Whipped Shortbread Cookies (Cookie Press)

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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 Nanaimo bars, 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
4.48 from 44 votes
Review Recipe

Easy Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Author Holly N.
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.


  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups flour

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  • 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.

Recipe Notes

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

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.)

Keyword best shortbread cookies, how to make shortbread cookies, shortbread cookies, shortbread cookies recipe
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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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Bland flavorless cookies, weird mouthfeel.

    Dough so thick that it couldn’t be squeezed through a cookie press.

    These are terrible cookies.1 star

  2. As others mentioned, the cookie dough was crumbly and dry. I added some milk to get them to a point where they could form into a cookie. Not good. Did you mean a 1/2 CUP of corn starch? That sounds like an awful lot. It that correct?1 star

    1. Yes, 1/2 cup of cornstarch is correct as written. While the ratios in this recipe are actually from my Grandma’s recipe, it’s also similar to the recipes printed right on the cornstarch package. (Ours contains a bit more butter and flour).

      I made these again this week and they turned out perfectly.

      When measuring your dry ingredients, did you spoon them gently into the measuring cups? Scooping with the measuring cups can add extra flour. Did you cream the butter 3 minutes before adding the other ingredients? I hope that helps.

  3. Would you be able to add the weight conversions you use beside the volume measurements of each ingredient for this recipe? (Except for the vanilla, of course.) I find weighing much more accurate than measuring by volume in cups. I would do it myself, but I find there are variations in the conversions depending upon who is writing the recipe so that is why I am asking you if you can post these for us. Thank you.

    1. Hello Michelle, I am unable to provide conversions however there are online converters that may help you.

  4. Hello, I’m interested in trying these, however I’m not sure which step the powered sugar is used in. Is it creamed with the butter initially?

  5. hi i made theae in my cookie press and they tasted amazing however they baked super thin im not sure how to get them thicker (if you know what i mean

    1. I’d suggest that you lift your cookie press as you pressing the cookies and make sure that you push out enough dough. Make sure to not overbake, as they may start to spread. Hope that helps Zeennie!

  6. Hi! I’ve been looking forever for a cookie press recipe without eggs, or unfortunately dairy. I was wondering if anyone has tried this with a vegan butter or shortening? My boy has severe allergies and my girl LOVES using the cookie press. He’s getting to the age now where he knows someone is eating something he’s not so I’m trying to find a recipe that suits everyone. Thanks!5 stars

    1. That is tough Sara. We have not tried this recipe with vegan butter or shortening but I would love to hear how it turns out if you try it!

  7. This recipe is one of the biggest fails I’ve had in baking. Same as a couple of others commented, the dough was crumbly and didn’t come together at all, and yes, I did measure the flour correctly. I tried to add an egg as one of the commenters recommended and although it did bring this together into an actual dough it was a disaster in there cookie press. Normally, I would just scrap the cookie plan and eat the dough, but it tasted so bland I tossed it. I just made a different recipe last week that was a cocoa version and it was much better and this was very disappointing.

    1. Oh no, that’s disappointing Kate. I made this three times this year as written for Christmas and had no problems so I can’t say what went wrong for you.

  8. Fabulous but why the corn starch as it’s in the powdered sugar already? Wouldn’t cream of tartar be better? I know you create recipes so this is not meant as a criticism I really want to know. I appreciate your time thank you for reading 5 stars

    1. Hi Paige, this is just what we found worked best in this recipe. If you try it with cream of tartar instead I would love to hear how it turns out!

  9. Can you use a pastry bag with large star tip? Also, can you use an egg white wash for the sprinkles to stick? Thank you

    1. You could definitely try a pastry bag Christie, that should work fine. As for the sprinkles we found they stuck to our cookies as is! Have fun baking.

  10. Having a hard time with batter not holding together, very dry. Hard to get into press. No liquid other than vanilla?

  11. Great flavor, I used almond & vanilla extracts. But 350 seems low. And my oven tends to run hot. I baked these at 350 for close to 15 mins before they would hold together.4 stars

  12. You have some wonderful recipes that I look forward to trying! First up is the shortbread that I can make in my cookie press!

    1. Hi Minnie, you can order one, pick one up at your local supermarket, or we have even found some great ones at our local thrift store.

  13. I made these today, using my cookie press for the first time. I though they came out tasting pretty good. I need more practice using the press and I’m sure they would look better the next time. Thanks for the easy recipe.5 stars

  14. Followed recipe exactly but too soft for cookie press. Tried adding flour a tablespoon at a time and putting dough in the fridge but nothing worked. Gave up and just made normal shortbread with the dough.
    Very disappointing as have no problem using the cookie press with the normal spitz recipe – really wanted to make cookie press shortbread 1 star

    1. So sorry to hear that Michelle. We have made this recipe many times with great success. If your mixture is too soft, you could try adding a couple of spoonfuls of cornstarch to get the right consistency.

