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3-Ingredient Buttery Shortbread Cookies

These Butter Shortbread Cookies are the best shortbread cookies! Melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness. Make them, gift them, freeze them.

butter shortbread cookies

The Best Shortbread Cookies Everyone Loves

We’re neck deep in cookies all over our kitchen and will hopefully continue the trend in the next couple of days.  When there are Littles at home and they have friends, sometimes they all come swarming…and cookies disappear in nanoseconds.

We had such fun over the weekend celebrating the holidays early with some family and friends.  I can’t count how many kiddos were there. At least fifteen of them, and half of them unapologetically hungry teens.

Translation: tables full of food and counters teeming with treats to satisfy those not-so-little-anymore Littles. Enter these butter shortbread cookies.

3 ingredient shortbread cookies

Festive and 3-Ingredients only

My awesome cousin is a fab hostess, and she set up colorful cookie building stations all over her kitchen. Yeah, kindergartners and teens alike still love doing that kind of stuff. (Um, me too.)

The kids gifted us grown-ups with elaborately and generously painted gingerbread men.

The festive colors, sights, sounds, and flavors that abound during the Christmas season have no parallel. Especially when they include fun sprinkles and 3-ingredient butter shortbread cookies in all shapes and sizes.

best shortbread cookies

Melt in your mouth buttery goodness

These 3-ingredient buttery shortbread cookies, specifically. The ones where all you need are: flour, butter, and brown sugar. No extra salt is needed, as we use salted butter for these tasty bites. Sprinkles are optional and lends a boost of colorful fun. 

My boys could pop these into their hungry mouths by the fistful if I let them.  Maybe they do when I’m not looking.

The cookie monster in everyone seems to appear out of nowhere when they see–smell-taste these melt in your mouth shortbread cookies.

I get it, I really do.  Because these shortbread cookies are genuinely addictive. I purposely use small cookie cutters to make smaller sized cookies so that I can pop more of them into my mouth. 

butter shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies to bake, gift, freeze

These 3-ingredient buttery shortbread cookies make my top 3 favorite holiday cookies every single year.

They’re easy, no-frills, and 120% mouthwatering.

Bonus: they keep nicely for days, making them a tasty edible gift. The dough and baked cookies both freeze beautifully for at least a week or two. Once I make a batch of this cookie dough, I often use half and freeze the other half for all those seasonal cookie emergencies that inevitably pop up during busy holiday season.

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shortbread cookies

3-Ingredient Buttery Shortbread Cookies

4.9 from 23 reviews

These buttery shortbread cookies are simply divine. They are melt-in-your-mouth amazing, bursting with the goodness of butter, and easily dressed up or down.

  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3 dozen 1x


  • 2 cups salted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • Optional: Your favorite sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 325F, with rack on lower middle position. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and brown sugar. Using paddle attachment on medium-high speed, mix until fluffy and light, several minutes. Add only 3 1/2 cups of the flour and mix on medium-low speed until combined.
  3. On a large board, sprinkle 1/2 cup flour to keep dough from sticking to the board. Use rubber spatula to transfer dough to the board. Knead dough by hand for 5 minutes, adding only as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to make a soft dough, while continuing to knead by hand. The dough should end up soft and pliable, similar to play-dough, not sticky. Work in desired amount of sprinkles, if using. (Important Note: You may not end up using all the flour, depending on how your dough feels; it’s important to stop adding flour as soon as your dough feels like soft play dough.)
  4. Divide dough into thirds, wrap tightly, and chill for at least 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll and cut shapes. Roll one-third of the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness (lightly flour board if needed.) Either cut into 3×1 rectangular strips, triangles, or use cookie cutter for shapes. Place each cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Poke cookies with fork to design if not using sprinkles.
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. If your shapes are smaller, bake less time. Bake longer for bigger shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough, working in batches so dough stays chilled and workable.
  6. Cool completely on wire rack before serving. Cookies keep very when sealed airtight, at room temp.


Extra dough can be frozen for up to 2 months. Wrap completely airtight; defrost dough when ready to roll/cut.

If you enjoyed these cookies, please come back and give them a rating! ☆


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 128
  • Sugar: 4.5 g
  • Sodium: 62.3 mg
  • Fat: 7.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.4 g
  • Protein: 1.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 20.3 mg
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Butter shortbread cookies

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