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The Best Shortbread Biscuits (3 Ingredients)

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Need the best ever shortbread recipe? These easy Shortbread Biscuits take 3 ingredients and turn them into traditional, buttery shortbread that’s perfectly crisp on the outside yet melts in your mouth with each bite.

Whether it’s a cozy afternoon tea or a festive celebration, these quick and easy shortbread biscuits will please everyone.

Easy shortbread cookies on white platter next to cup of tea.

Shortbread Biscuits Recipe

These traditional shortbread biscuits, with their rich buttery flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, have graced tea tables and holiday gatherings since medieval times.

Shortbread’s beauty lies in its simplicity. It is traditionally made with just three key ingredients, butter, sugar, and flour. Shortbread is a testament to the magic of basic pantry staples.

Rooted in Scottish tradition and once a luxury reserved for special occasions, today’s shortbread cookies, with its rich buttery essence, is enjoyed year-round as an ideal accompaniment to tea or coffee.

This easy shortbread recipe captures the essence of authentic Scottish shortbread in its simplicity and richness.

What is the secret to good shortbread?

The secret to great shortbread biscuits is using high-quality butter and gentle handling of the dough to maintain its texture, along with chilling before baking and careful monitoring to achieve a light golden color just around the edges.

Three pieces of shortbread stacked on top of each other with more shortbread surrounding them.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

A full and detailed recipe card with all the ingredients is at the bottom of this post.

  • Butter: Opt for good-quality butter for the best results. Use salted butter that comes in a block or sticks. If you choose to use unsalted butter, add a 1/4 tsp of salt to the recipe and add this when you first cream the butter.
  • Powdered sugar: Also known as icing sugar in Australia. The recipe calls to sift your sugar, this is to remove any lumps with are typically found in powdered sugar, especially organic.

How to Make Shortbread Biscuits (with photos)

A full and detailed recipe card is at the bottom of this post.

Preheat Oven and Prepare Tin: Preheat your oven to 160ºC (320ºF) fan-forced. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch (22cm x 22cm) square baking tin with butter. Line it with parchment paper, leaving some overhang to help remove the shortbread later.

Square tin greased and lined with parchment paper with overhang.

Prepare Mixing Equipment: Ready your stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric hand beater.

Cream Butter: Beat the butter in the mixing bowl at medium speed for 30 seconds, then scrape the sides.

Add Sugar: Sift in the powdered sugar and continue to beat for 1 minute, remembering to scrape the bowl again.

Creaming butter in bowl in beating in the powdered sugar.

Add Flour: Gently mix in the flour on low speed until a crumbly dough forms. Avoid overmixing; you can finish bringing the dough together with your hands.

Press into Tin: Evenly press the dough into the lined tin. Flatten and smooth the top using the bottom of a glass. If the glass is smooth, you can roll it across the dough as you would with a rolling pin.

Making shortbread in mixing bowl and pressing it into lined tin with a glass.

Cut Biscuits: Score the dough into 18 rectangles using a long knife or pastry scraper, ensuring you cut all the way through.

Prick Biscuits: Prick each rectangle several times with a wooden skewer or fork, piercing halfway into the dough.

Chill: Place the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Cutting shortbread in lined tin.
Cutting shortbread into rectangles with a pastry scraper.
Pricking the shortbread rectangles in the tin with a wooden skewer or a fork.

Bake: Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are just lightly golden; the rest should remain pale.

Cool Slightly: Let the shortbread cool in the tin for 5 minutes.

Cut Rectangles Again: Recut along the pre-cut lines and prick again at the same holes.

Cool: Leave the shortbread to cool in the tin for another 10 minutes.

Shortbread biscuits in tin before and after baking.
Before and after baking.
Recutting shortbread in the tin after baking with a knife and a skewer.

Recut along the pre-cut lines and prick again at the same holes.

Remove From Tin: Using the parchment overhang, lift the shortbread onto a wire rack to cool completely, keeping it in one piece.

Serve: Once cooled, break along the cut lines into individual biscuits and enjoy!

