Easy Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies

I love having a cookie buffet.  That’s what we made last year for Christmas instead of having a couple big desserts.  It worked perfectly because everyone got to try lots of different flavors and I had something sweet to send home with my guests.

These easy shortbread cookies are one of my go-to cookie recipes for the holidays.  You can make them ahead of time and add mix-ins to create all different kinds of cookies with just one dough.

easy shortbread cookies recipe

Continuing the cookie buffet tradition this year, I whipped up a double batch of this shortbread cookie dough.  Making this up and freezing it ahead of time helps lessen meal prep on the big day.  Plus, I can easily create 4 different flavors of cookie from just one batch of dough.

Easy Shortbread Cookies


1 Cup Unsalted Softened Butter

2/3 Cup Confectioners Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Egg Yolks

1/4 Teas Baking Powder

2 Cups Flour


My daughter Emma helped me whip up the dough.  She added the softened butter first and whipped it until it was creamy.

easy slice and bake shortbread cookie recipe

Next she put in the sugar and whipped it until it was smooth.  Then added the extract and eggs and mixed until they were incorporated.

easy shortbread cookies recipe

The flour and baking powder were last and she mixed it up until it just disappeared.  You don’t want to mix the dough too much with the mixer after adding the flour.  If any flour is left, just mix it with a spatula when you add your mix-ins.

easy shortbread cookies recipe


Use 1 cup of dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candy or a combination to create your favorite flavors.  You can also add any spices, extra extracts or zests.  I usually split my dough in half and make two different kinds of cookies, using 1/2 cup of mix-ins in each mound of dough.  You could also try splitting it up into 4 mounds and adding 1/4 cup of mix-ins to each.  This time I made a double batch and 4 different kinds.  Here are the flavors I tried:

easy shortbread cookies lots of flavors

Cranberry Pistachio:  1/4 cup dried cranberries chopped and 1/4 cup shelled pistachios finely chopped

Mini Chocolate Chip: 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Brown Sugar Pecan: 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Sprinkles: 1/2 cup sprinkles separated in half; 1/4 cup stirred in and 1/4 cup used to roll the cookies in

easy shortbread cookies recipe

Other mix-ins that would taste great:

dried apricots, dried cherries, almonds, almond extract, peppermint candies, toffee pieces, lemon zest, lemon extract, lemon head candies, cinnamon chips (chopped), poppy seeds.

After mixing my flavors, I put the dough in plastic wrap and chilled it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  You could also try putting it in the freezer to make it a little quicker.

shortbread cookie dough

Then I formed my dough into 1 and 1/4 inch logs and wrapped them in plastic and wax paper.  I put mine in the refrigerator for 2 hours, but again, you could speed that up by putting the logs in the freezer.  If I’m not baking any cookies that day, I keep my dough in the freezer.  It can be kept there for up to a month!

shortbread cookie dough log

To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If you’re working with frozen dough, put the cookies in the refrigerator the day before, or leave them on the counter for 30 minutes.  If you want to coat the outside of the cookies with some mix-ins, do that now and then cut them into generous 1/4 inch thick slices.

easy slice and bake shortbread cookie recipe

Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a non-stick mat about 1 inch apart and bake them for 12-14 minutes, trying not to let them get brown on the edges.

easy shortbread cookies

Cool them on a wire wrack and try not to devour them before your guests come!  With the cranberry pistachio ones, that was really hard to do!

easy shortbread cookie recipe lots of flavors

Sometimes I make this dough just to have cookies on hand.  To bake a little at a time, I slice off a frozen chunk and put it in the refrigerator to defrost.

What flavors would you try?

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  1. Love this! I’m a horrible baker. I’m totally pinning this and will definitely try next time I’m called upon to bake :-) Thanks for the post.
    rebecca at thisfineday recently posted…Family Christmas Card Coloring BookMy Profile

  2. I’m partial to homemade shortbread cookies and I love the idea of having dough on standby in the freezer. Your cookies look yummy. Love how your daughter is so focused on adding the butter – cute!

  3. This look delicious and simple to make! I love the concentration on your little chef’s face :)
    Kaz @ Melting Moments recently posted…{Linky} Fly on by Friday – My Pinterest ProjectMy Profile

  4. Your daughter is adorable! My daughter just turned 4, and she and my 2 1/2 year old son love helping me bake- it’s such fun!
    These all look delicious, but I love how Christmas-y the pistachio and cranberries look, they’re so pretty!
    Thanks for sharing at Saturday Dishes! Next week we will be the official host of the party, and we really hope you’ll keep sharing with us!
    Jamie @ Coffee With Us 3 recently posted…All about Grace {Christmas Sharing Time}My Profile

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