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Christmas Shortbread Cookies

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overhead shot of Christmas Shortbread Cookies on a plate
Don’t forget to include a batch of buttery, delicate, and delicious Christmas shortbread cookies this holiday season.
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Table of Contents
  1. Christmas Shortbread Cookies Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Christmas Shortbread Cookies Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE
  7. Most Popular Recipes

I have so many fond memories of holidays when I was young, and these melt-in-your-mouth Christmas shortbread cookies were a must-bake delicacy every year. The buttery cookies are perfect for holiday parties or a sweet treat when you’re feeling festive.

close up shot of Christmas Shortbread Cookies with one having a bite taken out of it

Christmas Shortbread Cookies Ingredients

Christmas Shortbread Cookies raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Holiday sprinkles (jimmies or nonpareils)

PRO TIP:

There is no substitute for the added cornstarch in this classic recipe. It is what gives these shortbread cookies their delicate, soft texture. This, along with the whipped butter and powdered sugar, are what makes these easy cookies so tasty.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

VANILLA: I like to use clear vanilla extract, also known as clear vanilla flavoring, when making cookies that are so pale in color. Sometimes the darker vanilla extract brands will give the cookie dough a slightly tan color. They both will taste delicious, but I like the look of the cookies better with the clear vanilla flavor.

SPRINKLES: When choosing your sprinkles for this great recipe, I like to keep it simple and only use the nonpareils or jimmies. When the sprinkle blends have bigger pieces, the larger sprinkles do not want to stay on the cookie. The nonpareils are my number one choice because I like how they nestle into the indentations that are left from pressing the tines of the fork into the top of the cookie dough balls.

How to Make This Christmas Shortbread Cookies Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Make sure that the softened butter is just at room temperature and not overly soft. You should be able to press your finger into the top of the butter and leave a slight impression, but NOT be able to press it all the way through the butter. If your butter is too soft, the cookies will spread too much when baking, and you will not get the desired results. 

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

STEP TWO: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the remaining ingredients.

PRO TIP:

When beating in powdered sugar, I suggest always starting at low speed to allow the majority of the powdered sugar to mix in before increasing the speed. This will help ensure you don’t create a powdered sugar mess all over the counter.

butter and powdered sugar combined in a cup

STEP THREE: Add the vanilla and almond extract to the butter and beat for an additional 1 minute.

vanilla and almond extract added to the butter mixture in a cup

STEP FOUR: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and salt in a separate bowl. This will ensure that you do not have any lumps of cornstarch in your cookie dough.

flour, cornstarch, and salt whisked in a cup

STEP FIVE: With your mixer on low, spoon the dry ingredients slowly into the mixing bowl. You will want to allow the flour mixture to be incorporated after each addition before adding more to the mixing bowl.

flour mixture blended in a blender

STEP SIX: Once all your flour mixture has been added, you will want to increase the speed to medium and beat the dough for an additional 30 to 45 seconds to ensure that all the ingredients are fully incorporated and that your dough is light and fluffy.

dough blended in a measuring cup

STEP SEVEN: Remove your paddle attachment and refrigerate the shortbread dough for 15 minutes.

STEP EIGHT: Using a 1½-inch cookie scoop (approximately 1½ tablespoons), scoop the dough and gently roll each dough ball in the palm of your hand.

scoop dough and roll each ball in the palm of your hand

STEP NINE: Place the cookie dough balls onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart, and flatten the tops of each cookie with the tines of a dinner fork. Your flattened cookie should be about 1½ inches in diameter. You will get 8-10 cookies on each baking sheet.

cookie dough balls placed onto cookie sheet

STEP TEN: Garnish each cookie with the holiday sprinkles.

cookies garnished with holiday sprinkles on a cookie sheet

STEP ELEVEN: Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes. You can rotate your baking sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. You do not want your cookies to get golden brown. They should be a pale cream color.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your shortbread Christmas cookies at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Christmas Shortbread Cookies baked on a cookie sheet

STEP TWELVE: Allow your cookies to cool on the baking tray for 10 to 15 minutes before placing them on a wire rack to cool completely before serving them.