  15. This recipe is by far the BEST shortbread cookie recipe I have ever used. The texture, flavor, and baking height are perfect. It worked flawlessly in my cookie press also.

    I do have a question – it there any way to sweeten it up without losing the integrity of the original recipe? Minus icing or decorations, that is. I’m baking for a teenagers who have requested a sweeter flavor *sigh*

    Thank you very much!5 stars

    1. Yay! So glad you loved it! I have tried tweaking the ratios in this recipe so many times and to be honest, as written works the very best.

      You can certainly try adding more sugar but it may change the consistency.

  16. These are the most flavorful, lightest, shortbread cookies ever! Our new favorite. I’ve made 4 batches over the last several weeks and everyone loves them! I don’t have a cookie press, so I just rolled the dough into small balls then tapped them with a meat tenderizing mallet to make square impressions. Or just flatten them with the bottom of a glass with parchment paper on top of the cookie so the glass doesn’t stick. Yummy!5 stars

    1. I am so glad you guys loved them Deb! We love making these around Christmas too. That sounds like a great idea in a pinch!

  17. Quick, easy and the most delicious shortbread cookie I have ever tasted. I added fresh raisins to the top of cookie before baking… Wow thankyou for this best ever cookie.5 stars

  18. My dough turned out extremely soft. Tried to use my cookie press and it just glooped out (only way to describe it. Lol). Not sure what I did wrong.. maybe my butter was too soft (it was room temp)? Maybe too much gel food coloring? Any suggestions?

    1. You are correct in that the butter should be soft/room temperature. I did make these twice this week and mine worked out perfectly. I think the gel coloring should be just fine. Did you by chance add extra vanilla?

  19. These were super easy and tasty however, I made 1 batch and felt it really needed more salt to balance the sweetness. I like my shortbread to have that hint of salt to balance the sweetness. I made another batch and used 1/4 tsp salt and those ones were perfect.5 stars

  20. Tips on getting these to stay in their tree shape while using the cookie press? :( I chilled the sheet in the fridge for 10 minutes. They taste good, just look like ugly blobs lol

    1. Oh no, how disappointing! I haven’t had that problem. Do you live in a humid area? Did you use butter (not margarine) and all purpose flour? Did you grease your cookie sheet (or use a non-stick or slippery cookie sheet)?

      I really hope chilling the dough helped.

  21. What setting did you use on your cookie press? Thin, medium, thick? Because I want mine to look just like yours. They are beautiful.

  22. Easy Shortbread Cokies (Cookie Press)
    This recipe is missing ingredients. I mixed it as directed and it was so dry there was no way it would form into balls, so I looked up another recipe and added 1 egg. Then it was prefect. I think you need to edit the recipe so others don’t run into this.2 stars

    1. I can’t say why you had trouble with this recipe as it works for me as written. Shortbread doesn’t contain egg (Spritz cookies do) so I do not add egg to this recipe.

      Did you scoop your flour into the measuring cup from your container or did you measure the flour by sprinkling it into the measuring cup? Scooping the flour can sometimes cause it to be packed into the cup.

    1. I’ve never tried refrigerating this dough. This dough is best used at room temperature, so refrigerating it may make it a bit harder to work with.

  23. Ok, so I just made these with vegan margarine and they turned out great! I was a little worried they would spread using the margarine but they didn’t.
    It was my first time using a cookie press too. My first batch I used my practically brand new condition rimless cookie sheet, but it was a little too slippery and some of my cookies didn’t want to stick. My second batch I used a well worn cookie sheet with much better results. Great recipe! Thank you 5 stars

  24. I have recently went vegan. I am going to try to make these with vegan butter, if that doesn’t work I’ll try coconut oil, or a mixture of both. I’ll post my results for anyone looking for a vegan option.5 stars

    1. You can just leave out the added salt if you want to use salted butter. You can also do both if you want a slightly saltier cookie.

  25. I’d like to try these in place of my spritz cookies this year.  Do you know if I could tint them with food coloring like I do the spritz?

