Are you looking for a thoughtful and affordable gift this Christmas? These simple four ingredient Christmas shortbread cookies are buttery, soft and delightful to eat with a cup of tea. You can wrap these up in a gift box and give them to loved ones this Christmas.

Shortbread is a soft, buttery cookie that will melt in your mouth with each bite. 

Buttery shortbread cookies for Christmas in an old baking tin lined with a linen tea towel.

They taste wonderful on their own or accompanied by a hot cup of tea, which is how I love to enjoy mine. How do you enjoy yours?

Made using just four simple pantry ingredients – butter, powdered sugar and flour. These shortbread cookies couldn’t be easier to make. 

Traditionally eaten among friends and family at Christmas time, this shortbread recipe is a lovely sweet treat to enjoy. Or at any time of the year if you’re anything like my family.

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Why you will love these Christmas shortbread cookies

  • They melt in your mouth with each bite
  • A simple recipe to follow
  • Made from just four ingredients
  • An affordable but thoughtful gift to give at Christmas time
Buttery shortbread cookies cut into hearts and moons for Christmas in an old baking tin lined with a linen tea towel. Vintage cookie cutters on baking paper next to tin.

Why is shortbread popular at Christmas time?

Shortbread originated in Scotland and was known as an expensive luxury. 

Scottish people would enjoy this treat on special occasions, such as Christmas, New Year’s, and weddings. With many traditions, including shortbread, it’s still an important part of their culture today. 

Shortbread is also popular in New Zealand, where I live, as well as England, Australia and some parts of Europe. 

My mum has always been a lover of shortbread, making it a treat we often enjoy year-round. One of those times is Christmas, of course. 

I recently found some vintage cookie cutters at the markets, which I thought would be fun. Shortbread is a good cookie to use with cookie cutters because it can hold its shape once cooked.

Buttery shortbread cookies cut into hearts and moons for Christmas in an old baking tin lined with a linen tea towel.

What is the difference between shortbread and sugar cookies?

Shortbread cookies have a short ingredient list as opposed to sugar cookies. Shortbread contains a good amount of butter, which gives them that soft crumbly texture and flavour. 

Sugar cookies are lighter but have a crunchier texture. You may find them a bit easier with cookie cutters, but shortbread works too. 

When making shortbread, should the butter be cold?

The butter must be at room temperature to beat the powdered sugar and butter together. If the butter is too cold, it will be really difficult to beat. Chilling the dough before baking the shortbread cookies is also important so the butter has time to chill. This step shouldn’t be missed because it helps prevent the shortbread from spreading when cooking. 

I’m guilty of not chilling the dough and having my cookies spread out into a flat, thin mess. So I don’t recommend skipping this step, especially if you have cut your cookies into shapes.

shortbread cookie Tips

  • Chill the dough for 15-20 minutes before cooking it. This helps the butter to chill again, stopping the cookies from spreading flat in the oven.
  • Cook your shortbread at a low temperature. I tested this by cooking a few batches of cookies. I tried a warmer temperature, which resulted in a shorter cooking time, but the results were crunchier shortbread. Lower temperatures allow the cookies to stay soft.
  • Cut the shortbread dough to an even thickness so they bake evenly. I used a rolling pin to spread my dough out. I found this rolling pin that allows you to set the thickness you want your dough to be. A normal rolling pin will do the job, but you need to be careful with pressure to get an even thickness. This rolling pin does the work for you.
  • Don’t melt your butter! The butter will soak up the flour and sugar too quickly, creating a soft, runny dough. The butter needs to be just soft enough to be beaten with flour and sugar.
Shortbread cookies on baking tray with powdered sugar coating.

How to gift these Christmas shortbread cookies

I always believe that thoughtful gifts are the gifts that matter the most.

If you have a tight budget this year or are stuck on gift ideas, these cookies would make a lovely gift. Wrap them up in a pretty gift bag or an old vintage tin. I know many of us are living within tight budgets this year, so a tin of yummy shortbread cookies is a good way to keep costs low.

Here are a few ways you can package your shortbread cookies for gifts:

  • In a mason jar with fabric and ribbon ties around the lid. 
  • In a vintage tin or box lined with fabric or baking paper.
  • Wrapped in a paper bag with a ribbon – I love using velvet ribbons to add a touch of luxury to a simple gift.
  • In a reusable fabric drawstring bag.

If you want to include more than just shortbread cookies, you could put together a simple gift basket filled with homemade items, such as:

If you want more inspiration, check out my 15 Easy Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas post.

Heart and moon shaped shortbread cookies in a vintage baking tin.

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More Cookie Recipes

Yield: 30 Cookies

Shortbread Cookies Recipe Christmas

Shortbread Cookies Recipe Christmas

Are you looking for a simple and affordable baking recipe to gift this Christmas? These simple 3 ingredient shortbread are buttery, soft and delightful to eat with a cup of tea. You can wrap these up in a gift box and give them to loved ones this Christmas.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes


  • 250g butter, room temperature.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cornflour
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 140°c on bake.
  2. Cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift in the cornflour and plain flour. Mix together with a wooden spoon until crumbly.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is mixed in and not crumbly anymore.
  5. Cut into 2 segments to roll out.
  6. Place the dough ball onto baking paper and roll 1cm thick. Repeat for the other dough ball.
  7. Place into the fridge for 15-20 mins to chill.
  8. Using your cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes. Place these on a baking sheet.
  9. Cook for 40 minutes or until slightly golden. The colour should be very close to the raw dough so watch these closely.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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