Shortbread Cookies are a soft, crumbly, and classic buttery Christmas cookie that melts in your mouth. These easy cookies are made using a cookie press to create perfect holiday bites.

When I bite into one of these delicious shortbread cookies, it just brings me back to my Grandma’s kitchen filled with butter cookies, sugar cookies, and these beauties.

shortbread cookies on a christmas plate

What Are Shortbread Cookies?

Everyone has that one Christmas cookie that just tastes like the holidays… this is mine!

Shortbread cookies are actually very simple to make and require ingredients you likely already have on hand! They are a butter-based cookie that will literally melt in your mouth! I use a cookie press to make these cookies so they do look similar to a Spritz Cookie. The texture and flavor are different as spritz cookies generally contain an egg while shortbread does not.

One thing to remember is that all of the flavors in these cookies comes from butter and vanilla.  This is a good place to splurge and buy a butter you know and love (rather than a store brand), it will definitely show in the flavor of your cookies.  I use high-quality vanilla as well.

shortbread cookies on a christmas plate

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

This shortbread cookie recipe is especially close to my heart. I didn’t eat a ton of cookies but I could never resist my Grandma’s shortbread cookies. This recipe has been tested over and over and recently updated to make it easier and for the best flavor!

Easy Shortbread Cookies on a baking sheet before cooking

  1. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and blend in butter mixture until combined.
  3. Use a cookie press to press out the dough onto ungreased cookie tray. (Or, if you don’t have a press, follow the recipe suggestion)

To ensure the shortbread cookies don’t turn out too dense make sure to measure the flour properly.

Easy Shortbread Cookies on a baking sheet made with a cookie press

How To Bake Shortbread Cookies

Make sure the oven is preheated to 350°F. I like to line the tray with parchment for perfect cookies every time. However, without parchment, your cookies will still turn out great, just bake them following the recipe instructions below!

I am lucky enough to have an old vintage cookie press that I’ve had for years (check your local thrift shops, they turn up from time to time).  It creates the same beautiful cookies from my childhood! But if you don’t have a cookie press, use a fork or alternatively, a glass to press the cookies into a flattened shape about 1/4 inch thick on the tray.

shortbread cookies on a plate

Can You Freeze Shortbread Cookie Dough?

Shortbread dough can be frozen for up to three months. Once you thaw it and bake it, it shouldn’t be refrozen again, so alternatively, try baking the cookies before freezing in tins (there really is nothing quite like the taste of a frozen shortbread cookie!) You can freeze them with or without icing.

Shortbread cookies are a staple at Christmas. The holidays just wouldn’t be quite the same without them!

Delicious Holiday Cookies

Note: While this recipe has been made many times as written, measurements have been slightly adjusted to create more consistent results.

shortbread cookies on a plate
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Whipped Shortbread Cookies (Cookie Press)

Easy shortbread cookies are simple and classic buttery cookies that melt in your mouth. These easy cookies are made using a cookie press to create perfect holiday bites. High-quality butter and vanilla will produce the best results.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
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  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups flour


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Mix in cornstarch and salt.
  • Add flour a little bit at a time. Beat until just combined.
  • Place dough into a cookie press and press onto an ungreased pan. Add sprinkles or colored sugar if desired.
  • Bake 9-11 minutes or just until done. Immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool.


If you don't have a cookie press, you can make small balls about ¾" and press flat with fork.
4.71 from 96 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 116 | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cookies, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American

The Best Shortbread Cookie Icing

Of course you can use classic sugar cookie icing to decorate shortbread cookies.

  • Or, try serving them up on a platter with chocolate buttercream frosting and a knife for spreading it!
  • My kids love to drizzle or dip shortbread cookies in melted chocolate. Mix a cup of chocolate chips with half a teaspoon of oil, and microwave at 10 second intervals, stirring until the chips melt. You can use white chocolate chips for this, caramel, or peanut butter, too!
  • Or, the heck with it, just grab a jar of Nutella or make your own and have at it!
Easy Shortbread Cookies made on a baking sheet with a title
Easy Shortbread Cookies on a baking sheet with a title
Easy Shortbread Cookies and a cookie press with writing
making Easy Shortbread Cookies with a cookie press and a title
process of making Easy Shortbread Cookies with a title


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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. I think 1 1/2 cups flour was too much. the dough never came together and certainly wouldn’t work in a cookie press.

    1. Hi Nicole, if your dough seems dry or crumbly you can add a splash of milk or a bit of softened butter. Let us know if that helps!

  2. Quick question. . . what type of flour and butter? Self Rising or All Purpose Flour? Salter or Unsalted Butter? I am NOT a cookie maker but need to make dough and bring to a cookie swap party. Just want to have everything right and see some of the recipes failed in the comments so trying to prevent being in that category. Please help

    1. Hi Jenn! We use all-purpose flour and unsalted butter in this recipe. We would love to hear how they turn out for you! :)

      1. These came out wonderful!! I chilled the cookie dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes in the cookie press. When I got to the cookie bake party I pressed out the cookies onto the baking sheet and sprinkled with colored sugar. In between the batches, I put the press, loaded with dough in the fridge. My cookie press was my Grandfather’s aluminum twist style press, It held the entire recipe of dough. Thank for sharing your recipes!5 stars

  3. You mention using parchment paper but also state press on to ungreased cookie sheet. Will this dough press onto the parchment or do you transfer pressed cookies to parchment?
    Love shortbread and love your recipes!
    Thanks!5 stars

    1. You can do either and they will turn out great. If not using parchment paper then you want to make it on an ungreased cookie sheet for best results.

