These small-batch French shortbread cookies are so easy you can bake them on a weeknight! Buttery flavor with the crispness of classic shortbread cookies. These French cookies are a true classic you’ll make again and again.

You may also enjoy these small batch orange sugar cookies, the ultimate small batch peanut butter cookies, buttery butter cookies, the popular small batch bisquick chocolate chip cookies and the decadently delicious chocolate peanut butter snickerdoodle.

french shortbread cookies on plate tied with with bakers twine.

Why you will like this recipe

I love a recipe that is made without the use of a mixer; it’s so satisfying! No cutting the butter into the dough, which makes it even easier. the best part, aside from the flavor is that this recipe comes together so quickly and is a great cookie for the first-time baker.

Ingredients Notes

flour, butter, egg, sugar measured out for french shortbread cookies on white tablecloth.

The ingredients needed are basic and most have these items in the pantry and fridge. No milk or leavening agents are needed for this cookie dough recipe.

  • Butter – Use salted butter with a high-fat content like Kerrygold or other European-style butter. The butter should be at room temperature and soft.
  • Sugar – For best results, use granulated white sugar.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour is all you need, nothing fancy.
  • Egg – Since this is a small batch, I used just the egg white, and it came out great; however, you can also use just the egg yolk. If you decide to double the recipe, then use the whole egg, not two egg whites.

Optional ingredients can be added; try folding in some mini chocolate chips or maybe a few drops or orange or vanilla extract.

Step-by-Step Recipe Directions

Place softened butter and sugar in a bowl. The soft butter makes it easy to cream a small batch using just a wooden spoon. If short on time, leave the butter in the paper wrapper and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds. Be careful; the butter should be soft, not melted.

Softened butter and sugar in white bowl.

Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to mix the sugar and butter together until you get a nice smooth consistency. I use a wooden spoon to stir and smash it all together and finish mixing with a spatula. You can use an electric mixer, but when working with such a small amount, I just cream the butter by hand.

Creamed butter and sugar in white bowl with spatula.

Next, mix in the egg white. it’s okay if a bit of yolk gets into the dough.

Creamed butter and sugar with egg added.

Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time. A dough whisk makes this easy to mix.

Flour being added to shortbread cookie batter with dough whisk in white bowl.

Place the dough on a pastry board or parchment paper and form into a ball.

 Ball of Shortbread cookie dough on floured parchment paper.

Press the dough into a disc snap and wrap it in plastic wrap. refrigerate the dough to chill for about an hour.

Ball of chilled shortbread cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap.

Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Rolled out shortbread cookie dough on parchment paper.
rustic cookie dough

Cut the shortbread cookies into the desired shape. I used my #55 Matfer cutter, but you can also use a knife to cut into a rectangular or wedge shape. The recipe makes eight cookies. After I cut out the first side, I re-rolled the leftover dough and cut out two more cookies.

Tip: You can also place the cookie dough in a baking pan, form it into a rectangle, score the uncooked dough, and cut it after baking.

Rolled out cookie dough with square cookie cutter.

Use a thin spatula to loosen the cookies and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking or cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before baking.

Unbaked cut out shortbread cookies on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the shortbread cookies at 350° F for 15-18 minutes. The cookies should be light brown. Cool completely before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between sugar cookies and shortbread cookies?

The short answer is sugar cookie recipes use a leavening agent like baking powder, while shortbread doesn’t. Also, sugar cookies are lighter, while shortbread cookies are denser and not usually decorated.

Can you make the dough the night before?

Yes, this is an excellent dough to make the day before.

What’s the difference between Shortbread and Butter cookies?

The ingredients are the same, however, amounts of the flour and sugar used increase.

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overhead view of place of square french shortbread cookies

French Shortbread Cookies

Buttery and crisp french shortbread cookies are perfect for an afternoon treat served with coffee or tea.
4.63 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 cookies
Calories: 121kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Place softened butter and the sugar in a bowl. The soft butter makes it really easy to cream a small batch using just a wooden spoon. If short on time, leave the butter in the paper wrapper and zap it in the microwave for a few seconds. Be careful, the butter should be soft, not melted.
  • Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to mix the sugar and butter together until you get a nice smooth consistency. I use a wooden spoon to stir and smash it all together and finish mixing with a spatula. You can use
    an electric mixer, but when working with such a small amount I just cream the butter by hand.
  • Next, mix in the egg white. it’s fine if a little yolk gets into the dough.
  • Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time. A dough whisk makes this easy to mix.
  • Place the dough on a pastry board or parchment paper and form it into a ball.
  • Press the dough into a disc snap and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate the dough to chill for about an hour.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Cut the shortbread cookies into the desired shape. I used my #55 Matfer cutter, but you can also use a knife to cut into a rectangular or even wedge shape.
  • Use a thin spatula to loosen the cookies and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking or cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before baking.
  • Bake the shortbread cookies at 350° F for 15-18 minutes. The cookies should be light brown. Cool completely before serving.

Notes

  • Since French shortbread cookies have a simple and delicate flavor, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients. Use unsalted butter, preferably European-style, for its rich and creamy texture. Use fresh, good-quality flour and granulated sugar.
  • Ensure the butter is at the right temperature. It should be cool to the touch but still pliable. Softened butter makes it easier to cream with the sugar and creates a smooth cookie dough.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. This step incorporates air into the dough, resulting in a lighter texture for the cookies.
  • Sift dry ingredients: Sift the flour and salt together before adding them to the butter mixture. This helps remove any lumps and ensures even distribution of the dry ingredients in the dough.
  •  Stop mixing as soon as the dough comes together and no streaks of flour remain.
  • Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour, or even overnight if possible. Chilling the dough allows the butter to solidify, making it easier to handle and shape. It also helps the cookies hold their shape while baking.
  • Preheat the oven to the recommended temperature stated in the recipe. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some space between them for spreading.  French shortbread cookies should remain pale in color.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 75mg | Sugar: 8g
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4.63 from 8 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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