Buttery, crumbly shortbread cookies, just like grandma used to make! Just 3 ingredients and 10 minutes is all you need to enjoy these cookies with a hot cup of tea.
All I had the energy to do on Friday was bake a batch of this shortbread. It was definitely a sick day! I cuddled up with a cookie and a cup of pumpkin spice tea, grabbed a big blanket and my favorite chick flick. Along with a handful of cold medicine, it put me right back on track for the weekend… Until we decided it would be a lazy, minimally productive one, starting Saturday with a big feast of a brunch and a boat ride through Austin. No complaints here!
To feel like I was getting at least one thing done, though, I checked this wonderful buttery, crumbly shortbread off my list… and I’m glad I did! It was so simple to make. I’m not usually a girl for roll-out cookies, either. They always turn awry – the dough is too soft, the end result is too floury and dense. Just, no good. But these! Oh, people.
Three ingredients: Butter, sugar, flour (What’s better in this world anyway?), and 10 whoppin’ minutes. Roll ‘em out, cut ‘em up and you have Christmas cookie perfection ready to slide alongside a mug of hot tea.
I know you have the ingredients (I’m psychic like that) and I knoowwww you have 10 minutes, so why not whip these up? A ball of dough gets ya roughly 15 cookies, so keep some for your morning cup and toss the rest over to your cookie lovin’ friends. They’ll pay you in smiles, I promise.
Bake up these crisp, buttery rounds of love and I bet you’ll see why it’s become my new go-to for a basic shortbread.
You can also use this as the base for any recipe that calls for shortbread. I recommend rolling them out with powdered sugar, though, since additional flour can make them too dense… and I have experience with dense cookies!
3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened, 1 cup butter = 2 sticks
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add flour and continue to mix until mixture forms a soft dough (it will be crumbly at first, but keep mixing and it will form a dough). Form dough into a cohesive ball with your hands.
- Roll dough 1/4-inch thick on a surface dusted with flour or powdered sugar* with a well-dusted rolling pin. Cut into rounds and place on prepared baking sheets. Repeat as necessary.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until cookies are pale golden brown. Let cool on baking sheets.
Glad you’re feeling better! And so glad you whipped these up – I love that they’re only 3 ingredients!
Butter, sugar, flour…the holy trinity of baking! They look wonderful and if that’s all you had energy for, I’d say you did well.
These would make me feel better also. I’m looking forward to crossing these off my baking list!
Love simple shortbread cookies and these look so pretty and puffy! Hope you’re feel better Georgia :)
I’m making these tomorrow. Maybe I’ll put in some edible lavender. :)
Sorry you weren’t feeling so good, but yay for shortbread! It’s one of my favorite things to make…I’m always shocked by how good those three little ingredients are when baked together!
You rule. 3 ingredients and they’re that fluffy? I can’t wait to eat more than my share. :)
3 ingredient?! I’m in!!
They look fantastic!
Simple and delicious – I’m in!
Gorgeous! Love them–they look so fat and buttery! Glad you’re feeling better. Chick flicks, blankets, and snuggling up in bed is the best way to beat a cold, hands down.
I hope you’re feeling better now! Anyway, your Sunday sounds perfect to me: chicik flicks, tea, cookies and blankets… HEAVEN. It’s such a pity that you were feeling a bit under teh weather though!
And these cookies look heavenly OH MY. And easy, I love easy cookies. I’m going to bake them for my father’s birthday this week. He loves shortbread!
Thanks for the recipe and have a great week :D
These look like they would cure just about anything that ails a soul. Yum! Hope you’re feeling MUCH better Georgia!
I hope you’re feeling better! These cookies look incredible! Love how easy they are to make!
I’m game for 3 ingredient shortbread cookies. Yum!
Oooh these look perfect! You knowww I got time for them!
These remind me of my moms sugar cookies! Simple perfection :)
These look wonderful! I am adding them to my Christmas baking list now. Since I really only do baking around the holidays, I like to try new things each year. I just have a couple of questions though due to less experience. Do you use regular butter or the unsalted butter that a lot of recipes call for? Also, could these hold up with shaped cookie cutters (w/ the holidays) and can I decorate them or are they to delicate. Thank you!
Hi Jennifer – Either unsalted or salted butter is fine. I used unsalted for these. And yes, you can use any cookie cutters and decorate as you wish. This dough is very easy to work with!
It seriously doesn’t get any better than that!! Shortbreads are one of my all time favorite cookies! I juts made some last week, but yours with just three ingredients? Timesaver!!
I have been eyeing this recipe ever since Kristen posted them!! Yours look so good! Hope you’re feeling better!
Gorgeous shortbread cookies, Georgia! I would never guess you weren’t a rolled cookie kinda baker! Lovely photography as always, my friend. I hope you’re feeling much better after your sick day and a nice weekend. Thanks for sharing!
