Baking · Biscuits and Cookies

Scottish Shortbread

Buttery melt in the mouth shortbread biscuits. With just three ingredients, this moreish recipe is brilliant to make over Christmas, but is also great for a weekend treat! 

There really is no other biscuit that quite compares to classic Scottish shortbread. With a rich and beautiful buttery flavour, shortbread is favourite for many people.

Every single Christmas we always have a box (or two or even maybe three!) of shortbread biscuits on hand ready to devour our way through. But for me homemade is definitely better so I thought it would be great to share my favourite shortbread recipe ready for your Christmas festivities. I’ve been making shortbread for years with my mum. My maternal side of the family hail from Dunblane in Scotland – it must be my Scottish roots that are the reason why I love making and eating shortbread as much as I do!

I’ve baked my shortbread in a Victoria sandwich cake tin. I love baking shortbread this way because you don’t need to roll out the dough and therefore will not risk overworking the dough. Once the shortbread is baked it’s important to cut it into eight wedges whilst still hot. This ensures you get nice, clean slices. The finishing touch is to sprinkle over caster (superfine) sugar just before serving.

If you want to do something different you could definitely use your favourite cookie cutters and cut out festive shaped biscuits. But do remember baking time will differ for smaller biscuits.

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to shortbread, I’ve never really been a fan of fancy flavour pairings, so that’s why I prefer to keep mine plain and simple. I sometimes add some chocolate chips to the dough or even dip the baked shortbread in melted chocolate for a little twist. But you could easily add any of your favourite flavours to the mix such as lemon or orange zest or even spices like cinnamon or ginger.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you will know my favourite recipes are those that are both easy and quick to prepare. It may surprise you that this shortbread recipe only requires 3 ingredients and you will have homemade shortbread ready in less than an hour. So if you’re like me and sometimes forget about Christmas presents, but only remember at the last minute, they would make a brilliant edible gift for your close ones.

(Makes 8 shortbread wedges)


100g unsalted butter, softened

50g caster sugar

175g plain flour (all-purpose)


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C / 130°C Fan / 300°F / Gas Mark 2. Lightly grease the base and sides of a 20cm/8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin. Set to one side.
  2. Cream the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This will take approx. 5 minutes – so use an electric mixer if you own one.
  3. Now add the flour and stir well until incorporated and a soft and slightly crumbly dough comes together.
  4. Press the dough into the cake tin and smooth into an even, flat layer with the back of a spoon, you can also use your hands to do this. Crimp the edges, score (don’t cut right through) the shortbread into 8 triangular portions. Then prick each portion with three fork stamps. Bake for 40 minutes, until pale gold.
  5. As soon as the shortbread has finished baking, cut into wedges and leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, sprinkle with caster sugar.

Recipe Notes:

  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Cream for at least 5 minutes to achieve the perfect textured shortbread.
  • Once you’ve added the flour, make sure you stir until it’s just about blended. Over handling the dough will mean your shortbread will not be as light and short as it could be.

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32 thoughts on “Scottish Shortbread

  1. I’m with ya here, Jess…I prefer my shortbread in the classic style, too! And this post totally just made me realize how much I want to go back and visit Scotland again. I looked up Dunblane, and I think we drove pretty close to there on our trip a couple years back. Now I just need to go back again…but for the time being, I’ll just make a bunch of these Scottish Shortbread cookies. 🙂

  2. I am such a huge fan of shortbread, it is one of my favorite desserts, and I love to eat them plain without any additional flavorings as well! It’s crazy how good just a mixture of flour, butter and sugar can be!

  3. You had me at 3 ingredients. but it gets infinitely better when those three ingredients form a carb. Especially a delicious shortbread! I don’t think I have ever had Scottish shortbread before, and from your photos I am wondering how I have been denied this deliciousness for so many years! Looks beyond scrumptious! I MUST give this a try! Thanks so much for introducing me to one of your holiday favorites! I have a feeling this is going to become one of mine too! Cheers, my dear!

  4. Shortbread is such a delicious classic! I love it. This looks soooo amazing Jess. It’s making me so hungry right now!

  5. It’s amazing how good a basic shortbread is! I’ve always wanted to make one in a cake tin like you did but am always afraid it will crack when I slice it. Yours looks perfect.

  6. I just made some shortbread recently too. As soon as it’s December 1st I start craving it! This shortbread looks wonderful. It looks like it could melt in your mouth.

  7. Thank you thank you thank you for this post! My mom and I keep trying different recipes and none of them turns out right. My granddad was Scottish, but my Nan was English, dad was raised in England (I’m American) and we ended up without any real “family” recipe. My new department at work is doing a heritage day tomorrow and I remembered this post because Scottish shortbread is the perfect thing to bring!

  8. Just seen this shortbread recipe. Looks good. Can they be cut into individual fingers to cook and does it alter the cooking time. I want to give them as Christmas gifts and they will go into my jars better if they are fingers.

    1. Hi, apologies for the late response. I’ve never attempted to roll, cut and bake this shortbread recipe into fingers, however, I don’t see why it shouldn’t work. Baking time will differ slightly, just bake the fingers until they’re a lightly browned around the edges – this should take around 15-20 minutes, which is half the time the shortbread round takes to bake. But just keep a watchful eye on them as they bake.
      I’d loved to hear how you get on! Happy Christmas! 🙂

  9. Hi, I plan to make shortbread for my family members this Christmas. How long would you suggest the short bread would last between baking and going stale?

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