These 4-ingredient Vegan Shortbread Cookies taste buttery, light, crisp, and melt in your mouth! Enjoy them around the holidays or year-round with a cup of tea.
The holidays are a time for indulgence, which means baking batch after batch of these Vegan Shortbread Cookies! They’re made with 4 simple vegan ingredients and are just as buttery and delicious as classic shortbread.
This shortbread cookie recipe reminds me of when my mom would whip up a batch of her Scottish shortbread around the holidays to serve with tea. While she would whip the butter and sugar by hand, I went with the easier route of using powdered sugar instead. The buttery, melt-in-your-mouth results are so similar, you’ll have a hard time believing they’re vegan!
Enjoy these vegan holiday cookies all season long or year-round! They’re:
- Made with just 4 ingredients.
- Buttery, soft, crisp and light.
- Perfect for gifts and great for freezing!
Vegan shortbread ingredients
- Vegan butter - Make sure to use salted vegan butter (stick form not in spreadable tub) rather than unsalted. If you were to use unsalted butter and add salt separately, the salt wouldn’t dissolve properly (because of the lack of liquid in the dough) and you’d end up with very salty cookies.
- Powdered sugar - Shortbread becomes light, airy, and sweet when you make it with powdered sugar instead of creaming granulated sugar with butter.
- Vanilla extract - For a touch of sweetness and flavor.
- Flour - All purpose is best!
How to make vegan shortbread cookies
The secret to making the best vegan shortbread cookies is to bake them low and slow. Baking at just 300ºF in the oven, you’ll end up with shortbread cookies that are crispy, lightly golden brown, and buttery. They practically melt in your mouth!
- Cream the butter and sugar: Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until it’s light and fluffy.
- Add the flour: Gently stir the flour into the wet mixture using a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. You can use your hands to fully incorporate the flour until you end up with crumbly cookie dough.
- Form the cookies: Transfer the dough to a baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Using a sharp knife, score the dough into 24 squares. Dock each square 3 times with a fork.
- Bake and enjoy! Bake the cookies until they’re lightly golden. Cut through the score marks and let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before serving. For full ingredients and instructions see printable recipe card below.
Customize the flavours
The buttery flavors in classic Scottish shortbread pair well with lots of add-ins. Get creative and experiment with the flavours:
- Cranberry orange: Chopped dried cranberries and orange zest.
- Lemon rosemary: Fresh chopped rosemary and lemon zest.
- Pistachios or almonds: Roasted and chopped pistachios, almonds, or both!
- Chocolate dipped: Dip the end or the whole cookie in melted dark chocolate.
- Matcha shortbread: Add up to 1 teaspoon of matcha powder when you add the flour to the dough.
Tips for success
- To bake individual cookies: When you get to step 3 in the recipe, form the cookie dough into a log or brick. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 40 minutes. Slice the chilled dough into ¼ to ½ inch thick cookies and bake on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet at 300°F until lightly golden brown.
- Instead of scoring the dough, roll the cookie dough with rolling pin out onto a lightly floured surface and use a cookie cutter to cut out your desired shapes.
- Use your hands to make sure the cookie dough is pressed to the edges of the baking pan and is in one even layer.
- Docking (or poking) the cookie dough with a fork will help release moisture and give the cookies a light texture and prevent puffing.
- Sprinkle the baked cookies with a little granulated sugar for extra sweetness!
Frequently asked questions
While I haven’t tested it, you can try making gluten free vegan shortbread cookies with a 1:1 gluten free flour blend instead of all purpose flour.
The cookies will keep for 2 weeks or longer when stored in an airtight container at room temperature on the counter.
Yes! Vegan shortbread freeze really well baked or unbaked. Just wrap the dough well in plastic or keep the baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Looking for more vegan cookie recipes?
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print