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Irish Shortbread Cookies: An Irish Tea Cookies Variation

This Irish Shortbread Cookies recipe combines the rich, buttery texture of classic shortbread with a sugar topping into a bar cookie variation of traditional Irish butter cookies.

The recipe itself mimics the classic shortbread ingredient ratio of one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts white flour – with slight adjustments.

The ingredient amounts are slightly different than in the straight-up shortbread formula. And while Irish butter (with higher fat content than U.S. butters and milk from exclusively grass-fed Irish cows) is the star ingredient in Irish butter cookies, you can use any type of butter in this recipe. Finally, the cookies are baked as a shortbread and cut into fingers.

Today in Ireland and the other British Isles, this Irish tea cookies variation goes well during afternoon tea as part of a significant meal or a mere break in the day.

But the cookies are a delicious -- and easy -- treat everywhere else in the world, too. These thick shortbread cookies are rich, flaky, and luscious anytime.

Irish Shortbread Cookies from The Cookie Elf

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 35-40 minutes

Cooling time: 15 minutes

Makes about 3 dozen slices of shortbread, ¾ inch x 1 ½ inch


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cornstarch

Powdered sugar, colored sugar or nonpareils

Directions for Irish Shortbread Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Set aside an 11 x 7 baking pan. You need not grease the pan or line it with foil.

  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. Gradually stir in flour and cornstarch into creamed mixture a bit at a time until the mixture is well-blended, scraping the bowl constantly. Dough will be crumbly.

  4. Pour dough into ungreased baking pan. Shake pan back and forth until dough crumbs are distributed evenly in pan. Then press dough firmly into place. Prick the cookie surface with a fork. Sprinkle the surface with powdered sugar, colored sugar, or nonpareils – your choice.

  5. Bake cookies for 35-40 minutes just until the edges begin to brown. If the surface browns too quickly, cover the pan with aluminum foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

  6. Remove baking pan from the oven. Cool cookies in a pan for 15 minutes.

  7. Use a sharp knife to slice cookies into thin bars, ¾ inch by 1 ½ inches.

  8. Let shortbread cool completely. Use a spatula to remove bars from the pan.

  9. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Special Baking Tips For Irish Shortbread Cookies

  • Be sure to use butter (not margarine). Butter adds richness to the flavor and texture so typical to shortbread.

  • If you would like your Irish Shortbread Cookies to be smooth on top, follow the steps listed above but then use an angled spatula to press down surface of the cookies. The spatula will create an even surface, rather than leaving bumps from your fingertips.

Get more shortbread inspiration on our Shortbread Pinterest board.

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