Christmas Shortbread Cookies

4.38 from 8 votes

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These Christmas Shortbread Cookies are a delightful and festive treat that combines the rich, buttery flavor of my wildly popular shortbread cookies with the sweet and fruity goodness of jam. Start your Christmas baking off right by making these for a cookie exchange or add to a cookie variety plate for neighbor gifts this holiday season.

a plate of christmas shortbread cookies

Since I can remember, my mom has been making her friend June’s recipe for Christmas every year. She made it for my teachers at school. She made it for Christmas parties. She made it for cookie exchanges. She made it because we would request it. Why? Because everyone who tries this angelic shortbread cookie recipe loves it and then proceeds to ask for June’s recipe.

So, I decided to share this recipe for June’s shortbread today because it’s a fool-proof recipe with 4 main ingredients that will blow.your.minds. Who knew shortbread could be so delicious?

It’s probably a 50 year old tried and true family favorite recipe that you too can make and enjoy with the ones you love.

christmas shortbread cookies cut and spread out on a cutting board

Shortbread Filling Variations

Feel free to experiment with different combinations to find the flavors that you and your family enjoy! Whether you go for sweet, fruity, or nutty fillings, these variations can add a delightful twist to your traditional Christmas Shortbread Cookies. Here are lots of options for fillings:

  1. Chocolate Ganache: You can use dark, milk, or white melted chocolate depending on your preference.
  2. Caramel Sauce: a salted caramel sauce either my homemade recipe (found in this recipe) or store-bought would be amazing with shortbread. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top for a delightful sweet and salty combination.
  3. Nutella or Peanut Butter: for a nutty and indulgent treat.
  4. Lemon Curd: The bright and citrusy flavor pairs wonderfully with the buttery shortbread.
  5. Fruit Compote: Make a fruit compote using your favorite fruits (such as berries, peaches, or apples) and use it as a filling for your shortbread cookies. Cook the fruits with a bit of sugar until they form a thick, jam-like consistency.
  6. Almond Paste: Roll almond paste into small balls and place them in the center of each shortbread cookie. The almond flavor complements the buttery taste of the cookie.
  7. Cream Cheese Frosting: spread a layer or use a piping bag of cream cheese frosting inside the shortbread cookies.
  8. Fruit Butter: Use fruit butters such as apple butter or pumpkin butter as a flavorful filling.
  9. Dulce de Leche: Fill your shortbread cookies with dulce de leche, a sweet and o so creamy caramel-like sauce.
shortbread cookies diagonally cut

How to Make Christmas Shortbread Cookies

With just 4 simple ingredients, you’ll soon have perfect shortbread cookies to enjoy at Christmas time! For full recipe details, including ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what you can expect when making this recipe:

christmas shortbread cookie ingredients

Preheat Oven + Prep Pan

Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine Ingredients to Form Shortbread Dough

In a large bowl, mix room temperature butter, white sugar, vanilla extract and all purpose flour together on low to medium speed until incorporated. After a quick mix in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer, it’ll look like this isn’t much of a dough at all; just a crumbly texture. NEVER FEAR! Dough should hold its shape when squeezed together.

Pro Tip: If you’re using unsalted butter, add in 1/2 tsp salt.

Form Dough into Logs

Divide the shortbread dough into 4 equal portions and form into logs down the length of the cookie sheet. Press your finger into the center to create an indent all down each log.


Once you have all the logs are formed, bake 12-15 minutes at 325° F until golden brown. Bake time for my cookies was right at 14 minutes, but all ovens vary slightly. The cookies will spread a little, but that’s totally normal! Let these cool completely on a wire rack.

Add the Filling

Now comes the fun part!! Fill each log with whatever you like. I used strawberry jam because that is what I had, but I’ve used peach preserves, blackberry jam and even Nutella before. It’s all delish.

Drizzle Icing Across the Cookies (Optional)

If you feel so inclined, drizzle an easy icing made from confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), milk and vanilla extract. Mix all icing ingredients together in a mixing bowl until it’s the constancy of white school glue. Drizzle over each log generously. Cut into diagonal pieces once icing has set for 20 minutes or so.

These are pretty addicting, so I won’t judge if you happen to snarf one or two of these logs immediately.

Storage Directions for Shortbread Cookies

Allow cookies to cool completely to room temperature before storing. For best results, place parchment paper in between layers of cookies in an airtight container. This will prevent the cookies from sticking to each other and from drying out. Shortbread cookies should be eaten within a week or two. If you used jam as your filling, you might want to store your cookies in the fridge. This may soften the shortbread texture slightly.

christmas shortbread cookies

FAQ About Shortbread

Can I freeze shortbread cookies?

Yes! Store in a freezer safe and airtight container or resealable bag. Use layers of parchment paper to keep the cookies from sticking together. These should stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw on the counter.

Can I use almond extract instead of vanilla for the icing?

Yes! Using almond extract would be perfectly fine and give more of a sweet and nutty flavor to the icing and would pair well with the buttery cookie.

What is the difference between English shortbread and Scottish shortbread?

