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Shortbread Cookies made with only 3 ingredients!

3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

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Whip up my easy and buttery Shortbread Cookies recipe with just three simple ingredients.

Hi Bold Bakers!

One of the best parts about being a Bold Baker is having lots of sweet tricks up your sleeve. For me, that means having loads of easy cookie recipes I can pull together at the drop of a hat without ever having to open a cookbook. These wonderful Shortbread Cookies are one of my go-to recipes for a classic buttery fix. I can make this simple 3,2,1 recipe off the top of my head and now you can too with my shortbread cookies recipe!

What is a “3, 2, 1 Recipe?”

For those of you who don’t know, a 3,2,1 recipe is a recipe which has only 3 ingredients and a ratio of 3 parts to 2 parts to 1 part (ratio applies to cup measurements only). These 3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies are mostly flour, the third part. Then some butter, the second part. Lastly a bit of powdered sugar, the one part. And for those of you who do not use eggs – not an egg in sight! All you have to do is mix up the dough, roll it into a log, let it chill and then slice them into perfect little rounds.

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

There is something so satisfying about both making and eating these lovely 3 ingredient cookies. On top of being an incredibly versatile and easy recipe to remember, these easy Shortbread Cookies are made in just one bowl and bake up super fast. All you have to do is mix up the dough, roll it into a log, let it chill and then slice them into perfect little rounds. The finished cookies bake up to golden brown perfection with a super crumbly and rich texture thanks to all that creamy butter.


While I love to enjoy Shortbread Cookies all on their own, there are so many things you can do with them: make them into shortbread thumbprint cookies with a bit of jam, fill them with peanut butter to make shortbread and peanut butter sandwiches, dip one half of them in chocolate – the possibilities with shortbread are endless.

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For more 3 ingredient cookies and other 3 ingredient recipes, have a look below:

5.0 from 12 reviews
3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 30-35
  • 1 cup ( 8oz/240g) ) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (2oz/60g)) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups (10oz/300g)) all purpose flour
  1. Preheat your oven to 350o F (180oC) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the soft butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light inf fluffy.
  3. Add in the flour and mix until the dough just comes together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a counter dusted with powdered sugar and gently roll the dough into a long two by two inch log.
  5. Wrap the log of cookie dough in plastic wrap and allow to firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Once the dough is firm slice the cookies into ¾ inch thick rounds. Place each round on your baking trey and bake for 16-18 minutes or until just golden.
  7. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
  8. Once cool the cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
If you do not use butter, though this is best for these cookies, you may use a hard baking margarine, not the spreadable tub one.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 71 Saturated fat: 4 g Unsaturated fat: 2 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 4 g Sugar: 4 g Sodium: 44 mg Fiber: 0 g Protein: 0 g Cholesterol: 16 mg



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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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  1. Shirley Arnold on March 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    I made the shortbread cookies today and they are amazing. I added chopped crystallized ginger and they are so good.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      I’m delighted to heat that. Thanks for trying it out.

      Gemma 🙂

  2. MomoS on March 26, 2018 at 2:13 am

    I just made these & they are absolutely devine!
    Omg! I can’t stop eating them!
    Thank you so much for this very easy recipe Gemma!
    I’m addicted to them now😬

    • Gemma Stafford on March 27, 2018 at 8:55 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear that!! Thank you so much for trying it.

      Gemma 🙂

      • Momo on March 31, 2018 at 3:05 pm

        Hi Gemma,
        I make this shortbread atleast 3 times a week now.
        Everyone in my family absolutely loves them!
        They are sooo buttery!
        I even made my dough tonight so I can bake them in the morning & will bring them for Easter to my sister in law.
        They are the nicest shortbread i ever tasted!
        They should be called “Gemma’s best ever shortbread”

        • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2018 at 6:28 pm

          Aw thats great! I’m delighted to heat that. Thanks for trying it out.

          Gemma 🙂

  3. Momo on March 26, 2018 at 1:11 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I just made my dough and thinking of freezing my dough.
    Do i need to leave out the dough in room temperature beforehand before baking it after taking it out from the freezer(just like the Scones) or can i bake them straight from the freezer?
    Many Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 27, 2018 at 9:13 pm


      Once you mix your dough you don’t need to proof it at room temperature. Just put it in a bag and freeze t. Once you take it out it will proof as it defrosts.

