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This Soft Shortbread Cookie recipe is the ultimate cookie for the holidays. The recipe makes a lot of cookies and they’re a blank canvas – you can make so many different ways. I’m showing you how to make 4 different shortbread cookies, including chocolate dipped shortbread!

multiple short bread cookies laid all together.


Chewy and Soft Shortbread Cookies

Years ago I worked with a brand called Krusteaz and they had a shortbread cookie mix. I don’t think it’s still available, and a lot of people wanted to know how to make them, because they were so good. The taste was classic shortbread that was soft in texture instead of crumbly. This is the substitute I came up with!

These are a bit softer and melty than your traditional buttery shortbread cookies, but that’s what makes them the best for me. I love homemade buttery and soft cookies! Plus you don’t need a rolling pin – these are drop cookies!

These drop cookies have 4 easy flavor variations. Whether you decide to dip them in chocolate, add m&ms, or make shortbread thumbprint cookies, you’re going to love using this recipe for Christmas cookies (or anytime you feel like them!)

shortbread cookies with m&ms baked in.

Ingredients needed

  • Butter: unsalted butter at room temperature. If you use salted butter, just omit adding salt later. Real butter is important when making shortbread.
  • Vegetable oil: A neutral oil doesn’t add flavor but is what keeps the cookies soft. The combination of butter and oil makes a soft and chewy cookie (like my World’s Best Cookies).
  • Powdered sugar: The sugar used in the cookies is confectioners’ sugar instead of granulated or brown sugar. This also keeps them soft.

How to make soft shortbread cookies

  • Beat butter and oil with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, then slowly mix in powdered sugar and salt. Slowly add salt and flour and mix until a thick dough forms. 
  • Scoop 1 or 2 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough onto baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until the edges just turn brown and tops are just no longer translucent. Cool on a wire rack before dipping or stacking.
  • For M&M Shortbread Cookies: add M&Ms on top of the cookie dough ball before baking.
  • For Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies: Dip cooled cookies halfway into melted chocolate or white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes, toffee bits, nuts, or sprinkles while still wet, if desired.
  • For Thumbprint Cookies: make 1 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. Roll them between your hands to form a ball. Bake until lightly golden on the bottom and then press a thumb hole with a wooden spoon handle or the back of a measuring spoon. Cool completely. Fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam, cold hot fudge ice cream topping, or cold caramel ice cream topping.
shortbread covered in jam.

Variations

  • Dip in chocolate: You can dip soft sugar cookies in anything you like, but I like using semi-sweet or white baking chocolate. 
  • Shortbread thumbprint: they look difficult to make but are super simple! I rolled 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough and made a “thumbprint” before baking using a wooden spoon handle. After they bake, fill them with your favorite filling: jam or chocolate or caramel or use ice cream topping. 
  • M&Ms: are so festive and easy to add onto your buttery shortbread cookie. Just scoop the cookie dough and then press the M&Ms on before baking.
  • Extracts: Add almond extract, or even lemon or orange for some extra flavor. You could also add a bit of lime or lemon zest.
shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate.

Expert Tips

  • Mixing the cookie dough will take awhile with a hand mixer so I recommend using a stand mixer instead to save some time.
  • I love hot fudge with some sea salt in the back, and salted caramel ice cream topping in the front of your shortbread cookie.
  • Drizzle your thumbprint shortbread cookies with a little melted chocolate to dress them up even more.
  • To make the best christmas shortbread cookies, decorate them with crushed candy canes or toffee bits or nuts or sprinkles. 

FAQs

Is shortbread supposed to be soft?

Yes except your traditional shortbread cookies have a little crisp to the bite. This cookie recipe is softer and more buttery than any shortbread cookie recipe. 

Can you freeze this recipe?

Yes, you can! This is the perfect make ahead holiday cookie since it keeps well in the fridge for up to 1 month. 

How do you know when shortbread is done baking?

Your shortbread cookies are done when the edges just turn brown and tops are just no longer translucent. 

multiple short bread cookies laid all together.

Soft Shortbread Cookies Recipe

4.57 from 23 votes
Soft chewy shortbread cookies are made from one shortbread recipe, with 4 cookie recipe variations. Add M&Ms, dip them in chocolate, or make shortbread thumbprint cookies all from one recipe!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 28 -56 cookies (depending on size)
Serving Size 2 thumbprint sized cookies

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup (118ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups (170g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups (434g) all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Beat butter and oil with a hand or a stand mixer, then slowly mix in powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. Slowly add flour and mix until a thick dough forms. This will take awhile with a hand mixer!
  • Scoop 1 or 2 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough onto cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until the edges just turn brown and tops are just no longer translucent (2 tablespoon sized cookies: 10-14 minutes, 1 tablespoon sized cookies: 8-12 minutes). Cool completely before removing from cookie sheets. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.
  • For M&M Shortbread Cookies: add M&Ms on top of the cookie dough ball before baking. For 2 tablespoon sized cookies, I suggest using 5-6 plain M&Ms, any color.
  • For Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies: melt 4 ounces of white or semi-sweet baking chocolate according to package directions. Dip cooled cookies halfway into chocolate, tapping off the excess, and then place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill until hardened. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, toffee bits, nuts, or sprinkles while still wet, if desired.
  • For Thumbprint Cookies: make 1 tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough. Roll them between your hands to form a ball. Use the back of a wooden spoon to slightly make an indent in the center of each cookie. Bake until lightly golden on the bottom (8-12 minutes) and then re-press hole with the wooden spoon handle as needed. Cool completely. For filling, fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam, cold hot fudge ice cream topping, or cold caramel ice cream topping. If desired, melt some dark or white baking chocolate to drizzle over the top.

Recipe Notes

  • Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract or lemon extract (or any kind) for more flavor
  • Don’t overtake – they are supposed to be soft.
  • Store in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 2thumbprint sized cookies | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Other Shortbread Cookies




Last Updated on November 29, 2023



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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Recipe Rating




45 Comments

  1. Good flavour but definitely super crumbly and not chewy! Disappointed as I’ve been looking for a great chewy, shortbread recipe and got excited reading the reviews. 😔

  2. I would love to try these but would like to know if I can make them x-large (baseball) size so they can be stuffed. Would I need to modify or could I just use the recipe as is?

  3. I LOVE soft cookies! I have a shortbread pan that I have been wanting use, would the cookies turn out alright if I baked them in it?

  4. Just got done baking my first batch of these chewy, delicious shortbread cookies. They turned out perfectly. Hubby and I loved them and I’m hiding the rest from the kids. ?

  5. Simple & oh so buttery delicious. 
    I found these cookies to be even better the next day. I added just a hint of vanilla extract to the mix… 
    these little gems are great as is, or dressed up… so versatile. 

    Thanks for sharing. 

  6. Just made them. Really yummy but not even a little bit chewy, very dry and crumbly, fall apart. What did I do wrong? Could it be a high altitude thing? I had the same problem with another of your cookie recipes I tried. I can’t figure it out, I followed the directions exactly for both of them.