These 4 ingredient shortbread cookies are light as air and super buttery. They are made with 4 simple pantry staple ingredients and topped with festive sprinkles. These cookies are a family favourite recipe that everyone loves and I’m sure you will, too!
When I think of Christmas cookies, these 4 ingredient shortbread cookies are the first to come to mind. These are my husbands favourite cookie of all time, and I’ve been known to stock a batch in the freezer year-round. They are light as air and super buttery without being overly sweet. These shortbread are a classic cookie, just like the shortbread Grandma used to make.
Tips for Making 4 Ingredient Shortbread
You’d be hard pressed to find an easier cookie than these. They’re made with cornstarch, confectioners (icing) sugar, flour and butter. These 4 simple ingredients create a tender and light cookie that are irresistible. Here are some tips for success:
- You’ll see lots of recipes out there for whipped shortbread with cornstarch. Whipping the butter is not necessary. I’ve found that there’s hardly any difference between whipping and not whipping, so I don’t bother.
- Use salted butter. When it comes to these shortbread cookies (or cookies in general, honestly), I always use salted butter. If you use unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the recipe to compensate.
- Making shortbread cookies with cornstarch is necessary for a tender and delicate cookie. Next time you make chocolate chip cookies, I suggest you try adding 1 Tbsp of cornstarch to the batch to help keep them extra soft and tender.
- Don’t over mix the dough. Mix until it’s just perfectly formed a cohesive dough which will keep the final cookie tender.
- Bake these until juuuust before they start to brown. You don’t want the edges to be noticeably brown. In my oven, the perfect time is 15 minutes.
These shortbread cookies with cornstarch are the perfect holiday treat. They make a great addition to your cookie trays and are always popular at bake sales because they’re perfectly buttery and slightly sweet. The addition of fun and festive sprinkles puts them over the top! My mother in law uses red and green coloured sugars exclusively as her sprinkles, but I tend to get creative. I love using multicolour nonpareils, snowflakes and red and green holly sprinkles.
Make Ahead Instructions
These cookies freeze incredibly well. To freeze the cookies once baked, make sure they’re completely cool. Then, place them into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
Looking for more Holiday cookie recipes?
- Peppermint Mocha Shortbread Cookies
- Espresso Shortbread
- Chocolate chunk Pretzel Cookies
- Cranberry Bliss Cookies
4 Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup salted butter at room temperature
- sprinkles of your choice optional
- Preheat oven to 325 °F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together cornstarch and confectioners sugar. Whisk in the flour until well combined.
- Using a two forks or rubber spatula, mix in the butter until a soft dough is formed.
- Using a 1 Tbsp scoop, measure out dough into balls. Roll between hands to create smooth, round balls. Place on a baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.
- Lightly flatten with the palm of your hand. Using the tines of a fork, gently press the cookies down further.
- Add sprinkles to the tops of each cookie.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are just barely starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cook on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cook completely.
Nutritional calculation was provided by WP Recipe Maker and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator
- These cookies freeze incredibly well. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight bag in the freeze for up to 3-months
I can’t believe that these cookies are only made with 4 ingredients!! I am definitely going to be making this a lot over the holidays, thanks so much for the recipe 🙂
These mouth melting cookies look so perfect and I love the colorful toppings too. They are so quick and easy to make too.
I love how simple and easy these shortbread cookies are to make. The perfect cookie for even the newest baker to make this holiday season.
Shortbread cookies are an absolute favorite go to cookie for me, simple and quick and great flavor too.
this is the perfect shortbread recipe – simple and delicious – just like my grandmother used make.
This is such a dumb question…but where did you find all the cute holiday sprinkles, snowflakes, etc for decorating? The grocery stores seem to have the same basics all year round. Thanks!
Hi Bridget, I mostly get mine at Bulk Barn. They always have a good selection. Winner/Home Sense also sells cute sprinkles from time to time. I usually keep an eye out for the Sweetapolita ones at both Bulk Barn and Winners. And I order online from Sweetapolita on occasion.
susan | the wimpy vegetarian
Big YAY for 4 ingredients!! I have a ton of sprinkles I’m wanting to use!
I can’t believe how easy these cookies are to make! Definitely making them for my work cookie exchange.
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
It’s fate! I was looking for a quick and easy shortbread cookie and here yours is! These are crazy good and perfect with tea!
These shortbread cookies are addicting. I can’t quit eating them. They turn out so cute with the sprinkles.
I absolutely love these cookies, and your tip about adding cornstarch is brilliant! Cornstarch makes cookies pliable and delicious, and these Christmas cookies look like just a ticket to get my son to eat his veggies
I’ve been making these cookies for 50 years but this year the dough would not become smooth enough to roll easily and were a little on the crumbly side. I threw out the first batch and made a second. Although a little smoother but still not easy to roll and dough didn’t have that buttery shortbread taste. I double checked ingredients before adding. Any thoughts anyone, help, I’m so disappointed.
Hi Rozanne, I’ve never used this recipe to make rolled cookies before. It’s such a soft dough that it’s best if rolled into balls. I did a little poking around for you, and recipes that require you to roll the dough have more flour than my recipe, plus the dough is chilled. There are a variety of recipes out there, so if you google “rolled shortbread cookies” you should be able to find a recipe that fits the bill (I found this one for you that looks great (https://www.seasonsandsuppers.ca/dads-christmas-shortbread-cookies/)