Shortbread is generally not my thing but THIS just looks SO incredible and delicious and buttery and mmmm!
Oh, man, I have everything and I love butter cookies, tempted to whip up a batch. Looks really good.
Hope you are feeling better now.
They look perfect and sound like an old Scottish recipe we used to use back home, 3 ingredients can’t get much easier :)
A classic favorite of mine! I love shortbread cookies, especially around the holidays. What a fabulous, simple recipe for them! I can see myself adding sprinkles. Naturally.
Sorry you weren’t feeling so good last week! I felt sick on Friday too. And was so lazy, I loved every minute of it. :)
Shortbread is simply the best! I should make it way more often than I do.
Shortbread cookies are fantastic! Love how this is only three ingredients. I definitely do not need to run to the grocery store for this one!
Only 3 ingredients and less than 20 minutes?! I am sold! Hope you are feeling better!
Feel better! Now these cookies – perfection! They would go so perfectly with my morning cup of coffee!
I love shortbread cookies, they are almost always perfect. Your pics made them look extra yummy :)
Awww I hope you’re feeling better chica!! And I’m glad you took the weekend to relax!! Sounds totally necessary!
These cookies would be perfect to snack on while sick! Love how easy they are to throw together!
If I could live on these three ingredients, I totally would. These shortbread cookies look simple, and simply amazing. Can’t wait to try them. And I hop you feel better soon!
These make me think of Girl Scout cookies! The shortbread are always the best when you dunk them in tea or coffee. I’m super excited about this recipe!
Three ingredient cookies sound like a god send! Glad your feeling better.
3 ingredients, 10 minutes desserts are THE BEST. Great idea. I’m thinking these would be great as sandwich cookies too…
Hey Georgia, I can’t believe how easy these shortbread cookies are. It’s always so great to have something so delicious but so easy and quick. I’m sorry you were not feeling well, but I’m awfully glad you posted this recipe! Awesome photos too!
These look so perfect and fluffy! Love it!
Three ingredients, oh yes! Love these kind of recipes!
hey now! I am all for quick cookies but 3 ingredients makes me feel giddy inside and makes me want to DASH to the kitchen and get started
shortbread cookies are so classic and lovely! hope you’re feeling better :)
How fun are these cookies! And I love that they are just 3 ingredients!!!
those are the only 3 ingredients you need! yum!
Now this is an easy recipe… and for such lovely thick cookies. :) I am definitely trying these out. :)
Wow! 3 ingredients can’t be beat, especially when it turns out as delicious looking as this! And pumpkin spice tea?! What brand is that? I think I need some! :)
My pumpkin spice tea was a gift from World Market – so delicious, and I think it’s still there now!
These sound so buttery and delicious!!! Pinned them!
You just can’t beat a great shortbread cookie, and these look phenomenal, Georgia! I can’t wait to get to Christmas baking…shortbread is perfect.
This is the most simple and easy yet yummy recipe. I loved 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookie. This goes wonderful with my morning coffee.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.
Hi from Ireland! Was wondering how much a stick of butter is plz if you could tell me? We use grams and kilograms here. Thanks!
One stick of butter is 1/2 cup, or 113 grams.
Georgia! Delicious as always! Can’t wait to make these!
I’ve learned something new today about shortbread cookies! So thanks for that. Your cookies are so lovely. Delicious!
Would these be even more Christmassy with some spice in? I might try a teaspoon of mixed spice which would give a warming flavour, I think.
Sure, give it a try!
Hello I was just wondering if it’s possible to replace butter with margarine for this recipe?
I’ve never used margarine, but it would probably work fine.
This is very similar to my Great Grandma’s recipe, and it was her mothers recipe that they brought over from Scotland. The only difference is they used 2 cups of regular sugar, and 2 1/2 cups flour. Then pressed into a round cake pan, poked with a fork and baked. I wanted to try your recipe because I like the idea of shaping and baking. I am even thinking of dipping the ends in chocolate.
By the way… I was told to only use real butter, never substitute.
I don’t own parchment paper so would greasing the pan with either oil or butter yeild the same kinda results as they would I had parchment paper?
I’d recommend getting parchment paper. Using greased foil, the cookies may brown too quickly.
Made these for a late holiday present. I cannot believe how perfectly light and melt-in-your-mouth this dough is. I added almond flavoring because I like my shortbread to have some almond flavor, but did everything else exactly to the recipe. They are DIVINE.
Hey Georgia, I love ur recipe! But I was wondering shouldn’t you put it in the fridge to chill before baking? I’ve learned that it spreads out and doesn’t rise if you don’t chill it. Yours comes out so perfect, though!
