Brown Butter Shortbread

During the holidays I like to find and create new baked treats to share, of course, but I also really enjoy revisiting the classics. Last weekend I was craving some good old fashioned shortbread cookies, but with a brown butter twist. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’re surely aware of the brown butter craze sweeping over the foodie world and that I am enthusiastically taking part in it.

Brown Butter Shortbread

Since shortbread is essentially three ingredients and butter is the clear star, I knew that a brown butter twist would be fantastic. I also figured that it was a good opportunity to splurge for a higher quality butter, like Kerrygold, which is higher in fat and produces an even richer and more crumbly cookie. I can guess what you’re thinking. You’re seeking out a butter that is higher in fat? I promise, it’s worth it.

These cookies are a perfect mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea. But if you can’t wait and end up having a few for breakfast I’ll completely understand.

Brown Butter Shortbread


Dough that is high in fat (such as shortbread) needs to be pricked before baking. These holes create vents for steam created while baking and prevent the cookie from billowing. Use a fork or toothpick to dock the dough.

Brown Butter Shortbread

Brown Butter Shortbread
A rich and crumbly cookie with the nutty flavor of brown butter.
Yield: 8 large cookies
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) salted butter, cut into cubes*
  • ¾ cup (175 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • Sanding sugar, for dusting
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Continue to cook the butter until it turns deep golden brown. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Pour the butter into a bowl and chill until solidified.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease a 9 or 10 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Remove the butter from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature. You don't want it to be liquid at all, but it should still be soft.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared tart pan. Use a knife to cut dough into 8 wedges and prick the dough with a toothpick or small dowel. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  5. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 1 hour. Use a knife to re-cut the shortbread into wedges while the dough is still hot and soft. Let cool completely before serving.
  6. Store shortbread at room temperature in an airtight container for several days.
*You may use any kind of salted butter, but I would recommend a high quality Irish butter such as Kerrygold.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart .

You may also like these posts:

Keep in touch! Subscribe to Completely Delicious and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

This page contains affiliate links, which provide me a small percentage of all purchases made through them.


17 Responses to Brown Butter Shortbread

  1. These look amazing. I buy Kerrygold as Costco in a three pack. It’s my favorite for spreading on toast in the morning…..I’m not afraid of a little butter fat. 🙂

  2. Shortbread is the best…I can only imagine the flavor of this!

  3. I love Kerrygold butter! It has amazing flavor and grassfed butter is full of GOOD fats!

    Thanks for the reminder to keep my eye out for it!

  4. Jocelyn says:

    I am very eager to try this delicious looking shortbread. However, I do not have a fluted tart pan. Can you please recommend some alternate baking dishes? Thank you so much!

    • Annalise says:

      Jocelyn, you can use an 8 or 9-inch round pan. I would just line it with greased foil or parchment paper so that you can lift it out of the pan after it cools without needing to cut it.

  5. I LOVE this! This shortbread looks fabulous!

  6. I just posted a cookie blog using Kerrygold butter and raved and raved about it! It’s one of my top butters ever!

  7. Jennifer says:

    This is most certainly not an original take on shortbread. Our family has been making it this way for 50 years. I’m sure they were making it 50 years before us!! It’s delicious but please don’t insinuate that it is your idea or cutting edge spin

  8. Carlotta says:

    Love these shortbread… Your receipes are a certainty!! I’ve just made with cocoa… W-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l.


  9. Taylor says:

    I was wondering if you think these cookies would lend themselves well to being cut outs? Would you need to make any adjustments to the recipe?

    • Annalise says:

      The high amount of butter may make them spread and lose their shape during baking. But it might work it you chill it enough. Never tried it so I can’t say for sure! I bet you can find a brown butter sugar cookie to use if you search the web.

  10. Lee says:

    I made them but didn’t have a tart pan so I shaped the dough into a rectangle on a parchment covered cookie sheet and scored triangles. Soooooooo rich and yummy! Really decadent. So glad I made them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *