Bien Cuit Shortbread Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Food52



77 Ratings

  • Prep time 10 hours 20 minutes
  • Makes 3 dozen cookies

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Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The World's Best Shortbread Is No Longer Sold—but We Got the Recipe. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 302 gramsunsalted butter
  • 93 gramsconfectioners' sugar
  • 3.5 gramskosher salt
  • 302 gramsall-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cupregular or raw sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Cut the cold butter and reserve at room temperature to temper slightly. Line a 13x9-inch baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and flour in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix for a few seconds to combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until a smooth dough is formed and butter is fully incorporated. At first, the dough will look extremely flaky and dry; let it keep mixing and it will eventually come together into a dough.
  4. Dump the dough into the baking sheet ordish and spread it evenly to the corners. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  5. The next day, heat the oven to 300°F. Dock the dough every inch or so with a fork. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown, 60-75 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Turn the shortbread out onto a cutting board, and slice into 4-inch x ¾-inch slices. Sprinkle with raw sugar and transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.


  • Cookie
  • American
  • Butter
  • Bake
  • Chill
  • Dessert

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125 Reviews

Jennifer March 20, 2024

Okay - I put my parchment paper in my baking dish. How are you able to smooth the dough? I used fingers and left finger prints. Tried rolling a glass across it, left tire tracks. My rolling pin is too long for my 13 x 9 pan. Guess I should have used a cookie sheet?

roseann S. October 28, 2023

I measured grams and mixed with paddle then placed the dough as describe with a chilling. When baked and removed from pan I could not cut the bars as each cut broke the bar. Though really delicious I had nothing but small pieces to eat. What went wrong???

yona October 30, 2023

Maybe baked them too long? Or try cutting them before they cool completely, even almost right out of the oven. You might also try scoring the sheet of dough before placing it in the oven. Ashley V's comment below might be helpful. I agree with using a good, high-fat butter.

Love this recipe, used the food processor and pulsed until just combined, assembled the dough at lunchtime and chilled for about 5 hours before baking, came out fantastic, will make again!

Catherine P. October 9, 2023

Love love love this recipe. I just piled it all into the processor, blitzed until it came together, and followed the rest of the recipe after that. Unfortunately for my waistline , very delicious!

Ma_Faldine September 24, 2023

I never made this shortbread simply because the recipe is metric and I didn't feel like converting it. Ins read, I made Ted Lasso's Shortbread. It's easy and the delicious!

lissness September 24, 2023

I adore these biscuits, as many of my unwitting guinea pigs do, but I do agree the recipe needs minor adjustments. I used a non-stick 13x9 tin and 45 minutes is ample time at the temperature provided. A dough scraper is your best friend here, it makes for a perfectly spread tin. I followed the advice of previous commenters and combined a sprinkle of both Maldon salt and turbinado sugar for extra deliciousness. Walker's could never.

Dana July 19, 2023

Turned out lovely, though I put chopped crystallized ginger in one half of dough and mini semi sweet chips and chopped tart cherries ( dried) in the other half. Next time I might try tart cherries with dried apricot and almonds as I have when making biscotti.

ChristineSoto May 20, 2023

update on my post of May 17, 2023. When first out of the oven and cooled a bit, they were a bit chewy. After they cooled completely, they hardened up to the extent that they were impossible to bite into. I thought i followed the recipe exactly, and I'm a pretty good home baker, but what i did wrong eludes me. Any thoughts?

Catherine P. October 9, 2023

Oh… mine didnt harden up like that at all, in fact I was worried they were going to be too crumbly, but it was perfect. The best I have eaten actually. Not sure what happened to you. Because I put everything into the processor and blitzed, I thought I was going to overwork the dough. But it was perfect.

