Let me teach you how to make buttery shortbread wedge cookies using this simple 6 ingredient dough. There’s no chilling necessary and the cookies will never over-spread because you’re baking them in round pans. Keep the cookies vanilla flavored or spruce up the dough with add-ins such as cinnamon, pecans, sprinkles, peppermint extract, chocolate chips, and more.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the word “wedges” while putting this recipe together. But it’s been so many times that I’ve accidentally typed “shortbread wedgies” at least twice now. Anyway, let me tell you about these shortbread WEDGES!
These are my perfect shortbread wedge cookies flavored virtually however you’d like, baked in a cake pan, and cut into triangles/wedges. With no add-ins, they’re pleasantly sweet with rich butter and vanilla flavors. You’ll divide the dough in half to make 2 pans of cookies, so you can flavor each half of dough different ways. Creativity is welcome here!
You Will Love This Shortbread Recipe:
- 6 ingredient dough with lots of optional add-ins
- no rolling pin, no cookie cutters
- 1 mixing bowl
- no dough chilling – ready in under an hour, making it the perfect recipe to tackle while waiting for your other Christmas cookies to chill!
- cookies will never over-spread
- another egg-free baking recipe
- delicious alongside coffee, tea, & hot chocolate
- texture: crumbly, yet tender
- flavor: buttery, vanilla, mildly sweet
Traditional shortbread recipes are 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour. Sometimes there’s vanilla and salt, but there’s no egg and no leavening. Delicious– for sure– but I’ve been making shortbread cookies with a slightly different ratio. Some of my favorite recipes include these flavored cherry almond shortbread, brown sugar shortbread that’s sweeter than other recipes, pecan shortbread that’s icebox/slice & bake style, and sweet & salty chocolate pistachio shortbread. I also make chocolate cashew shortbread wedges, a recipe you can find in my cookbook along with a few other variations!
6 Ingredient Shortbread Dough
- Unsalted Butter: As the base of nearly all shortbread recipes, butter supplies these classic cookies with flavor and softness. Make sure you use room temperature butter that’s still cool to the touch. If it’s too warm, the butter and sugar cannot properly cream and the cookies will taste dense. Many shortbread recipes call for cold butter worked into the dry ingredients and that gives you a wonderfully flaky cookie but if not mixed properly, the results can be inconsistent. I usually stick with creamed room temperature butter.
- Granulated Sugar: I go back and forth between confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar in shortbread recipes. Confectioners’ sugar keeps the cookies light and tender, but you often need more of it to get the same amount of sweetness. (And then an adjustment to butter or flour is ideal.) I’ve been using granulated sugar in these shortbread wedge cookies and I replace some flour with cornstarch, which helps give us that light texture again. By the way, this recipe is a great place to use homemade vanilla sugar because the vanilla flavor can really shine!
- Vanilla: 1 and 1/2 teaspoons gives us substantial vanilla flavor, especially if you use homemade vanilla extract. Feel free to add the beans scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean.
- Salt: 1/4 teaspoon of regular salt keeps the flavor balanced and the cookies are pleasantly sweet. If you like a little more salt flavor, increase the amount to 1/2 teaspoon.
- All-Purpose Flour: I test varying amounts of flour in shortbread recipes regularly and find 2 cups of spoon & leveled flour paired with 1/4 cup cornstarch produces sturdy, yet terrifically tender shortbread wedge cookies.
- Cornstarch: Again, cornstarch really is the “secret” to texture success here. Cornstarch provides the shortbread with structure, but its biggest job is keeping the cookies extra soft, tender, and light. I love adding a small amount to chocolate chip cookies too.
- Optional Coarse Sugar Topping: For an optional sparkly crunch on your shortbread wedges, add a sprinkle of coarse sugar before baking. I usually reach for white “sparkling sugar” sold as sprinkles in the baking aisle.
Overview: How to Make These Shortbread Cookies
These shortbread wedge cookies are great for beginners because the prepwork is fairly simple and the dough comes together in just 1 bowl.
The video tutorial and full printable recipe are below, but let me walk you through the basics with step photos so you know what to expect. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together, and then add the vanilla and salt. Finally, mix in the flour and cornstarch. Beat on low speed to begin bringing all of the ingredients together. The dough will be very crumbly at first, but then clump up when you turn up the speed. Let me show you the difference.
Below, left: Dough is crumbly and dry at first. Below, right: Dough finally clumps together.
Divide the dough in half and press into 2 lined 8-inch cake pans. If you’re shopping for new pans, I use and love these cake pans and these cake pans. If you use 9-inch cake pans instead, the cookies will be quite thin unless you add an add-in such as nuts, dried cranberries, or chocolate chips.
