With only six ingredients (plus sprinkles, of course), these Whipped Shortbread Cookies may be the easiest recipe you’ll make this holiday season. They take less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish–NO chilling required! Recipe also includes a how-to video tutorial.
Whipped Shortbread: The Easiest Holiday Cookie
Today I’m sharing a new addition to my collection of Christmas cookie recipes, and I think you’re really going to like this one! These whipped shortbread cookies are simple and quick, use less than 10 ingredients and there’s no chilling required!
These cookies have a classic, buttery flavor that’s reminiscent of my butter cookies, only lighter. They’re great served alone or with a mug of hot cocoa, and they’re sure to stand out in any cookie exchange. They’re perfect for the upcoming holidays (and simpler than classic sugar cookies) but really, they’re delicious any time of year.
You may be familiar with my standard shortbread cookies; even though they share a name, these whipped shortbread cookies are more airy. Thanks to some extra corn starch, they truly melt in your mouth!
Let’s get started!
What You Need
Since this recipe has so few ingredients, the quality of each one is particularly important. Keep this in mind as you gather your ingredients. Here’s what you need!
- Butter. While standard butter will work fine, this is a recipe where European butter will really shine (if you can find it).
- Powdered sugar. Using powdered instead of granulated sugar contributes to the airy, melt-in-your mouth consistency of these cookies.
- Vanilla. This is the time to use your good vanilla extract, if you have some.
- Salt. Use plain table salt–no need to get fancy here!
- Flour. Make sure to measure your flour properly and use a kitchen scale if you have one, because it’s easy to accidentally use too much flour. Too much flour will make the dough dry, crumbly, and difficult to work with.
- Cornstarch. Powdered sugar already contains cornstarch, but we up the ante by using a bit more to give these cookies an even better, more melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Sprinkles. For decoration, you can use nonpareils, jimmies, or colored sanding sugar. Or you can skip them entirely! The sprinkles make these easily customizable for whatever holiday or event you happen to be celebrating!
SAM’S TIP: Almond extract would also taste lovely in these cookies! You could substitute some of the vanilla (I’d start with just ¼ teaspoon since it’s quite potent, adding more according to your taste preference) for a twist on the classic whipped shortbread flavor.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- Beat together butter and sugar for several minutes until you have a light, airy, pale yellow and fluffy mixture. A stand mixer is great for this, if you have one!
- Stir in vanilla and salt then gradually add flour and cornstarch with mixer on low-speed.
- Scoop dough into balls and roll each briefly between your palms to make a smooth ball. into before placing on your prepared sheet about 1-2 inches apart.
- Use a fork to gently flatten each cookie (sort of like a peanut butter cookie, but we’re only using our fork one way instead of making a crosshatch pattern). Top with sprinkles (mandatory) and bake for 12 minutes. Don’t over-bake these cookies or they’ll be dry and crumbly.
SAM’S TIP: Make sure you whip your butter and sugar really, REALLY well. I like to use a stand mixer for this step, because it gets the job done much faster (just make sure to scrape sides and bottom of the bowl periodically!). Once I get to the point of adding the flour, I like to be much more gentle with the dough to avoid overdoing it, which can not only make the cookies a bit tough, but it can also make the dough greasy and difficult to work with.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are very similar; however, butter cookies are more rich and tender where whipped shortbread cookies are airy and light.
Cornstarch is one of my favorite secret ingredients! In these cookies, it keeps them from spreading too much, and it contributes to the melt-in-your-mouth texture that whipped shortbread is known for. Note that powdered sugar already contains cornstarch, but by increasing the amount and adding additional, we improve the texture even more!
While I largely prefer using unsalted vs. salted butter, you can use salted if that’s all you have on hand. Just reduce the salt that is called for in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
More Recipes You Might Like
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- Preheat oven to 325F (165C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer) and beat on medium-high speed (use high speed if using a hand mixer) until lightened in color, fluffy, and creamy. This will take at least 5 minutes with a stand mixer and possibly a bit longer if using a hand mixer. If needed, pause occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the butter and sugar are being well creamed.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter¹, ¾ cup (90 g) powdered sugar
- Add vanilla extract and salt and stir until combined.1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¾ teaspoon table salt
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch.2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons (17 g) cornstarch
- Turn mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add flour, stirring until just combined.
- Scoop dough into tablespoon-sized scoops and briefly roll between your palms to make smooth balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) apart.
- Use a fork to gently, slightly flatten each cookie. If the cookie dough is sticking to the tines of the fork, dip the fork in a bit of powdered sugar first to prevent sticking.
- Sprinkle cookies with nonpareils, jimmies, or sugar, if desired.Nonpareils
- Transfer to 325F (165C) oven and bake for 12 minutes. Cookies will still be light in color when finished baking. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet before removing.
¹ButterButter is the most important ingredient in your whipped shortbread and the better quality you use, the better your cookies will taste. If you can get your hands on European butter, I recommend using that for this recipe (though they’ll still be delicious if you can’t!). The butter should be softened, but not so warm that it appears melty or oily.
Salted ButterIf using salted butter, reduce the salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.