Link to this page

Cherry Shortbread Recipe: Colorful, Easy Shortbread Variation

Love cherries? White chocolate? Both? This Cherry Shortbread Recipe is a lovely, colorful variation of the rich, buttery classic bars with your favorite flavors. And it’s so easy to make!

Maraschino cherries are bright red, flavored with sweetener and almond flavoring, and processed in sugar syrup. The trick to using them in this recipe is to chop them finely and then set them in a colander to drain while you mix the cookie dough. This prevents runny or lumpy shortbread and distributes the flavors through the bars.

Cherry Shortbread Recipe with The Cookie Elf

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 20-25 minutes

Makes about 5 - 6 dozen slices of shortbread, ½ inch x 1 inch


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon almond extract

½ cup (10-ounce jar) maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped 

1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips or white baking chocolate, finely chopped


1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1-2 teaspoons water or milk

Directions for this Cherry Shortbread Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl continually, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Add almond extract. Beat until combined. Gradually stir flour into creamed mixture a bit at a time until well blended, scraping the bowl constantly, until well mixed. Dough will be crumbly.
  4. Use a large spoon to fold in the chopped cherries and chopped white chocolate. (Check out food choppers here.)
  5. With floured fingertips, press dough into the prepared 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake shortbread 20-25 minutes just until the edges begin to brown. 
  6. Remove baking pan from the oven. Use a sharp knife to cut shortbread immediately. Score thin bars, ½ inch by 1 inch (or whatever size you choose.) Let shortbread cool completely in the pan.
  7. While shortbread cools, whisk together the glaze. Use a spoon to combine powdered sugar, almond extract and 1-2 teaspoons milk or water. Add additional milk or water 1 teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled bars.
  8. To remove bars from the pan, lift ends of parchment paper. Recut through scores if necessary.
  9. Store shortbread in an airtight container.

Special Baking Tips for this Cherry Shortbread Recipe

Cut shortbread as soon as you remove it from the oven, while its surface is pliable and soft. If you wait until the shortbread sets, then edges will crumble.

You can cut shortbread in ½ - 1 inch wide strips the length of the pan and then 1 -1 ½ inch bars widthwise.

Glaze is the best when it drips in a steady stream from the spoon, rather than with a sluggish or runny consistency.

See more shortbread variations on our Pinterest board.

More Easy Shortbread Recipes

Shortbread: a rich cookie with a rich history ...

Almond Shortbread Bars ...

Brown Sugar Pecan Shortbread recipe ...

Cherry Chocolate Chip Shortbread: just 7 ingredients ... 

Chocolate Chip Shortbread recipe ...

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies recipe: easy shortbread recipe ...

Maple Toffee Shortbread recipe ...

Millionaire Shortbread Recipe: Rich Without Breaking the Bank ...

Pecan Caramel Shortbread ...

Toffee Shortbread Cookies: Just 7 Ingredients!

Return from Cherry Shortbread Recipe to The Cookie Elf home

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Find A Cookie Recipe or Cookie Baking Tip

The Cookie Elf

FREE! 6 Easy Cookies Recipes for Kids and Families

Get your free copy here or when you fill in the form below.

I'm a member of Food Blogger Pro. Learn how to start and grow your food blog.