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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 shortbread wedges (or squares in my case) were buttery and delicious. My dough didn’t clump like the image shows. I was actually worried that I overmixed the batter – I mixed it on med-high for 10-15 minutes. The dough was super soft, so I stuck in the refrigerator overnight and thawed it out in the morning, until it was spreadable. I added raspberry curd from Stonewall Kitchen as the topping – they were a big hit.

  2. I love that this recipe is eggless. We added mini chocolate chips, M&M’s and sprinkles to make 3 separate kinds. They were a hit!

  3. This is a very simple and straightforward recipe. I decided to cut the recipe in half (I only have one 8-inch round pan) and it worked perfectly. I also wanted to mention how much I appreciated the tip about cutting a slit into the sides of the parchment square – it definitely helped me get the pan lined more easily. I found that I did need to add a few additional minutes to the bake time in my oven to achieve the lightly browned top/edges. This time around, I opted to mix in mini chocolate chips. The cookies turned out very delicious with an excellent texture and plenty of chocolate. Next time I plan on trying the cinnamon-pecan variation….and given how quickly my family has been devouring this first batch, I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity to make these again very soon. Thank you for another delicious challenge!

  4. I added these to my Christmas cookie spread this year. Great flavor and texture. I used a European style butter since butter is the star of the show.

  5. I decided not to heed Sally’s advice about pan size and winged it by putting the whole batch into one rectangular tart tin. It was a mistake because it was too much dough for the one tin and I under baked them. Despite all this, they were still incredible cookies. And man, if I couldn’t stop eating them!!

  6. These were easy to make and delicious. I made half the dough with mini chocolate chips and the other with red and green sprinkles. The chocolate chip ones came out perfect! While the cookies with sprinkles taste delicious the sprinkles seemed to melt and they appear to be the-dyed cookies now….but they were still tasty.

  7. I made this tonight and it’s so good! Very easy to make, I split it into 2 – one plain and one with mini chocolate chips. Delicious!

  8. These cookies were so easy to make and so tasty! I mixed in some red and green sprinkles for some extra festivity and they came out really cute. I didn’t have any parchment paper on hand, but I sprayed my cake pans with nonstick spray and they came out just fine. (Although the paper would’ve made things easier lol)

  9. The recipe came together and turned out just as described. I have always wanted to use culinary lavender and so used that, lemon zest and toasted sliced almonds as the add ins.
    The texture of the shortbread was great. I was a too light handed with the lavender (was concerned about a mediciney taste) and so it was barely there. Now that I have a better sense of the shortbread and the lavender, I’ll try the same combination again with a little more assertiveness.

  10. Made the wedge style plain and with chocolate chips. The star was the cinnamon pecan version made as a bar. It was such a big hit I had to make multiple batches. So easy to make these will go into regular cookie rotation.

  11. Delicious and EASY! I love how quick, easy, buttery, versatile and FUN these were!! Will definitely do these again. Hubby LOVES them too!!

  12. Great simple recipe! You can’t mess it up. I added mini chocolate chips, peppermint extract, and then drizzled chocolate on top and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. Yummy!

  13. These shortbread wedges are so easy and delicious – since there are so few ingredients, the butter and flour flavors really shine through, so be sure to use high quality food. These are now one of my favorite cookies since they’re so buttery and easy to make. I didn’t have the right size pan, so I used a 6-inch and split the dough in thirds, which gave me lots of opportunity to play around with mix-ins and toppings. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  14. This recipe was delicious and the texture was perfect. I have never made shortbread, but this will become part of the yearly holiday cookie spread. I used a 9×13 pan and added a total of 1 cup of pistachios and dried cranberries, then drizzled with white chocolate, inspired by our holiday tradition of Sally’s white chocolate cranberry pistachio cookies. Thanks for this amazing recipe, I plan to make more variations!

  15. These shortbread wedges were so quick and easy to make, and this was such a great recipe for this month’s baking challenge in time for the holidays. This is now my new favorite version of shortbread! The wedges are incredibly flaky and buttery and I love that you can so easily customize the dough to create multiple variations with one batch! Thank you Sally for another great recipe!

  16. OMG! These are delicious! I needed a shortbread cookie batter that I did not have to roll out. These were so buttery delicious! My batter did not clump together either, but I mixed it until I was able to handle it enough to spread into the pans. Definitely a keeper! Thank you Sally, I will be making these again!

  17. So buttery delicious. I added chocolate and walnuts after baking. Came together easily with great tasting results.

  18. Loved this recipe! Added a half cup of Skor bits and thought it was perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. Absolutely love these cookies! I decided to make them on Christmas Eve as a gift for my mom – because why wouldn’t you try something new at the last minute -LOL? Well, I knew Sally would not disappoint. Such detailed instructions make them so easy! I have to admit I was a little nervous at first when I was mixing the dough and it wasn’t coming together, but sure enough as Sally said just keep mixing – and it did! Just made them plain – and they are delicious! I’ve already eaten quite a few – have to keep some to give to my mom.

  20. Such an easy recipes! So universal with any toppings or using for a crust base. So buttery and tender… It was a Big Hit with my family. Delicious with some English Tea! Thank You Sally!❤️

  21. I’ve never tried shortbread cookies before. I tried this for an easy cookie for my children to decorate for Christmas. It was not a favorite. The taste was okay. I like that it was not too sweet. That made it great for decorating. I decorated with Nutella, vanilla frosting and sprinkles. They didn’t care much for the plain cookie. My dough didn’t come together in a ball like Sally’s. It was more like a firm batter. I couldn’t roll it into a ball. Maybe it’s because I live in the tropics and my butter was much softer at room temperature. I did manage to spread it to the pan and it baked nicely, a bit crumbly. It crumbled a bit when I tried to cut it. But I got wedges.

    1. Hi Sean, We wouldn’t double it all in one batch because it will overwhelm your mixer. You can make 2 separate batches instead.

  22. I love that this is a one bowl recipe, and that you can split the dough in half to make two different flavors. Both of my flavors came out buttery and delicious!

  23. These were easy to make and I love all of the suggestions of different flavor combinations.

  24. These cookies were delightful. The image of the Christmas tree wedge caught my eye on Instagram. I made them for a Christmas movie/cookie party, and they were a hit for both presentation and taste. They will be a go-to gift for teachers and coworkers in the future!

  25. This recipe was fast and easy to make. I halved it and added cinnamon/pecans. It was light and delicate. I will be making this again using different add-ins.

  26. I only have a 9″ pan, so I didn’t split the dough and added about 5 minutes to the baking time. They were a little thicker than the photos, but a huge success in my house! They didn’t last a day.

  27. This shortbread is truly the best shortbread I have ever had! They are so delicious and are perfectly crispy without being crunchy. These shortbread wedges have a remarkable flavour and a fabulous texture. My whole family loved them and this shortbread will become a staple for years to come.

  28. Tasty treat! We only had 9 in pans so glad we added in mixins. One chocolate chip and one cinnamon pecan. The only hard part was knowing when they were done!

  29. I used a 9×13 pan and scaled up the recipe by 20% and they turned out great! My dad can’t eat vanilla, so I made the plain with cinnamon instead, and added pecans to half the dough. They were a big hit at two different Christmas parties!

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