best ever scotch shortbread recipe

Best Ever Scotch Shortbread Recipe

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best scotch shortbread recipe

One of my absolute favorite treats to make for the holidays is shortbread. And I only use the recipe that has been passed down in my family for generations. Because it is easy to make and is absolutely delicious! This scotch shortbread recipe tastes absolutely amazing and is soft and buttery. Perfect for holiday baking.

I have tried many scotch shortbread recipes. It has been a favorite treat of mine for years. But I am extremely picky when it comes to what I consider a great shortbread. No matter how many I’ve tried I always prefer the scotch shortbread recipe that I learned from my grandmother. I like my shortbread to not be hard and to have a soft powdery layer of sweetness. Don’t get me wrong I won’t turn away a piece of Walker’s, Royal Dansk, or even a Lorna Doone. But nothing is quite as good as my grandmother’s shortbread.

simple scotch shortbread

Best Scotch Shortbread

Barb Hudson
A traditional soft shortbread recipe
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12


  • 2 C Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 C Shortening
  • 1/2 C Powdered Sugar


  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together until combined in stand mixer or large bowl.
  • Work in shortening until creamy.
  • Slowly add powdered sugar until crumbly. Don't over mix.
  • Add mixture to square glass baking dish. Spread out evenly with a scraper. I use the bottom of a glass to smooth out top.
  • Bake in oven for 25 min or until light golden brown.
  • While still warm cut into squares.

Not All Scotch Shortbread Recipes are Created Equal

A traditional scotch shortbread recipe usually involves only 5 ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, powdered sugar, and lard. But to get the right texture and taste they have to be in the right ratio.

This recipe is for those who enjoy a softer shortbread. I have tried some that tasted more like a hard pie crust. And I absolutely don’t care for that. If I wanted pie crust I’d make it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Definitely let me know how it turned out. I often use it as a gift for Christmas.

24 thoughts on “Best Ever Scotch Shortbread Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made these twice now and they are always perfection they’ve become our favorite cookie.

    I add 1tbsp of lemon zest in the batter and I shape them kind of like thumbprint cookies (using a measuring spoon in the last few minutes) and fill with my lemon curd. it’s AMAZING definitely a fan favorite

    1. Yay!! I’m so glad you like them. They are my family’s favorite holiday cookie. My grandma would be proud to know her recipe is being enjoyed by so many people. πŸ™‚

      What a great idea!

  2. Kristin Leigh Arnold

    My mom used to make cookie sheet cherry bars using shortening. This recipe sounds a lot like what she made and wondering how the shortbread would hold up with cherry pie filling on top?

  3. 5 stars
    This is an incredible recipe! I will never mess around with another shortbread recipe in my life. These literally melt in your mouth. I added a pinch of cardamom, a 1/2tsp of malt powder, and a tsp of dried mint leaves when I made them- gives them a nutty herbal tea flavor. I can’t wait to try these with some rose petals and a million other combinations.

    I think people who struggled with this recipe likely didn’t wait for them to cool properly, or didn’t bake them for long enough. In my wonky oven, I had to bake them for an additional 20 minutes to get that light golden color.

    Thank you, thank you for a dairy free shortbread recipe. I have made it before with butter back before I developed lactose intolerance, and they weren’t nearly as soft and delicate as these. It can be so hard to find dairy free recipes, and this one is definitely getting printed out into my forever recipe book. Thank you, thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! How creative to add those ingredients! Sound so yummy.
      Yes, it does take the added time to bake them, that’s why I always say to bake till golden brown because it’s always been different with each oven I’ve used to bake them.
      I am so glad you can enjoy this recipe with your dietary restrictions. πŸ™‚

  4. What about adding a portion of butter, say 1/4 c butter and 3/4c shortening? What sort of lard do you use if that’s the best of all? Leaf lard?

    1. Yes I would do 1/4c butter and 3/4c shortening. Leaf lard would be a great option because of the quality and its tendency to be more of a pure lard. Thank you so much for your question. πŸ™‚

      1. I haven’t tried yet but have questions?

        1) what size pan?

        2)can you double the recipe?

        thank you I can hardly wait to get baking….

        1. I use an 8×8 square glass baking dish for a single batch so I imagine a 9×13 would work for a double batch. I have done a double batch before, they are so yummy they get eaten up quickly! πŸ™‚

    1. It’s meant to be softer than what most think of as shortbread. Traditional Scottish shortbread is not hard. I’m sorry you didn’t like the recipe. πŸ™

      1. 5 stars
        I just mage them. they are delicious. I added lemon curd right before I baked, I had to bake a bit longer but they held up well, cut well. after letting them cool just a bit, thank you for sharing

  5. 1 star
    “Combine dry ingredients”. Done. “Cream shortening in sugar”…. Where do I find the were sugar used for this recipe?

  6. If I want to make chocolate shortbread, can I just add cocoa powder to this recipe? I love the original recipe, btw!

    1. Hey Nicole! This is such a great idea. I am going to do some experiments and see what I can come up with. I thought it might be as simple as replacing some of the flour with cocoa powder but my hubby pointed out that that might make it a little bitter. So I am going to experiment with changing the ratios of powdered sugar and flour to be replaced with cocoa powder. I will let you know what worked. And I may even post this as a new recipe. Thanks so much for this comment. You are so welcome!

    1. Awesome! Yeah, ours the butter flavored crisco was definitely an addition made by my mother. I need to try making it with the lard. Shortbread is amazing!

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