ChristineSoto May 17, 2023

i made these for the first time today. The dough buckled a bit as it cooked, leaving a bumpy top, not the smooth looking tops of the photos with the recipe. So i wondered, after i turned it out onto a board, was i supposed to sprinkle the sugar on the bottom of the dough? Otherwise, i found the shortbread a bit chewy, with a delightful flavor.

yona April 25, 2023

THESE. ARE. AWESOME! But I must say, I got a bit scared after I put the butter in to the mixer. I'm a good cook, but a novice baker, so I'm not familiar yet with the way things work...the chemistry of baking. I followed the instructions to a "t," only I didn't have any unsalted butter, so I just used less salt. I mixed the dry ingredients, then began to add the cubed butter. I stood there and waited for it all to form a dough...and waited...and waited. It blended nicely, but never went beyond the "breadcrumb" stage. So I logged in and began to write a question to get some help; perhaps I got the measurements wrong. I have a scale, so the unit wasn't a problem. About halfway through my post, I heard the mixer begin to "work" harder (like it does when a dough begins to form). It went from "breadcrumbs" to a doughball in literally seconds! I was so startled, but also very pleased! My lesson? Have some patience. YouTube shorts are called "shorts" for a reason; they're deceptive!
Next time I make them, I'm going to add a little anise seed and sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon, like biscochitos!

LisaD March 26, 2023

I made these and they are delicious! Although, it is difficult to push the dough into a 13 x 9 sheet pan, so I rolled it out to make it easier and more even. It took around 45 minutes to bake, and I let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Even though I was very gentle and cautious about removing it from the pan, the bars did crack. Cutting them was also a bit of a challenge. I feel like when I make them again, I would cool them in the fridge, and then cut them. I think they would be less crumbly, and it would be easier all around. The finished product is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I chose to finish them with Fleur de sel, and that to me, was the perfect choice.

Ashley V. March 16, 2023

Oh. My. STARS this recipe is amazing. I’ve made 4 batches in 3 weeks, and here’s what I’ve discovered:

1) DO use Kerrygold or similar (one of the gatherings I brought these to dubbed them “butter sticks” because you can TELL when the good stuff is used.). Unless you’re watching your salt intake, DO use salted butter
2) another comment suggested using a second piece of parchment to press the dough into the pan. Yes. Do this.
3) no need to dock the dough, I have yet to have it puff up while baking, even when I forgot, 2 batches in a row. Now I skip it.
4) DO give the cookies 5-7 minutes to cool in the pan before transferring, they are very delicate while warm
5) transfer from pan to cutting surface like it’s an upside down cake - cutting board over pan, and invert. Carefully remove pan, and voila!
6) DO add flaky salt once transferred to cutting surface and while still as warm as possible. The salt puts them over the top in the most mysteriously delicate way possible
7) DO slice while still warm. But be delicate.
8) DO NOT let the batch size dissuade you from making them, even if you’re a party of one. The recipe halves beautifully (yet another reason to use metric!), and the biscuits keep for a week - if they last that long.

Barbara B. March 14, 2023

Just made them. These are so delicious! Thank you!

[emailprotected] March 12, 2023

Thank-you for the metric weight measurements! I have shifted my baking and bread making to weighing out the flour and butter (much more consistent than archaic imperial or cups) but there are maddeningly few recipes that come in weights. I also love the King Arthur flour recipes for this reason.

anniette April 3, 2023

I seek out the British versions of cookbooks for this reason: they always include easy metric measurements.

Robert F. March 12, 2023

Why or why can you not include measurements that do not require the cook to run to the nearest Sur La Table and buy a weighing scale? They are called "cups" and "tablespoons" and so on, and have been used in every cook book since Adam asked Eve to write down her recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Big disappointment, and egotistical to boot

Ashley V. March 16, 2023

Talk about egotistical, when it’s widely accepted that metric measurements are much more accurate than cups, tablespoons, etc. You can get an inexpensive scale on Amazon, and it’s not as if they take up much space.

Sara G. April 14, 2023

Baking is best done by weight. An inexpensive little digital scale is so handy to have in the kitchen. Not sure why you think only upscale shops sell these - our local supermarket chain sells one for under $20

Baker23 April 25, 2023

I bought a great small scale on Amazon for $11. My last scale (Oxo- cost about $25) lasted for over 20 years.

kerryn April 25, 2023

I live near the water (more humidity) and since I’ve started using metric to weigh my dry ingredients, everything turns out better. I didn’t believe it until I tried it!

stevesmycat June 15, 2023

Food scales are $10 on Amazon and worth the minimal investment. Imperial measurements don't work as well when baking.

courtrussell July 19, 2023

🤦🏻‍♀️ Talk about egotistical assuming that the American way of doing it is the “right” way when it’s definitely an inferior way.