  4. I Absolutely Love ❤️ Spritz Cookies Because My Mother & My Mom Made These Christmas Spritz Cookies When I Was Kid & Have Loved Christmas Spritz Cookies All Of My Life!!! Even Thought My Has Passed Away In 2011 I Still Absolutely Love ❤️ Christmas Spritz Cookies Every Christmas Morning Of EVery Year During The Christmas Holiday Seasons !!!! You Absolutely Gotta Love ❤️ Christmas Spritz Cookies For Christmas Or Any Day Of The Year & Especially The Christmas Holiday Seasons With Your Mom&Dad During The Christmas Holiday Seasons & Christmas Spritz Cookies !!!! Absolutely Love ❤️ Christmas Spritz Cookies Every Christmas Holiday Season Of Every Year!!!5 stars

  5. Love your recipe… do you have a recipe for chocolate whipped shortbread cookie press cookies as well?

    1. Hi Donna, we do not have a recipe for chocolate whipped shortbread cookies but they sound delicious!

  6. Two questions, do you think these can be frozen for max 2 months and what do think about adding gel food colouring? I need to make a lot for a cookie exchange, these look delish, and I want to get ahead of the game. Thank you !

  7. This recipe was a failure for me. The mixture came out too crumbly. Since I don’t have a cookie press, I was trying to ball up the mixture but it wouldn’t ball up, even with the hot sweaty hands I have. And when I got somewhat of a ball shape on the cookie sheet and tried to push it flat with a fork, the form just fell apart. I guess I’m going to just have to form some kind of log on the sheet now and just bake it. :(

  8. Hi,

    I did try the ungreased cookie sheet and it didn’t work, but honestly, as I was making the dough I thought it seemed like maybe too much flour. Even being pretty conservative with it (not over-filling the measuring cup) the dough seemed thicker than other press cookie recipes I have used. After unsuccessfully trying to press the cookies, I eventually tried adding more butter to the dough and heated the dough so it was a lot thinner, and then it did stick to the pan. The issue I was having seems to be that the dough was just too firm for the press to work. Maybe your press isn’t so sensitive?

    Either way, I got some tasty cookie-ish looking things out of this. The tasty part counts.

    1. Hi Kelly, I’m sorry you had some issues with this dough but I am glad you still got tasty cookies out of it! Did you use the scoop and level method when measuring all of the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, and powdered sugar)?

  9. No matter what I did, this dough would not stick to the cookie sheet when I put it through the cookie press. I tried freezing the pans, I tried using silicone mats. I want to love this recipe, but it just didn’t work for me. It was such a frustrating experience.4 stars

    1. Oh no, I’m sorry you had this experience Kelly. The dough needs to be able to stick to the pan, so you will want to use an ungreased cookie pan. It will be harder for the dough to stick on a silicone mat or greased pan. You can also try chilling the dough, as opposed to the pan. I hope this helps!

  10. Hey, love the recipe except when I press the cookies onto the sheet they don’t stick. Instead they spread out and incite a holiday baking related emotional collapse. Really there is ugly crying and then there is the outraged adolescent gibbon-like tantrum I just threw.

    What can I do to get them to stick?

    1. Thank you for the laugh the man who no longer refers to baking as “just chemistry”!

      Are you using an ungreased non-stick cookie sheet? The cookies need to be able to cling to the pan. Dough that is sticky and spreading can mean your dough is too soft, so you can also try to chill the dough slightly. I hope this helps!

  11. Hi – I am trying to find a cookie recipe that I have used for the past several years. I know I got it off your best cookies list. It’s a shortbread recipe, and it MIGHT be this one, but the images have changed and the recipe I am mentioning did not use a cookie press. The images in the recipe I want were pale green and pink and un-dyed shortbread, pressed with a fork and a meat tenderizer. Am I crazy or was that your recipe?! My 6-yo son depends on these cookies and I swear they are yours but I cannot find them. Can you help?! Thx!!

    1. Hi Emily!

      Here is the recipe you are looking for. I am so happy to hear you love it! Enjoy!


      2 cups butter
      1 cup powdered sugar
      3 cups flour
      1 ½ cups cornstarch
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      food coloring optional


      Preheat oven to 300°F.
      Cream butter and vanilla with a stand mixer until fluffy.
      Add flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch a little at a time mixing.
      If using food coloring, divide dough and knead in a few drops of coloring to reach desired color.
      Roll into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (not a non-stick cookie sheet). Flatten with a fork, a meat tenderizer, or the bottom of a pretty glass. Top with sprinkles if desired.
      Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely and let sit at least 24 hours before serving.

      Recipe Notes
      We use salted butter. You can use unsalted and add a pinch of salt to taste.
      Ensure the mixture is beaten until light and fluffy.