Now you’ll have 2 pans of pressed dough. Top with optional coarse sugar and dock with a fork so steam can escape these butter-heavy treats. And whoops… my hand got a little heavy with the coarse sugar here. You don’t need quite as much unless you love the sweet crunch!
Bake, cool, and then slice into 8 large, 12 medium, or 16 small wedges.
Can I Use This Dough for Other Shortbread Cookies?
Yes! Let me detail the specifics for you:
- Shortbread Bars: Instead of wedges, bake this dough as shortbread bars in 2 8-inch square baking pans. Or bake the dough in 1 9×13 inch baking pan. The bars baked in a 9×13 inch pan will be quite thin unless you add an add-in such as chocolate chips or nuts. The bake time for bars in either size pan is about the same as below, but begin checking at 25 minutes. They’re done when the tops and edges are very lightly browned.
- Thumbprints: You can use a variation of this dough to make thumbprint cookies. Substitute the cornstarch for the same amount (about 30g or 1/4 cup) of all-purpose flour. Chill the dough for 3 hours. This is exactly the recipe I use when making raspberry almond thumbprints— and I add a touch of almond extract to the dough. Follow the assembly/baking instructions from that recipe.
- As a Shortbread Crust: Press the dough into a 9×13 inch pan and use as the crust for lemon bars. Or you can halve all of the ingredients in the recipe below and use as the crust for lemon blueberry tart, raspberry streusel bars, or apple pie bars. Each of these 4 linked recipes call for melted butter in the crust, but using today’s recipe provides a slightly sturdier and flakier foundation. Follow each linked recipe as instructed (including pre-baking the crust if necessary), only swapping in today’s dough.
I do not recommend using this recipe for shaped/cookie cutter shortbread cookies. The butter-heavy dough loses shape in the oven. Instead, I recommend my regular sugar cookies or the buttery shortbread in my cookbook.
And finally, let’s add some goodies!
Flavors & Add-Ins
Add liquids/zest when you add the vanilla & beat in dry add-ins (such as nuts, sprinkles, or chocolate chips) on low speed after the dough is all mixed/clumped together. If adding spices such as cinnamon, add when you add the flour & cornstarch. *You can also divide the dough in half and beat half of these add-ins (including liquids/extracts if needed) into half of the dough.
- Plain: Keep the recipe as written below. Feel free to drizzle with salted caramel or melted chocolate or decorate with royal icing, this cookie icing, or vanilla buttercream. The pictured green cookies are decorated with vanilla buttercream tinted green to look like a Christmas tree! I used Wilton #32 piping tip.
- Peppermint: Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. After the cookies have cooled, drizzle 4 ounces (113g) of melted semi-sweet chocolate on top, and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
- Sprinkles: Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1/3 cup (about 50g) of sprinkles. Instead of coarse sugar, sprinkle a few teaspoons of more sprinkles on top of the pressed dough before docking and baking.
- Chocolate Chip: Add 3/4 cup (135g) mini chocolate chips. I recommend mini size so you get more chocolate in each cookie. Keeping that in mind, feel free to use 1 cup (180g) regular size instead.
- Cinnamon Pecan: Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 cup (130g) chopped pecans. Instead of coarse sugar, sprinkle the pressed dough with a mixture of 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Other add-ins: 1 cup (about 130g) chopped any nut variety, 3/4 cup (about 115g) dried cranberries or raisins, 1 cup (about 180g) flavored morsels such as butterscotch or white chocolate, 1 teaspoon your favorite extract, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) citrus juice such as lemon or orange + 2 teaspoons zest, or 3/4 cup (about 115g) Heath Bar Bits O’ Brickle English Toffee. Feel free to combine add-ins such as citrus juice, zest, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. These are the add-ins I’ve tested, so let me know if you try others!
See Your Cookies!
Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂Print
Shortbread Wedge Cookies
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 16 large, 24 medium, or 32 small
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Let me teach you how to make buttery shortbread wedge cookies using a simple 6 ingredient dough. There’s no chilling necessary and the cookies will never over-spread because you’re baking them in round pans. See above for optional flavors & add-ins.
- 1 cup (2 sticks; 226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1/4 cup (28g) cornstarch
- optional: coarse sparkling sugar
- Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper leaving enough overhang around the sides to easily lift shortbread out. (Tip: Parchment is used so you can easily remove the shortbread and not cut it while it’s in the pan. I like to use a square of parchment and I cut a 1-inch slit in the center of each side. This helps reduce the amount of creases when lined in the pan.)
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and cornstarch and beat on low speed for 1 minute as the mixture begins to combine. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 1-3 minutes or until the dough clumps together. (It will eventually, just keep mixing it.) If you’re adding dry add-ins (see above), this is when you’ll add them.
- Divide dough in half. If you want to be totally accurate, weigh the halves to make sure they’re even. Recipe makes almost 1.5 lbs of plain dough (will weigh more if you added add-ins). Press each half of dough into a prepared cake pan. You want it nice and compact in the pans. Sprinkle with optional coarse sugar. Dock the surface all over with a fork to prevent air bubbles.
