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Christmas Shortbread Cookie with icing and red and green sprinkles.
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5 from 4 votes

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

Buttery and with just the right amount of chew, these Christmas Shortbread Cookies are simple to whip up and only require 5 ingredients! Perfect for cut outs or slice and bake--the rich flavor paired with a simple icing will be a winner this holiday!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Chill1 hr
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 169kcal
Author: Lorie Yarro


For the Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks)softened
  • c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ - 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

For the Icing

  • 1.5 c powdered sugar
  • 3 - 4 T cream or milk
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla


  • Add brown sugar and butter to mixing bowl or standing mixer bowl. Beat on high to cream until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the salt and 1 ¾ cup flour together. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix until fully incorporated.
  • Take the remaining ¼ cup flour and add it to a clean surface. Transfer the cookie dough to the surface and knead the dough until nice and smooth and the extra flour is incorporated.
  • Divide the dough into either three separate balls (if you plan to roll out for cookie cutters) or roll into one big log for slice and bake. Wrap in plastic wrap tightly and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either slice and place on parchment lined cookie sheet or roll out on a flour dusted surface and cut with cookie cutter. I make my cookies a bit over ¼ inch thickness.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or when the edges start to turn golden brown. Allow to sit for 2 minutes on the pan and then transfer to a rack.
  • Wait until completely cool and then whisk icing ingredients together. Spread over each cookie and add sprinkles. Allow the icing to set before serving. (But who is really gonna do that???)
  • Store in an airtight container for about 5-7 days. If they last that long!


  • Chilling is essential when making these cookies. When I tried these Christmas Shortbread Cookies without chilling, they flattened. Chilling helps them keep a nice shape. I recommend chilling for no less than 30 minutes and ideally about one hour.
  • These cookies are great to make ahead. Since you need to chill the dough, it's easy to prepare in advance and then bake them when you want a few (or ten!) and save the rest for another time.
  • You can freeze this cookie dough. The brown sugar shortbread dough will keep for about 2 months wrapped in plastic and stored in a freezer safe bag as well. I recommend thawing the dough before baking. You can slice off a few cookies from a frozen log and allow them to sit out a bit to thaw.


Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 273IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg