Cut Out Shortbread Cookies

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Make one of my favorite holiday cookies – Cut Out Shortbread cookies! These cookies are perfectly buttery and a melt-in-your-mouth treat! These shortbread cut out cookies are so easy to make, even a beginner baker can do it. And they’re so versatile, you can dress them up or down for any occasion. Only 5 ingredients needed!

a stack of cut out shortbread cookies


 

Baking has always been a cherished part of my life. The delightful scent of freshly baked treats filling the air. The pure joy of crafting something mouthwatering for friends and family to enjoy. It’s a love affair that’s stood the test of time!

But let’s talk about buttery shortbread cookies – my absolute favorite.  I love this cut out shortbread cookie recipe. These cookies have such a crumbly texture and buttery taste.

These shortbread butter cookies are perfect for the holiday season or Christmas time.  I like to make these whenever there is a cookie exchange at work or in the neighborhood. 

Try dipping these cookies in melted chocolate. Or stirring in sprinkles or chocolate chips to the cookie dough. There are just so many different ways to make these cookies! The best part is that they have such a short baking time.

No matter the event, classic shortbread cookies are a surefire hit. They’re not just a sweet treat; they’re also a breeze to whip up. So, if you’re on the lookout for a delightful, fuss-free baking adventure, dive headfirst into the world of shortbread cookies. Your taste buds will thank you!

See Also:

a pile of cut out shortbread cookies

Easy Cut Out Shortbread Cookies!

  • It’s simple and easy to follow. Just 5 ingredients and one bowl is all you need to make these shortbread cut out cookies
  • It’s versatile. Shortbread cookies can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion. You can enjoy them plain, or decorate them with icing, sprinkles, or other toppings.
  • They’re delicious! Shortbread cookies are buttery, flaky, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. They’re sure to be a hit with everyone who tries them.
shortbread cut out cookies in a loaf pan

Ingredients Needed

  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature– You want to use room temperature butter so that it creams together easily with the sugar. 
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar – Or swap with powdered sugar for a softer cookie.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract- You can use pure or imitation vanilla.  I prefer pure vanilla. 
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 g) all purpose flour
shortbread cut out cookies ingredients

How to Make Cut Out Shortbread Cookies

Prepare the Shortbread Dough.

Using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar. I like to use my stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment but you can also use an electric hand mixer.

You want to cream together the softened unsalted butter and granulated sugar on medium speed. Mix until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, which should take about 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

butter and sugar creamed together in stand mixer bowl

Add Vanilla.

Add the vanilla extract to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, and beat until well combined.

vanilla added to shortbread cookie dough

Add Flour and Salt.

Add in the all-purpose flour and fine sea salt into the mixture. Beat on low speed until the dough comes together.

flour and salt added to cut out shortbread cookie dough

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes before rolling it out and cutting into cookies.

shortbread cut out cookie dough disc wrapped in plastic wrap

Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Pan.

Position an oven rack in the center and preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll Out and Cut the Cookies.

On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ inch. Rotate the dough after every few rolls to prevent sticking. 

If the dough cracks, simply press it back together. Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out your cookies.  I used a 2 1/2-inch scalloped edge cookie cutter but you can use any cookie cutter you would like. Keep in mind the number of cookies you get will depend on the size of your cookie cutters.

Press any dough scraps back together and re-roll as needed. If the shortbread cookie dough becomes too warm or sticky, return it to the fridge briefly.

shortbread cookies cut out with cookie cutter

Bake Cookies.

Arrange the cut out cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake in the preheated 350oF oven for approximately 12-15 minutes until they are lightly golden.  Finally, allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack. 

baked cut out shortbread cookies on a cookie sheet

Recipe Tips

  • Use high-quality butter. The butter is the main ingredient in shortbread cookies, so it’s important to use good quality butter for the best flavor.
  • Chill the cookie dough for at least 15 minutes before rolling it out. This will help to prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking.
  • Dust lightly with flour. If the dough is sticky, dust your hands and rolling pin with a little bit of flour.
  • Do not over bake. Bake the cookies until they are just golden brown on the bottom. Overbaking will make the cookies hard.
  • Don’t overmix the dough. Overmixing can make the cookies tough. Mix the dough just until it comes together.
  • Don’t overwork the dough. When rolling and cutting out the cookies don’t play with the dough too much. You want to roll it out once and cut out as many cookies as you can. Then press the scraps together and roll and cut again. You may want to chill the dough again in between. The more you work and play with the dough the tougher the cookies will be.
  • Don’t roll the dough too thin. The thinner you roll the dough the crispier the cookies. The thicker the dough the softer, chewier the cookies will be.