- Bake the shortbread for 28-30 minutes or until very lightly browned on top and around the edges.
- Remove from the oven, place pans on a wire rack, and cool shortbread for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the shortbread from the pans by picking it up with the parchment paper on the sides. Cut each into 8 large, 12 medium, or 16 small wedges. You want to make sure you cut the shortbread while it’s still warm. Enjoy warm or cool shortbread completely on wire racks.
- Cover and store shortbread at room temperature for up to 1 week. If you added a topping such as glaze, icing, buttercream, or melted chocolate, refrigerate after 2 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the shortbread dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 3. Baked shortbread freezes well for up to 3 months. Unbaked shortbread dough freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before continuing with step 3.
- Vanilla: Feel free to add the beans scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean in addition to the vanilla extract. Add when you add the vanilla extract. If you want to swap in vanilla bean paste, substitute it for the same amount of extract.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch can also be known as cornflour. (Not to be confused with cornmeal.) It keeps the cookies soft and tender. If you don’t have it, replace with the same amount of all-purpose flour.
- Pan Size: I recommend 8-inch round cake pans. If using 9-inch round cake pans, the cookies will be quite thin unless you added an add-in to the dough. Bake time will be slightly shorter if using 9-inch pans. Bake until tops and edges are very lightly browned. See post above for directions for shortbread bars in square or rectangle pans.
- Half Batch: You can halve this recipe to yield 1 pan of shortbread wedges. Same bake time.
Reader Comments & Reviews
Would this recipe be a good recipe for decorated cookies? I love shortbread decorated cookies but cannot seem to find many good recipes. I love all your recipes! Especially the chicken pot pie and espresso cake.
Hi Laura, you can certainly decorate the wedges as we do in the photos, but the dough isn’t suited for cut-out cookies. Best to stick with sugar cookies for that!
This is a wonderful scotchbread recipe! I’ve made it a couple of times now and love it. The only part I have trouble with is the “docking.” When I use the fork to prick the holes, instead of a clean exit, the fork pulls up crumbly dough so the holes look messy. Am I under/over mixing the dough?
Hi Donna, how are you measuring your flour? It sounds like the dough may be a bit too dry which is making it crumbly. Be sure to spoon and level your flour (or use a kitchen scale) to ensure it’s not over measured. We’re so glad you’ve been enjoying this recipe!
I loved this shortbread recipe. One issue – it was a little doughy in the center. I returned to oven for an extra 5 minutes and still a little soft. I used a pie plate instead of a cake pan…maybe that’s why.
A question for the shortbread cookie
Instead of so flour and corn starch can I use pastry flour?
Hi Debbie! It’s best to stick with flour and corn starch here.
I usually really love your recipes, but I can’t get behind this one. The texture is supposed to be the result of mixing. If my shortbread got as greasy as these cookies are, I consider it overmixed and the cornflour doesn’t really help. They are a fine sugar cookie, but it’s not oroper shortbread.
Question about the weight of butter in grams. The recipe states “1 cup (2 sticks; 230g)”, however,
all of the butter I have checked says that 2 sticks weighs 227g, not 230g. Even the image in your page “Here’s What Room Temperature Butter Really Means” shows each stick at 113.4g. Can you let me know what weight you actually used? Really looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!
Sometimes when I weigh an unwrapped 1/2 cup stick of butter it isn’t always 113g, sometimes 114 or 115g. There will be no major difference if you use 226g or 230g of butter in this recipe. I can clarify so it is 226g, since each 1/2 cup stick is usually about 113g.
I’ve made these at least three times now and love them! I just got Nordicware cookie stamps and am itching to use them, and I was wondering if this shortbread would hold up the shapes? Or perhaps the Buttery Shortbread recipe from Sally’s Cookie Addiction?
Hi Erin, I love cookie stamps. I don’t recommend using them on the shortbread recipe in my cookie cookbook though. This dough is too sticky as well, and the shapes likely won’t hold. The best recipe I’ve tested is this sugar cookie dough, but you’ll want to chill the stamped shapes for at least 1 hour before baking so they hold the stamped shape better. I also have this recipe for cinnamon brown sugar stamped cookies.
Hello! I’m currently baking these with shredded coconut, almond extract and chocolate chips (like a shortbread almond joy). I wanted to try dipping the point of the triangle in chocolate. Any advice? Would I want to wait for it to completely cool first? Thank you!
Hi Liz, those sound tasty! We recommend letting the cut wedges cool completely before dipping in chocolate. You can follow the instructions for dipping from this recipe for salted chocolate pistachio shortbread. Enjoy!
