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4-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies are the perfect sweet treat to make – especially when you don’t have a lot of time to bake!

4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

And just like that…Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas is just a few weeks away!

For us, the mad scramble has begun – with decorating the house, prepping for our family’s holiday feast, and baking cookies for parties and gift giving.

As much as I love beautifully-ornate holiday cookies, I’m leaving those to the baking professionals – and instead, I’ll be baking up some of these easy, 4-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies instead!

This extremely simple recipe is from the Rosie’s Bakery Cookbook – a local bakery that I used to visit during my college days in the Boston area. Back then, people would line up out the door of her shop in the Harvard Square neighborhood of Cambridge, MA – and for good reason. All of her baked goods and pastries were perfection!


4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

These 4-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies are quintessential Rosie…easy to make, perfectly sweet, and tender, and buttery.

How do you make 4-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies?

You’ll actually start making this shortbread batter in a food processor – which is one of the ways this cookie recipe is so easy to make.

Pulse together flour, sugar, and salt – then add pieces of butter – quickly pulsing to combine, just long enough for the shortbread dough to come together. (Be careful not to overmix – otherwise your shortbread cookies will be tough.)

Pour the dough out onto a counter top, then use a small scoop to measure out about two dozen portions of the batter.

Quickly roll the dough into balls and place a dozen balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then use a fork and press down on the shortbread dough to create cross hatch marks.

Bake until lightly golden brown – then cool on a rack.


4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

This 4-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies recipe yields about two dozen of the most perfect, tender, and buttery shortbread cookies. They are a welcome addition to any dessert table this holiday season. (And better yet – you don’t have to spend all afternoon baking them!)

You may enjoy these other cookie recipes:

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4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

4-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 15 mintes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 54 minute
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


1 cup butter (2 sticks)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt


Cut each stick of butter into eight pieces and set out on a plate while you measure the remaining ingredients. The butter should be cool (not cold) but not soft or melted.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F with two oven racks at about the upper third and lower third of the oven.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt and pulse a few times.

Add half the butter pieces and pulse a few times. Add the remaining butter and run food processor in five second bursts until the dough comes together, less than one minute. Scrape sides if needed.

Pour mixture onto your counter and with a small scoop*, scoop out 24 portions onto your counter. (*We used a number 40 scoop and each one weighed a little over a half ounce.)

Roll each piece with your hands and place 12 balls on each sheet, spaced evenly and press down to about ¼ inch thick.

Use a fork to press into each cookie then turn the fork 90 degrees and press the fork again making cross hatch marks.

Rotate pans and racks after 15 minutes of baking and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the tops start to turn golden and the bottoms are lightly browned. Total 25-30 minutes. I pulled mine at 28 minutes.

Remove with a spatula to cooling racks and eat warm, or cooled.

Store in air tight containers.

Keywords: 4-ingredient shortbread cookies, easy cookies


4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies


4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

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  • Janet wrote:

    I clicked on the link to your cookie scoop.. It says that the #40 scoop is a 2 T.scoop or a medium size scoop. OK to use my 2 T. scoop? Thank you!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Janet – The 2 T scoop will give you slightly bigger cookies and the baking time may be a little more but sure-you can use that.

  • Beverly Sides wrote:

    Can you still make this recipe if you don’t have a food processor ?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Beverly – The food processor will make it much easier to mix the cookie dough without overhandling/overmixing the butter and flour (overmixing could soften the butter too much and it could activate the gluten in the flour – making a tough shortbread). You could try a powerful standmixer if you have one.

  • Annette wrote:

    Is the suppose to be really dry? It won’t hold together at all

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Annette…no. I’m wondering if you might have added too much flour? Ideally you don’t want to pack the measuring cup when measuring out flour – try spooning it from the canister to the measuring cup so it’s more lightly filled.

  • Janine wrote:

    My new favorite cookie! I added 1tsp each of vanilla and almond extract as I love almond. So so easy and yummy!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Janine – we’re glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  • Dee wrote:

    So yummy and very easy! I love this recipe and will be making these often. My family ate them up before the day was done.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Dee – glad the cookies were a hit!

  • Betty P wrote:

    Jack — Love your blog! I’m a loyal follower! I, too, love shortbread. Who wouldn’t love butter! Previous comment is correct; they look like peanut butter cookies! Any other thoughts or ideas on how to make these more festive for the holidays?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Betty – I’m jumping in to respond…we’re both so glad you are enjoying the recipes! I said the same thing when we read the original recipe – that cross hatch has definitely become synonymous with peanut butter cookies…an alternative could be to press them down with a flat bottomed glass (similar to the famous Swig cookies). Then you could frost them and add colored sugars or other decorative sprinkles on top? Hope that helps!

  • Pat wrote:

    I love shortbread! Could you roll and cut these out with cookie cutters? I don’t want people to think I made peanut butter cookies since that is my traditional hashmark on them. 😊

    • Jack wrote:

      Yes but I would roll them out onto parchment or lightly dust your counter first so they don’t stick to the counter.

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