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These 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies come from an old Scottish recipe that has been passed down for generations!

These Shortbread Cookies treats are one of my favorites! The Scottish Shortbread Cookies come from an old family recipe that has been passed down for generations, and they’re simply perfect with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa! While my own family isn’t exactly Scottish, the recipe comes from a Scottish friend. That means that even though I’m not an authentic Scot, these shortbread cookies are definitely the real deal. Shortbread is as basic and simple as a cookie (biscuit) can get. But it’s also divinely delicious. And for that reason, shortbread has been a favorite throughout the UK for hundreds of years.

The origin of shortbread goes back to somewhere around the 12th century when it was originally made from leftover bread-making dough that was left to dry out and harden into “biscuit bread.” Over time butter replaced the yeast and biscuit bread evolved into shortbread. The term “short” refers to the crumbly texture from the large quantity of butter. Butter was a luxury item and so shortbread was enjoyed only on special occasions and, of course, by the nobles and royals.


While the taste of the shortbread cookies sends me straight to a warm & cozy place when I was a child, I love them just as much as an adult. They’re not too sweet, they’re perfectly buttery, and they’re ideal for a snack. If you’re not familiar with a traditional shortbread recipe, butter is definitely the prominent flavor. In other words…they’re amazing!


No, they’re not. Sugar cookies require many more ingredients than shortbread cookies, and the sugar cookies are typically sweeter, with a lighter, crisper texture.


Here’s the best news of all: a basic shortbread cookie recipe only requires 3 ingredients:

  1. Butter,

  2. Flour,

  3. Powdered sugar


Nope, you don’t even need eggs for this recipe! With such a simple ingredient list, you can have hot-from-the-oven shortbread cookies in less than 1 hour!

To prepare the dough, start by mixing together the butter, flour, and powdered sugar in a bowl. There are no special skills required, so just let the mixer run until a nice ball of dough forms!

Next, roll out the dough on a floured surface. Then it’s time for cutting!

HOW TO CUT SHORTBREAD COOKIES: This is really up to you! When I was growing up, we loved to use Christmas-themed cookie cutters to shape our shortbread. Classic Scottish shortbread, however, is often cut into rectangles or rounds.

Here we used a heart-shaped biscuit cutter to shape some of the individual cookies:

I love to use different shapes especially if I am giving them away as a gift however, just for me, I love the round shapes.

Bonus tip: the traditional rectangles are perfect for dipping in coffee or hot cocoa!

Pierce the cookie dough with a fork, and then bake the cookies in a 325-degree F oven for about 20 minutes (or just until lightly brown).A sweet little package of this Scottish shortbread, along with some gourmet hot chocolate mix or a nice new mug and some coffee beans, is the perfect gift for your favorite teacher, neighbor, or co-worker! But you should wrap them quickly because the cookies disappear fast!


These are a great make-ahead holiday dessert because they last on the counter in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week.

Can shortbread cookies be frozen? Yes! When wrapped tightly, the cookies will keep in your freezer for at least 3-4 weeks.

To freeze Scottish shortbread: Allow the cookies to cool completely. Wrap cooled cookies (a few at a time) tightly with plastic wrap. Then wrap again in foil for an added layer of airtight protection. Stash the foil-wrapped cookies in large plastic freezer bags or storage containers.

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