Crumbly Scottish Shortbread

Here’s A Scottish Shortbread Recipe For Crumbly, Buttery Cookies!

Want to make some Scottish shortbread cookies but feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! These deliciously crumbly cookies are actually really easy to make.

With just a few ingredients – literally three – this shortbread recipe will have you enjoying cookies in no time.

We’re big fans of shortbread cookies. We both lived in Scotland a few years ago and jumped at any chance to eat authentic shortbread – whether from a local cafe or homemade courtesy of a local friend’s mom!

scottish shortbread cookies cut on clear plate with pan behind
Our Scottish shortbread turned out really well!

Scottish shortbread was also a popular gift that Eric brought home to Canada when it came time to do Christmas shopping. No one ever complained!

Recipe Tips/Substitutions

Before you tackle this Scottish shortbread recipe, read through these recipe tips and considerations so that you can achieve best results:

  • If you don’t have caster sugar, you can make your own. Simply blend some regular granulated sugar in a blender for a few seconds until fine. Don’t use powdered/icing sugar since this sugar is too fine and contains cornstarch, which we don’t need for this recipe.
  • Make sure that your butter is not too cold – otherwise, you might have trouble mixing it. It doesn’t have to be at room temperature, but letting it sit out on the counter for around 20 minutes will make it easier to work with.
  • When baking, the edges of the cookies might get brown but the top shouldn’t get brown – so don’t leave it in the oven for too long.
  • Overall, the quality of the individual ingredients is important since there are only three ingredients in these shortbread cookies. So, choose higher quality over cheap ingredients – especially when it comes to butter – because you’ll taste it!
shortbread cookies on plate sitting on wooden board
Cut into fingers, these Scottish shortbread are easy to enjoy!

How to Make Scottish Shortbread – Step by Step Instructions

To tackle this traditional shortbread recipe, you can find the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

For those who want to see visual step-by-step instructions, you can find the recipe process photos in this section.

This way, you can have a look to see exactly how we made our Scottish shortbread!

butter and sugar in silver mixing bowl on counter
Add the butter and sugar to a bowl.

First, cut the butter up into small pieces. Place it and 1/2 cup of the caster sugar into a mixing bowl.

butter mixture in silver bowl on counter
Keep on mixing!

Mix the sugar and butter together with the normal beaters of your electric mixer for around 5 minutes until creamy in consistency.

shortbread crumbles in silver mixing bowl
Your dough will look crumbly.

Then add the flour in small increments while you continue to mix until everything is well combined. Set the mixer aside.

The dough will look quite crumbly but you should be able to easily press the crumbles together with your hands so that they adhere to one another.

shortbread packed down into baking pan on counter
Press the dough into place.

Lightly grease a baking pan with approximate dimensions of 11 x 7.5 inches (slightly bigger will also work).

Add the crumbly dough to the baking pan and lightly press it into place. You want to be gentle here since pressing too hard can affect the consistency of the shortbread and make it denser (which we don’t want).

sugar on raw shortbread cookies in pan
Poke holes and sprinkle with sugar.

Poke the top of the dough with a fork in even rows (approximately 1/3 deep).

Then sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon of caster sugar (more or less to taste) on top of the dough.

Place the baking pan with the dough into the fridge for 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

cooked scottish shortbread cookies with crispy edges in black baking pan
Bake the shortbread

Remove the baking pan from the fridge and place it in the middle rack of your oven.

Bake the shortbread for around 20-25 minutes until fully cooked and the edges just start to brown. Keep in mind, that the top of the shortbread is not supposed to brown!

scottish shortbread cookies on clear plate on wood
Our Scottish shortbread were honestly perfect…

Remove the shortbread from the oven and let it cool in the pan. Once cooled, cut the shortbread into fingers and enjoy!

Storage Tips

The good news is that Scottish shortbread cookies can last a pretty long time after baking. The bad news is that these cookies generally don’t exist too long if left out on a cookie plate!

You can keep any leftover shortbread in a sealed container on the counter (normal room temperature) to keep them fresh.

In a sealed container they’ll last up to two weeks and still be just as good as the day you baked them!

If you want to store them longer, you can also freeze the shortbread in a freezer container.

Related Recipes

For more great recipes from different countries, check out these sweet delights:

scottish shortbread cookies on clear plate on wood

Scottish Shortbread

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Scottish Shortbread Cookies are blissfully delicious. Made from just a few ingredients, these soft and moist yet ultra crumbly cookies are the perfect dessert that goes great with a warm drink!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar (see notes)

Instructions

  1. First, cut the butter up into small pieces. Place it and 1/2 cup of the caster sugar into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the sugar and butter together with the normal beaters of your electric mixer for around 5 minutes until creamy in consistency.
  3. Then add the flour in small increments while you continue to mix until everything is well combined. Set the mixer aside. The dough will look quite crumbly but you should be able to easily press the crumbles together with your hands so that they adhere to one another.
  4. Lightly grease a baking pan with approximate dimensions of 11 x 7.5 inches (slightly bigger will also work).
  5. Add the crumbly dough to the baking pan and lightly press it into place. You want to be gentle here since pressing too hard can affect the consistency of the shortbread and make it denser (which we don't want).
  6. Poke the top of the dough with a fork in even rows (approximately 1/3 deep). Then sprinkle the 1/2 teaspoon of caster sugar (more or less to taste) on top of the dough.
  7. Place the baking pan with the dough into the fridge for 20 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Remove the baking pan from the fridge and place it in the middle rack of your oven. Bake the shortbread for around 20-25 minutes until fully cooked and the edges just start to brown. Keep in mind, that the top of the shortbread is not supposed to brown!
  10. Remove the shortbread from the oven and let it cool in the pan. Once cooled, cut the shortbread into fingers and store them in an airtight container where they will last for around 2 weeks.

Notes

  • If you don't have caster sugar (i.e. very fine granulated sugar, but not powdered/icing sugar) on hand, you can easily make your own. Simply put normal white sugar into a blender and blend it for a few seconds until fine. Then use that in the recipe as directed above.
  • Make sure that your butter is not too cold - otherwise, you might have trouble mixing it. It doesn't have to be at room temperature, but letting it sit out on the counter for around 20 minutes will make it easier to work with.
  • Since shortbread is made of few ingredients, the quality of the individual ingredients really matters - especially for the butter. So try using a high quality butter for this recipe.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 122mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

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