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Small Batch Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Buttery, small batch shortbread cookies recipe. These cookies are easy to make and only a few ingredients needed. Recipe yields 3-4 shortbread cookies.

three cookies with a chocolate drizzle sitting on a cake stand.

There’s something very special about shortbread cookies. The buttery flavor and light texture makes them the perfect cookie to enjoy with coffee or tea. An added bonus is that they require very few ingredients and can be baked rather quickly.

We’ve taken a traditional shortbread cookie recipe and scaled down the ingredients so that the recipe will yield 3 perfect cookies. The addition of melted chocolate makes them even more spectacular.

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Why This Recipe Works

This classic shortbread cookie recipe calls for just four ingredients! Only softened butter, a little bit of sugar, a touch of vanilla extract, and some all-purpose flour are all you need to make a quick batch of buttery, perfect shortbread cookies.

When you have a cooking craving, this should be the cookie recipe you go to first. In about the time it takes you to put on a pot of tea or brew a cup of coffee, these cookies can be mixed, baked, and ready to dunk.

This shortbread cookie is sinfully buttery and perfectly tender. They should definitely be considered a year-round cookie, not just a Christmas classic.

With a small batch recipe such as this one, why not enjoy a few of these spectacular cookies whenever the mood arises. Shortbread cookies are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea and are ideal for dunking in a glass of cold milk.

I love melting a small bit of chocolate and drizzling the melted chocolate over the tops of the cooled cookies. It makes them so pretty and a small batch would make a lovely gift for a friend or neighbor.

This small batch shortbread recipe will yield 3 to 4 cookies. The perfect amount for one or two people. If you want to make a few more cookies, this recipe can be doubled and will yield 6 to 8 cookies.

cookies on a white plate.

RELATED: 15 Easy Dessert Recipes For One

Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for full recipe instructions.

  • Butter: 4 tablespoons of slightly softened salted butter adds flavor and buttery goodness to each bite. You want to use softened butter in this shortbread cookie recipe because you want to cream the butter and the sugar together to create air pockets. These air pockets are what help make these cookies light and airy. Softened butter should still be cool to the touch but when you press your finger into the butter, your finger will leave an indentation.
  • Sugar: 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the butter creamed together is the base of this cookie dough. You will also use 1/4 teaspoon of additional sugar to sprinkle over the cookies before baking.
  • Vanilla: Use 1/4 teaspoon for flavor.
  • Flour: 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.
  • Chocolate: Use 2 ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate to drizzle over the tops of the cookies.

How To Make This Recipe

Shortbread cookies couldn’t be any easier to make!

Step 1

  • Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Then mix in the flour. The dough will resemble wet sand, when you begin to knead the dough, it will come together and will begin to look like typical cookie dough.
  • Knead the dough 3 to 4 times until dough forms a ball.

Step 2

  • Divide the dough into three or four pieces, roll the balls of dough between your hands, and place on a small baking sheet.
three balls of raw cookie dough on a baking sheet.

Step 3

  • Using the palm of your hand or the back of a large spoon, gently flatten each piece of cookie dough slightly.
cookie dough flattened on a baking sheet.

Step 4

  • Sprinkle a little sugar over the tops of each cookie and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes.
cookies with sugar sprinkled over the top on a silpat liner.

Step 5

  • After the cookies have cooled, melt a little chocolate and using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the tops of each cookie.
fingers holding up a shortbread cookie with a chocolate drizzle.

Expert Tips

  • Measure the flour correctly. You can properly measure flour by using a spoon to fluff the flour in the container, then spoon the flour into a measuring cup and slightly overfill. Use the back of a knife or other straight edged utensil to level the flour across the cup. Do not scoop the flour. When you scoop, the flour gets packed too tightly and you will end up with more flour than the recipe calls for.
  • Use a baking mat or parchment paper to line your cookie sheet. I don't recommend coating your baking sheet with a butter or oil spray because it creates an overly greasy sheet which will make your cookies spread.
  • Do not overbake. Remove the cookies from the oven when the edges begin to lightly brown.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Scottish Shortbread Cookies?