How To Serve

You can serve these delicate little shortbread cookies with hot tea, homemade hot chocolate, or a cup of coffee. Enjoy them for an afternoon snack, or add them to your holiday cookie platter or cookie exchange along with our pretty Christmas pinwheels.

For more festive cookie recipes, our Christmas sugar cookies and M&M Christmas cookies will both become family favorites.

Storage

ON THE COUNTER: These classic shortbread cookies can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. 

IN THE FREEZER: These butter shortbread cookies can be frozen once baked for up to 2 months. Allow the baked cookies to cool completely, then flash-freeze them on the baking sheets for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before placing them into an airtight container.

You can also flash freeze the dough balls, then transfer them to a freezer-safe zip-top bag. You can bake from frozen, but you will need to add an additional 2 to 3 minutes to the bake time.

overhead shot of Christmas Shortbread Cookies on a plate

Whipped shortbread cookies are a Christmas classic and one of my favorite cookies. Delicious, with a buttery flavor and crumbly texture, they’re the perfect treat for any holiday party or for enjoying around the tree on Christmas Eve.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use cookie cutters with these Christmas shortbread cookies with sprinkles?

This buttery shortbread cookie recipe will be too soft to create shapes with cookie cutters. Our no-spread sugar cookies are perfect for your favorite cookie cutters.

Do I have to chill the dough?

To achieve soft cookies and prevent them from spreading in the oven, the soft dough needs a little bit of chilling time in the fridge.

Can I freeze the unbaked cookies?

The dough for these simple shortbread cookies can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until you are ready to bake them. Thaw and bake them when you are ready to enjoy them.

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overhead shot of Christmas Shortbread Cookies on a plate

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

5 from 2 votes
Don’t forget to include a batch of buttery, delicate, and delicious Christmas shortbread cookies this holiday season.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 hours 22 minutes
Servings 18

Ingredients
  

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Holiday sprinkles, jimmies or nonpareils

Instructions
 

  • Add the vanilla and almond extract to the butter and beat for an additional 1 minute.
  • Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and salt in a separate bowl. This will ensure that you do not have any lumps of cornstarch in your cookie dough.
  • With your mixer on low, spoon the flour mixture slowly into the mixing bowl. You will want to allow the flour to be incorporated after each addition before adding more to the mixing bowl.
  • Once all your flour mixture has been added, you will want to increase the speed to medium and beat the dough for an additional 30 to 45 seconds to ensure that all the ingredients are fully incorporated and that your dough is light and fluffy.
  • Remove your paddle attachment and refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
  • Using a 1½-inch cookie scoop (approximately 1½ tablespoons), scoop the dough and gently roll each dough ball in the palm of your hand.
  • Place the cookie dough balls onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart, and flatten the tops of each cookie with the tines of a dinner fork. Your flattened cookie should be about 1½ inches in diameter. You will get 8-10 cookies on each baking sheet.
  • Garnish each cookie with the holiday sprinkles.
  • Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes. You can rotate your baking sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. You do not want your cookies to get golden brown. They should be a pale cream color.
  • Allow your cookies to cool on the baking tray for 10 to 15 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack to cool completely before serving them.

Notes

  • There is no substitute for the added cornstarch in this classic recipe. It is what gives these shortbread cookies their delicate, soft texture. This, along with the whipped butter and powdered sugar, are what makes these easy cookies so tasty.
  • For the softened butter in this delicious recipe, you will want to make sure that it is just at room temperature and not overly soft. You should be able to press your finger into the top of the butter and leave a slight impression, but NOT be able to press your finger all the way through the butter. If your butter is too soft, your cookies will spread too much when baking, and you will not get the desired results for the recipe.
  • When beating powdered sugar into a recipe, I suggest always starting on low speed to allow the majority of the powdered sugar to mix in before increasing the speed. This will help ensure you don’t create a powdered sugar mess all over your kitchen counters.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your shortbread Christmas cookies at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Jackie says

    5 stars
    This is another recipe I will try this holiday season. Wish you were around 53 years ago when I first married. Then I would not have had to buy cookies at the holidays.