Grandma’s Shortbread Cookies
Grandma’s Shortbread Cookies are buttery, flaky, sweet (but not too sweet!) and melt-in-your-mouth cookies! This recipe is from my husband’s great grandmother and his family — and now ours — has been making this recipe for years. It’s the best shortbread recipe!
You can’t deny that shortbread cookies are a classic cookie recipe! There’s a reason people have been making them for years and years, handing down the family-favorite recipe and sharing them as Christmas cookies. Lucky for us, you can make these cookies any time of year! Try more of my classic cookie recipes like my Soft Gingersnap Cookies, Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Classic Peanut Butter Cookies and my No Fail Sugar Cookies!
Why This Recipe Works
- Best shortbread cookies. This shortbread cookies recipe is from my husband’s great grandmother. His family has been eating them for YEARS — and now my family does too. These are by far the BEST shortbread cookies ever!
- Shortbread cookies with cornstarch. The cornstarch is an important ingredient in Grandmas shortbread. It gives the cookies a flaky texture and melt-in-your-mouth taste and texture.
- Easy recipe. Easy shortbread cookies is a simple recipe that uses simple ingredients!
- Salted Butter: You need 2 cups of butter (which is 4 cubes). Use a high quality butter if possible! You’ll definitely be able to tell the difference. I used kerrygold butter. And make sure the butter is softened to room temperature.
- Sugar: Grandma’s shortbread recipe has the perfect balance of sweetness! You’ll add granulated sugar in intervals to the mixer along with some butter. See the recipe instructions for details! You’ll also add some sugar to the tops of the cookies prior to baking to give them a lightly golden color.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is what you’ll need.
- Cornstarch: Making old fashioned shortbread cookies with cornstarch is key because the corn starch will give the flaky shortbread cookies that delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Cream butter. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. To a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cube of butter (1/2 cup) and 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium speed. Mix butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until white in color.
- Add more butter and sugar. Add another 1/2 cup butter and another (1 cube) 1/4 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add more butter and sugar. Add another cube of butter and another 1/4 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until white in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the final cube of butter. Add the final (4th) cube of butter and another 1/4 cup sugar to the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until white in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Combine flour and cornstarch. To a medium bowl, add 4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup of cornstarch and whisk until fully combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Slowly add the flour and cornstarch mixture to the butter mixture, mixing on low until a smooth dough forms.
- Roll out the shortbread cookie dough. Place a piece of parchment paper on a clean work surface. Roll out the soft dough with a rolling pin until it is 1/2 inch thick. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut the dough into cookies.
- Poke with a fork. Using the tines of a fork, poke each shortbread cookie with holes.
- Sprinkle with sugar. Using some granulated sugar, sprinkle each cookie.
- Bake the Grandma’s shortbread cookies. Transfer the buttery cookies to the prepared baking sheet and bake cookies for 14 minutes. Remove the delicious shortbread cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
You can use unsalted butter if you’d like! Just add 1 tsp of salt to the recipe.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a mixing bowl and a hand mixer. You’ll want some form of electric mixer though because you need the butter to be super smooth and white in color for the best flavor and texture.
You’ll know the buttery shortbread cookies are done when the edges of the cookies are just barely golden. This means the cookies are JUST barely getting color. If they have color already, they make be more crispy and crunchy.
My recipe made 24 cookies, but you may get more or less cookies depending on what size of cookie cutter you use. I used 2.5” and 3” round cookie cutters.
Grandma’s shortbread cookies are amazingly delicious on their own! But feel free to dip each cookie in melted chocolate to cover half of the cookie for added flair.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
If you want to make the dough ahead of time, I would roll dough into a log (the size you want the cookies to be) and then wrap completely in plastic wrap (2 layers is best) and then store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Then let come to room temperature enough to cut it into the cookie circles.
Store Grandma’s shortbread cookies in a cookie tin for best results! You can let these perfect cookies sit for weeks at at time and they will just keep getting better with time.
Our shortbread cookies with cornstarch never last longer than a few days! But even after multiple days, these cookies are so amazing.
To freeze shortbread cookies, let them cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw.
It depends on the recipe. You can have shortbread cookies that are hard and crunchy or soft and buttery. These cookies aren’t soft and pillowy, they have a slight bite to the cookies, but they are soft in terms of a melt-in-your-mouth, buttery texture.
Grandmas shortbread cookies shouldn’t taste dry! They are a flaky, buttery cookie, but they shouldn’t feel DRY. They should feel flaky and buttery! If they feel dry or completely fall apart or are crunchy, then they’ve been over baked.
Nope! You need real butter. I don’t even use regular butter for this grandma’s shortbread cookie recipe — I use HIGH QUALITY butter. Butter is the main base of these cookies (you really just have 4 ingredients) so you want it to be ultra yummy butter.
They can last for several weeks when stored in a cookie tin.
Use high quality butter! Then be sure to mix the butter and sugar together in portions as instructed in my shortbread recipe.
More Cookie Recipes
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms Cookie
- Crumbl Sugar Cookie Recipe
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Crumbl Snickerdoodle Recipe
Grandma’s Shortbread Cookies
- 1 lb salted butter - (2 cups) use a high quality butter if possible, butter should be softened to room temperature.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- a few tablespoons of granulated sugar - for sprinkling overtop of the cookies
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 1 cube (or ½ cup) of butter and ¼ cup of sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until white.
- Add an additional cube (1/2 cup) of butter and another ¼ cup of sugar and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add another cube (1/2 cup) of butter and another ¼ cup of sugar and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the last cube (1/2 cup) of butter and the last ¼ cup of sugar and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- In a medium bowl whisk the flour and cornstarch. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, mix on low until combined.
- Pat or roll out the dough into ½ inch thickness. Cut into desired shape. Poke the tops with a forks tines, sprinkle with granulated sugar then transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14 minutes. The edges of the cookies will be just barely golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.