Thanks, Annie! No, the dough does not need to chill before baking.
I have looked at so many shortbread recipes and finally found yours which I am going to use. Depending on what size cookie cutter you use, approximately how many cookies does this recipe make? I have to make about 90. Also can these cookies be frozen after baking?
As the recipe states, it yields about 15 cookies. I haven’t tried freezing them after baking, but I’m sure they’d freeze just fine.
its amazing for starters
well i was looking for easyyyyyyyyyyy shortbread cookies to make. Wow this really good too. we put jam on top of some the others were made a cookie cutter. will be making these my housewarming with dipped chaholate. mmmmmmmmmmmmm
As soon as I saw that these were 3 ingredients I went straight to the kitchen (no lie!). I’m waiting for them to bake as we speak! I can already tell they will be good because I tried the cookie dough and it was delicious!
Thanks for the great recipe!
Can you use white whole wheat flour
I’d recommend just using all-purpose flour, not any variation of whole wheat.
Thank you, I made 2 batches, one plain shortbread and one batch of Lemon Rosemary Shortbread.
I added 1/4 cup more of powder sugar, 1 teaspoon of Almond Extract, 1 teaspoon of Lemon Juice and some Rosemary. They were delicious! Lemon Rosemary Shortbread.
Looks and sound delicious!!! I’ll definitely try these tonight. By the way, instead of rolling it out, would using a cookie press also work? Thanks!
You could certainly try using a cookie press, but I’ve never used one on these cookies myself.
Hi, no matter how much I mix, the mixture won’t become a dough. It looks like break crumbs. what could I i do?
As I noted in the recipe, the dough will be crumbly at first, but after repeated mixing it will form a dough. Just make sure your butter is the right consistency (softened).
Hi! Looks Delicious but i was wondering if you use salted or unsalted butter?
I always use unsalted butter in my baking. Hope you enjoy!
I’ve been looking for a simple shortbread cookie for days online. I finally stumbled over yours. Quick question… are these cookies crisp or kinda chewy?
They’re very crisp, buttery and delicious!
Found this recipe yesterday. Made them this morning. Truly they melt in the mouth. Bought shortcake biscuits always seem to be thick and certainly not all light and fluffy like these. Very simple to make which so helps with time etc.
Thanks. These are now on my favorites list!!
Loved the recipe super easy to make and delicious, I just found that at 16 minutes the cookies were a slightly over done. But overall, delicious.
Yum yum, these sound lovely, thanks for uploading this recipe.
i don’t have oven that’s why i never ever really bake or make something that requires an oven but don’t get me wrong i love baked goods and lately I’ve been really craving some cookies and i found your site…i used your recipe with a pinch of salt and cook it on top of the stove and the result was amazing!!! thank you so much!!!
Can i use normal sugar instead of powdered sugar? Or will it not work the same?
No, you need to use powdered sugar for the texture of the cookies.
Do you think you could replace the butter with coconut oil?
I would only recommend using butter for these cookies.
I just made these with my three year old granddaughter in France, with french butter (the world’s best). Loved the use of sugar to prevent sticking. We cut them into multiple shapes and the dough tolerated Agathe’s not so gentle handling. Best of all they tasted great after a wonderful morning of Christmas tradition creating with my girl.
Can you use foil instead of parchment paper to line your cookie sheet?
Sure. Using foil may cause the cookies to crisp faster than if using parchment paper, but it should be fine. Just keep an eye on the cookies as they bake.
I made these tonight, I used cake flour in place of all purpose…absolutely wonderful. Thanks for quick and easy.
Can I use self rising flour? It is all I have on hand.
Self rising flour may work, however, it contains baking powder and salt, which aren’t called for in the recipe.
Ha! You think you’ve found a recipe I can’t possibly screw up? Challenge accepted!
can you use superfine sugar in place of the powdered sugar? is it better to mix by hand or with the mixer? and with your hands or a spoon..?
No, you need to use powdered sugar for the texture of the cookies.
O my god think i found the best recipe for butter cookies
Hi! I was wondering if these cookies spread when baked? I plan on using this dough in a recipe that requires the cookie not spread out too much while baking
No, they do not spread much when baked.
I love this recipe! I make it at least once a month. Thank you for posting it. =)
Love these cookies, my husband and I have made them a few times, this time I decided to add a little pumpkin spice for extra flavor!
I was looking forward to these as I LOVE shortbread! I made them today, here’s what I used: I had some “light” butter, not sure what it is but my hubby bought it in instead of regular, used the 1/2 c. 10x sugar and the 2 c. flour, I used unbleached. Anyway, the dough was perfect, they rolled out nice. Two things I noticed, they didn’t brown much on the top, the bottoms got golden brown. When I tasted them, they were too dense, almost not done in the middle and not very sweet, which I don’t like my shortbread too sweet, but these were definitely not sweet enough. Any ideas of what I may have done wrong? Would love to give these another go. Thanks!
