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These Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies are the easy and convenient way to make these classic holiday cookies! All you need are 4 ingredients and 20 minutes to prep.
Everything you ever want in a shortbread cookie
Say hello to buttery, soft, and sweet cookie goodness! Learn how to make Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies Step-by-Step in your own kitchen. It’s a quick and easy recipe you can make for the holidays or year-round.
What are slice and bake cookies? Well, they just happen to be the most convenient way to make cookies! You’ll begin with classic shortbread cookie dough before rolling it into a log and popping it in the fridge. After a couple of hours, simply slice off a few rounds and bake!
The best part is this 4-ingredient cookie dough is so easy to put together and lasts for months in the freezer. You’ll always be able to have a few batches ready for when a craving hits or when you need a last-minute dessert for the bake sale.
Once you master this slice and bake method, you can move on to even more shortbread flavors. These Cinnamon Shortbread Cookies are a must for fall and Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread are perfect for gifting!
All you need are four ingredients
This is a 4-ingredient shortbread cookie recipe if you can believe it. That sweet buttery goodness is easy to achieve with these pantry staples:
Butter, like any shortbread cookie recipe, is the most important ingredient. It’s the main flavor component and contributes to an ultra-soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. If you can, use European butter or another high-quality butter.
It’s also important to use salted butter rather than unsalted. You would have to add salt separately if you use unsalted butter and because there’s such a lack of liquid in the cookie dough, the salt wouldn’t dissolve properly. No one wants to bite into an overly salted cookie!
Last but not least, make sure the butter is softened, not melted. Soft butter is easy to work with and blends into the batter with ease.
This powdery and fluffy sugar is the secret to soft, yet sweet cookies. Granulated sugar will not work as a replacement. Just like salt, there isn’t enough liquid in the dough to help it dissolve properly.
Listen: if you want the best shortbread cookies, then you have to put the imitation vanilla extract aside. A quality extract will lend the best balance of flavors and an elegant finish. Instead of the fake stuff, use real vanilla extract, learn how to make your own, or use vanilla bean paste.
All purpose flour
Nothing fancy here! All you need is all purpose flour to bring the dough together.
How to make slice and bake shortbread cookies
Beginners and experienced home bakers will have an easy (and fun) time with this recipe. You can always rely on my recipe video for extra guidance! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Cream the powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Step 2: Add the flour and mix until it just starts to come together.
Be careful not to overmix or else the cookies will be tough and dense!
Step 3: Form the dough into a large log. Cut it into two pieces.
Step 4: Shape both pieces into a 6-inch long log.
Wrap them in parchment paper and place them in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Step 5: When it’s time to bake, slice some rounds off of the logs and place them on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
Step 6: Bake until the edges are just starting to brown. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping them for gifts or enjoying a few for yourself!
Classic shortbread is fantastic on its own, but add-ins and toppings can make them SO much better! Either stir these suggestions into the cookie dough itself or lay them out on a plate and roll the edges of the logs or sliced rounds in them instead:
- Toffee bits - Toffee shortbread is so good!
- Crushed candy canes
- Colorful sprinkles
- Chocolate chips - Milk, dark, or white chocolate.
- Dried fruit - Dried cranberries would be perfect for the holidays.
- Cinnamon sugar
- Pumpkin spice
- Frosting - Vanilla buttercream, cream cheese frosting, or festive eggnog frosting.
- Crushed nuts - Pistachios, almonds, or walnuts.
Frequently asked questions
There’s a lot of butter in shortbread cookie dough. The more you work the dough, the softer and warmer the butter becomes (which only gets worse in the oven). Placing the dough in the fridge for a few hours solidifies the butter, helping the baked cookies come out of the oven with a beautiful round shape and flawless edges.
Shortbread can absolutely be made ahead of time. The dough can be made up to 3 days ahead of baking. Just wrap the logs well in plastic and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to slice and bake.
Storing and freezing
Storing raw cookie dough: Wrap the raw dough logs in plastic and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Storing baked cookies: Baked shortbread keeps well at room temperature for about 5 days. Just store them in a sealed container to keep them tasting fresh.
Freezing raw cookie dough: Once the dough logs are formed, wrap them in a few layers of plastic and place in an airtight container. They freeze well for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight, then slice and bake.
Freezing baked cookies: Store the cookies in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
IT’S TIME TO BAKE SOME SHORTBREAD!
Okay, friend! It’s time to grab your ingredients and bake up a batch of these slice and bake shortbread cookies.
When you do make them, please make sure to leave a review in the comments below so I can hear what you think about the recipe!
Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies Step-by-Step
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until it just becomes light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add flour and on low speed, beat until the dough just starts to come together, about 3 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together to form a log. Divide the dough in half and form each piece of dough into a 6-inch log. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for at least 2 hours, up to three days.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice each log into ¼-3/4 inch slices and evenly space on the baking sheets. You should have about 40 cookies.
- Bake until the bottom edges of the cookies just start to brown, 14-16 minutes. Allow cookies to cool and serve!
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