  26. Can you please tell me about the butter you talked about what kind and where to get it? I found the pure vanilla .5 stars

    1. High quality butter would often say Grade AA. I suggest to use the best one you see at your grocery store.

    1. Thank you Yani! I’m sorry, I’m unable to provide grams. I would suggest searching for a conversion online.

  27. I just made these. Mine tasted like flour. Perhaps I will try again and be extra careful with measurements as I had doubled the recipe. I was so disappointed after reading all the comments about how good they taste and biting into a crumbly flour cookie. Hope they taste better tomorrow. Will try another day as I had planned to take these to a seniors tea tomorrow. I used my 2 yr old press and the dough comes out but not consistently. These new cookie presses do not work as consistently as the ones from a couple decades ago. Boy do I ever sound like my mother saying that!! LOL!!

    1. Lucy, I’m sorry they didn’t work out. Did you measure the flour by scooping it out perhaps? I measure by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off. Hope that helps.

  28. This isn’t the recipe I am looking for. I know our recipe used granulated sugar. The recipe came with Mom’s cookie press from the 50’s. We lost it when my brother did some cleanup after she passed.

    1. Most cookie presses include the recipe called Spritz Cookies.  I think that’s probably what you are looking for.  They are very similar but use granulated sugar and no corn starch.  It’s the recipe I grew up with and they are delicious but not too sweet.  You should be able to find the recipe on-line.  Good luck, hope this helps you!

  29. I made these for Xmas day and I’ve never had so many guests rave to me about how much they loved these cookies. Many of them asked if they could take some home!
    I love how well this recipe squeezes through my cookie press. Had a nice texture ( instead of the melt and fall apart in your mouth whipped shortbread which I’m more used to). These ones are light with a nice crispness. 
    I will make this my go-to recipe from now on for shortbread!5 stars

  30. This is THE BEST shortbread recipe out there. They’re so delicious! With the perfect consistency that melts in your mouth. I used a cookie press. They kept their shape, and was not too thick like other reviewers stated. My guess is those who came out with too thick of dough, did not soften the butter quite enough. Not sure since mine was perfect!5 stars

  31. Just tried this recipe and found that it was not sweet enough. Not that shortbread cookies are sweet,i just like a bit more sweetness to them. I would try adding more icing sugar and a little less cornstarch like I have done with my mom’s recipe.
    These are nice and airy though. I also found it hard to use the cookie press, dough was quite firm so I just gave the press a few good pushes.3 stars

  32. I made these using my smallest cookie scoop and rolled them into a ball. I then dipped the top in large granulated sugar and pressed with a fork like you suggested. Oh my gosh, these are absolutely the best shortbread cookies I have ever eaten! They are light and fluffy, melt in your mouth deliciousness ! 5 stars

    1. You can use 1 to 1 ratio of gluten free flourWITH xanthem gum. Look on ingredients.. Will work perfectly. I use this all the time when baking.

  33. My husband waits every year for the after Christmas sale of Danish shortbread cookies then buys enough to last a year. I decided to make this recipe in my holiday baking. He loves them! The batch I just made won’t last more than a few days. I am sure this is going to be a recipe I cook often! But that is okay because it is easy and fun! I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap, shaped into a log, refrigerated it, sliced it  and sprinkled a little raw sugar on it before baking. I give this 5+ stars!5 stars

    1. Those Danish shortbread cookies are good! I am so glad that your family has enjoyed this recipe. I hope that it helps to keep your husband in cookies all year long!

  34. I’ll probably give this recipe a try. It sounds wonderful…. and relatively easy.
    However, I’m looking to incorporate some dried fruits into the cookie. My first thought was a shortbread. I’ll give it some more thought, before I bake these. I believe my wife has at least one cookie press, here, in the house. . . But if I add chunks of dried fruits, I’m not sure how well the press would work (and it saves me some time, by not searching for the press(es) wherever).

  35. I have been making Spritz for years but, love shortbread. 
    Easy preparation and comes out nice with the press.
    Delicious! Just a hint of sweet and a melt in your mouth character 5 stars

  36. How do you measure out your flour? Spoon and level? I’ve never tried with corn starch. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    1. Yes, you can change the flavor of the extract but almond can have a stronger flavor so I would suggest adding a bit less. I haven’t tried these as a thumbprint cookie however they’re quite fragile and crumbly so I’m not sure how it would work.

  37. Thank-you Holly! I have just found my new favourite cookie recipe… My first time using a cookie press also., it worked for the first few and then they did not come out of the press right, more like spagetti (no idea why), I was so discouraged, because they were so pretty.. I ended up finishing the rest as balls. but I am going to give the cookie press one more chance just because they look so pretty, and also try the other suggestions, I read on here..My husband says they remind him of his mother`s To anyone wanting to try this recipe, Just do it! You won`t be sorry. :)5 stars

  38. I’ve been baking these shortbread for over 40 years with the exception of the vanilla. I got the recipie from my mother. We have them only at Christmas. She had a copper cookie press. She bought me a cookie gun….still have it, still use it!

