Scotch Shortbread — Christmas Cookie Recipe

shortbread recipe

Walkers Scottish Shortbread was always in our Christmas stockings from my grandmother Hornsby. She loved shortbread, especially with a cup of tea (bonus points if it was Yorkshire Gold) but I think I’ve mentioned many times by now, she never cooked or baked much of anything herself. So maybe she wouldn’t even like this shortbread since it’s not Walker’s, but I am positive she would appreciate the sentiment.

Originally shortbread called for one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. I prefer a slightly lesser amount of flour and to use powdered sugar in place of granulated sugar. Both of these changes make for a particularly light and crumbly shortbread. If you like a shortbread with a little more “chew”, add an extra 1/2 cup of flour.

You might notice there is no vanilla extract or any other flavorings added. Butter supplies the flavor here. If you prefer baking with margarine, I would suggest making a different recipe. Perhaps these apple toffee oatmeal cookies or these cherry chocolate chip cookies?

Scotch shortbread recipe

scotch shortbread recipe


Scotch Shortbread

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4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 21 1x


  • 1 cup (1/2 pound) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (1/4 pound) powdered sugar
  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) all purpose flour
  • Optional: 4-6 ounces melting chocolate disks, dried coconut, slivered almonds


  1. Set oven to 300ºF
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Add flour. Combine to make a soft dough.
  4. Pat into an 8×8 square dish. Prick with a long-tined fork all over the shortbread.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes until set and edges are just barely beginning to brown.
  6. Cut into 21 rectangles while hot and allow to cool in the pan.
  7. Once cool, gently remove.
  8. For the optional decoration: Melt chocolate disks in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring until melted.
  9. Dip edges in melted chocolate and sprinkle with coconut or almonds if desired. Lay on waxed paper covered plate and refrigerate 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
  10. Store cookies in an airtight container.

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  1. Alan A. Keimig on March 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    My Mother who lived in Scotland as a child [Last name Jack.] made shortbread every Christmas. She liked to use rice flour. The shortbread was baked in late November. It was put in a ‘tin’ and left high on the china closet until the holiday. By then it was hard as could be. Just the way we loved it!

    • Hilah on March 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Hi Alan!
      What a wonderful memory! I bet rice flour would make them very crumbly. Do you know if she used 100% rice or part rice and part wheat flour?
      Thanks for sharing your story.

      • kittyrhys on December 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm

        My Mum always used 1 part durum, 1 part semolina, and 1 part rice flours.
        Her cookies were wonderful, and now I bake them for her!

        • Hilah on December 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

          Thank you!

    • Tanya Edmonds on December 11, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Just looking for a Christmas short bread cookie and saw your comment- my maternal grandmother’s surname was Jack- from midlothian area of Scotland (paisley/ Roslyn) and Havk is an uncommon Scottish name- probably related ?

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