Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

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Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies are simple, buttery, and the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea. Make the dough in advance, and then freeze for later! Great for the holidays too. 

Overhead view of shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, on a white background with gray napkin.

Shortbread cookies are one of the simplest cookies to make.

  • just seven ingredients
  • perfect to make in advance
  • easy to slice-n-bake
  • so many options to decorate with different kinds of chocolate and sprinkles (like nuts, candies, sprinkles, etc.)

That’s why I’ve kept a few rolls of these in my freezer during the holidays. I love the simplicity, the taste…all of it!

Overhead view of 10 shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, on a wire cooling rack.

What is a shortbread cookie?

According to Wikipedia, shortbread is a Scottish biscuit traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Other ingredients like ground rice or cornflour are sometimes added to alter the texture.

These however, are an adaptation of Ina Garten’s recipe. (I LOVE watching her cook on Food Network.) I made several changes by 1) making a smaller recipe, 2) using brown sugar instead of white, 3) using pure vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract, 4) adding an egg, and 5) changing the proportions slightly.

Below, you can see how firm the dough is, and how easy it is to wrap in cling wrap and stick in the freezer. When you remove them from the freezer, simply let them sit on the counter (or in the refrigerator) for an hour or so, and they’ll be good to go.

Overhead process shots of 1) shortbread cookie dough in 2 logs, on white background, and 2) shortbread cookie dough wrapped in cling wrap
Shortbread dough sliced into individual pieces, laid out in a line.

I’m all about holiday baking, and these work for any of the many holidays we celebrate. However, it’s December, and I’m convince that these are THE perfect cookie for Christmas.

What are your favorite flavors for holiday baking? I’ve got a few more in mind for you if you are planning to make a variety.

Close-up view of shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, on a white background with gray napkin.

Make these cookies next: Mini Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.


Overhead view of shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate, on a white background with gray napkin.

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

A simple seven ingredient buttery cookie, dipped in chocolate and perfect for any occasion.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 22 cookies
Calories: 231kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf


  • 1 cup unsalted butter – at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste (linked in blog post) – or use any good quality vanilla
  • 1 large egg – at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate bar (like Baker’s) – chopped and melted
  • extra sugar sprinkle before baking
  • sprinkle of kosher salt after dipping in chocolate


  • In a large standing mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg, and mix again.
  • Add salt and flour, and mix until just combined. The dough will be firm.
  • On a floured surface, roll dough into an oblong shape (see pictures in post). Divide in half and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice dough into 22 – 24 pieces (or freeze half). Place on baking sheet (or two) that is lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with extra sugar.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
  • Remove to cooling racks. When cool, dip in melted chocolate, add a sprinkle of kosher salt, and place back on racks to dry.


  1. Always use room temperature butter for these cookies.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour before baking.
  3. Roll dough into a log for easy slicing.
  4. You can easily freeze this dough, for up to three months, and make at a later date.
  5. Baked cookies stay fresh on the counter for up to three days.
  6. Use Baker’s or Ghirardelli chocolate, for best results.


Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 275IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!


  1. These cookies look so delicious! Perfect for Christmas!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks Natalie! I hope you make them! 🙂

  2. Amazing taste and hard to believe it only has 7 ingredients. This cookie is amazing anytime, but awesome during the holiday time. What a great idea for Holiday parties!

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