Shortbread after baking and lifted out of the tin and onto a wire rack to cool.

Expert Tips

  • Quality Ingredients: The high butter content means the quality of butter significantly affects the taste. Opt for a good-quality butter for the best results.
  • Room Temperature Butter: Ensure your butter is soft and at room temperature before starting.
  • Don’t Overwork the Dough: Over-mixing can result in tough shortbread biscuits. Mix just until the dough comes together.
  • Even Thickness: Roll or press the dough to an even thickness to ensure uniform baking. The dough will puff up slightly during baking.
  • Cutting Before and After Baking: Cut your shortbread in the tin before baking and re-cut immediately after baking for clean edges.
  • Watch the Oven: Shortbread should not brown too much – just a light golden around the edges.
  • Cooling in the Tin: Let the shortbread cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to prevent breaking.

Can I add flavors like vanilla or lemon zest to my shortbread?

Absolutely! Shortbread biscuits are versatile and can be flavored with vanilla extract, lemon or orange zest, and even spices like ground cardamom.

How does homemade shortbread compare to Walkers Shortbread?

Homemade shortbread biscuits allows for customization and freshness, while Walkers offers the convenience and consistent quality of a traditional Scottish recipe.

Shortbread biscuits sitting together on white platter.

Storage Instructions

Store: In an airtight container at room temperature for 1 – 2 weeks.

Freeze: Wrap the biscuits individually in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2 months.

Thaw: Thaw at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

If you enjoy this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️ star rating and a comment review below. I love to hear what you think and it’s much appreciated. Thank you! Your email address will not be published. Sam x

Shortbread biscuits displayed on marble board next to cup of tea.

The Best Shortbread Biscuits (3 Ingredients)

Samantha Pickthall
These easy Shortbread Biscuits take 3 ingredients and turn them into traditional, buttery shortbread that's perfectly crisp on the outside yet melts in your mouth with each bite.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Chilling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine scottish
Servings 18 biscuits
Calories 166 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 225 g (2 sticks) salted butter, soft at room temperature, or unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (300g/10.6 oz.) all-purpose flour, scoop & leveled
  • 1 cup (150g/5.3 oz.) powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat Oven and Prepare Tin: Preheat your oven to 160ºC (320ºF) fan-forced. Grease a 9-inch x 9-inch (22cm x 22cm) square baking tin with butter. Line it with parchment paper, leaving some overhang to help remove the shortbread later.
  • Prepare Mixing Equipment: Ready your stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric hand beater.
  • Cream Butter: Beat the butter in the mixing bowl at medium speed for 30 seconds, then scrape the sides.
  • Add Sugar: Sift in the powdered sugar and continue to beat for 1 minute, remembering to scrape the bowl again.
  • Add Flour: Gently mix in the flour on low speed until a crumbly dough forms. Avoid overmixing; you can finish bringing the dough together with your hands.
  • Press into Tin: Evenly press the dough into the lined tin. Flatten and smooth the top using the bottom of a glass. If the glass is smooth, you can roll it across the dough as you would with a rolling pin.
  • Cut Biscuits: Score the dough into 18 rectangles using a long knife or pastry scraper, ensuring you cut all the way through.
  • Prick Biscuits: Prick each rectangle several times with a wooden skewer or fork, piercing halfway into the dough.
  • Chill: Place the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Bake: Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are just lightly golden; the rest should remain pale.
  • Cool Slightly: Let the shortbread cool in the tin for 5 minutes.
  • Cut Rectangles Again: Recut along the pre-scored lines and prick again at the same holes.
  • Cool: Leave the shortbread to cool in the tin for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove From Tin: Using the parchment overhang, lift the shortbread onto a wire rack to cool completely, keeping it in one piece.
  • Serve: Once cooled, break along the cut lines into individual biscuits and enjoy!

Notes

  • Store: In an airtight container at room temperature for 1 – 2 weeks.
 
  • Freeze: Wrap the biscuits individually in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 2gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 81mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 312IUCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg
Keyword shortbread
Tried this recipe? Let us know how it was!
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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