Whipped shortbread cookies are light as air with a delicious buttery flavor. They melt in your mouth because they’re so soft, and only require a few simple ingredients. Learn all the tricks for making this classic holiday cookie recipe.
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread cookies are a favorite cookie for their rich butter flavor and crisp texture. These Whipped Shortbread Cookies really take it to another level! Beating the butter and sugar together for several minutes lightens the dough and the addition of cornstarch gives the cookie the unique melt-in-your mouth taste.
Here’s what you need!
- Butter. While standard butter will work fine, this is a recipe where European butter will really shine (if you can find it).
- Powdered sugar. Using powdered instead of granulated sugar contributes to the airy, melt-in-your mouth consistency of these cookies.
- Vanilla. This is the time to use your good vanilla extract, if you have some.
- Salt. Use plain table salt–no need to get fancy here!
- Flour. Make sure to measure your flour properly and use a kitchen scale if you have one, because it’s easy to accidentally use too much flour. Too much flour will make the dough dry, crumbly, and difficult to work with.
- Cornstarch. Powdered sugar already contains cornstarch, but we up the ante by using a bit more to give these cookies an even better, more melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Sprinkles. For decoration, you can use nonpareils, jimmies, or colored sanding sugar. Or you can skip them entirely! The sprinkles make these easily customizable for whatever holiday or event you happen to be celebrating!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the Whipped Shortbread Cookies (the exact measurements and full recipe instructions are below in the printable recipe card):
- Butter We are using room temperature softened butter. But we don’t want it over greasy or we are risking the cookies to spread more then we’d like!
- Powdered sugar Powdered sugar helps in creating light textured shortbread.
- All-purpose flour Measure flour using a kitchen scale or fluff the flour first, measure out in measuring cup and sweep it with a knife to level it off.
- Cornstarch Cornstarch makes the most light and puffy cookies that you will ever know!
- Sprinkles Add that festive color
How to Make Whipped Shortbread Cookies
In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the butter and powdered sugar for at least 4 minutes. The extended beating time really helps to lighten the cookie dough.
Mix in the flour and cornstarch just until combined. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Cut the ball of dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball. With a fork dipped in cornstarch (to prevent the dough from sticking to the dough), press on the top of each cookie dough ball then top with sprinkles.
Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies at 300ºF for 18-19 minutes, just until the cookies are set and light golden brown on the bottom. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
The Best Sprinkles to Use
These cookies look wonderful with any sprinkles, but some do not hold up well to making for the 18-19 minutes. The best sprinkles we tried are nonpareils. You can use any colors to match the occasion or season.
Small Batch or Large
This recipe makes a small batch of 8 cookies. If you would like to double or triple the recipe, you’ll find an easy way to do this in the recipe card below, right above the ingredient list.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between whipped shortbread cookies and butter cookies?
They are very similar; however, butter cookies are more rich and tender where whipped shortbread cookies are airy and light.
What does cornstarch do in shortbread cookies?
Cornstarch is one of my favorite secret ingredients! In these cookies, it keeps them from spreading too much, and it contributes to the melt-in-your-mouth texture that whipped shortbread is known for. Note that powdered sugar already contains cornstarch, but by increasing the amount and adding additional, we improve the texture even more!
I only have salted butter. Should I omit the salt altogether?
While I largely prefer using unsalted vs. salted butter, you can use salted if that’s all you have on hand. Just reduce the salt that is called for in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
How to Store Whipped Shortbread Cookies?
Store the cookies in an airtight food storage container. They will keep at room temperature for up to three days.
Shortbread only uses a few simple ingredients and is light and buttery to taste and are not chewy. There are no leaveners used in the dough as opposed to other cookies.
Should you chill shortbread cookie dough?
Yes, and I can’t stress this enough. Chilled cookie dough bakes so much better cookies. Shortbread is high in fat content, chilling the dough will help firming the butter up. This results in thick and puffy cookies!
What does cornstarch do in cookie dough?
- Helps the cookies to bake thick and . It reduces the risk of cookie spreading!
- Cornstarch in the cookie dough yields lighter textured cookies.
- Also cookies with cornstarch bake the softest
Why did my whipped shortbread spread?
There can be a number of reasons for shortbread to spread. If the cookie dough had too much butter and/or less flour than recipe suggest. Or if you did not chill the dough enough. Or if the oven temperature was too high. Just follow the recipe as written and your cookies will bake just perfect!
Taste and texture of these Cookies:
- Not too sweet
- Buttery and melt in your mouth soft
- Slightly crumbly in a good way (not chewy at all!)
- Light and puffy
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- 6 tablespoons butter softened
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the butter and powdered sugar for at least 4 minutes.
- Mix in the flour and cornstarch just until combined. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill the dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Cut the ball of dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball. With a fork dipped in cornstarch (to prevent the dough from sticking to the dough), press on the top of each cookie dough ball then top with sprinkles.
- Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies at 300F for 18-19 minutes, just until the cookies are set and light golden brown on the bottom. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.