Recipe Variations

  • Salted Butter. If you are using salted butter, omit the salt from the ingredients. Keep in mind however your cookies may spread a bit more. Salted butter contains more water than unsalted butter. 
  • Vegan Option. Swap butter for coconut oil to make these cookies vegan or use vegan buttery sticks. 
  • Powdered Sugar. You can use confectioners sugar instead of granulated sugar to make a softer cookie. 
  • Shape dough into a log. Instead of using cookie cutters shape cookie dough into a log shape and chill. Then slice and bake the cookies.
  • Use brown sugar. Make brown sugar shortbread cookies instead by swapping out the white sugar. 
  • Add a little citrus zest– Mix in a little fresh lemon zest or orange zest for a little citrusy kick!
  • Add almond extract – I love adding 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract for a little added flavor.

Add An Icing

I keep these plain but you can easily dress these cut out shortbread cookies up for the holidays. Try my royal icing recipe to decorate these shortbread cut out cookies with. If you don’t have any meringue powder, try this easy cookie glaze that’s wonderful the kids to use to decorate with.

Or try my sugar cookie frosting recipe. You can color the buttercream frosting and have fun decorating the cookies with the kids.  I like to add a few holiday sprinkles on top of each cookie before baking.

stack of shortbread cut out cookies

Recipe FAQs

Why are my shortbread cookies tough?

You need to make sure the butter is softened to room temperature.  You also need to make sure you do not overmix the dough and you want to chill the dough before rolling it out.  Finally, do not overbake the cookies. 

Can I make shortbread cookies ahead of time?

Yes, bake the shortbread cookies according to the recipe and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also make the cookie dough up to 2 days ahead of time and keep in the fridge. Allow to soften slightly before trying to roll out.

Can I freeze shortbread cookies?

Yes, bake the shortbread cookies according to the recipe and let them cool completely. Wrap the completely cooled cookies individually in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, let the cookies sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

a plate of cut out shortbread cookies

More Recipes to Try

a stack of cut out shortbread cookies

Shortbread Cookies

Easy cut out shortbread cookies made with just 5 ingredients! Perfect cut out Christmas cookie. Roll in sprinkles, or spread with frosting!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chilling time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 46 minutes
Servings: 16 cookies
Calories: 92kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick, 113 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 g) all purpose flour spooned and leveled

Instructions

  • Make shortbread dough. In a bowl of stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment (or you can use a hand mixer), on medium speed cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, scrape down bowl as needed.
  • Add vanilla. Add in vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Add flour and salt. Add flour and salt, and beat on low speed until the dough comes together.
  • Chill the cookie dough. Dump your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes before rolling out and cutting.
  • Preheat oven and prepare pan. Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Roll and cut out cookies. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to ½” thick using a rolling pin. Be sure to rotate the dough after every few rolls, to ensure the dough isn’t sticking. If the dough cracks, simply press it back together. Using a cookie cutter of choice, cut out your cookies. Press scraps back together and re-roll (if dough is getting to warm or sticky, pop back into the fridge). Keep in mind the more your re-roll the scraps the dough will get tougher.
  • Bake cookies. Place cookies onto baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes.

Notes

  • Make ahead/Storage: Make dough and store in the fridge for up to a week. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freeze: Freeze cooled cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight container or ziploc bag. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
  • If cookies are getting too soft while rolling and cutting, pop back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.
  • Salted butter: Omit added salt. Keep in mind cookies may spread a bit more.
  • Use powdered sugar for a softer cookie.
  • Depending on cookie cutter size, cookie yield may vary. 
  • Use vegan buttery sticks for a vegan cookie alternative.
  • Add sprinkles before baking, or decorate with frosting once cooled for a festive Christmas cookie!

Nutrition

Calories: 92kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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2 Comments

  1. Tonia Twigger says:

    Yikes. Followed the direction exactly, except I used spelt flour. Any idea why the shamrocks cut-outs baked into discs?

    1. Hi Tonia, not quite sure what you mean by baked into discs? They are meant to be cut out into rounds and should hold their shape during baking. However, using spelt flour will change things quite a bit as spelt flour has much lower gluten content so will not be the same and perhaps didn’t have the structure to hold together. Hope that helps!

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