      You cant’ bake it straight form the freezer. Turn your dough into rolls, or whatever you want once defrost, leave to rise for an hour and then bake.
      Hope this makes sense,

  4. Anuja on March 23, 2018 at 9:41 am

    OMG!! This is such an amazing and such a simple recipe…. my son is allergic to so many things and with just 3 ingredient this recipe has made my life so much simpler. I tried the one with all purpose flour and then I tried with whole wheat flour! The whole wheat flour was a big hit too!!! Thank you so much!!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 25, 2018 at 5:36 am

      Hi Anuja,
      I am delighted to know this, a great tip for other Bold Bakers, than kyou so much for sharing this, and for this kind review.
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Raksha Prasad on March 22, 2018 at 5:52 am

    Hey Gemma!

    I have tried these with all purpose flour many times and they are a hit!!😊 Just wanted to try something different. So can I replace the same with whole wheat flour or any other millet flour?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 23, 2018 at 6:24 am

      Hi there,
      Not so much! You can try it of course, but it will be a different thing.
      I think for this mix of flours you will need something, like egg, to hold them together, that will change everything for you.
      You can experiment, that is how we learn!
      Gemma 🙂

    • Anuja on March 23, 2018 at 9:42 am

      I actually tried with whole wheat flour and no other changes… it was a super hit!! Actually turned out better than the all purpose flour. Go ahead and try!!

  6. Aisha on March 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Gemma, I’m thinking of trying this recipe and I really want to know if I can substitute butter with margarine? BTW, I love your recipes/videos. They’re cool.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 21, 2018 at 3:54 am

      Hi there Aisha,
      Do use a baking margarine, not a tub one. The tub margarine is designed for spreading and is too soft for most bakes,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Aaliyah Bailey on March 4, 2018 at 8:01 am

    For the powdered sugar can u just use normal sugar

  8. Raksha Prasad on March 2, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Hi Gemma,
    If I have to cut them in a particular shape, how do I do that? Do I have to follow any other steps?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 2, 2018 at 3:57 am

      Hi there Raksha,
      You can use cutters if you have some. You can use a glass, flour it first, just around the rim, and that will work too. This is what would have been used to cut scones in Ireland back in the day, still a good tip!
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Sunanda Patnaik on February 24, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    The cookies are so good and you are right my house smells of butter and I just can’t stop eating them.

    • Gemma Stafford on February 25, 2018 at 4:12 am

      Hi there,
      That is so good to hear, thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Turtlerocks399 on February 24, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Gemma, I want to know if ‘tub’ butter will affect the recipe. The first time I made this, I used sticks of butter. Will it change at all?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 24, 2018 at 5:22 pm


      Yes tub butter can give you slightly different results as it is softer but honestly it should change it too much. It will still work.


  11. Vaishnavee Patil on February 18, 2018 at 5:29 am

    Also my cookies got a little burnt from the bottom… My temperature was 180 degree C for 16 mins

  12. Vaishnavee Patil on February 18, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Hey gemma i tried this recepie last night.l amd the cookies turned out to be amazing. This was my first time baking and i loved it. I am definitely gonna try other recipies.
    One thing the dough i made was creimer than in your video so i just wrapped it in a cling wrap to refrigerate. But what can be the reason the dough was soft and creamy instead of crumbles?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 19, 2018 at 4:23 am

      Hi there,
      It sounds like you have an issue with the oven thermostat, but maybe I do not have enough information here. What type of oven? You will need to keep an eye on them!
      I am wondering if you used real butter in this recipe?
      If you use a tub of ‘BUTTER’ then it may not be the same as mine, this is designed for spreading, and actually is not butter!
      Does this sound right?
      Gemma 🙂

      • Vaishnavee Patil on March 10, 2018 at 2:25 am


  13. Shela on February 14, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Gemma, it is possible to use oil instead of butter?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 15, 2018 at 4:11 am

      Hi Shela,
      For this recipe I will say no, the ingredient list is so short that it will affect the result. ( I have a lot of cookie recipes here, and some will work better with the oil. coconut oil works well for many cookies, but I think you will need to test a small batch to be sure it suits you,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Jean W. on February 12, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I am excited to try these cookies and have not made them yet. My family wants to know if adding chopped pecans will work or do I have to add something else for the nuts to work?