FYI, made these again today, changed the butter to real butter, what a difference! They are so delicious! :) Thanks! (I also added an extra 1/4 c. of 10x sugar)
I tried them! They are just baking in the oven the dough looked great! But i had to keep popping it in the freezer to make the dough firm enough to roll. GREAT RECIPE!! best part only 3 ingredients and less dishes to wash! THANKS!!!
Can these be made with cassava flour to make it grain free?
I’ve only ever made these cookies as written, so cannot advise on the success of using ingredient substitutions.
Hi! Thanks so much for this recipe. This is the first time I have tried baking something and my three batches so far have come out quite well! I had one question – I was trying to cut my dough out into shapes (used a christmas tree cookie cutter), but my dough was kind of flimsy. I had a tough time getting the cut dough off the work surface into the pan. Do you have any tips for that? I was thinking of reducing the time I cream the butter and reducing the number of times I work the dough (I roll and knead it for a while). Anything else I could try?
I’ve found it helpful to refrigerate the dough (with shapes already cut) for 15-20 minutes before removing the shapes. This firms the shapes up a bit, and makes them easier to transfer. Enjoy!
Thanks! I’ll try that as well.
I used margarine and added finely chopped cranberries, and orange zest….they were extremely special
Hello! this look great!
Can I decorate them with sugar icing???
Does it have to be POWDERED sugar or can it just be white sugar? Please answer my question as soon as you can. Thanks!
You need to use powdered sugar, not granulated sugar, for this recipe.
how about making chocolate? would you add just cocoa or choc chips?
I don’t know how cocoa or chocolate chips would work in this recipe. I’ve only ever made the recipe as written.
Just whipped up a double batch of these because they sounded truly simple …..they were AMAZING!!! I added 1 tsp. Of vanilla extract , only kind I had on hand, and they were literally out of this world!!! One sheet had red sprinkles, others I left plain. They were both loved equally in my house!! I will be making more tomorrow since they were sooo easy and unbelievably delicious. These new batches will be gifts for Christmas. This is my new go-to recipe for shortbread cookies!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!
I can’t wait to try these, I am wondering about not adding salt, doesn’t everything need salt. lol Thank you
You could probably get away with not adding salt, but it really brings out the sweetness in the shortbread.
My mom, sister and me made these today and enjoyed with a cup of milk, and they were simply glorious very nice recipe. I love this site!
Lovely, lovely little tea biscuits. And with only 3 ingredients, any studious cook can easily adjust the dough texture to proper rolling consistency. This is a handy skill to have. In over 60 years of cooking for family and loved ones, I have learnt that so many things can affect cookie, pie, and bread dough, i.e. brand of flour, barometric pressure, room temperature, altitude, humidity, handling of dough, etc. Next time I make these I plan to flavour with lemon.
Thank you so much and kia ora from New Zealand. I have signed up to receive your recipes which I expect will be very nice indeed.
I form the dough into little logs or cylinders, would the bake time have to be increased? Thank you, it seems like a great, easy, recipe!
These are AMAZING.
My Daughter (6) loves making these with me. Super easy / fun an yummy
My grandparents love these and so do I, added some vanilla just for an extra layer of flavour. Highly recommended
That’s amazing.. Easy and just 3 Ingredients .. wow wow.. surely gonna try
Hi Georgia, I have a question, is powdered sugar and confectioners sugar the same?
I would like to make these cookies, they look so easy and quick to make.
I’ve made these twice now, they’re so easy and delicious! My son loves them! The first time I accidentally added too much icing sugar but the dough was perfect and they rolled out well, they just spread quite a bit in the oven (I think it was because of the sugar), they were perfect after 12 minutes in the oven and I got 20 out of the batch. The last time I made them yesterday I carefully followed the recipe but instead of rolling them out, I just made tsp sized balls and flattened them with a fork, they were perfect after 8 minutes and I got 37 out of the batch. Best recipe ever!
I like to know which butter is best to use for shortbread cookies please?
Any butter works, but the best quality you can find is ideal.
Really great, the kiddies and my husband loves it. Definitely will be making these again. Thank you so much for sharing such a simple and yummy recipe.
The photo looks like the cookies are more like 1/2” thick than 1/4”. It would make more sense since the baking time is pretty long. Thoughts?
It was too soft to roll out, so I made them into drop biscuits. They tasted heavenly, despite not having a lovely shape. Not sure if it’s cause I am in a tropical country with very hot weather.
I want to use these for Christmas gifts how early can I make them in advance.
I would make these no more than 1 day in advance. Hope you enjoy!