Shortbread is a traditional Scottish cookie made from a simple recipe which consists of butter, flour, and sugar.
Some would classify shortbread as a cookie, while others consider it a biscuit. One thing we can all agree on is that the shortbread we know today would definitely not be considered “bread”.
Shortbread may have been made as early as the 12th century. During that time, shortbread was called “biscuit bread” and was made from leftover dough from bread making. This dough was dried out and baked at a low temperature and hardened into a dry, sweet biscuit called a rusk. Eventually yeast from the original recipe was replaced with butter, which was becoming more available in Britain, Scotland, and Ireland.

How Do I Store Shortbread Cookies?

You might not have enough cookies leftover from this small batch recipe to store, but shortbread cookies can be kept at room temperature for about a week in an airtight container.
They can also be frozen, if necessary for three to four weeks

How Do I Soften Butter?

The best way to soften your butter is to put it out on the kitchen counter for a half hour before you want to use it. Another way to quickly soften butter is to put the cold butter in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. If you use this method, be sure to watch carefully - you don't want the butter to melt at all.

For this shortbread cookies recipe, I use the following products:

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If you’ve tried these shortbread cookies or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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shortbread cookies on plate

Small Batch Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keywords: cookies
Servings: 3 cookies
Calories: 201kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (1/4 cup), softened
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat lining.
  • In a small mixing bowl, beat butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla together with a hand mixer until creamy.
  • Add flour and beat until well mixed.
  • Knead mixture 3 to 4 times until dough forms a ball. Divide dough into 3 equally sized balls and place on baking sheet about 3-inches apart.
    shortbread cookies dough balls
  • Using the palm of your hand or a large spoon, gently press down on the dough so that the dough flattens to about ¼-inch thickness.
    shortbread cookies ready for oven
  • Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of sugar evenly over each of the cookies. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely for 10 minutes.
  • While the cookies are cooling, microwave chocolate in microwaveable bowl on high for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave 10 seconds more; stir. Continue heating and stirring in 10-second increments until completely melted.
  • Dip spoon into melted chocolate. Drizzle chocolate over edges and tops of cookies.
  • Allow chocolate to harden before eating, about 20 minutes.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Measure the flour correctly. You can properly measure flour by using a spoon to fluff the flour in the container, then spoon the flour into a measuring cup and slightly overfill. Use the back of a knife or other straight edged utensil to level the flour across the cup. Do not scoop the flour. When you scoop, the flour gets packed too tightly and you will end up with more flour than the recipe calls for.
  • Use a baking mat or parchment paper to line your cookie sheet. I don't recommend coating your baking sheet with a butter or oil spray because it creates an overly greasy sheet which will make your cookies spread.
  • Do not overbake. Remove the cookies from the oven when the edges begin to lightly brown.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 22mg | Vitamin A: 465IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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14 thoughts on “Small Batch Shortbread Cookie Recipe”

  1. 4 stars
    These cookies are fantastic, not as firm as I would have hoped, but that was my fault.
    I used 1 Tablespoon butter and 3 tablespoons coconut oil. I used 2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar and 1 Tablespoon splenda. Next time, I will use only one Tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon splenda. I also substituted cassava flour in place of the all purpose.
    I will definitely try these again.

  2. I exactly doubled everything and made a few extra, came out perfect. Thanks a lot for the wonderful recipe, this satisfies both sets of my plain vanilla and chocolate cookie lovers in my family 🙂
    Great tasting cookies baked with such simple ingredients, done in a flash!!

  3. 5 stars
    I love your small batch cookie recipes! With just me and my husband, we don’t need a bunch of cookies! These are perfect for us!

    1. 5 stars
      I was looking for some simple cookies to make with my kids and it looked like these were their favorite cookies yet! I love how it made a small batch, making it perfect to enjoy without eating too much!!

    1. Hi Joy, I’ve never used powdered sugar before in this recipe so please let me know how they turn out, I’d love to know.

  4. Can’t wait to try these! I only keep chocolate chips in the cupboard – those would work as well for the drizzle, wouldn’t they? I’d think so, not only chocolate but other flavors as well (peanut butter, etc.) Or maybe a powdered sugar glaze that could be flavored with whatever you like. The possibilities are endless! I’m going to make some as soon as I finish typing – LOL…Thanks for another great recipe Joanie!

    1. Yes, chocolate chips work very well and you’re right, so many options. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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