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear that. for sure add in some chopped pecans in there. no problem.

      Happy Baking,

  15. Kerri on February 12, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I made these one time and didn’t cream the sugar and butter with a mixer, and the cookies were awesome but the dough was really difficult to work with. I tried it again after watching the video, and they were perfect!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear that Kerri!!!

      Happy Baking,

      • Beyoncé foster on March 21, 2018 at 5:51 am

        Love the recipe I use it in my food tec class they tasted really delicious thank u

        • Gemma Stafford on March 22, 2018 at 5:23 am

          That is so good to hear, thank you Beyonce,
          Gemma 🙂

  16. Anupama on February 12, 2018 at 12:03 am

    The easiest and most delicious butter cookies ever! Thanks so much, Gemma!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      I’m thrilled to hear that 🙂


  17. Kirstin Coetzee on February 11, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    I’m about to make these tomorrow for Valentines Day. I’m not a baker so thought I should ask you first….if I want to use a cookie cutter and cut love heart shapes, do I still roll it into the log and put it in the fridge? Can it be rolled out again after the fridge to cut into other shapes?
    Thanks so much!!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 12, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      Yes, after it has chilled in the fridge you will be able to cut shapes.

      Just note you will need to dust your counter with flour so your dough doesn’t stick to it badly.

      Hope this helps,

  18. Raksha Prasad on February 11, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Hello Gemma.. I just loved this recipe of yours. The cookies came out beautifully and tastes delicious. This is my first bake ever and am so so happy that it came out very well. Your recipes inspire me to bake more. Thank you so much. Happy baking☺

    • Gemma Stafford on February 11, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      I’m thrilled you like them 🙂

      Thank you,

  19. P.S. on February 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I have to say, this cookies are amazing, I made this recipe about 10 times now (every 2/3 days) and it never failed me!
    The only thing I can say is that I always used normal sugar until last time (when I actually used the powdered one) and I like it with the normal sugar so much more… I don’t know why, my guess is that it might be the texture or the contrast of sugar and salt (from the butter) that it’s more noticeable this way!

    • Gemma Stafford on February 8, 2018 at 4:05 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your input. You are right, it is a different texture, and if this is to your liking that is great.
      Good to have you with us,
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Iceman on February 6, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    How long does the cookie dough lasts in the freezer ? Like to prepare in advance so when I need it, I just bake them.

    Thank you in advance .

    • Gemma Stafford on February 7, 2018 at 4:49 am

      Hi there,
      Really a long time one month to six weeks. I suggest you wrap in a sausage shape, tightly, in cling wrap.
      Refrigerate to set the dough. Slice into the portion size you like, wrap each one, or separate with baking paper, re-wwrap in the cling, and freeze. You can place a few of the Sausages into a freezer bag or box, for double protection, then it is easy to remove the portion you need for baking. This will defrost really quickly for baking.
      Happy baking,
      Gemma 🙂

  21. Linda on January 26, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Great recipe Gemma!! Approximately how many cookies would we get from this recipe

    • Gemma Stafford on January 26, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Linda, it makes around 25 or so 🙂

  22. Neha Singh on January 25, 2018 at 8:49 am

    wow! They were so easy to make, and so delicious as well. Thanks Gemma<3

    • Gemma Stafford on January 26, 2018 at 5:28 am

      Great Neha, thank you for your kind comment as usual,
      Gemma 🙂

  23. Jessica on January 19, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    Hi Gemma
    Can I make the dough two days in advance and leave it in the refrigerator and then bake it off? Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on January 20, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Hi Jessica,
      Yes, you certainly may do this.
      All will be well, but if you want to keep it any longer than that then freeze it!
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. Irishmammy on January 17, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Hi Gemma. We tried this at the weekend but I must have put the wrong type of ingredients in. I used baking butter and icing sugar. After leaving it overnight in the fridge it was crumbly mess trying to cut it. Can you tell me where I went wrong? Should I have used a normal butter block instead of baking butter? 🇮🇪

    • Irishmammy on January 17, 2018 at 8:13 am

      And I also just just plain flour

      • Gemma Stafford on January 17, 2018 at 8:53 pm

        yeah plain flour is grand.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      huh, did you make a sausage like I did? and it crumbled after?