Scottish shortbread cookies are made with sugar, butter, and flour. Other shortbreads use leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda, making them crisp instead of crumbly like a traditional Scottish shortbread.

christmas shortbread cookies on a plate and tablescape

I hope you enjoy these easy Christmas Shortbread cookies! They are one of my favorite cookies this time of year and so fun to add to a cookie tray! Merry Christmas, friends!

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

a plate of christmas shortbread cookies
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4.38 from 8 votes

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

These Christmas Shortbread Cookies are so easy and delicious! Fill the middle with anything from strawberry jam to nutella! Enjoy!
servings 60 pieces
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour



  • 2/3 cup jam preserves or nutella



  • Preheat oven to 325° F.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    christmas shortbread cookie ingredients
  • In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla extract and flour together until incorporated. Dough should hold its shape when squeezed together. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and form into logs down the length of the cookie sheet. Press your finger into the center to create an indent all down each log. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool completely.
    baked shortbread on a baking sheet
  • Fill each log with jam.
    christmas shortbread cookies with jam
  • Mix all ingredients together for the icing until its the constancy of white school glue. Drizzle over each log generously. Cut into diagonal pieces once icing has set for 20 minutes or so.
    shortbread cookies diagonally cut



Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 8mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies, shortbread cookies
christmas cookie recipes

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Recipe Rating

54 Responses
  1. Rose

    2 stars
    So these do spread and I tried to put the dough in freezer to see if that helped and it did not. Plus they are falling apart as I pick one up. I gave it 2 starts bc they taste good.

  2. Barbara Cohen

    1 star
    I will begin saying I love most of your recipes. This one was a gooey mess on the tray. The four strips melted into each other. Thankfully, the family laughed and said–“this one goes in the dumpster for looks, taste ok.” “Don’t try it again.”

  3. Melissa

    5 stars
    Holy smokes these are GOOD! Melt in your mouth shortbread perfectly paired with jam. This has been on my list to make for a long time and I’m glad I finally got to it. So worth it!

  4. Lisa

    5 stars
    They were delicious. I baked one batch for work using strawberry preserves and baking another one, as I type, for my neighbors using raspberry. This is a keeper.

  5. Lisa Czerw

    3 stars
    These were ok. I made exactly as described except i cooked the jam. The tast was great but they spread a lot larger and took very long to cook.

  6. Betty Jo

    5 stars
    Made these today with my homemade Christmas jam for a Christmas open house we are attending. I don’t know if they are going to make it there! They are delicious! Thanks for the easy yet awesome recipe!

  7. Kim

    5 stars
    I want to try making these. I’m pretty sure I made these years ago in my home ec class, and then I went and made them at home … and my family devoured them!

  8. Shirley

    5 stars
    I made these for Christmas. I used strawberry, raspberry, Carmel (with sea salt) and a local candy shop sells orange hot fudge. I put orange zest and orange juice in glaze for fudge. They were delicious.

  9. Cindy

    I tried making these but the dough wouldn’t stay together to form into logs. I even added more butter but they kept crumbling. Any advice. A total fail to do with my nine-year-old. 😔

  10. Lori Oglesby

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to making these cookies again this Christmas! They have been a hit with friends and family as well as at our church cookie walk.

  11. 50 Christmas Cookie Recipes | Lauren's Latest

    […] June’s Shortbread–shortbread log cookies filled with jam. The epitome of easy Christmas Cookies! […]

  12. Theresa McInerney

    5 stars
    These are addicting! I made them for a get together with friends. I also used 4 different fillings- blackberry, apricot, strawberry rhubarb, and nutella! So so good 🙂

  13. Liesel

    5 stars
    ooh, I’ve had these many times when Shayna has made them and they are heavenly! Thanks for the recipe, now I don’t have to bug your sister for it. 🙂

  14. Laura Adams

    I’ve been making this exact recipe for 30 years, with a different name: Raspberry Ribbons. The only difference is that you put the preserves in before baking, then ice when cool, and cut into 1″ bars. They make gorgeous cookies for neighbor Christmas gifts.

  15. Jeanelle

    5 stars
    I made these today and besides being so quick and easy to make, they are simply delicious! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

    1. Lori

      I measure flour by spooning it into the measuring cups then leveling the top with a straight edge knife. I used a stand mixer. They are absolutely delicious but would love them to look like yours!!!

  16. Chels

    I love how simple this is. I hate shortbread, but Josh adores it. I think I’ll have to make him this and then he will love me forever and ever!

  17. Nancy Turner

    I like the way strawberry jam sets in thumbprint cookies when it is baked. Do you think it is preferable (necessary) to add the jam to these shortbread cookies after baking? These cookies look lovely!

    1. Lori

      I had alot of difficulty rolling these thin enough because they just wanted to crumble. I ended up laying them out short ways, they of course got very wide. What did I do wrong here? The taste is good but they crumble.

        1. Lori

          I measure flour by spooning it into the measuring cups then leveling the top with a straight edge knife. I used a stand mixer. They are absolutely delicious but would love them to look like yours!!!