Traditional English Shortbread Recipe

Shortbread isn’t just a type of sugar cookie. It’s light, buttery, and needs to have a very specific “short” texture.

Traditional English Shortbread should contain three very simple ingredients: flour, butter, and sugar. If the recipe calls for eggs, you’re not making shortbread. Some recipes will include vanilla for flavor, or cornflour to make them more tender. Be very gentle with this dough or it will turn dry.

Being British, I more or less grew up on shortbread, and it’s one of the first things I learned to bake as a kid. So it’s close to my heart! I hope you guys try this out and fall in love with it like I did.

How To Make English Shortbread

If you’ve ever tried to make English shortbread and been disappointed by a batch of flat, crunchy biscuits, don’t worry. I’ve got a few tricks that will guarantee buttery crumble shortbread every single time!

Here’s how to make English shortbread:

  1. Weigh your ingredients for better accuracy.
  2. Start with room temperature, top-quality butter.
  3. Thoroughly beat the butter until it’s smooth.
  4. Beat the sugar into the butter until it’s fluffy.
  5. Sift the flour with the cornstarch and very gentle stir this into the butter.
  6. Stop before the dough is fully formed.
  7. Pour the shaggy dough out onto the counter and press it together.
  8. Chill before baking.
  9. Only bake until the edges are beginning to brown.
  10. Leave to cool completely.

Why Put Cornflour in Shortbread?

You should put cornflour in shortbread to help guarantee a tender cookie/biscuit. It helps to absorb some of the moisture and prevents the cookie/biscuits from becoming too crunchy.

Feel free to leave the cornstarch out, especially if you prefer crunchy biscuits.

But if you like your shortbread to have a firm outer texture with a middle that just melts in your mouth, cornstarch is a must.

How To Make Flavored Shortbread

On its own, English shortbread will melt in your mouth and the first thing you should taste is butter. That’s why you need to start with good quality butter - nothing cheap with additives and fillers.

To make flavored shortbread, try one of these additions:

  • Mini chocolate chips
  • One tablespoon of lavender
  • The zest of one lemon or orange
  • Chopped craisins and white chocolate chunks
  • Toffee bits

Remember not to add too much of your extras as you don’t want to completely lose the shortbread taste.

Best Shortbread Recipe Ever

This recipe should make around 25-30 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

Alternatively, try pressing this into two 8x8 baking dishes.


  • 225 grams Butter (1 cup)
  • 60 grams Powdered Sugar (½ cup)
  • 68 grams Cornflour/Cornstarch (½ cup)
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 260 grams All Purpose/Cake Flour (2 cups)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray two 8x8 baking pans with cookie spray and line with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter until completely smooth.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Sift the flour with cornstarch and salt.
  6. Stir the dry mix into the butter by hand, in 3-4 additions, stopping when it is still slightly shaggy.*
  7. Pour the dough out onto the counter and press into a rectangle shape. 
  8. Very gentle roll until it’s at your desired thickness and cut out your cookies.
  9. If baking in a tray, split the dough in half and press into the dish. 
  10. Gently prick with a fork and bake until the edges begin to turn brown (8-10 minutes for the cookies, 10-15 minutes for the slab).
  11. Leave to cool on the tray.

*if adding extras:

  • Add your extras before you add the last of the dry mix and incorporate the two together. 

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