3 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

4.54 from 1971 votes
Enjoy buttery, delicious, and classic shortbread cookies with my easy 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies recipe for all of the flavors with less of the fuss.
A pile of 3-ingredient shortbread cookies are served on a blue plate. One homemade shortbread cookie is snapped in half.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: My 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookie recipe is buttery, crumbly, crispy, and has all of the classic flavors you love without complicated steps and tools.

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. I even have a page with 100+ Top Cookie Recipes you’ll want to bookmark for all of your cookie needs (including tons of shortbread variations) after you make these simple treats.

These wonderful Shortbread Cookies are one of my go-to recipes for a classic buttery fix that gives Walkers Shortbread Cookies a run for their money. I can make this simple adapted 3-2-1 recipe off the top of my head, and now you can too with my homemade Shortbread Cookies recipe!

There is something so satisfying about both making and eating these lovely 3-ingredient cookies. On top of being an incredibly versatile recipe, these Shortbread Cookies are made in just one bowl in under 30 minutes — and they bake up super fast!

Homemade shortbread cookies are served on a blue dish. One 3 ingredient shortbread cookie is snapped in half, showing how a crispy cookie.

What Is A “3, 2, 1 Recipe”?

For those of you who don’t know, a 3,2,1 recipe is a recipe that has only 3 ingredients and a ratio of 3 parts flour to 2 parts butter to 1 part sugar (ratio applies to cup measurements only). These 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies are adapted from this ratio.

Why Is My Shortbread Dough Not Coming Together?

Have powdery or crumbly cookie dough? Make sure the butter is softened at the beginning to thoroughly cream it together with the sugar. Otherwise, the dough will not come together.

Why Are My Cookies Dry?

Flour behaves in different ways depending on the type of wheat grain you use and how it was being milled. As a result, various types of flour absorb liquid differently. Hold back some liquid by using up to ¾ cup in one go and adjust it accordingly to get the same consistency as my cookie dough.

I also recommend using more room temperature butter on your next try or baking them for a shorter time to prevent dry cookies.

Tools You Need To Make 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Electric mixer
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Large bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Cooling rack

Variations Of Shortbread Cookies

While I love Shortbread Cookies on their own, there are so many other lovely variations to try:

The possibilities with shortbread are endless!

Shortbread cookies are stacked on top of each other. One shortbread cookie is broken in half and looks crispy.

Vegan 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

Speaking of variations of Shortbread Cookies, one of the best parts about this recipe is that you can make a vegan version! There are already no eggs in this recipe, so all you have to do is substitute the butter. Swap out your butter for hard baking margarine, but make sure it’s not the spreadable tub version.

The difference between butter and margarine is primarily the flavor. Butter has a creamier and richer flavor because it comes from milk. Margarine has a milder flavor because of the lack of dairy. 

If you’re interested in learning more about egg substitutes, check out my 7 Best Egg Substitutes for Baking Recipes.

How To Store 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

After your cookies have cooled, feel free to enjoy them immediately. You can also store them for later in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

You can also freeze the cookie dough! While it is wrapped in a log shape in plastic wrap, pop them in the freezer. When ready to use the dough, simply thaw it and cut it into slices. Bake them off as usual.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making The Best 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies:

  • Parchment paper is the best way to keep your cookies from sticking in general, and it makes clean-up very easy!
  • You can substitute all-purpose flour with almond flour at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Make sure you use softened butter, or else the dry ingredients won’t fully incorporate.
  • Don’t have an electric mixer? Make sure the butter is softened, and use a hand whisk to whisk it with sifted powdered sugar until light and fluffy. It shouldn’t take too long.
  • Wrapping the log and placing it in the fridge for 30 minutes will help develop the flavor and ensure that your cookies don’t spread during baking.
  • Use unflavored dental floss or sewing thread to cut your cookie dough. Slide them underneath, bring them up, cross over, and pull. It helps keep the shape for perfect cuts.

What Are Other 3 Ingredient Cookie Recipes You Can Make?

Get More Shortbread Cookie Recipes Here!

And don’t miss more every day baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!

Watch The Recipe Video!

3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies Recipe

4.54 from 1971 votes
Enjoy buttery, delicious, and classic shortbread cookies with my easy 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies recipe for all of the flavors with less of the fuss.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 24 cookies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Enjoy buttery, delicious, and classic shortbread cookies with my easy 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies recipe for all of the flavors with less of the fuss.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 24 cookies


  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) butter, softened
  • ½ cup (2 oz/58 g) powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 cups (10 oz/280 g) all purpose flour


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl cream together the soft butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the flour and mix until the dough just comes together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a counter dusted with powdered sugar and gently roll the dough into a long two-by-two-inch log.
  • Wrap the log of cookie dough in plastic wrap and allow it to firm up in the fridge for at least 60 minutes but up to 3 days.
  • Once the dough is firm, slice the cookies into ¼-inch thick rounds. Place each round on your baking tray and bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until just golden.
  • Allow cooling slightly before transferring to a cooling rack. Once cool the cookies can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

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 Facts
3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 Cookie)
Calories 71
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 44mg2%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Sugar 4g4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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4 years ago

Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that the ratio is actually 4:2:1
To make sense of it, if you doubled the recipe you would need 4 cups flour, 2 cups butter and 1 cup sugar, see – 4:2:1

4 years ago

Looking forward to making these, a little tip for cutting the buscuit dough use dental floss, slide underneath bring up and cross over and pull, it’s like a hot knife through butter and keeps its shape

4 years ago

I used 1Tbsp of hot water to dissolve 2Tbsp of Instant coffee. Added it before flour. Tastes amazing. My first attempt on shortbread. Mahalo Gemma!

4 years ago

I’m not sure if someone else has asked this, so I apologize if you’ve already answered this question, but is the butter for the shortbread salted or unsalted?

4 years ago

I have made these a few times now,first batch your recipe then added a sprinkling of Lavender flowers and last batch chopped dried cranberries and Pistachios and they looked very Christmassie…

4 years ago

Hi Gemma,can I subtitute the Almond flour instead for the shortbread cookies? and also subtitute fresh shredded coconut for coconut cookies as well

4 years ago

Hi Gemma!

I would like to add chopped pecans to the short bread cookies, will that work out ok & so I just add them in last? Thank you for all the great recipes, I use them all the time! 😊

4 years ago

Hi Gemma – getting ready to make the Shortbread Cookies but have a question….the recipe states, “Turn the dough out onto a counter dusted with powdered sugar and gently roll the dough into a long two by two inch log.” However, in your video tutorial you put the dough directly on the cling wrap to transform into the log. Your thoughts? Thanks Sandy

4 years ago

Can you make these with gluten free flour or a gf mix which includes tapioca flour? Thanks Mel

4 years ago

Hi gemma, i have made these shortbread cookies many times and even successfully added different ingredients (choco chips, grated orange zest and grated lemon zest) i want to know if these could be chocolate coated and if so how

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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