Scrumptious Scottish Shortbread – A Recipe for the Ages

Folks, do you have a hankering for a sweet and crumbly treat that’s been loved by folks from across the pond for generations? Look no further than this traditional Scottish shortbread recipe.

Let me tell you, friends, there are few things more delightful than sinking your teeth into a perfectly made shortbread cookie. The buttery richness of the dough, the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness, and that signature crumbly texture that only a good shortbread can provide – it’s truly a culinary experience to savor. And this recipe is no exception.

Now, I know some of y’all might be intimidated by the idea of making your own shortbread from scratch. But trust me when I say that it’s easier than you might think – with just three simple ingredients and a little bit of know-how, you can have a batch of homemade shortbread that will make your taste buds sing. So let’s dust off our aprons and get ready to make some deliciousness!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Traditional Scottish Shortbread
Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Welcome, dear friends! I must say that I am absolutely thrilled to share with you this Traditional Scottish Shortbread recipe. You may think that shortbread is just a simple and plain dessert, but let me tell you, there’s nothing ordinary about this Scottish delicacy.

This recipe has everything that a truly great Scottish shortbread should have – it’s buttery, crumbly, and melts in your mouth leaving a delightful sensation of sweetness. As soon as you take the first bite of this delicious treat, you’ll be transported to the rugged hills and glens of Scotland.

The secret to this recipe is its simplicity – only three basic ingredients combined in a careful way to create the perfect texture and flavor. It’s so easy to make that even if you are new to baking, you can still be confident in achieving excellent results. Moreover, for those who have a gluten allergy the inclusion of rice flour as an alternative will provide with an equally delicious outcome while being 100% gluten-free.

But what makes this recipe particularly special is its rich cultural heritage. The association between Scotland and shortbread dates back centuries and is steeped in legend and traditions. Walker’s Scottish Shortbread which can be found at stores such as Harrod’s has been around since the late 19th century and serves not only as a snack but also as a worthy gift; as such you will impress everyone at your next party or family gathering with these homemade traditional Scottish cookies!

So come on, what are you waiting for? With this traditional Scottish shortbread recipe at hand, you can dazzle everyone around you and bask in the glory of being a master baker!

Ingredient List

“Indulge in the buttery goodness of Scottish shortbread!”


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

The ingredients for this traditional Scottish shortbread recipe are simple and easy to find. The key to a good shortbread is to use high-quality ingredients, particularly the butter. Salted butter can be used in place of unsalted, but it’s important to adjust the amount of salt accordingly. Adding rice flour gives the shortbread a unique texture that sets it apart from other cookies. If you don’t have rice flour, you can substitute with an equal amount of all-purpose flour.

The Recipe How-To

“A bite of this shortbread is like a hug from grandma!”

Now that we have all the ingredients, let’s move on to the step-by-step guide on how to make Traditional Scottish Shortbread.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

To start, preheat your oven to 300°F (148°C).

Step 2: Mix the Butter and Sugar

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

Step 3: Add the Dry Ingredients

Then, sift in 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of corn starch, and a pinch of salt. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture until just combined.

Step 4: Knead the Dough

Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together and there are no more dry patches. Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will result in tough shortbread.

Step 5: Shape and Cut the Dough

Shape the dough into a disc about 1-inch thick. Optionally, you can use a fork to prick holes into the surface of the disc for additional texture. Cut the disc into desired shape and size. Walker Scottish Shortbread traditionally come in rectangular fingers, but you can always use cookie cutters for different shapes.

Step 6: Bake The Shortbread

Place your shortbread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure to leave at least 1 inch of space between each piece. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.

Step 7: Cool and Serve

Once done, remove from oven and allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

You’re done. Now you can enjoy your easy homemade Traditional Scottish Shortbread with a cup of tea or coffee.

Substitutions and Variations

“The perfect treat for a traditional Scottish tea time.”

Now that you have the basic recipe down, it’s time to get creative with some substitutions and variations. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own signature twist on the traditional Scottish shortbread recipe.

One popular variation is to use rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. Rice flour will give your shortbread a lighter texture and a crispy crunch. Just substitute ½ cup of rice flour for ½ cup of all-purpose flour in the recipe.

