What I remember most about Christmas as a kid is the party food. The setting was always somebody's 1970's- style, wood panel rec room, kids running everywhere, that incredible spread of forbidden food that we had unrestricted access to (for one glorious night); food beyond our wildest grocery budget dreams, side tables lined with triple-decker serving trays, spilling over with mounds of olives, meat, crackers and cheeses. And then there were the carousels of sweets - sugar cookies, gingerbread, every dainty (as they called them back in the day), bar, tart and square imaginable. It was a Christmas food gluttenousganza! But it was the Whipped Shortbread Cookies that consistently won my heart....
These delectable, pillowy little melt in your mouth cookies were always what I gravitated to. And I couldn't get enough of these shortbread cookies with cornstarch (and I still can't)! I am told that the magic is in the whipping.
They are very popular during the holiday season, but great any time of year. And they are ideal for your holiday cookie tray.
And these 4 ingredient whipped shortbread cookies are nothing short of magical! They are airy, light and literally melt-in-your-mouth. They are also very quick and easy to make and great for a cookie exchange!
Seriously, all you need is 4 ingredients:
- corn starch
- icing sugar (aka powdered sugar or confectioners' sugar)
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
I would recommend a for this shortbread recipe, although you could use an electric mixer. You'll also need a cookie sheet (s).
This is the easiest and best shortbread cookies recipe I know of. All you need is 4 simple ingredients, 1 stand mixer (affiliate link) (I LUV my Kitchen Aid mixer and couldn't live without it!), a few minutes and some sprinkles and/or cherries (the addition of both cherries and sprinkles on one cookie was my daughter's brilliant idea this year!) and you have yourself one easy and amazing shortbread cookie!
👪 Serving Size
This whipped shortbread recipe makes 36 cookies. However, you can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You'll just need additional cookie sheets.
You can store these buttery cookies in an airtight container on the counter for 1 week. However, they freeze very well, so I usually pop them into the freezer right away. I like to store them in an airtight container, stacked between sheets of parchment paper. You can freeze these cookies for up to 3 months.
💭 Top tip
This tip came from a reader:
"Chill the dough in the fridge for a couple hours- the cookies remain well formed and the dough gets to rest."
This shortbread cookies with cornstarch is a classic cookie that has been around forever and at one time you could find it on the back of the cornstarch box. Although, I don't know if that's still the case. These days I buy everything in gigantic size from Costco and the container is plastic (minus the shortbread cookie recipe). All the same, Christmas just isn't Christmas without these amazing and easy cookies.
Did you make this recipe? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
Here's what others are saying: "I love this recipe! I’ve made it a few times and it could almost be called ‘Never Fail Shortbread Cookies’. Neighbour kids are coming over this week to make cookies and this one is on the list."⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
📋 Whipped Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- 3 cups unsalted butter softened
- 1-½ cups confectioners' sugar or powdered sugar referred to as 'icing sugar' in Canada, sifted
- 4-½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1-½ cups cornstarch
- Nonpareils and/or halved candied cherries optional
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (148 degrees C)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, (or in a large bowl) cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy (you can use an electric hand mixer, but it's not ideal).
- Gradually add flour and cornstarch, beating on medium high speed, until well blended.
- With hands lightly dusted with additional cornstarch, roll cookie dough into 1 inch. balls (or use a small cookie scoop)
- Place 1 inch. apart on ungreased baking sheet.
- Press lightly with floured tines of a fork.
- Add nonpareils and/or cherry halves, if desired to the top of the cookies.
- Baking time: Bake at 300° for 20-22 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.
- Cool for 5 minutes before moving from pans to wire racks to continue cooling. *If you try to move them too early, they will fall apart.
My husband loves shortbread. This look so easy. Maybe I could make half of the recipe. 🙂
Hi Sue: you absolutely could half the recipe OR just wait until I see you next week (was planning to bring some for Dave, as I had promised him baking for all the photoshop help! :))
Oh my goodness he will be thrilled! That is so kind of you. I will stick to my butter tart baking for now. 🙂
I add one essential item. Chill the dough in the fridge for a couple hours. the cookies remain well formed and the dough gets to rest. Stores well in Fridge for a week, easily.
Good idea to chill it! I'm a little too impatient, though... haha
Is this before you make them into balls?
Yes, it would be before you make them into balls!
Fair warning, this recipe does NOT make 36 cookies!
I halved the recipe and got 60 cookies out of it (tablespoon sized balls).
Other than that, it is delicious, very tender and buttery tasting.
Wow amazing work and great ideas for Christmas ?
Thanks, Nena - I checked out your blog and your cakes are beautiful and your baking looks delicious! Thanks for the follow!
