Traditional Shortbread

Traditional Scottish Shortbread

Traditional Shortbread Recipe
Melt-in-your-mouth buttery shortbread recipe

Traditional Scottish Shortbread recipe that is better than Ted Lasso’s Biscuits with the Boss!

Some people like their cookies packed with chocolate chips, fruit, marshmallows, etc. But, I have to admit, I’m a purest and I love Classic Scottish Shortbread. There is just nothing better than a simple, buttery, classic shortbread when a cookie craving strikes! So today I am sharing my Traditional Shortbread Recipe!

Now don’t get me wrong – I love all cookies! But if I had to choose one cookie to keep in my cookie jar at all times, it would be Traditional Scottish Shortbread.

Scottish Shortbread is simple to make and only requires a few ingredients. You can mix in some extras if you would like to flavor your shortbread but why mess with a classic?

Scottish Shortbread Recipe with just a few simple ingredients…

Butter. Flour. Sugar. That’s all you need for a traditional shortbread recipe. I do add a little salt and vanilla to increase the flavor. I’ve seen and tried variations like using cornstarch in place of some of the flour or icing sugar in place of some of the granulated sugar.

But I keep coming back to the same recipe. It just doesn’t need anything else!

Classic Traditional Shortbread with mix-ins
Cherries and chocolate flavor this buttery shortbread.

Handle Scottish Shortbread with care!

There are a couple of tricks to keep in mind when making Scottish shortbread. Don’t worry, it’s not hard!

First, handle with care! You do not want to overwork the dough, either in the mixer or by hand! Mix only until the dough begins to stick together and then dump the dough on the counter. Then use your hands to gather the dough so that it stays in one piece. Do not knead the dough!

By handling it with care, you are minimizing the development of gluten in the dough. If the dough is overworked, it will be tough and chewy – the exact opposite of what you want!

A good Scottish shortbread recipe should yield cookies that are crumbly and sandy and melt in your mouth. It should be short, meaning that it has a high proportion of fat to flour causing it to crumble and no gluten development!

Better butter is best in Scottish Shortbread!

I get it, butter is expensive. And this recipe uses a lot of it! You will want to use the highest quality butter that you can afford, especially for a recipe that highlights butter!

If you do use a lower quality butter, your shortbread will still be delicious. But the higher the quality, the lower the water content so there will be variations in the final product! My favorite butter is Kerrygold. (No, this post is not sponsored!) I always use it in recipes where quality butter is needed, like puff pastry and shortbread.

Kerrygold is generally pretty easy to find in the US but if you can’t find it, use what you have!

Rest, rest, rest that dough!

You won’t have to work very hard to make shortbread – it honestly comes together really quickly and easily. But your dough will need a rest in the refrigerator!

Resting the dough will allow the gluten that has formed (hopefully not much!) to relax and it will also chill the butter so that it is more firm. Both will make it easier to roll out and cut.

If, however, you rest the dough for too long in the refrigerator, the butter will become hard as a rock and impossible to roll. I have found that 30 minutes is the perfect rest time. But if you rest the dough longer and it is too hard to roll, just leave it on the counter for a few minutes until it is workable.

Classic Shortbread
White chocolate and pistachios grace this shortbread variation.

Don’t forget to dock the dough for Traditional Scottish Shortbread!

After you have chilled your dough and rolled it out (roll from the center out then the center back and don’t roll over the edges), you can either cut it with cookie cutters or just cut it with a knife as in most traditional shortbread recipes.

But however you choose to cut your shortbread, you need to dock the dough prior to baking it.

To dock it, just take a fork and poke it all over. You can be haphazard with your docking or you can make sure that the wholes are in perfectly straight lines and spaced evenly. Completely up to you!

But if you forget to dock, your shortbread will still taste good but it is likely to puff up in spots and bake a bit unevenly!

Also, it won’t look traditional without the docking!

Go simple or use your imagination!

Now, like I said, plain shortbread is my favorite. But you can honestly use your imagination to come up with things to mix in or to drizzle on top! Chocolate, nuts, fruit…use your favorites and make it your own!

Shortbread is a perfect canvas for flavors so have fun with it! Just like my Biscotti recipes HERE and HERE, the sky is the limit!

Ted Lasso’s Biscuits with the Boss

The single best show that I have seen in YEARS is Ted Lasso. It is positive, uplifting (although sometimes heartbreaking) and just a joy to watch. I have watched Season 1 several times and am anxiously anticipating Season 2 which begins next Friday, 23 July 2021, on AppleTV.

If you haven’t watched it, go do it now! If you have, watch it again! You will still laugh and will not be bored the second time through! You’ll actually pick up on so many things that you missed the first time around!

I have read that the Shortbread that was served on set was not very good. That’s a shame because Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) has to eat A LOT of them! I hope they switch to my recipe for future filming!

Biscuits with the Boss was such a great and effective arch in the show. Ted used those biscuits to break the ice with his new boss and it worked so well. Maybe you should give it a try, too!

Scottish Shortbread
A simple chocolate drizzle dresses up this shortbread round.

Let’s be Social!

Follow me and Tag me on Instagram @globalbakesbytanya with pictures of your creations!

Follow me on Facebook at

and on YouTube at

Did you know that I have a Patreon??

I love this creators’ platform that allows people to support creators of all types with small monthly contributions! My patrons small monthly donations allow me to buy ingredients and continue to develop and test recipes and techniques and share them with you!

Check it out at

Other Recipes to try

Orange Cardamom Shortbread

Amaretto Cherry Bar Cookies

Classic Linzer Cookies

Traditional Scottish Tablet

Scottish Cranachan

Classic Shortbread

Recipe by Tanya OttCourse: Dessert


Prep time


Cooking time



Classic and traditional Scottish Shortbread Recipe – perfect to fill your cookie jar anytime or for Biscuits with the Boss – Ted Lasso style!


  • 339 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 200 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 445 grams (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Sparkling Sugar, optional for sprinkling


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until they are just combined
  • Add the vanilla and mix briefly.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Mix on low speed just until the dough comes together.
  • Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough gently to about 1/2-inch thick and cut with a round cookie or biscuit cutter. You can also cut into 3×1 inch sticks.
  • Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Dock each cookie with a fork multiple times. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.


  • Options: You can add whatever mix-ins that you prefer after the flour and salt has been mixed in to the butter. Also, you can drizzle or dip in chocolate. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.
  • Shortbread will last for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


  1. The Morning Latte

    These were super yummy, simple and yes, I keep thinking of all kinds of flavors: lavender flowers, anise (I’m not a fan but hubs is), cardamom… We did enjoy a few while watching Ted Lasso. (Loved the first season but I have to say this second one has gotten a bit, ah, shall we say, um “too much” even for the Brits? Hope they clean it up a little!). Thanks again for another yummy one!

  2. Pingback: Where to Eat in Edinburgh, Scotland | Ultimate Foodie Guide | Volumes & Voyages

  3. Tanya, I adore this post – will share it on my Facebook page because I feel that Scottish shortbread is the KING of cookies and tricky to get right.

Leave a Reply