Shortbread Butter Cookies

4.73 from 11 votes

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What better way to get in the holiday 🎄 spirit than with decorative shortbread cookies!? These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are so much better than what you buy at the store or get from the package, and even better, they’re so easy to make! Even if you’re just making these for 🎅 Santa, these are great cookies to have the little ones in your life help you with. They can have fun mixing the dough, sprinkling the toppings on, and squeezing the piping bag.

Why You’ll Love Shortbread Butter Cookies

I make this recipe every single year around the holidays and it’s always the first cookie to disappear from the table. Unlike the traditional shortbread cookies, these are a bit more “modern” as I don’t refrigerate the batter, I bake these right away which is a bonus as it cuts down on the wait time, and we are able to enjoy them quicker.

How to Prepare Shortbread Butter Cookies

🥣 Use a mixer to cream together butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes).

🥄 Gradually add flour to the mixture, stirring with a spatula until it forms a slightly sticky dough. Add the preferred type of milk and mix well.

⭐ Then, prepare a piping bag by inserting a large star-shaped piping tip at one end and cutting the bag for the tip to fit through.

🫓 Fill the piping bag with the cookie batter, securing it at the top to prevent the batter from moving upwards when squeezed. Alternatively, shape the dough into balls and flatten them with a sugared fork.

🎄 Pipe the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a circular shape. Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes until the edges turn golden. Now you can enjoy your cookies!

Nonna’s Tip 🤶

There are two methods for shaping the cookies – piping them with a bag and tip or rolling them into balls and pressing them with a fork before baking. Both ways create amazing cookies!

Shortbread Butter Cookies

Shortbread Butter Cookies Variations and Substitutions

These classic cookies are so flexible. Feel free to make them your own and let me know in the comments what you try!

  • You could certainly incorporate some lemon 🍋 or orange zest to the batter for a citrus twist.
  • Feel free to experiment with various piping tips to make some fun shapes with your cookies.
  • After cooking and cooling, you could put two cookies together with a filling such as jam, Nutella, or peanut butter.
  • After baking, roll the cookies in powdered sugar or decorate them with icing.
  • If you need to make these cookies gluten-free, you can use a 1-1 gluten-free flour substitute.

More Holiday Recipes

Are you hosting a gathering this holiday season? Check out some of my other holiday recipes, including my Holiday Butter Board.

Looking for more cookies to bring to your holiday cookie exchange? Check out some of my other holiday cookie recipes, including my Puff Pastry Cookies.

Common Questions

Can I Make these cookies gluten-free?

Yes, you can feel free to use 1-1 baking gluten-free flour for this recipe if you are gluten-free. 

Can I use cold butter?

The butter must be softened, not melted and not hard.

Can I use salted butter?

Yes, you can certainly you use salted butter; if you do, you can leave out the added salt.

What type of salt do you use?

I use Redmond Real Salt, please note that depending on the salt you use, your dish may be less or more salty. Salt is always to taste. Always taste and adjust as you cook.

Can I make these cookies dairy-Free?

Yes, you can absolutely try a vegan butter instead of regular butter.

How do You shape the cookies?

I use a large star tip and a piping bag, but you are more than welcome to roll the cookies into a ball and press them down with a fork that was dipped in powdered sugar.

What’s the best way to mix the dough?

Doing this in a stand mixer will be easier and less messy, you are more than welcome to use an electric mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer. 

Do I need to store these cookies in the fridge?

No, these cookies can be stored and room temperature and will last at least a week, but I can’t guarantee it as mine disappear off the table the same day! 

Can I add any flavors to the cookies?

Yes, you can definitely make these your own and add lemon or orange zest to the batter to brighten them up. 

Shortbread Butter Cookies

Shortbread cookies are not only incredibly easy to make, but absolutely delicious. I make this recipe every single year around the holidays and it's always the first cookie to disappear from the table. Unlike the traditional shortbread cookies, I don’t refrigerate the batter, I bake these right away which cuts down on the wait time.
4.73 from 11 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 Cookies
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes


  • ½ cup softened butter, 1 stick
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, also known as confectioners' sugar or icing sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour , or use 1-1 gluten-free flour
  • ½ tablespoon almond milk , any milk works
  • sprinkles for decoration, Christmas sprinkles are also beautiful


  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • With a stand mixer (or electric mixer in a bowl), start creaming the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste). This should take 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Gradually add the flour a little bit at a time and stir it with a spatula until you have a tacky dough. Add the milk of choice and give it a mix.
  • Insert a large star shaped piping tip to the bottom corner of the piping bag and cut it from the from the outside corner with scissors so that the piping tip fits through.
  • Add the cookie batter to the piping bag or Ziplock bag, squeeze the batter down and secure it on top by holding the bag with your hand as you don't want the batter to move upwards as you squeeze.
  • If you want to skip the previous step, you can roll the cookies into balls and press down with a fork that you dipped in powdered sugar.
  • Pipe the cookies into a circle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes or until golden edges. Enjoy!



Calories: 29kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 1mg, Potassium: 6mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 0.1IU, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

4.73 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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  1. The quantity you give for the butter is confusing. You say 1 cup butter then you have next to it 1 stick. This is incorrect, 1 cup = 2 sticks so 1/2 cup = 1 stick. I was going to make the cookies but now I am concerned with the other ingredients.