Follow up- I did it, and it’s delicious! Tastes exactly like an almond joy. I followed the recipe exactly and added 1/2 t almond extract, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and dipped in melted semisweet chocolate. So delicious! Thanks!!!!
Could ground up freeze dries fruit be used in the dough?
Hi Jessica, we haven’t tested it, but you could try replacing some of the flour with freeze dried fruits. It may take a bit of experimenting!
My husband is half Scottish and I have been trying to make him shortbread cookies for 11 years. None have ever been good enough until I made this recipe today! He finally approves! I used nine inch pans and baked for about 25 minutes, they are perfect. Two pans of plain and two pans with Skor bits. Absolutely delicious! Thank you!
Could I use square pan rather than around one?
Hi Aileen, yes — see section of blog post titled “Can I Use This Dough for Other Shortbread Cookies?” for shortbread bar details.
This recipe is a keeper! My family absolutely loves it and says that it is the best shortbread they have ever tasted.
Could I bake these in a twelve days of christmas pan?
Can I double the recipe for a 13×9-in glass pan and if so what is the baking time?
Thank you and have a Merry Christmas ✝️
Hi Jude, See section in the post titled “Can I Use This Dough for Other Shortbread Cookies?” for details on a 9×13 pan. Enjoy!
My “recipe box” recipes are only the best.. the pistachio shortbread wedges cookies made the cut! Fantastic! Thank you from a very picky baker!
Just finished baking these, they came out beautifully! I’m going to add them to my Christmas cookie tray for work..
I asked you a few weeks ago if I could omit the salt in your shortbread wedges, because I was using salted butter. I mad them they are the most delicious shortbread ever.
So glad they turned out, Nancy!
I have no idea what I did after years of making shortbread but this just tastes like cornstarch to me. Odd. Darn!! I followed the recipe exactly too. I’ll douse them with powdered sugar!!
Can I use2 8″ square pans rather than rounds (which I don’t have) and cut into bars?
Hi Andi, yes, you can bake the shortbread in two, 8-inch square pans instead.
There is no comment option for the Raspberry Thumbprint cookies, so, because they are exceptional, I offer it here: I have tried many thumbprint cookie recipes and was never satisfied until I made these. Others were too soft, too large, spread all over the place, cracked excessively at the edges, etc. Except for using puréed cherry jam, I make these exactly according to the recipe. They look good, taste perfect, and my cherry, shortbread, and frosting-loving husband is delighted. By the way, this shortbread, like virtually all of Sally’s recipes, is excellent as well!
Which icing was used for the green christmas trees in your post??
Hi Laura, we used vanilla buttercream (tinted with green gel food coloring) to decorate the Christmas tree shortbread cookies.
Can these be made with gluten free flour?
Hi Helen! We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours, but some readers have reported success using 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!
I could not get the dough to come together. I weighed everything to the gram and had the butter softened in a 70 degree kitchen. Felt like soft cookie dough even after mixing for 5 minutes. Any ideas what went wrong?
Hi Shauna! It will feel like cookie dough (it is cookie dough!) – the video tutorial in the recipe card above should give a helpful visual.
Can you add like finely chopped almonds or maybe pecans ? Kinda like pecan sandies?
Hi Rhonda, Definitely! There’s a section on the post called flavors and add ins that you may find helpful. You can add a cup of either of those.
Hi Sally, tried this but my dough did not come together it was like cake mix can you tell me what I did wrong. Mixed it for ages, no change. Mind you they tasted nice. Merry Christmas to you and yours. X
Hi Julie, Was it particularly cool in your house? How did you measure your flour? Make sure to spoon and level to avoid packing in too much flour (which would lead to a dry dough). If you find your dough isn’t coming together in the future, you can try gently bringing it together with your hands – the warmth usually helps with this.
I’ve been mixing and mixing and my mixture is like beach sand! I’m adding in some more butter and then will bring it together with my hands hoping that will help it come together.
Hi Sarah, before adding in additional butter, you may try bringing the dough together with your hands. The warmth will help the dough to come together. Be sure to spoon and level your flour (or use a scale) to ensure it isn’t over measured, which can dry out the dough significantly.
Might this recipe work in two aluminum pie pans? Would the baking time need to be adjusted?
Hi Amy, that should be fine. Bake time may be slightly different.
Can a scone pan be used to create the wedges?
Hi Suzanne, We haven’t tried it but it would likely work. Let us know if you give it a try!
Could this recipe be baked in a shortbread mold?
Hi Judy, we haven’t tried it but as long as the mold has sturdy edges, that should be just fine. We’re unsure of the exact bake time. Let us know how it goes!
Perhaps a silly question, but, do these have to be shaped into wedges? Can you use a cutter and do them in rounds?
Thanks so much.
Hi Aileen, this shortbread dough isn’t ideal for rolling out because the cookies won’t hold shape.