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The Best Salted Shortbread Cookie

The Best Salted Shortbread Cookie

These salted shortbread cookies are easy enough to make for a quick sweet treat and special enough to make at the holidays. So whether you are looking for a Christmas cookie recipe or just an easy shortbread recipe, these salted shortbread cookies have got you covered.

Nothing is better in the entire world than these salted shortbread cookies! They are seriously the best. I do not say this lightly but I really love these cookies.

If you have never had salted shortbread, you are in for a real treat. The salt just adds that little bit extra of a background note and really enhances the flavor of the shortbread.

The other thing that makes this shortbread so amazing is it is perfectly balanced in terms of not being to dry or too chewy. It is just right!

This shortbread recipe uses two types of sugar to achieve the perfect consistency. I really think you are going to love it.

To make this cookie even more special, I like to use fresh flour bought from my local flour mill (here in Austin it is Barton Springs Mill) when I get a chance or remember to buy the fresh flour. It really makes the best cookie!

If you are not familiar with fresh flour, it is flour that has been milled by local flour mills and purchased directly from the mill. The big difference between fresh flour and store bought flour is the flour in the store sits on the shelves for long periods of time and ends up drying out and loosing any and all nutritional value. There are many other reasons to buy fresh flour and I encourage people to read up on it if they can.

Now not everyone has access to a local flour mill but the good news is many will ship to you so you can still enjoy the benefits of a better quality flour even if you do not have a local mill.

If you do want to go the fresh flour route, the fresh flour that I use, is a blend of soft wheat and hard wheat. My local mill calls it Premium All Purpose Flour.

Either fresh flour or store bought flour will work fine! I promise this cookie is amazing both ways.

easy shortbread cookies

The ingredients are so simple for these salted shortbread. There are just a few ingredients that you will need and you probably already have these in your house.

Ingredients for the Shortbread:

  • All purpose flour
  • unsalted butter
  • salt
  • granulated sugar
  • powdered sugar

That is it! Make sure that you use both types of sugar in this recipe or it will not come out as amazing. Trust me on this. If you are out of powdered sugar and really want to make these cookies you can make your own powdered sugar from this recipe.

Christmas cookie
hazelnuts added to the Shortbread cookie base.

Now I am a purist when it comes to my shortbread cookies. The delicious buttery goodness in each bite is all I need.

But, sometimes I do like to change things up a bit by adding in some goodies to this shortbread recipe. I also like to double this recipe and divide the dough into different bowls and get two cookies with one dough. It is a lot like my holiday snowball cookies and citrus cookies.

It just makes life easier if you want to make an assortment of cookies. I like to use a double batch of this recipe to make my Christmas cookie giving during the holiday easy.

The salted Shortbread cookies with hazelnuts added to them for special occasions.

Add-in ideas for these shortbread cookies:

There are so many different things you can add to this shortbread cookie base if you want to get fancy. I love adding chopped toasted hazelnuts for a more sophisticated cookie at the holidays. A real crowd pleaser is chunks of chocolate. Whatever you prefer.

My family absolutely loves it when I add my golden milk mix to these cookies. I call them golden milk shortbread and they are really delicious. I do this same thing with my eggnog cookies. I have added instructions for the golden milk shortbread cookies below.

Here are the shortbread cookies with the golden milk mix added to them!

There are so many ways to embellish these salted shortbread cookies but they are also so absolutely amazing all on their own. This to me is the best salted shortbread cookie recipe around. They really make a great cookie to make anytime you have a craving for something sweet.

The dough also freezes well so you can slice them up and freeze your cookie slices for when you need a quick sweet. Just follow the recipe the same up until the baking part and instead of baking just freeze them. When you are ready, just add a few minutes to the baking time since they are frozen and that is it.

I hope you give these a try and you will see how good they are!

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The Best Salted Shortbread Cookie

Shortbread cookies with a hint of salt to really elevate the flavor
Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
chilling dough30 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 cookies


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour I prefer King Arthur for store bought flour which is what most people have access to. If you are using fresh flour from a local flour mill, a mix of soft wheat (Sonora) and hard wheat(like a rouge de bourdeaux) milled at a "00".
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt Using kosher salt is important here. Regular table salt will be too much and make the cookie too salty.
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup or 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Whisk together flour and salt in a small bowl.
  • In a separate bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer, add butter, and both sugars and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to low and gradually add in flour mixture, mixing until the dough just comes together. This can take a while so be patient. I promise it will come together.
  • Transfer dough to a clean surface, divide in half and and form into two balls. Wrap dough balls in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cutting your cookies into shapes

  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll each dough ball out to a ¼-inch thickness. Use your cookie cutter to cut cookies.
  • Place cookies on parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Bake cookies for 8 -10 minutes, until just browned around the edges.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Optional add-ins

  • Hazelnuts : Add 1/2 cup of toasted chopped hazelnuts to the dough after mixing your ingredients together. Follow the recipe for rolling and cutting after that.
  • Golden milk Shortbread: You use this base recipe but reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/2 tsp and then add 1 teaspoon of golden milk mix to your flour mixture and mix it well to get it nice and incorporated. Follow the recipe the same from there.


If you are using fresh flour:
Sometimes there will be a little puffing up of your cookies when you use fresh flour and this is normal. There is a little more moisture content in the flour which causes this but it will not affect the taste!

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