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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.

shortbread wedge cookies in different flavors

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
  • 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
shortbread wedge cookies

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 chips cookies too.
  7. 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.
2 sticks of butter and ingredients in bowls including flour, vanilla, salt, cornstarch, and sugar

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.

shortbread dough shown in the crumbly stage and again as the finished dough

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.

dough pressed into lined cake pan

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!

shortbread dough pressed into round cake pans and topped with coarse sugar

Bake, cool, and then slice into 8 large, 12 medium, or 16 small wedges.

shortbread cookies baked in a cake pan and cut into 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.

different flavored shortbread cookie wedges arranged in a circle
stack of shortbread cookies with mini chocolate chips

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 🙂

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shortbread wedge cookies

Shortbread Wedge Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 16 large, 24 medium, or 32 small 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (135ggranulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (28gcornstarch
  • optional: coarse sparkling sugar

Instructions

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake the shortbread for 28-30 minutes or until very lightly browned on top and around the edges.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Half Batch: You can halve this recipe to yield 1 pan of shortbread wedges. Same bake time.

Keywords: shortbread

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. These look delicious! I send out a LOT of cookies each year, how do you think they’d ship, if each wedge was individually wrapped?

    1. Hi Beth, thank you! They’ll be just fine and should hold shape especially if they’re individually wrapped after cooling completely.

      1. Would this recipe be suitable to make Christmas shaped cookies using cutters? (I have just bought a new set of cutters and can’t wait to use them)

      2. Hi Elaine, we do not recommend using this recipe for shaped/cookie cutter shortbread cookies. The butter-heavy dough loses shape in the oven. Instead, we recommend our regular sugar cookies or the buttery shortbread in Sally’s cookbook.

      3. wow! what a great recipe. simple no rolling or cutting out. i don’t have those instruments & wanted to make shortbread for christmas. now i will for sure!

  2. These look so good!! And they cut so neat and beautifully. I tried making a millionaire shortbread recently which was delicious but I found the crust did not slice clean. Would this recipe work for millionaire shortbread? In a 9×9 square pan.

    1. Hi Shilpa, I find cornstarch helps with that. The same recipe using all-purpose flour instead of cornstarch gives me crumblier wedges/bars. I think you could use half this recipe as that crust. It will be a thin crust, I assume.

  3. Shortbread is one of my all time favorite cookies. Do you think this recipe would work in one of those decorative shortbread pans?

  4. Does this recipe halve easily? Would like to take it to a small group amd only need one pan!

    1. Hi Sally, This recipe looks wonderful and I am excited to try it. Quick question – would it work to dunk them in melted chocolate? Thx Amy

    1. Hi Ellen, we haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free flour so we’re unsure of the results. But let us know if you do give it a try!

    1. Hi Christine! Yes. 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.

    1. I’m sure! I haven’t tested a coconut variation of this particular dough yet, so let me know if you do.

  5. Maybe a silly question but if you want a variety like you show in the picture – I guess you have to make several varieties, cut into perfect triangles and then swap around? This would really be a beautiful gift in a tin!

    1. That’s correct. The pictured cookies are from many, many batches to show all the varieties together. I’m sure you could divide up the dough into several portions and work in the add-ins that way before pressing each into the pan.

  6. These look delicious! Do you think brown butter could be used if you brown the butter, chill it then bring it to room temperature? Or would the process of browning reduce the amount of butter and affect ratios?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Kirsten, that could work. If the dough isn’t clumping together after a few minutes of mixing in step 2, add 1-2 teaspoons of milk.

  7. How well would this recipe take to food dye? I have a feeling my toddler would LOVE multi-colored cookies, but don’t want to give him the option if it doesn’t work. 🙂

    1. Adding food coloring should be just fine– no different than tinting regular sugar cookie dough. I recommend gel food coloring.

  8. I can’t believe that I already made these! They are FANTASTIC. I used up some European butter and it made it a little richer. My dough didn’t really “clump” but I made a half recipe so maybe that’s why.

