/2012

    These are wonderful. I made them for my wedding as favors, and everyone raved about them. The cardamom adds just the right hint of spice to balance the shortbread. They are so easy to make and also freeze well.

  • User avater
    Lupini | 11/28/2011

    Years ago I used to enjoy a wholewheat version of regular shortbread in England. I love this recipe because it works great with a couple of changes.......Substitute all the white flour for wholewheat.Substitute all the white powder sugar for brown, or even better muscovada.Add a handful or so of chopped pistachios.Yum! Yum!

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