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How To Make Perfect Whipped Shortbread

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How to make perfect whipped shortbread! This is my Grandma’s shortbread recipe that we have been using for decades now and this is the only shortbread that we ever make at Christmas! It makes great gifts and is perfect for your holiday dessert table.

Whipped Shortbread
Whipped Shortbread

How to Make Whipped Shortbread

Over the years I have finally perfect my Whipped Shortbread Recipe to the point where I won’t fiddle around with it anymore. Usually when someone asks me about my treasured Christmas recipe, it’s all about my Grandma’s Christmas Pudding. While that is one hundred percent a family favorite, whipped shortbread has always and I do mean always been something that my family bakes at Christmas. It seems to be something that a lot of Canadian Prairie folk make at Christmas as well. It’s never any other shortbread than whipped. Ever. This is all that graces our dessert tables at Christmas for shortbread.

That might change with my perfecting my Scottish Shortbread recipe however, as those are crispy, buttery perfection! Give those a try if you are looking for a harder shortbread.Whipped Shortbread

Whipped Shortbread Tips and Tricks

  • Whipped shortbread is notoriously fragile and while using cookie presses are so much fun, when I gifted the shortbread I wanted it to stay together a bit more. After experimenting, I found that the best way to make it is using a cookie scoop. The rounded dome and thickness helps these airy bites of buttery delight stay together much better than being dropped by the teaspoonful or shapes from a cookie press.
  • Whipping it for at least 6 minutes is also mandatory; most people don’t whip it long enough and then it’s just not as airy as it should be. These cookies should literally melt in your mouth.
  • We never have used cornstarch and never will. I find it gives a weird mouth feel to it that I don’t like.
  • Baking it a low temperature is the way my family has always made it. We dry it out, like a meringue, and don’t bake it so much. Most recipes are 350 degrees but we have always baked it at 250. However over the years I have found that 275 works the best. This also helps the shortbread melt in your mouth instead of baking up a little bit harder which is what baking it at 350 is going to do.
  • Also – and purists are going to argue with me- we have always used half margarine and half butter. Always. Just like my buttertarts we have run taste tests and sampled and baked and it’s always half and half that wins the taste test. We aren’t purists, we are about taste. What’s the use having all butter and it doesn’t taste as good just to be a purist?  Try it and see what you think, get a good tasting margarine and I bet you’ll love them. Let’s face it, it’s not like they are healthy for us anyway, the cookies may as well taste as good as possible!
  • If you use a hard margarine, it helps to keep the dome shape. Do NOT use light margarine or whipped butters or any “tub” margarine. The water content will flatten these cookies! You need the blocks of margarine.
  • You can use all butter for taste if you like, but the secret to the dome shape is the hard margarine used. All butter is absolutely amazing as well, so you choose which you prefer. I don’t guarantee the dome shape with all butter though!

Without further adieu, here is my whipped shortbread recipe!

Happy Baking everyone!

Love,

Karlynn

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How to make perfect whipped shortbread! This is my Grandma's shortbread recipe that we have been using for decades now. #shortbread #whippedshortbread #christmascookies

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How To Make Perfect Whipped Shortbread

How to make perfect whipped shortbread! This is my Grandma's shortbread recipe that we have been using for decades now.
4.93 from 42 votes
Prep Time
7 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Total Time
42 minutes
Course
Dessert
Cuisine
Canadian
Servings
24
Calories
107
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup hard margarine
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Whip the margarine, butter and icing sugar together well. You can use all butter for sure, then it is a shortbread for the purist. Once it looks all deliciously creamy, resist from eating it by the spoonful, and get your flour ready.

  2. Start the mixer and slowly add in the flour, until it has all been added in. Then you can proceed to let your mixer do all the work for you and whip it for 6 minutes. You are wanting lighter than air shortbread here. 

  3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough out onto an ungreased baking sheet. 

  4. Top with sprinkles or a piece of Christmas cherry. 

  5. Bake them in a 275 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes; you want to dry out the shortbread in essence, not bake it, thus the low temperature. (If you have a warm kitchen or live in a warm climate, cool the cookies in the fridge then bake. They won't flatten out).

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

You can top this whipped shortbread with whatever sprinkles or cherries you prefer!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 80mg, Potassium: 10mg, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 295IU, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.4mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Chris says

    Sorry – not going to be putting margarine into anything I eat. You want to eat plastic you’re welcome to it. To stand on the principal that a flavored ‘near plastic’ makes your cookies better is just plain dumb. Moving on to real food recipies…

  2. Janine says

    Delicious and super easy!!! First time making whipped shortbread and these turned out melt in your mouth delicious. I hand mixer whipped for 6 minutes and baked them at 275… fantastic! I will definetly make these again next year.5 stars

  3. Jan says

    I followed the recipe and just took from oven they are like a pancake what went wrong?