      By baking butter do you mean margarine? if so that should work just fine. As long as the butter and sugar creamed well together and was light and fluffy bonfire adding the flour they really shouldn’t have fallen apart like that.

      I’m a bit stumped!

      • Steve on January 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

        Mine is crumbling too and I followed the directions to a T. I am using Kerrygold Irish butter because it works so well, but not this time.

        • Gemma Stafford on January 21, 2018 at 4:04 am

          Hi Steve,
          Did you cream the butter and sugar until it was soft?
          Kerrygold is a fabulous butter, has great flavor, and would be perfect in this recipe. It needs to be room temperature, feeling soft/yielding before you start the cream it. The sugar effectively dissolves in the butter, before you add the flour.
          Go back to the video, ( you will see that it is a crumbly mixture, which you need to bring together as I show you. It will work!
          Gemma 🙂

      • Irishmammy on January 21, 2018 at 9:27 am

        Probably a silly question powdered sugar is still icing sugar? Yeah it was a margarine block. Tried it again and had the same outcome. I’m definitely going wrong somewhere. Worse thing is it smells soooo good lol going to rewatch your video again. Greetings from enniscorthy 🇮🇪

        • Gemma Stafford on January 21, 2018 at 8:25 pm

          Yes powdered sugar is icing sugar.

          Keep on trying 🙂

  25. Noelle on January 15, 2018 at 1:28 pm


  26. Helena on January 15, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Gemma. I made these shortbread cookies about 3 days ago and I forgot to tell you how they tasted! When i made the dough, it was kind of hard to roll it into a log; so I just used my hands to shape the cookies into circles. When they were done IT SMELLED SO DELICIOUS! But the best part was eating them because they actually tasted like a lot like shortbread even though there only 3 ingredients. My family enjoyed it so much.

    Thanks a lot. From: Helena

    • Gemma Stafford on January 15, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      Yayyy!!! Success. I’m thrilled to heat that.


      • Helena on January 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm

        Gemma, did you mean hear instead of “heat”?

        • Gemma Stafford on January 17, 2018 at 3:33 am

          Hi Helena,
          Yes, that is what happens when I am working from my phone, sorry,
          Gemma 🙂

  27. Smriti Jhamb on January 15, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Hi Gemma
    I made these cookies today and they turned out great. But I found them a little too salty. I could feel a little sweetness but more than that there was salt. I used salted butter. And the salted butter which I used contains around 3% salt. Do you think this might be the reason of them being too salty?
    Should I use unsalted butter next time?
    Or are they supposed to be like this?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 16, 2018 at 3:44 am

      Hi there,
      We chefs do like our salt! Some people do not like it so much, so you can choose which butter to use.
      Shortbread does usually have a little salt, and I am surprised that you could taste it in this recipe. I did not add further salt, and salt does add to the flavor of any bake really. I am a bit mystified about this!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Smriti Jhamb on January 16, 2018 at 4:08 am

        Hi Gemma
        I made them last night and when they were freshly baked, they tasted a bit salty. But today when they were totally at the room temperature, they tasted soo good. I mean they didn’t taste salty at all. Instead it was all so buttery. They were amazing. I don’t know why they tasted like that when they were out of the oven but now they taste really good. Thank you so much for this recipe.🙂

  28. P.S. on January 15, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Perfect! First time in my life that I made edible cookies! Love butter cookies and now I don’t need to buy it, it’s super easy to make, thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on January 15, 2018 at 4:58 am

      Hi there,
      Good for you, now keep at it, lots more recipes for you here.
      crazy muffins next!
      Gemma 🙂

  29. Meryl on January 14, 2018 at 9:17 am

    3 ingredients coconut cookies. You have 2 cups equally 6 oz. that’s not correct. 2 cups is 16 oz. which is correct? Thank you

    • Gemma Stafford on January 14, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Merly,

      A cup is 16oz for a lot of ingredients but not all ingredients. Because of the different weights of flours, sugar, coconut etc they don’t all measure the same.

