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Small Batch Shortbread Cookie Recipe

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.

A stack of three shortbread cookies drizzled with melted chocolate

This classic shortbread cookie recipe calls for just four ingredients.

It’s true! 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.

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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.

Shortbread Cookies

The perfect shortbread cookie should be 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.

A plate of three shortbread cookies drizzled with melted chocolate

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.

The shortbread cookie we love, or at least a variation of the one we know, can possibly be attributed to Mary Queen of Scots, in the 16th century. It is thought that she was very fond of thin, buttery shortbread called Petticoat Tails.

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How To Make Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies couldn’t be any easier to make.

Step 1

Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Then mix in the flour.

Pro Tip: The dough will resemble wet sand. When you begin to knead the dough, it comes together and begins 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 shortbread cookie dough balls 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.

Flattened shortbread cookie dough 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.

Three shortbread cookies on a baking sheet

After the cookies have cooled, melt a little chocolate and using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the tops of each cookie.

A plate of three shortbread cookies drizzled with melted chocolate

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How To 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.

This is truly the best shortbread cookie recipe. The buttery flavor and light texture makes them the perfect cookie to enjoy with coffee or tea. Shortbread cookies require very few ingredients and can be baked quickly. Drizzle them with melted chocolate for an added treat.

Other Small Batch Cookie Recipes

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shortbread cookies on plate

Small Batch Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling: 30 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keywords: cookies
Servings: 3 cookies
Calories: 201kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk


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


  • 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.


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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13 thoughts on “Small Batch Shortbread Cookie Recipe”

  1. 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!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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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