Christmas Shortbread Cookies

Christmas Shortbread Cookies are easy Christmas cookies that are loaded with festive sprinkles, making this recipe the perfect addition to your holiday cookie platter! Christmas Shortbread Cookies with text overlay. So who's already been baking some easy Christmas cookies? Eating Christmas cookies is one of my very favorite holiday pastimes, and baking them is a close second. 😉 These Christmas Shortbread Cookies are a family favorite that's always on my December baking list, so I'm excited to be sharing them with you today!

Log of dough being sliced.

Reasons to Make These Easy Christmas Cookies

First off, shortbread is deliciously addictive, seeing as how the predominant ingredients are butter and sugar. Can I get an amen? Seriously, I find it impossible to eat just one...or seven. Easy Christmas cookies ready to go into oven. Secondly, shortbread is very easy to make, particularly this recipe, which assembles the cookie dough in a food processor. The ingredients are basic staples that you most likely already have in your refrigerator and pantry. There's some chilling time and baking time to these Christmas Shortbread Cookies, of course, but the hands-on time is extremely quick and effortless. In fact, this is a great cookie to bake with little ones who have short attention spans...not that I have any experience with such. Close-up of Christmas Shortbread Cookies on baking sheet. Finally, these easy Christmas cookies are positively bursting with festive holiday sprinkles. Sprinkles make everything more fun, am I right? And sprinkles add both color and texture. You'll love the crunch of the sprinkles in the tender, velvety shortbread. YUM. I'm all about variety when it comes to holiday baking. It's fun to make some impressive and even frou-frou treats for the cookie platter, but I really strive to balance out those time- and labor-intensive recipes with other cookies that are quick and easy to make while still being tasty and cute. And even better if those simple recipes simultaneously cover the classics, like ginger cookies and snowball cookies and jam thumbprint cookies.

Pile of easy Christmas cookies on red plate.

Ingredients

And that's where this recipe comes in...a melt-in-your-mouth classic that's pretty much effortless to make. AKA, festive, sprinkle-studded, Christmas Shortbread Cookies! All you need are a handful of simple ingredients:

  • Butter. It must be at room temperature. And I recommend unsalted butter so as to have more control over the saltiness of the final cookies. However, if you only have salted butter, just reduce the additional salt by a pinch.
  • Powdered sugar. Sometimes I make my shortbread with granulated sugar, and it's fabulous. But for this recipe, I opted for powdered sugar, which yields a more delicate, melt-in-your-mouth cookie.
  • Salt. Don't neglect to add salt to your cookies, as it enhances their overall flavor.
  • Pure vanilla extract. These cookies are so simple that vanilla adds a lovely dimension.
  • Pure almond extract. While I think it's really easy to go overboard with almond extract, adding just a touch of it to certain recipes can be perfection. I typically combine it with vanilla so as not to overpower.
  • All-purpose flour. A very important tip for this recipe...BE SURE TO MEASURE YOUR INGREDIENTS CAREFULLY. This includes both the flour and the powdered sugar. They should be fluffed and spooned into the measuring cup, then leveled off. If the dry ingredients are packed down when you measure them, or if your measuring cup is overflowing, your cookie dough will turn out crumbly. Alternatively, if you don't fill and level your cup adequately, your dough may turn out too sticky.
  • Sprinkles. I prefer a combination of nonpareils and jimmies in shades of red, green, and white. Feel free to change up the color of the sprinkles to celebrate other holidays or occasions, however. You can also use different shapes of sprinkles. Just keep in mind that if you use flat sprinkles that have been cut into shapes (like little green Christmas trees and yellow stars, for example), the shapes are going to get buried in the dough and sliced at weird angles and you won't be able to tell what they are anyway.

Stack of Christmas Shortbread Cookies with sprinkles.

How to Make Them

These easy Christmas cookies may not be the fanciest treats in the Santa Claus cookie jar, but as previously mentioned, they're pretty darn easy to whip up. And that would be thanks to a certain handy-dandy kitchen appliance! Here's a breakdown of the oh-so-simple steps.

  1. Add the softened butter, powdered sugar, salt, and extracts to your food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add the flour and pulse until the mixture looks chunky.
  3. Add sprinkles and pulse a few more times, until they're just incorporated.
  4. Turn the cookie dough out of the food processor bowl and press it together into a ball. Cut the ball in half and form each half into a log.
  5. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
  6. Can anyone say homemade, slice-n-bake Christmas cookies??? That's right, y'all...it's time to slice, bake, and enjoy!

Can You Use a Mixer Instead?

Yes! I recently had a chance to test this recipe using my electric stand mixer instead of a food processor and it worked beautifully. My Coconut Shortbread Cookies are already made with an electric mixer, and this version turned out just as good. A hand mixer should work just fine as well.

  1. Simply beat together the softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth and slightly fluffy.
  2. Mix in the salt, vanilla, and almond extract.
  3. Gradually blend in the flour, and then quickly beat in the sprinkles until just incorporated.

Then proceed with the recipe below starting at Step #2. 🙂 Big bite taken out and sprinkles all over plate. There you have it, friends. Easy. Festive. And have I mentioned deceptively delicious? Christmas Shortbread Cookies are a must-make this year...and every year. Happy holiday baking!

