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Shortbread Sprinkle Cookies

Shortbread Sprinkle Cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday cookie tray! These buttery shortbread cookies are a take on a traditional whipped shortbread recipe, topped with sprinkles before baking gently in the oven.

A plate of shortbread cookies with sprinkles.

This classic holiday cookie bakes up soft, tender, melt in your mouth cookies, making them perfect addition to a cookie exchange or cookie trays.

Not only are these Christmas cookies a delight to make, they are one of my favorite cookies to prep and freeze for later!

What are whipped shortbread cookies?

Shortbread has a rich, buttery flavor that kind of melts in your mouth. Equally delicious are apple crumble bars with shortbread crust, but there’s just something about the simplicity of these cookies.

They’re a decadent cookies perfect for this time of year. With the addition of rainbow colored sprinkles, everyone loves them.

The reason I like this particular recipe is that there’s no cookie cutters required and no fancy technique in rolling of the dough. It’s a scoop and drop cookie which is how I roll.

Ingredients

I love this recipe because it uses simple ingredients – nothing fancy required.

Ingredients in shortbread cookies.
  • Salted Butter – you have to use real butter here, margarine won’t do for this recipe. If you have unsalted butter, you can add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar – also known as confectioners’ sugar. It’s the fluffy white stuff.
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Corn starch – the addition of cornstarch makes these extra light and fluffy and is one of my secret ingredients.
  • Vanilla Extract – look for pure vanilla extract at the store or make your own.
  • Almond Extract
  • Sprinkles – you can add a festive sprinkles to any holiday with this fun addition! Go red and green for the holiday season, or use pastels for spring time. The color of the sprinkles is totally up to you!

How to make sprinkle shortbread cookies

Before starting, be sure you have everything ready to go and your oven preheated. This cookie recipe requires you to keep things moving along.

Step 1. Cream the butter and powdered sugar in an electric mixer.

Step 2. Add in the flour, cornstarch and extracts. Give the bowl a scrape to make sure everything is incorporated.

Butter, cornstarch, flour and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.

Step 3. Dust your hands lightly with some cornstarch to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Use a cookie scoop and lightly roll into a ball.

Shortbread cookie dough in balls on a cookie sheet.

Dip the tines of a fork into the cornstarch and press the cookie flat (ish).

A tray of whipped shortbread cookies flatted by tines of a fork.

Step 4. Top with sprinkles of your choice.

Sprinkle topped shortbread cookies before baking.

Step 5. Bake until the edges just start to turn golden. Let rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Fun tip: The cooling rack is actually very important! It allows the air to circulate to the bottom of the cookies which keeps them tender and crisp instead of mushy.

Sprinkle topped shortbread cookies on a cooling rack.

As I said before, you do need move a little quickly with this cookie batter. Because of the high butter content, the cookies will spread more if the batter gets too warm.

Variations

Add lemon zest or orange zest. Just a tablespoon or so will do!

Instead of topping with sprinkles, you can frost them instead. These frosted sugar cookie bars have a great icing recipe.

FAQS

How should I store these shortbread cookies?

Cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Can you freeze these cookies?

This cookie dough actually freezes well. Make up a batch and wrap in cling wrap and place in a freezer safe container. Freezer for up to 6 months.

Is it ok to use unsalted butter?

Definitely. If using unsalted butter, add a ½ teaspoon of salt to the recipe.

Can I use margarine instead of butter?

I would not recommend it. Shortbread cookies have so few ingredients, that the quality of the butter in particular in absolutely important. Only use a high quality butter.

Why do you put cornstarch in shortbread cookies?

Cornstarch adds a softness to the baked goods it is added to. These shortbread cookies are so super soft and delicious and it’s due to the high quality butter and the cornstarch added.

My shortbread cookies melted too much, what happened?

It’s likely your dough was too warm before baking. Next time place the dough into the refrigerator for 20 minutes before the chilled dough goes in the oven.

No Roll Sugar Cookies

Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies

Potato Chip Cookies

If you make these sprinkle shortbread cookies, leave a recipe review or rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

made with love, Deanne
A plate of shortbread cookies with sprinkles.
Yield: 18 cookies

Shortbread Sprinkle Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Sit Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Shortbread Sprinkle Cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday cookie tray! These buttery shortbread cookies are a take on a traditional whipped shortbread recipe, topped with sprinkles before baking gently in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch + more for dusting hands
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until it's light and fluffy. Scape down the sides of the bowl. You can use an electric hand mixer and a large bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer.
  3. Add in the flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, vanilla extract and almond extract on low speed. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Dust your hands lightly with some cornstarch to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, scoop about one tablespoon of the shortbread dough into your hands and roll into a ball.
  6. Place the cookie dough ball onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. Dip a fork into extra cornstarch and lightly press the tines of a fork on top of the cookie ball. Top with sprinkles of your choice.
  8. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes in the middle of the oven, removing before they begin to brown.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack after about 5 minutes to cool completely.

Notes

If using unsalted butter, add a ½ teaspoon of salt to the recipe when you cream the butter.

This cookie dough actually freezes well. Make up a batch of the cookie dough and wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe container. Freezer for up to 6 months.

Cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

My shortbread cookies melted too much, what happened?

It’s likely your dough was too warm before baking. Next time place the dough into the refrigerator for 20 minutes before the chilled dough goes in the oven.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

18

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 148Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 82mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

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About The Author: Even though on the go meals are now Deanne's specialty, she didn't take a direct path to get there! Go here to read her story,"How I Finally Came Home". You can see Deanne's "Table to Tailgate Cookbook and custom recipe cards here".

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