Rachel R. November 4, 2023

There are so many things wrong with this comment that I am not sure where to begin. Buy a damn scale.

Lora S. March 9, 2023

Not what I expected, nor my favorite style of shortbread. Made as written plus added 1 t vanilla. In my opinion, the texture is too flaky, and too dry despite the butter residue on my fingers. I had expected more of a melt-away style shortbread. I was dubious about the application of turbinado AFTER baking and was right, it just falls off. IMO, would be better sprinkled on top before baking, and just lift out the shortbread with the parchment sling, rather than turn out onto a board. I can certainly understand why this would appeal to many, it's just not for me. I'm glad the bakery was kind enough to share their recipe, and glad I tried it.

Ma_Faldine March 7, 2023

Is this recipe available in standard, non-metric measurements? I tried looking at a conversion chart, but it is still not that easy to decipher.

Sherry W. March 20, 2023

Please Ma_Faldine, you can get a scale for $10-$15 dollars and you will be amazed at how often you will use it.

Ma_Faldine March 22, 2023

Thank you. Julia Child's "The French Chef Cookbook" has a conversion chart.

soylette March 3, 2023

I loved this! I used quarter sheet pan and used a dough scraper to flatten out the top of my dough. I also added some anise seeds, vanilla bean scrapings and a bit of lemon zest to mine. So good! Also, I'm American, but I definitely prefer and appreciated the grams measurements (so I can just tare the bowl each time I add an ingredient instead of having to scoop and measure, bc I'm lazy that way)

Terry March 4, 2023

With the quarter sheet pan, how long did you bake your shortbread?

Lora S. March 9, 2023

I used the same pan, baked 58 minutes and was quite golden.

Babette's S. March 2, 2023

Too bad only metric measurement is provided. Come on Food52, you have the staff of testers. Have someone convert to USCS (US Imperial) & then test the recipe for accuracy, then edit this shortbread recipe to show both metric & USCS (US Imperial). Thanks.

Myron1101 March 4, 2023

Maybe Americans should learn the metric system since the whole world uses it

holly D. March 6, 2023

the only volume measurement given is in USCS - 1/8 of a cup.

Since the rest of the measurements for this recipe are weights not volume measurements, it should be easier and more accurate for anybody with a scale to make this recipe no matter where they live. I think most kitchen scales easily measure grams or ounces. This has been true of the only kitchen scales I have used, anyway. So, if you prefer to look at the measurements in ounces simply weigh it in grams and then press the button on your scale to change it to ounces.

B.Conelley February 6, 2024

A note to all Imperial measurement freaks: So you have 12 fingers and toes? The metric system is based on groups of 10 (10 fingers and toes), as Is the entire world's system for all measurements. That is unless you are using hexadecimal systems or base 2 (think techies - computers). Use of the metric system has nothing to do with ego. It has everything to do with a system that is used by the entire planet and and it is also about accuracy and simplicity. Again, think 10 fingers and toes. Although, I do believe the Brits use pounds to weigh people.

Joan S. March 9, 2022

So glad you posted this recipe. Looking forward to making it tonight!

Bien Cuit Shortbread Recipe on Food52 (2024)


What is the secret to making good shortbread? ›

Tips To Make the Best Shortbread Cookies
  • Choose High Quality Butter. No matter what brand of butter you buy, if it's real butter, you can rest assured that it's the best. ...
  • Keep Ingredients Simple. ...
  • Add Flavor. ...
  • Don't Overwork. ...
  • Shape Dough. ...
  • Chill Before Baking. ...
  • Bake Until Golden. ...
  • Add Finishing Touches.

What are common mistakes when making shortbread? ›

The most common mistakes when making shortbread are over-working the dough, and incorporating too much flour. The less you work the dough, the more crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth your shortbread cookies will be.

What is the best brand of butter for shortbread cookies? ›

Roll or pat the dough onto a cookie sheet so that it's 3/4″ thick. Bake at 300F for about 1 hour until pale brown. While still warm, cut into 3/4″ x 2″ fingers. The best brand in my neck of the woods is Kerry Gold, which has a higher percentage of butterfat and richer flavor than most other brands.

