This Slice-and-Bake Shortbread recipe is perfect for when time is limited. One batch of this buttery dough makes three different delicious flavors of shortbread cookies.
Why you'll love this recipe
Shortbread is such a versitile cookie! The dough can be made with seemingly limitless flavors and prepared with numerous methods.
Some shortbread recipes, like the one for Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, is prepared by rolling out the dough and cutting out the cookies with cookie cutters. This Vanilla Shortbread recipe portions the dough in scoops.
Cookies don’t get any easier than slice-and-bake and with this recipe, you'll have three different varieties ready to to bake and enjoy as needed.
This wonderfully tender and buttery Slice-and-Bake Shortbread is amazing when prepared as plain, buttery Scottish Shortbread, but when you divide the dough and mix different add-ins into each section, you end up with three distinctly different cookies all vying for the title of Best Shortbread.
This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.Add the flours and mix just until a smooth dough forms.
- Divide the dough into thirds and place in separate bowls. To each bowl of dough, add the flavoring ingredients and mix well to combine thoroughly.
- On sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, roll each flavor of dough into a log approximately 2” in diameter. Refrigerate at least 1 hour until firm.
- When ready to bake, slice dough logs into ½” slices and space 2” apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F until barely golden brown.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks if the cookies contain dried fruit, or at least 4 weeks for plain shortbread. Shortbread flavor continues to improve over time.
Cranberry Orange is fruity, citrus-y, and colorful, with bits of cranberry speckling the cookies.
Toffee Espresso has a distinct coffee flavor with the added sweet crunch of toffee bits.
Cinnamon Brown Sugar is full of warm spicy scent and flavor. The best part is that you don’t have to choose a favorite. The recipe makes all three!
Tips for freezing cookie dough
- My preference is to freeze dough, not cookies. I prepare dough for freezing in two ways; in balls and in logs.
- Some cookies, like chocolate chip cookies, are made by scooping balls of dough and then baking. Those dough balls can also be frozen for later use.
- I line a baking sheet with wax paper, then place scoops of dough onto the baking sheet, close but not touching. The entire pan is placed in the freezer.
- After about 2 hours the frozen dough balls can be stored in the freezer in a large ziplock bag marked with the type of cookie and directions for baking. The dough balls do not need to be defrosted before baking, but may need an additional few minutes in the oven.
- Many cookie doughs can be shaped into a log, stored in the refrigerator or freezer, then sliced and baked when needed. Frozen logs need to be defrosted a bit in order to be able to slice them.
- Shortbread is an ideal dough for preparing as a slice-and-bake log. The buttery dough firms up for easy slicing when chilled, and maintains its shape in the oven.
Fill up your freezer with Slice-and-Bake Shortbread and you will be prepared for all upcoming cookie demands. A magical quality of shortbread is that the flavor improves over time, making them excellent for gifts and care packages.
I suggest that while baking up cookies for packages and platters, you make an extra batch of shortbread for yourself and hide it away. Then, when the holidays are over, and life is a bit calmer, you can relax with some tea and your secret stash of buttery shortbread.
Easter Bunny Shortbread Cookies are crunchy cookies in pretty pastel colors.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies are deeply chocolate cookies with the bonus of chocolate chips.
Peach Tea Shortbread is made with tea infused butter for cookies that taste like summer.
Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies are crunchy and buttery treats coated in colorful sprinkles and topped with your choice of chocolate candy.
Golden Raisin Butter Cookies are delicious slice and bake cookies with golden raisins speckled throughout the buttery dough.
Delicious, crunchy Dr. Seuss Cookies are easy slice and bake sugar cookies perfect for a Green Eggs and Ham snack!
Slice-and-Bake Shortbread: one dough, three cookie flavors
- 2 cups unsalted butter (European butter recommended), at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rice flour or corn starch
Cranberry Orange Shortbread
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries chopped
- ½ teaspoon orange emulsion or extract
- ½ cup melted chocolate
Toffee Espresso Shortbread:
- ⅓ cup toffee bits
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ¼ cup melted chocolate
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Shortbread
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the flours and mix just until a smooth dough forms.
- Divide the dough into thirds and place in separate bowls.
- To each bowl of dough, add the flavoring ingredients and mix well to combine thoroughly.
- On sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, roll each flavor of dough into a log approximately 2” in diameter
- Tip for making compact round dough log: On top of a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, form the dough into a log by hand until roughly the desired diameter. Place the log into the center of the paper. Fold the paper over the dough and push a ruler edge or dough scraper against the bottom of the log to remove air pockets and compress the dough.
- Optional: Roll the Cinnamon Brown Sugar Shortbread log in cinnamon sugar before wrapping.
- If refrigerating, wrap the dough in the parchment before slipping it into a paper towel tube, to keep the log round. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, before slicing and baking. If freezing, wrap the log wax/parchment paper, insert into the tube, then wrap in plastic wrap. Logs can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to three months.
- Baking:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Frozen dough logs will need to be thawed slightly for cutting. Slice cookies into ½” slices and space 2” apart on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until barely golden around the bottom edge.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
- Optional: Use melted chocolate to drizzle Espresso Toffee cookies and to dip Cranberry Orange cookies. Refrigerate the cookies for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks if the cookies contain dried fruit, or at least 4 weeks for plain shortbread. Shortbread flavor continues to improve over time.
First Published: October 30, 2014. Last Updated: November 30, 2022. Updated for better reader experience.