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Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread

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Scottish Shortbread
4.5 rating based on 12,345 ratings
4.5/5 (8)
Course: BarsDifficulty: Easy



Submitted by Betsy Pitney of Cape Coral, FL, who says: “This is a truly ‘traditional’ Scottish Shortbread, passed down to me by my grandmother, Janet McKechnie from Edinburgh. It is so simple, yet so tasty. This recipe is generations old and still a family favorite for each Christmas.”


  • 1 pound butter – softened to room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat butter in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in sugar until well blended. Add flour, one cup at a time. A wooden spoon works best but the final (4th) cup you may need to incorporate by hand mixing. Dough will be very stiff. Spread batter into a 9 x 13″ baking pan (see note* regarding photo), pressing down evenly to all edges. Using the tines of a fork, go around the edges pressing tines against the edge, then with tines, prick multiple scattered vent holes throughout dough. Bake at for 45 to 60 minutes until golden brown. Upon removal from oven, immediately cut into small 2″ pieces but leave in pan to continue to cool. Store in cookie tin.


  • * Note: the photo shows a 9×9″ pan, which yielded a thicker shortbread of 16 servings and required longer baking time. The recipe as provided is for a 9×13″ pan and makes 24 servings.


Name & Location
(example: Sue in LA)

They are dry, hard and tasteless, don’t waste your time or ingredients. Tried them three times with different backing times with no luck. A better recipe: Ingredients 2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, softened (you may use salted butter, but omit the salt) ½ cup sugar (I use all natural pure cane sugar, white or bakers sugar may be substituted) 1 tsp vanilla. 2 cups all-purpose flour. ¼ cup cornstarch (I use a non-GMO cornstarch) ⅛ tsp salt. Don’t over work the dough or it I’ll be tough. Bake about 30 min in a 9x9 pan.
- Jenny in Boise, OH

I love shortbread and found this recipe last Christmas so was anxious to try making my own. It did not disappoint and I was thrilled to tell all who loved it that I had actually made it myself. Have made it now for the second year and believe this is cast in concrete as a Christmas tradition at my house!!!
- Vicki

bless scotland, land of my birth, for sharing the always delicious shortbread with the world. "Happy Hogany"......Happy New Year!
- bobbie

My grandmother gave me the exact same recipe about 20 years ago! I haven't used any other recipe since. I cut the recipe in half and bake the shortbread in pie plates. I sprinkle a little granular sugar on top for decoration before placing the plate in the oven. I cut each plate into 12's about 5 minutes after they come out of the oven.
- Tammy

Thank God I live on a farm and make my own butter!!! Found this a little over a month ago and the house has not gone more than 2 days without it!!! Fantstic and easy to make. Key I think is the butter has to be room temp to the core, measure flour carefully, and watch it while baking the last 30 min or so. I thank Betsy for this and so does my daughter! :)
- ArtisticMom247

My husband's mother was Scottish and I've looked for years for the best shortbread recipe. This is it! When he tasted it he said it was just like his grandmother's. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Holidays. Lisa
- A Baker

This is delicious! But don't be fooled by the "bread" part of shortbread; it's not supposed to be soft; shortbread is a hard but cakey cookie that is meant to keep for a while. If you like soft cookies, this isn't the recipe for you. But as far as shortbread goes, this is the best I've ever made, and it's about as easy a recipe as you're likely to find! Always a huge favorite with family and friends, it's becoming a tradition when I bake for the holidays. Thanks so much for sharing this one!
- Amanda

This is one of the best scottish shortbread recipes I've tried. I always made the Canada Cornstarch recipe because it was easy, but I knew it was not a traditional shortbread. I was very happy to find this recipe and it's a big hit in our household. To the one person who did give a bad review...you are not mixing your dough long enough. It will appear dry at first, but you need to keep at it. Either that or you are not measuring out the ingredients properly. This is an easy recipe that turned out just fine for us. I also did what McKechnie suggested which was to lower the temp. a little bit and cook longer. I totally recommend this recipe.
- Manitoban
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