  39. I used another recipe and it tasted like flour hardly butter. Hope these are not like this cuz man that’s not a good taste to have, the recipe was flour egg yolk sugar butter and vanilla and man didn’t taste well.

  40. I tried these with a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. It turned out super loose and wouldn’t work with my cookie press. I tried chilling the dough and it still wouldn’t come out right. I tried freezing, but that didn’t work either. I ended up forming into balls and flattening with a glass. Any ideas on how I can get them to work in the cookie press?

    1. I made these again last night and they seemed to work just fine. If your mixture is too loose, you can add a couple of spoonfuls of cornstarch to get the right consistency.

  41. I know why your cookies. Dough got crumbling. You just have to work it with your hands. I had the same problem. I mixed it with my hand mixer. Hope that helps. They worked out great.

    1. I’m not sure why yours came out crumbly, I’ve made these twice this week and the dough was the right consistency. It does start out a little bit crumbly but as you keep mixing it should all incorporate. Did you use 1 cup of butter?

      1. Mine came out super crumbly too! I halved the recipe to see if I liked it and honestly, I couldn’t even form real balls (no cookie press here) because it was so crumbly. Even after squishing the dough in my fingers, it was impossible to work with.

        I think I’m going to try the regular recipe, not halved, and see if it’s any better.

  42. I used this shortbread recipe to make my thumbprint cookies. They turned out great. This cookie truly does melt in your mouth. Just wonderful. I will definitely make them again!

    1. I’ve never tried it but I think it would be a nice flavor with these (and it would be great dipped in chocolate too)!

  43. Did you half the original recipe? I found this recipe a week ago and thought it required 1lb butter. Now that I’m ready to try this recipe it now says 1 cup instead of 1lb.

    1. Yes, due to several requests, the recipe was resized (retested twice and re-photographed) to create a slightly smaller batch. I personally double it and it works perfectly.

    1. Hi Ash,
      Yes, you can roll these into small balls and press them flat with a fork (like you would a peanut butter cookie). My friend uses the dotted end of her meat mallet to flatten them and it leaves a neat pattern. Enjoy!

  44. HI! these were AMAZING when we made and are planning to make more ASAP! Wondering though are these able to be frozen ok?

  45. May I share a secret with you? If you use sifted (before measuring) of Swan’s Down Cake Flour, you won’t need the cornstarch. You won’t have a “flour” taste either. It’s pure buttery light as air, melt in your mouth heaven!

  46. Just made these into “fingers” for dipping ends in chocolate and roll in nuts or sprinkles. Amazing cookies! I haven’t dipped them yet…I hope there are some left to dip! ( A half batch made 45 2″long fingers.)
    I have written this recipe in my cookie press book; it will be my go-to since I used to not be a cookie press cookie fan

  47. my son and I planned to make shortbread cookies today, but when I got to his house I had left my recipe at home. Things happen to a reason! went online and found Grandmas shortbread recipe…needless to say it will be the recipe I will continue to use, they are delicious

  48. I made these today, though without a cookie press. The first shortbread that actually kept its shape and it’s so melt-in-your-mouth-delicious! Great recipe.

  49. What cookie press do you use to get this shape? It looks more like a Wilton 1M tip and not a cookie press disk, but the dough was too think when I tried. Still came out delicious though!

    1. I’ve tried to find one similar online to show you but I haven’t seen one. This cookie press disk has 7 star shapes on it in a circle, the cookie press itself is probably 40 years old. :)

      1. Thank you! With your description I was able to find a vintage cookie press on Etsy with that disk. Can’t wait till it gets here to try it out!

      2. So glad to hear I wasn’t a cookie press failure! The dough was too thick but I am definitely going to find a vintage cookie press!

  50. I make this dough and divide into 2-4 portions and roll into logs wrap well and freeze. later I thaw in fridge and treat as well chilled dough and slice and bake. I like to make them about 1/8″ thick slices bake till lightly browned on edges. Cool, dip in melted chocolate and garnish with sprinkles if desired for entertaining and gifts. However they are definitely a diet disaster. you just can’t eat just one!

  51. i have made these cookies for many years. I got the recipe from my mother-in-law. They are so good. They melt in your mouth. Hard to eat just one.

  52. About how many does this recipe make.. seems like alot. Should be a problem to half it right? Seems like pretty round numbers..lol