    1. Hi Raquel, after the dough clumps together. For details and amounts, see section right above the recipe.

  9. I only have salted butter in my fridge right now , do I omit the salt, or do I still need to add some ??

    1. Hi Jane, I wouldn’t skip the salt if using salted butter. Reduce to 1/8 teaspoon or you can actually stick with 1/4 teaspoon if you don’t want them too sweet.

  10. I was just wondering Sally, which way do you prefer these cookies? I want to try them out this weekend but can’t decide if I would prefer white chocolate or the cinnamon pecan. I guess i could half the recipe and do both.

    1. The plain version is actually my favorite with mini chocolate chips in a close second! If you can’t decide, you can always flavor half of the dough different ways, too.

  11. Very easy and delicious recipe! I added sprinkles for my daughter- she will love it!

  12. Shortbread cookies are some of my absolute favorite cookies and these certainly did not disappoint! They went together super fast and I couldn’t wait for them to cool to try one. They were so good! Buttery but not crumbly like most shortbread.

    I didn’t have the right size round pan, so I did use a square pan, which isn’t as fun as the wedges, but still delicious.

    I didn’t do any add in’s, but I will make them again with sprinkles for one pan and chocolate chips for the other!

  13. This recipe was easy and VERY delicious. It made my house smell heavenly! I added almond extract to one half of the dough and decorated both with a little Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Yum!!!!

  14. The shortbread was so easy! I love all the different ways to change it up!

  15. I’ve never made shortbread before and want to try one of the options you described. Do you add the different extracts in addition to the vanilla extract in the base recipe? Thank you. I’m a newbie baker and can’t wait to try these.

    1. Hi Abbi, I can’t see why not. The oven is at a low temperature (compared to other items you may bake in a cast iron), so I don’t expect the cookies over-browning.

  16. I would like to make these for the challenge using culinary lavender or lavender sugar. I just purchased both and am excited to try it in a shortbread. Any recommendations on amount or when it should be incorporated? Thanks you. Your recipes are always exceptional.

    1. Hi Stacey, yum! You can absolutely use lavender sugar to replace the regular sugar in the recipe. You could also add 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of culinary lavender to the dough when you add the flour and cornstarch.

  17. These cookies are delicious and so easy for such goodness. I did one plain and drizzled Sally’s salted caramel sauce on top, and then did the other with mini chocolate chips. They were a hit!

  18. So easy to put together, and love all the options for flavoring and mix ins. I did mini chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, topped with sparkly sugar. I baked them in a 9 x 13 glass pan, took about 30 minutes. I cut them on a diagonal to be festive. So tasty! Thanks for another awesome recipe Sally!!

    1. Hi Qui Qui, that should work just fine — bake time may be a minute or two longer in a glass pan, but keep a close eye on it. Enjoy!

  19. Hi Sally – could this recipe be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan for s thicker cookie? Or doubled to make a larger batch…or do you suggest making the recipe twice?

    Thank you for another great recipe!
    Stephanie

    1. Hi Stephanie, I wouldn’t double it all in one batch because it will overwhelm your mixer. You can make 2 separate batches instead. Though, for a thicker 9×13 inch pan of cookie bars, I would simply 1.5x the recipe and I feel like that would be fine all in 1 batch. (Instead of 1 whole batch, 1 half batch separately.)

  20. These are so good. I made them with dark chocolate chips. One I put white chocolate and red candy melts with candy canes and the other we did white and dark chocolate with red candy melts and candy canes. I’m going to freeze them and add them to the cookie trays we give to teachers, the bus driver and our mail lady.

    1. Definitely. I would divide the dough into 3 or 4 portions to yield 3-4 pans. The bake time may be shorter but that depends on how thick the cookies are. They’re done when lightly browned on top and around the edges.

  21. Hi! Thanks for sharing. Anxious to try.

    Is it possible to use for a shortbread house (in place of gingerbread)… or might they be too fragile? If so, I’d use 8×8 square pans for baking. You think this would work?

  22. This recipe was so easy and delicious. I added mini chocolate chips, sliced almonds, and a tsp of almond extract. I used two 8” round cake pans and thought the thickness was perfect. The sparkling sugar was a subtle but very nice touch.

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