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3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

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Easy. Buttery. Shortbread Cookies. Yes!

Just 3 ingredients!

These melt-in-your-mouth Scottish-inspired shortbread cookies are simple to make. Just 3 ingredients and they come out so light and buttery!

Holiday Shortbread Cookies (Just 3 Ingredients)

Watch how to make these easy shortbread cookies.

Check out this video below the recipe that shows how to make these cookies, step-by-step.

Cookie Cutters vs. Stamps vs. Shortbread Cookie Pan

You can use a cookie cutter, cookie stamp, or a shortbread cookie pan. Or heck, you can even cut them with a knife. Your choice! I don’t believe in rules when it comes to things like this. 🙂

Using Cookie Cutters

I like this method because most people have cookie cutters on hand so there’s nothing new to buy. Cookie cutters work great work and you can cut out your shortbread in any shape so you get to be creative and can make these holiday themed if you want.

You can see I have made them as squares and also as wreaths varying the shape, the thickness and the decorating style yet still using this same recipe.

Want a special cookie cutter shape? Shop cookie cutters on Amazon

Using Cookie Stamps

A cookie stamp kind of does double duty here. It cut out the cookie shape and also applys a decorative texture to the top of the cookie. This is an easy way to make your cookies look really beautiful!

Shop cookie stamps on Amazon

Using a Shortbread Cookie Pan

This traditional tool works great to create an imprint in the cookie dough. The thing I don’t like about using a shortbread pan is that it makes 9 cookies at a time in one block. So, you have to cut them out after they are baked. The chance of them crumbling as you separate each cookie is high. However, if you prefer this method, you can purchase a shortbread cookie pan on amazon.

Can I make these thick like traditional Scottish shortbread cookies?

Yes. You can roll these babies as thick or as thin as you’d like. Just just keep in mind, cook time may vary.

You may need to bake them at a lower temperate and for longer if you roll them very thick. 325˚is a safe bet. Just keep an eye on them and snatch them out of the oven as soon as they look completely firm.

Can you decorate these shortbread cookies?

Sure! Have fun with it and put your own twist on it. You can decorate with sprinkles or go more tradition and poke holes to decorate. Try dipping in chocolate, These are a must for your Christmas baking list!

First time making shortbread cookies?

Have you ever wondered why there’s no ready-made shortbread cookie mix? Or am I the only one who’s that simple? Gah! Well, my friends. These buttery shortbread cookies are so easy to make, there are no shortcuts needed. It’s literally three ingredients. Likely ones you have on hand. So these are the perfect thing for those days where you just want to put on your fuzzy socks and not leave the house the whole day.

Finding an easy shortbread cookie recipe.

So, never having make these before (obviously), I looked at a few different recipes for shortbread cookies. I know, it seems silly considering they’re so simple but there were a few different types. Some claimed Scottish shortbread cookies are made with brown sugar and others called for vanilla extract.

Now, I’m not necessarily a purest at heart but I do like to keep things as simple as possible. So I sided with the folks who were commenting that true shortbread cookies do not use vanilla. And I like the idea of brown sugar and might try that, but felt like the shortbread cookies I’d had before and loved always tasted like they used regular sugar.

So once I narrowed it down to 3 ingredients it was very easy to get the dough made. The trickiest part was getting the shape right. I wanted a nice flat top and liked the look of the cookies I had seen with dotted indentations.

So I ultimately decided to roll these out and used a square cookie cutter with a wavy edge. I used a kabob skewer to poke holes matching the scalloped edge of the cookie cutter. They have a traditional vibe but I felt like I put my own little spin on them and that was fun. 🙂 I think you could do all different shapes and really have some fun with the dots.

You could try putting initials in the middle or even try a cookie stamp. Get creative! I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do it. Just do your thang! Baking is supposed to be therapy, right?

Try these at your own holiday baking party.

Speaking of baking, I’m thinking about making these for our annual Christmas cookie baking party. I love how simple yet delicious they are. So I’m thinking I’ll do half the batch plain and then dip the other half in melted chocolate. Mmmm!! Or maybe do some kind of design in chocolate? I don’t know yet but I’m definitely liking the idea of adding chocolate to these.

Special tools you’ll need:

Here’s the type of cookie cutter I used — square with scalloped edges.

Square Cookie Cutter with Scalloped Edges

Also, if you don’t own one already, I highly recommend purchasing a thin, flexible metal spatula.

Thin Flexible Metal Spatula

The Mr. turned me on to this handy piece of kitchenware. They’re very useful for lifting sticky, delicate things (like these cookies!) without smashing them or breaking them.

Feeling the holiday spirit? Try making my easy yule log cake too, browse my other Christmas cookie recipes and see all my holiday recipes.

These 3-ingredient easy buttery shortbread cookies were featured on Menu Plan Monday and South Your Mouth!

3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
Easy Buttery Shortbread Cookies

3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

These melt-in-your-mouth Scottish-inspired shortbread cookies are simple to make. Just 3 ingredients and they come out so light and buttery!
Author: Angela G.
5 from 3 reviews
Read Comments
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Skill Level: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 24 Servings
Yield: 2 dozen


  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)


  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar.
  • Add softened butter to dry ingredients and mix together using a fork until crumbly dough forms.
  • Grab a ball of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough ball onto a floured surface and roll out with a floured rolling pin.
  • When dough is about 1/4″ thick, cut out your cookies using a flour-coated cookie cutter.
  • Lift cookies using a thin metal spatula and place onto a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350˚ for about 8-9 minutes or until the edges show hints of golden brown. If you prefer thicker cookies, just don’t roll them out as much and bake a bit longer. You may also want to drop the temp down to 325˚.


Nutrition Facts

Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
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Saturday 3rd of September 2022

May I know the butter is it 250g. Can have the recipe in grams? Thank you

Angela G.

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

Hi Jessie, it would be 226.8g of butter.


Wednesday 31st of August 2022

Growing up our neighbor was from Scotland. She made the exact same recipe. So very good so very easy.She made them in a sheet pan and cut them to the size she wanted. As a child I loved to watch and learn from her. I was 9 at the time, I'm 70 now and still make a lot of the same cookies and Scottish recipes she taught me.

Angela G.

Thursday 1st of September 2022

What a nice story, Lynn! Thanks for sharing.


Tuesday 16th of November 2021

How much is a stick of butter? I am guessing a stick is 1/4 but not sure, could you please clarify.

Angela G.

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

Hi Kathleen, 1 stick of butter = 1/2 cup

Cathy R Canfield

Monday 15th of November 2021

I'm wondering if it's possible to use something else other than butter like I can't believe it's not butter, or some other butter substitute?

Angela G.

Monday 15th of November 2021

Hi Cathy, According to the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter website, you can substitute their product for butter in baking. So I think you'd be good to make that swap and give these a try!

Linda Tschappat

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

May I ask what altitude you're in? I'm thinking this probably won't work in high altitude areas. Will try your recipe but pretty sure I'll need to add at least a half cup more flour, if not more.

Angela G.

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Hi Linda, sure! My altitude is 1200 feet. Let me know if you end up adjusting for your altitude. I’d be curious to hear the difference.