Classic shortbread recipe

Of the many classic Scottish biscuits to choose from, our favourite by far is classic shortbread. Few things surpass its buttery sweetness.
Now, there is always a wee bit of debate about shortbread ingredients. Should you use rice flour or corn flour? Truly, the decision is up to you.
If you prefer a granulated, crunchy result, use rice flour.  Cornflour produces biscuits that melt in the mouth.
Why not play with flavours like vanilla, orange and lavender?

Classic Shortbread

Makes: About 60 biscuits

Preparation: 15 minutes
30 minutes (optional, although recommended)
Baking Time:
 15-20 minutes


500g salted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar, plus more to sprinkle
500g plain flour, plus more to dust
250g cornflour or rice flour


Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 160ºC/340ºF/gas mark 31/2.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar, then sift in the flour and cornflour gradually until it binds together. Add flavourings at this stage, if you fancy (see below)Flour your hands and gently knead until just smooth (do not over-work).

To make the dough easier to roll – and if you have time – wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Then, on a floured board, roll out the dough to 5–6mm thick, cut into your chosen shapes.

Place the shortbreads on 2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment and cook for 15–20 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar, then cool for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack.

Flavouring Ideas:

Add any of these to the butter and sugar before adding the flour:

  • vanilla seeds of 1 vanilla pod and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • orange-cardamom zest of 1 orange, finely grated, and ½ tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds, sifted
  • lemon-lavender zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated, and 4 tsp fresh lavender flowers

Photo by Shortgirl Shortbread