You can also try adding different flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, or even a dash of scotch whiskey for a unique twist on this classic dessert.

For those who want to cut down on the sugar in the recipe, using a sugar substitute like Splenda can be a good option. However, keep in mind that this may alter the texture and taste of the shortbread.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try making chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies by melting some chocolate chips and dipping your cooled shortbread into it after baking. You can also add chopped nuts or dried fruit for added texture and flavor.

Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to making variations on this traditional Scottish treat. Have fun experimenting with different ingredients and flavor combinations until you find your perfect recipe!

Serving and Pairing

“Simple yet decadent – traditional Scottish shortbread.”

Now that your traditional Scottish shortbread is freshly baked, it’s time to enjoy! This crumbly and buttery delight is perfect for any time of day. If you like to start your day with a cup of tea or coffee, then the shortbread cookies are an excellent pairing. They are also a great option for an afternoon snack when you need a break from work or school.

When serving, you can add a touch of elegance by placing the Scottish shortbread on a decorative tray or platter. For those who have a sweet tooth, you can serve with a drizzle of chocolate on top. The shortbread also goes well with jams, preserves, and honey for those who want to bring out more sweetness.

For evening gatherings or dinner parties, serve your traditional Scottish shortbread alongside some fine Scotch whiskey or a good port wine. The buttery flavor of the shortbread cookies compliments the drink’s complex taste and provides an excellent treat for after a meal.

Ultimately, this dish is versatile and pairs well with many beverages, including tea, coffee, milkshakes, hot cocoa, and fruit juices. Just put on some kettle music and get ready to indulge in sweet Scots heaven!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness in every bite.”

One of the great things about traditional Scottish shortbread cookies is that you can easily make them ahead of time and store them for later. In fact, they tend to get even better with age as the flavors deepen and develop.

If you want to get a head start on your shortbread baking, you can mix up the dough ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to three days before baking. Just be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out or absorb any unwanted odors from your fridge.

Once you’ve baked your shortbread cookies, you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They’ll stay fresh and delicious as long as they’re kept away from moisture and heat.

If your cookies do start to go stale, don’t worry! You can easily revive them by reheating them in the oven for a few minutes. Simply preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C), place the cookies on a baking sheet, and bake for 3-5 minutes until they’re warm and crisp again.

And if you find yourself with too many shortbread cookies to eat in one sitting (hey, it happens), you can also freeze them for up to three months. Just be sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, simply let them thaw at room temperature for a few hours before eating.

Tips for Perfect Results

“A classic recipe that never goes out of style.”

Now, let’s talk about how to make the best traditional Scottish shortbread with some helpful tips and tricks.

First off, it is crucial to use high-quality ingredients, especially butter. I recommend using salted butter to enhance the flavor of the shortbread. Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature before creaming it with the sugar.

Another important tip is to use rice flour or corn starch in addition to all-purpose flour. These ingredients will make the shortbread more tender and delicate. You can replace up to 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour with rice flour or corn starch in this recipe.

When it comes to shaping the dough, try not to knead it too much or roll it too thin. Shortbread should be crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth, not chewy. Use a floured knife or cookie cutter to cut the shortbread into your desired shape.

Before baking, chill the shaped dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will help the shortbread keep its shape and prevent it from spreading too much during baking.

When the shortbread is finished baking, let it cool completely on a wire rack before serving or storing. Shortbread can be quite fragile when fresh out of the oven, so it’s essential to handle it gently.

Lastly, don’t forget to store your shortbread properly in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you want to freeze your shortbread, wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before storing in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve perfect results every time you make traditional Scottish shortbread!


Now that you have learned all about the traditional Scottish shortbread recipe, it’s time to address some common questions people have about making this classic treat. Whether you are a baking beginner or an experienced chef, it’s always helpful to have answers to any queries that may arise during the process. So without further ado, let’s dive into the most frequently asked questions about Scottish shortbread.

What is the difference between English shortbread and Scottish shortbread?

The texture and taste of cookies can vary greatly depending on the amount of butter and leavening agents used in their preparation.

