Shortbread biscuits recipe: How to make perfect shortbread every time

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Shortbread is a traditional Scottish biscuit which is crumbly and sweet, perfect for dunking into a cup of tea. They are fairly easy to make, and take few ingredients – and can be jazzed up with chocolate, icing, and other flavours.

Shortbread originates from a medieval biscuit bread named a rusk.

This biscuit was a twice-baked, enriched bread roll dusted with sugar and spices and hardened into a hard, dry, sweetened biscuit.

The first recorded printed recipe was in 1736, by a Scotswoman named Mrs McLintock.

Throughout the years the recipe has been refined, added to and remade, and today is often enjoyed with a cup of tea.

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Traditional Shortbread recipe


  • 150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g butter, chilled and cubed
  • 50g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling


Heat the oven 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Put the flour, butter and sugar into a mixing bowl.

Use your hands to combine the ingredients until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, then squeeze until it comes together as a dough.

On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to half a centimetre thick.

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Cut the dough into fingers and place it on a lined baking tray.

Use a fork to create imprints, then sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar.

Chill the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes, then bake for 15 to 20 mins until golden brown.

Remove the shortbread fingers from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes.

Chocolate shortbread recipe


  • 175g butter, softened
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g chocolate chips, milk or dark


Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon.

Stir in the flour and cocoa, followed by the chocolate chips – you’ll probably need to mix it together with your hands at this stage.

Halve the dough and roll each piece into a log about 5cm thick.

Wrap in cling film and chill for one hour or for several days. Can be frozen for up to one month.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Slice logs into 1cm-thick rounds, transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the tray.

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