Should you chill shortbread before baking? ›

After shaping the cookies, don't rush to the oven! Instead, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so (overnight is OK, too). A short stay in the fridge will firm up the cookies and solidify the butter. This will help keep them from spreading too much.

What is the difference between shortbread and Scottish shortbread? ›

Traditional Scottish shortbread is a simple recipe made with sugar, butter, flour, and salt. Other shortbread styles will include leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda, which makes them crisp instead of crumbly like traditional Scottish shortbread.

What's the difference between Irish shortbread and Scottish shortbread? ›

Irish Shortbread Is Distinct From Scottish Shortbread

As cornstarch is a potent thickener relative to flour, this creates a denser cookie. Whichever version of shortbread you prefer, though, the original -- which is often just called "shortbread" -- came from Scotland.

What happens if you don't poke holes in shortbread? ›

Piercing the shortbread with a fork is not only for decoration, but it's meant for more even baking. Poking holes in the shortbread allows the heat to penetrate the cookie, hence more even baking. Notice I'm using powdered sugar here.

Should butter be cold for shortbread? ›

Should butter be cold or room temperature for making shortbread? Always start with cold butter straight from the refrigerator. This will keep the dough from warming up, making it greasy and difficult to roll out.

What are the disadvantages of shortbread? ›

Sugar provides a fast source of energy. There are rarely any artificial additives. Cons: Shortbread is a weight watcher's nightmare because it is extremely high in saturated fat and calories.

What is the most famous shortbread? ›

Walkers is the granddad of shortbread. It's so famous, even the Queen appointed it! I see these familiar plaid boxes everywhere during the holidays.

What happens if you add too much butter to shortbread cookies? ›

Butter is an emulsifier and it makes cookies tender. It also adds in the crispy-around-the-edges element. Adding too much butter can cause the cookies to be flat and greasy. Adding too little butter can cause the cookies to be tough and crumbly.

Is Land O Lakes butter good for baking? ›

High-fat butter softens and melts faster, which can lead to flat, dense baked goods. In conclusion: "Land O'Lakes has a balanced milk solid to butterfat ratio that makes for superior flavor and consistency in the final product," says former Test Kitchen Director Robby Melvin.

Why do you put an egg in shortbread? ›

Adding hard-boiled egg yolks to a basic shortbread recipe makes cookies more tender with the perfect buttery-soft texture. The addition is a sure-fire way to improve the texture of your cookies, but perhaps not always worth the extra time and effort.

Why do shortbreads poke holes? ›

The word "bread" comes from "biscuit bread" which was made from leftover bread dough that was sweetened and dried out in the oven to make biscuits. Why do you poke holes in shortbread? The holes allow the moisture to escape during baking and more even heat distribution. This helps dry out and crisp up the cookies.

Why do you put cornstarch in shortbread cookies? ›

Cornstarch provides the shortbread with structure, but its biggest job is keeping the cookies extra soft, tender, and light. I love adding a small amount to chocolate chip cookies too. Optional Coarse Sugar Topping: For an optional sparkly crunch on your shortbread wedges, add a sprinkle of coarse sugar before baking.

What does adding cornstarch to shortbread do? ›

A cornstarch shortbread cookie is a shortbread cookie that contains cornstarch along with all-purpose flour in the cookie dough. The cornstarch is used to give these buttery treats a crispy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. It also helps prevent the cookies from becoming too crumbly and breaking apart.

Should shortbread be crunchy or soft? ›

Shortbread should always have a tender, melting texture, but be slightly crisp when you bite into it. It should not generally be damp or wet underneath. A classic shortbread recipe will also only have flour, butter and sugar as the ingredients (in a 3:2:1 ratio) and not egg, which could lead to excess moisture.

Should butter be hard or soft for shortbread? ›

Just make sure you are using soft, room temperature butter and you are measuring your flour correctly! The finished shortbread dough will be a crumbly texture, but when you start to form it together with your hands, it should come together just fine. (The heat of your hands will help with this!)

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