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Traditional Scottish Shortbread Recipe


  • 1 cup butter (120g)
  • pinch of salt if using unsalted butter – if butter is salted leave out the salt
  • 2 cups flour (400g)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (125g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (5ml)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer, or by hand, until pale and fluffy. The butter must be at room temperature – just soft enough without being runny before you add in the sugar.
  • Beat in the vanilla essence.
    Creamed butter and sugar
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and stir in the flour until you have created a mixture that is crumbly but when you press it in your hand as in the photo it holds together.
    Shortbread holding together
  • Place the dough in a bowl in the fridge for an hour or so to rest.
  • Remove from fridge and press the dough either into a square pan or a round cake tin that has been lined with parchment paper.
  • If you are making it in a pan, then mark out where the pieces will be cut with a knife as this will make cutting easier.
  • Prick the dough with a fork to ensure it cooks evenly – it may get a bit crumbly when you do this, but it’s fine – just smooth the surface again and try one more time.
  • Place in the oven, bake for 20-30 minutes, and make sure you don’t forget about the shortbread – it must be just golden in color – not brown!
  • Cut the slices as soon as the shortbread comes out of the oven – otherwise when it cools it will tend to break, when it’s hot you get clean slices.
  • Serve with tea.
    Scottish Shortbread close-up