  4. Ellen says

    Absolutely the best whipped shortbread I’ve ever made. They didn’t crumble at all and melted in your mouth.

  5. Donna DeJardine says

    I have been making my Mum’s shortbread cookies since I was a small child, I’m now 64! This year I decided to try a new recipe and came across yours. I must say I was a little doubtful when you said no cornstarch, I’ve never made them without cornstarch. Then I came across the margarine part and thought no this recipe is not for me. It’s not that I’m a shortbread purist at all, it’s just the plain fact that I hate margarine and always have. For me it makes nothing taste better at all, so I almost dismissed your recipe, then I read where you said you could use all butter and I figured I’d give them a try. I must say they are quite simply the best shortbread cookies I have ever had in my 64 yrs, and that says a lot cause everyone has always loved my Mum’s recipe. That said I know that if my Mum were here today she would love your cookies too! I followed your recipe exactly and they turned out just as you said. I had a little difficulty getting them to come out of the small cookie scoop, so I chilled them for a few minutes first which worked a treat. With the first batch gone almost before they could cool, I doubled the recipe the second time! With shortbreads being my all time favourite cookie, I have a hard time only making them on the holidays but I always manage somehow, lol. I don’t like cherries or any other topping on mine, just plain and simple, that’s me! I do love how these have the beautiful dome on them and they just simply melt away in your mouth! Oh and by the way my cat ate a few crumbs that had dropped on my desk, then promptly tried to take the one in my hand away from me, lol, he’s never done that before!

    I will definitely be trying more of your recipes, thanks for sharing, keep up the great work!5 stars

  6. Hope Thompson says

    Yes! This was the texture and taste my husband was looking for.

    I did do all butter, added real vanilla extract, and didn’t beat the full six minutes. They still came out the way I hoped they would. First attempt at shortbread was successful! Thank you.5 stars

  7. Bonnie James says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My grandma was from Water Valley, Alberta and she made these every year for Christmas. The cookies turned out perfect, exactly like my grandma’s. I can’t thank you enough as baking these cookies is a wonderful way to remember my grandma at Christmas.

    Ps – I don’t bake, at all, ever, so I’m super amazed at how well these turned out!5 stars

  8. Martha says

    Sooo good! The only change I made was to add a little vanilla, and next time I might add a tad more icing sugar, but they amazing! Not only do they totally melt in your mouth, but I found them to want to melt in my hand when handling them after baking! 😉 This recipe is a keeper and a pass-along-er!?5 stars

  9. sherry gibb says

    Hi I’m wondering what is “the dome effect?” I can make that shap with my scoop before cooked but after cooked??4 stars

  10. KellyC says

    Just made these with all butter (no margarine on hand, didn’t want to go out!). They are delicious. I will definitely make them again. So easy and foolproof.5 stars

  11. Vicki says

    I have been making whipped shortbread for years. I just made a batch of these and they were the best ever. I don’t remember mixing mine for so long in the past and I think it made the difference. I also used 100% butter, as that is all I had and they came out beautifully with the nice dome. My oven runs a little hot and they were done in about 18-20 minutes (I used the small cookie scoop). They all had the lovely dome shape. Thank you.5 stars

  12. Kate Elliott says

    The cookies taste lovely, but I found them to be too fragile. I used Becel margarine sticks: I’m hoping this is “hard margarine”.

    • Laura says

      Becel has a high water content, that might be the issue.

  13. Lisa says

    My batter is dry…y?? I followed the recipe to the Tee

    • Chris says

      Any time you mix any ingredients (dry or moist) you have to take into consideration room temperature, water temperature, counter surface temperature, relative humidity in the room, etc… any and all of these can give you a very different experience no matter how much you follow a recipe.

  14. Brenda Walker says

    I always use your recipe, and I only use butter and have not had a problem obtaining the dome effect.I also add a little pure almond extract, about 1/2 a teaspoon.Love this recipe.