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • To achieve round logs of dough, I shape them the best I can and then lightly roll them on the counter like a rolling pin after they're wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • While the first sheet of cookies is baking, take the second log of cookie dough out of the freezer, slice it, and arrange cookies on second cookie sheet so that it's ready to pop in the oven as soon as the first sheet comes out.
  • I've shared it before and I'll share it again...this is my favorite large rimmed baking sheet. I have a bunch of 'em and I use them for different reasons just about every single day.
  • Close-up of a pile of easy Christmas Shortbread Cookies.This recipe is great for make-ahead treats. The cookie dough can be whipped up ahead of time and then sliced and baked when you're ready. Since this dough is formed into logs, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled before baking, you can refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for even longer (although I'd recommend sticking the wrapped logs in a freezer-thickness gallon-sized baggie for extra protection from freezer burn).
  • If you freeze your shortbread logs long enough to freeze solid, you'll need to let them thaw in the fridge (like, overnight) before slicing and baking.
  • For a special touch, you can drizzle or dip these cookies in melted white, dark, or milk chocolate.

Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookies, four-photo collage with text.

More Festive & Sweet Holiday Treats

Christmas Shortbread Cookies on red plate with sprinkles.

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

Christmas Shortbread Cookies are simple to make and loaded with festive sprinkles, making these easy Christmas cookies the perfect addition to your holiday cookie platter!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
CHILL TIME: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 36 to 40 cookies
Calories: 94kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sprinkles

Instructions

  • Add butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the bowl of a large food processor. Process until smooth (about eight 1-second pulses). Add flour and pulse until mixture looks crumbly and chunky (about six 1-second pulses). Add sprinkles and quickly pulse several more times, until the sprinkles are just evenly incorporated.
  • Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape into a rough ball. Cut ball in half and form each piece of dough into a 7 ½- to 8-inch long log. Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to a week).
  • Place rack in center position of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one log of dough from the freezer (or refrigerator). Cut dough into ¼-inch to ⅓-inch thick slices, rolling log every few slices to maintain the round shape of the cookies. Arrange cookies on lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies just barely turn a light golden color around the edges, between 10 and 15 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheets.
  • Repeat steps with the second log of cookie dough. Once cookies are completely cool, store in an airtight container.

Video

Notes

BE SURE TO MEASURE YOUR INGREDIENTS CAREFULLY. The powdered sugar and flour should be fluffed and spooned into the measuring cup, then leveled off. If the dry ingredients are packed down when you measure them, or if your measuring cup is overflowing, the cookie dough will turn out crumbly.
  • If you wish, this recipe will work using an electric mixer instead of a food processor.
  • To achieve round logs of dough, I shape them the best I can and then lightly roll them on the counter like a rolling pin after they're wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • While the first sheet of cookies is baking, take the second log of cookie dough out of the freezer, slice it, and arrange cookies on second cookie sheet so that it's ready to pop in the oven as soon as the first sheet comes out.
  • This recipe is great for make-ahead treats. The cookie dough can be made ahead of time and then sliced and baked when you're ready. Since this dough is formed into logs, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled before baking, you can refrigerate it for up to a week or freeze it for even longer (although I'd recommend sticking the wrapped logs in a freezer-thickness gallon-sized baggie for extra protection from freezer burn).
  • If you freeze your shortbread logs long enough to freeze solid, you'll need to let them thaw in the fridge (preferably overnight) before slicing and baking.
  • For a special touch, you can drizzle or dip these cookies in melted white, dark, or milk chocolate.

Nutrition

Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 33mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

  Adapted from Pistachio Shortbread Cookies. Originally published December 5, 2017 and updated on December 3, 2018.

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Recipe Rating




50 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I NEVER leave comments or reviews, but these are seriously one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. My danish grandmother used to make Spritz cookies every Christmas and these are even better. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Turned out very good. Don't wait for them to brown on top or they are too dry. I baked 15 minutes. Could use all different add instructions for different holidays and birthdays. Great recipes. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    GM ,I was wondering if this dough could be frozen up tp a month or two. What do you advise? And do you think it would effect the texture of the cookie?
    Thanks,
    Debbe

    1. As long as it's protected from freezer burn (I'd wrap the plastic-wrapped logs in heavy-duty foil and/or store them in a freezer-thickness baggie), this dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. 🙂

    1. Hi Bernadette! I feel like colored sugar crystals might melt down in a way that Jimmies don't? I don't know that it would be a bad thing...I just can't say for certain how this recipe would turn out using sugar crystals instead of sprinkles. Please let us know if you decide to give it a try! 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      Hi I made these last year for my cookie boxes with sugar crystals and loved them! Thinking of doubling and making another variation. Wondering if it would work with mini choco chips?

  4. 5 stars
    Taste buttery and are great warm! I used a mixer instead of a processor, and cut them a bit thicker than suggested. These cookies were lovely, and so easy! This recipe is also great base for making flavored shortbread cookies.

  5. 3 stars
    These came together exactly according to the recipe instructions, and were so easy to make! I love the fact that they were done in a food processor, the sprinkles, etc. SO EASY! However, I followed the recipe exactly, and they seemed to lack in taste. I didn't get the rich buttery taste of normal shortbread. I think maybe more vanilla and almond extract would help. I took the additional recommendation of dipping some in melted chocolate, and that helped immensely. I will try again but with more flavorings. Thanks!

    1. 5 stars
      This was so easy and quick. I did leave the dough in the refrigerator all day because I just didn’t have a chance to get to them but still was perfect. The taste was great.