3-Ingredient Butter Cookies or Shortbread Cookies

Lately, I’ve been on a shortbread & butter cookie kick. They’re so simple and versatile! They’re not overly sweet, and you can top them with pretty much whatever you want!

These cookies are great for rolling and cookie cutters, roll-n-slice, or even just pressing them with your hand (my main method, because I’m impatient and just want to eat cookies!)

The recipes for both are pretty much the same and are easy to scale to accommodate how many cookies you need. I live alone and don’t have friends who come over so I tend to half the batch with ease.

This basic recipe can give rise to so many variants..Let your tastebuds take over your imagination! See my favorite shortbread or butter cookie variants here! Give them a try and let me know what you think 🙂

The difference between the two is the type of sugar used.

Choose Cookie Type and Consistency

Chewier butter cookie – Use GRANULATED sugar
Crumblier, buttery shortbread cookie – Use POWDERED/CONFECTIONER’S sugar


2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar of choice (chosen above)
2 cups flour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (Optional, but recommended)
1/2 tsp salt (Optional, but recommended)

Making the Dough

  1. To begin, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract and salt
  4. Mix in the flour. I find that it’s easier to mix in the flour by the 1/4 cup or so
  5. Pack and knead the mixture with your hands or use something like a smooth, sturdy cup to really smash it together to form dough

*NOTE* Roll the dough into a tube shape now if you plan to use the roll-n-slice method below!

Chill the dough for about 30min if you have the time. This step isn’t necessary, but it helps stiffen the dough and bring a little more flavor.

Shape the Cookies

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or cover it with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets (my best friend)

Here, you have a few options.

Cookie Cutters

  1. Flour a flat surface and rolling pin
  2. Take a clump of dough about the size of your fist
  3. Roll it out on your floured surface, sprinkling flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is about 1/4″ high
  4. Tetris your cookie cutters to your heart’s desire!
  5. Use a spatula to carefully transfer your cut cookie shapes to the pan
  6. Repeat with the excess and remaining dough

Roll – N – Slice

This option works best combined with the refrigeration.

  1. Using all of the dough, use your hands to roll it into a thick tube-like thing so that the diameter is the size you want your cookies to be. About 2″ in diameter is a good size.
  2. Place onto a cutting board or plate and cover
  3. Refrigerate for about 30min
  4. Cut 1/4″ slices from the tube and place onto the pan

Hand Pressed

I think this is the easiest method.. It also works with a flat-bottom glass, but it tends to stick more than by hand.

  1. Take a small bit of dough and roll it into a 1″ ball with your hands
  2. Place it on the pan and flatten it with your palm until it’s about 1/4″ tall
  3. Make sure that the height is even across the whole cookie
  4. Repeat until the pan is full!


Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 min or until the outsides begin to darken

Let the cookies cool and set before attempting to eat.


Let cool and enjoy with milk, tea, hot chocolate, or whatever you want!

Don’t forget to share 🙂 Because sharing is caring!

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