  15. TG says

    This recipe turned out very well. I wasn’t sure about the half butter/half margarine but it worked! I did add a teaspoon of vanilla and I think the next time I make these I’ll add a bit more (1/4 cup) of powdered sugar.3 stars

  16. Rachel Macdonald says

    Just made these! I used one cup of cant believe it’s not butter, because it’s all I had on hand. I added 1/4C more icing sugar as well.
    Put a very small dot of raspberry jam in the middle. They are great! They didn’t flatten slightly but not bad at all.5 stars

  17. Jen Checki says

    These are so good! Thank you for the recipe.

    (Without further ado. ?)

  18. Jenna says

    Just made these! Never made shortbread before and decided that I’d try to make some and heard that whipped ones are better than normal.

    And these are amazing! I added three caps of natural Vanilla extract and a drop of lemon essence to the recipe and only used butter and omg it’s so good!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!5 stars

  19. Lesia says

    I ❤️ Whipped shortbread! I’ve made these cookies a bunch of times with variable success. After trouble shooting and dissecting my process many times, I’ve discovered the true success to this sometimes finicky cookie is butter quality. Here in Sk, Canada, Beatrice butter doesn’t work (found at Costco). The cookie does not hold its shape (even if you chill it) and it spreads and does not hold together, at all. The same with Co-Op centcibles butter. Dairyland works. It’s the only butter I use for these now. The quality is in the price at around $8/pound, but it’ll save you garbaging a bunch or failed batches. Apparently poor quality butter has a high water content which makes it awesome for table butter and spreading, but terrible for a lot of baking. Hope this may help some ppl who are having issues with their whoipped shortbread.

  20. Erica D says

    Wow, these are delicious!!! My family loves them… even my husband who is stuck on Granny’s shortbread! He said these were just as good if not better. Once out of the oven I added 3 chocolate chips to the center for decoration since I didn’t have cherry’s or sprinkles and mmmmm….. yummy! Suggestion: my cookies tasted better when they were not covered or put in a container and even better the next day. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Happy Holidays to all.5 stars

  21. Carole says

    I just made these tonight, and while they taste divine, they’re quite powdery. But they do melt in your mouth and taste absolutely delicious. The only thing I did differently, and just out of habit, was I measured the flour (AP) and then sifted it.

  22. Germaine Dubois says

    I’ve been making whipped shortbread for many years… cam across your your version so I opted to try it out this year… so far simple as my recipe but I have used cornstarch in mine – giving yours a chance.. I love whipped shortbread along with the twenty plus family members that will be here Christmas Day… I will drop by after Christmas and let you know the out come….

  23. Jennifer Holly says

    So delicious!!! Thanks for sharing! 😀5 stars

  24. Terri Smith says

    Some of the best shortbread ive had! Lots of compliments, super yummy5 stars

  25. Gail says

    Do NOT whip this dough for 6 minutes as suggested. The dough completely separated into butter and sludge and I had to throw out a whole batch. 4 minutes is plenty

    • Germaine Dubois says

      Mine came out perfectly great and their baking right now will know in about 20 minutes..?

    • Erica D says

      That’s strange I whipped mine for the 6 minutes as suggested and they didn’t separate and baked up perfectly fine, I used a hand mixer – maybe you used something stronger and better? I hope they still turned out for you.5 stars

  26. Colleen says

    I just made these today, but they all flattened out to thin pancake like disks. I refrigerated the dough, like you said, but it didn’t make a difference. What am I doing wrong?

    • Karlynn says

      It could be that your butter has a higher water content, or you used sifted flour?5 stars

      • Colleen says

        I used all purpose flour. I think it is pre sifted. Should I add more flour then?

        • Karlynn Johnston says

          Yes, add more flour for sure if it’s pre-sifted. Try adding another 1/4 cup to start and see how that works.

        • Bette says

          OMG!!! This is THE BEST shortbread recipe ever!!! I increased baking temp a bit to compensate for high altitude baking. I also added 1/4 cup crushed espresso beans and topped each cookie with 2 coffee beans, i ve never baked ANYTHING so devine, will deffinitly share with the girls. Thank you!5 stars

          • Karlynn Johnston says

            Glad that you loved it!

      • Karen says

        This recipe was really delicious. I think the cooking temp really has a lot to do with it. I usually bake mine at 325 but will definitely bake at 275 from now on because the cookie was just so tender and flaky. Absolutely delicious!5 stars

    • Kelly C says

      I think u have to whip the butter and the powdered sugar until pale and very first, before adding in the flour. Can also try to replace half of the butter for hard margarine ,or vegetable shortening should be fine.

      • Kelly C says

        Whip the butter and the powdered sugar until pale and very fluffy first.

  27. Jo Kenngott says

    By icing sugar do you mean powdered sugar?

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