      If you want check out my conversion chart. That’s a helpful guide


  30. Precilla Quimque - Trinidad on January 14, 2018 at 5:46 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Can I decorate these cookies like the one used in decorating sugar cookies with icing sugar?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Yes Pricilla, these would be good for decorating 🙂

  31. Polly on January 13, 2018 at 8:52 am

    In these shortbread cookies, do you use salted or unsalted butter. Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 13, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      I use salted all the time and It works great 🙂

  32. Nagma Rawoot on January 13, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Is this classic scottish shortbread?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 13, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      It’s very similar. Give it a try, I bet you will really like it.


  33. Imaan on January 12, 2018 at 7:56 am

    hi gemma, hope you are well, can I use castor sugar instead of powered sugar

  34. Saranya on January 12, 2018 at 2:20 am

    Hey Gemma! You said icing sugar in the video. But the recipe on the website says powdered sugar. Which one should I use? Regular powdered sugar or icing sugar?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 12, 2018 at 6:33 am

      Hi there,
      These are the same thing! Powdered sugar, is icing sugar, is confectioners sugar,
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  35. Lea on January 12, 2018 at 1:10 am

    Hi Gemma! I was wondering if I can follow your recipes and use a toaster oven? Are there any adjustments? I have a really small 12L toaster oven.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 12, 2018 at 6:43 am

      Hi Lea,
      The important thing is to be able to select the temperature of 180C, other than that I think it will be good. The timing will be important too, so do keep an eye on it. It is worth trying one recipe, even a shortened one, to experiment,
      Gemma 🙂

  36. Ramya on January 12, 2018 at 12:34 am

    Hi Gemma,
    I’m truly inspired by your cooking and have tried so many of them….they were a huge success thank you so much😊

    I wanted to know if ur chocolate banana cookies had the taste of bananas in them and if I substituted bananas instead of eggs in other recipes will the taste of bananas come?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 12, 2018 at 6:51 am

      Hi there,
      The chocolate and banana cookies have a lot of banana, and it is a feature of the recipe, so yes, you will taste it a little.
      as an egg substitute though it is different, normally you use very little in proportion to the other ingredients, and it is not a problem. ( here is the chart.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Ramya on January 12, 2018 at 7:22 am

        Thank you ,Gemma
        That was helpful

  37. Luciana on January 11, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    I am a little confused with the 3, 2, 1 recipe. Could you please clarify?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Luciana,

      3,2,1 recipe is a recipe which has only 3 ingredients and a ratio of 3 parts to 2 parts to 1 part.

      Hope this clears it up 🙂

  38. foodiequeen on January 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Why do these have such a short shelf life?

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      They will be freshest and best eaten within 3 days but you can keep them for a few days longer if you want.

  39. Ramishah Fahim on January 11, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Hi Gemma!
    I’m a big fan of all your recipes. Can you please show us how to make lemon cake, not lemon meringue cake, but a lemon cake in true bigger bolder baking style?? Love all your recipes and to see more…..

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2018 at 7:24 pm


      I’m really glad you like my recipes. I’ll add your request to my list and see what I can do 🙂


  40. Tanmayi Bharadwaj on January 11, 2018 at 8:56 am

    This recepie is amazing gemma and very easy too can you make more amazing flavours like this once … actually I love cookies

    • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2018 at 6:06 pm


      Really glad you like it.

      Happy Baking!

      • SAS on March 11, 2018 at 2:27 pm

        I just found this site…. Yaay it looks sooo good!
        I can not eat wheat…. what would be a good substitute…
        rice flour and or spelt flour? just wondering if you know.
        Short bread cookies are my fav… I miss em sooo..
        Thanks for any help!

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