Welcome. Thank you
Terri, I don’t think I ever told you this before, but I love this recipe. I’ve made it a few times and it could almost be called ‘Never Fail Shortbread Cookies’. Neighbour kids are coming over this week to make cookies and this one is on the list.
Thanks so much for letting me know, Gail! My aunt used to make them when we were kids and they are my ultimate fave! I'm glad you are enjoying them 🙂
I love making shortbread, but I've never done a whipped recipe. It's a really cool idea. I had no idea that cornstarch would be involved! These definitely scream classic Christmas-y comfort - especially with the sprinkles and the little fork lines on top. Very nice 🙂
thanks, Sean! Yes, they are very classic. Whipped shortbread is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I think they call them 'melt-aways' in some circles (maybe American? :))
I'm excited to try your recipe! Could this dough be rolled out to use cookie cutters and bake the same?
I hope you enjoy them! No, they would not do well as a rolled cookie. I have another shortbread cookie recipe in one of my books that I used for years for rolled cookies. I'd be happy to share it with you, if you want it? Or you can try my No Fail Sugar cookies. Terri
Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! Question: Is it possible to roll the dough then freeze?
You are welcome! I have never tried freezing the dough itself. Funny, because I freeze everything else. I usually just make the cookies, because they are soo quick to make, then freeze the cookies for a month or two in an airtight container. I would recommend that, as the dough is quite delicate and full of air because of the whipping. Not sure how freezing would affect it. I hope you enjoy them!
Thank-you for your reply Terri 🙂
I've made them and I agree that this dough should be use right away, a bit like a quick pizza/pie dough made with oil. It's a keeper for quick fresh cookies. thanks again 🙂
No problem-Merry Christmas!
I have been searching for this recipe for years....Mom made these every year for us for Christmas but she never showed me how to make them! She passed away 5 years ago! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Looking forward to sharing it with my kids!
I am soo glad that you found the recipe your Mom made! I really hope you enjoy it. I am so sorry about your Mom. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy sharing it with your kids! Terri
Silly question ,but would these work with a piping bag with a large tip or a cookie press?
Hi Julie- I would think you could, although I have never done it .So I couldn’t say for sure! Merry Christmas!
Can you dye the dough
Hi Rebecca- I have never tried it, but I don't see why not? I would just use an icing dye like Americolor or Wilton brand, not the typical food coloring you guy at the grocery store. If you do try it, I'd love to hear how it turns out!
I love shortbread but some of the cookies have a weird taste for about 2 days after I make them. I have used my mats and parchment paper to see if it makes a difference and it doesn't. Would you happen to know why the weird taste?
Hi Tammy: Thanks for taking the time to write in. Only some of the cookies taste funny? Hmmm... that's odd. It could be that your icing sugar/powdered sugar is stale! I have had that happen to me with baked goods. I would recommend you purchase some fresh stuff and try it again 🙂 And sometimes I've even bought it from the store and it was stale. Try to grab it from the back of the shelf and look to see if there's a best before date. The cornstarch could also be stale so check that best before date on that too. But most often it's the powdered sugar. Also, taste it prior to putting it in the cookies. Are you using the candied cherries? or just the sprinkles? It could also be that they have gone off. They don't seem to last that long. I hope that helps!
WOW FINALLY SOMEONE MAKES SHORTBREAD LIKE ME - EVERYONE I KNOW LOVED MY SHORTBREAD COOKIES WHEN THEY ASK FOR RECIPE - WOULD ASK ME WHY DO YOU WHIP? I TELL THEM BECAUSE THEY TASTE HEAVENLY AND THEY SAY OH YEAH THAT'S TRUE
THX FOR SHARING
Hi CJJ - whipped is the only way, for sure! And I agree, they taste melt-in-your mouth heavenly... 🙂
Will my cookies come out soft?
HI Kim, Yes, they come out soft, but you need to let them cool and set on the pan before you move them or they'll fall apart. Then let them cool longer and set on the cooling rack. They are still soft to eat and literally melt in your mouth! Enjoy....
Could I add a flavor to the batter( vanilla)
Yes, you probably could, but I'm not sure how it would alter the taste!
Have you tried this with gluten free flour?
No, I have not, so I’m not sure how they would turn out.
I mixed my cookie last night put it in fridge for night now it is to dry and flakey what can I do to moisten it up
I would turn on the oven and let it sit on top of the stove so it can warm up a bit, then knead it a little. If that still doesn't make it soft enough, then try adding a tsp of water. Good luck!
Could I use margarine (vegan) for this recipe?
I would substitute Becel Plant Based Spread in stick or block form, not a tub, instead of margarine!
I'd love to know how it turns out!