What is traditional Scottish shortbread made from?

Shortbread, a popular Scottish biscuit, is made by combining butter, sugar, and flour in specific ratios without including any leavening agents such as baking powder or soda.

What is the secret to good shortbread?

As a chef who specializes in crafting delectable British cuisine, I can confidently assert that selecting the right type of butter is key to creating a top-quality buttery baked goods. Always opt for high-quality butter, as long as it’s authentic butter, there is no compromise on its quality.

When whipping up any buttery baked item, make sure to keep the ingredients simple. Complicating your recipe with too many ingredients risks detracting from the butter’s rich flavor. Instead, balance your baked good’s ingredients for a complementary taste.

Add a dash of flavor! Adding a pinch of salt, a sprinkle of sugar, or perhaps some cinnamon can create a revolutionizing flavor profile. An excellent way to elevate the taste of these baked goods is to add a touch of vanilla extract. The key is to be subtle in flavoring and not overpower the rich taste of butter.

Don’t overwork the dough! In other words, do not over-mix the dough. As a chef, I always remind myself that less is more when it comes to working with dough. Over-mixing the dough can cause it to be too dense and chewy.

As far as the shapes go, let your creativity flow! Uniquely shaped cutouts of your dough can create a masterpiece. Including custom shapes and sizes in your recipe can make a delightful presentation and improve the overall experience.

Chill the dough before baking! The key to the perfect buttery delicacy is to bake the dough only when it’s stiff right after taking it out of the fridge. It creates a better rise during baking and leads to a more flavor-rich and flaky texture.

Baking temperatures correspond to cooking times; a mild oven heat range ranging from 325° to 375° F is usually suitable. As a British chefs, I highly recommend the golden-brown color for your butter baked good creation as it indicates doneness and a desirable texture.

Last but not least, add finishing touches. Drizzle with chocolate or dusted with powdered sugar to add elegance to your baked goods. Such modest finishing touches bring out the charm in even the simplest baked delights.

Why is Scottish shortbread so good?

To make a delicious Scottish shortbread, there’s no need for any fancy or additional ingredients. The crucial component that gives the dessert its distinct taste is the quality of the butter used. In other words, the shortbread’s flavor solely depends on the butter’s quality.

What makes Scottish shortbread Scottish?

In the mid-16th century, Petticoat Tails, a crispy and buttery shortbread that was originally spiced with caraway seeds, became very popular. According to legend, Mary, Queen of Scots, had a particular fondness for this delicacy.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Scottish Shortbread is a traditional treat that has been enjoyed for centuries in Scotland and beyond. With just three simple ingredients, it’s easy to make at home, and the end result is simply delicious! The recipe I provided in this article is so simple that even a novice baker can create perfect shortbread with ease.

I hope my detailed instructions and tips have inspired you to give this classic recipe a try, or perhaps even to experiment with some of the variations and substitutions that I’ve suggested. Whether enjoyed as a tea-time treat or given as a thoughtful gift, Scottish Shortbread is sure to impress.

So go ahead and fulfill your baking desires – bake a batch of this buttery goodness and enjoy every bite. Nothing beats the satisfaction of successfully making your own tasty treats at home. So grab your apron and mixing bowls, and let’s get baking!

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Traditional Scottish Shortbread Recipe

This recipe is from a little cookbook I got many years ago in Scotland. The rice flour gives it a perfect crumbly texture.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Scottish
Keyword < 60 Mins, Christmas, Cookie and Brownie, Dessert, Easy, European, Oven, Scottish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 small rounds
Calories 344.8kcal


  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened


  • Combine flours, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Work in butter until dough has the consistency of pie crust.
  • Sprinkle board with rice flour.
  • Turn dough onto board and knead until smooth.
  • Divide into four portions and shape into small rounds.
  • Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet (or use a shortbread mold).
  • Prick with a fork.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, until cakes begin to brown slightly.
  • Allow to cool in pan.


Serving: 266g | Calories: 344.8kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.4g | Protein: 2.4g | Fat: 23.3g | Saturated Fat: 14.6g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 202.5mg | Fiber: 0.7g | Sugar: 12.6g

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