Famous Shortbread Recipes

"Where can I get hold of Famous Shortbread Recipes?" When people from outside Scotland first taste the mouth-watering, melt-in-the-mouth Scottish shortbread, they often want to know how they can get hold of the famous Shortbread Recipes.

They've tasted it, and they want to learn to produce that same delicious taste when they get back home. They are served all year round, but always have some ready for guests after a Burns Supper and certainly at Hogmanay and also Christmas.

Of course there are so many other lovely things you could try like Scones with delicious homemade raspberry jam or Scotch Pancakes, or the rich but delicious Black Bun.

However, if YOU have a Scottish Recipe you'd like to share with others on this site, please contribute HERE

This lovely recipe and many more can be downloaded in my handy ebook, simply save to your phone and take with you everywhere! Each beautifully illustrated recipe tells a story and will both teach and entertain you. Click here to find out more.

However, back to famous shortbread recipes - The word "short" refers to the generous proportion of butter that makes this so rich that it crumbles in your mouth.

The characteristic fork-pressed edges mark shortbread as a home-baked product, rather than one baked professionally. Today, however, tins of commercially made Scottish shortbread are exported to every corner of the world, and the makers would still use famous shortbread recipes in the production.

Heart-shaped shortbread

Heart Shaped Shortbread

As a child I was taught by my Mother how to bake shortbread. Her Mother had taught her. It was served on high days and holidays, and none so important as Hogmanay or New Year's Eve. We made the traditional round ones in the mold, tray bake style, small round ones, and fancy shaped ones.

As I grew older I experimented with a variety of other famous shortbread recipes, even creating some of my very own. I liked adding nuts or dates and other ingredients, although these would not always be called the traditional Scottish or famous shortbread recipes.

As well as the tradition round cut into triangles, I liked making fingers and shapes. I don't consider myself a great baker, but my guests would often polish off platefuls of my shortbread with a cup of tea or coffee.

I have to say that today you can get some delicious bought shortbread, although I don't think there is anything to beat the real homemade variety. Even the smell of it cooking makes your mouth water.

Shortbread Mold

Shortbread Mold

Few things are better with a cup of tea or coffee than a wedge of butter shortbread. It's also the perfect thing when you want something crisp to serve with a soft dessert like custard or ice cream. Shortbread keeps well and makes an excellent gift.

Famous shortbread recipes don't include salt, as we would normally use salted butter, but I've added a tiny pinch of salt in recipe 1 as I feel it helps the flavour.

There must be hundreds of recipes for shortbread, but I just want to share a few with you here. Try them for yourself.

The origin of shortbread dates back in Scotland to medieval times. Traditionally, shortbread was baked in a large round and served cut from the centre into triangles (and you can still find it made like this today).

I have to say that today you can get some delicious bought shortbread, although I don't think there is anything to beat the real homemade variety. Even the smell of it cooking makes your mouth water.

The traditional recipe is one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour (originally fine oatmeal — a staple Scottish ingredient — but now wheat flour). Other ingredients are sometimes added for taste or, like cornflour or rice flour, to lighten the texture.

Often today, with the influence from other countries, especially North America, other ingredients such as nuts, dates, caraway seeds are added to produce a newer range of traditional shortbread recipes.

Shortbread Fingers

Shortbread Fingers

FAMOUS SHORTBREAD RECIPIES 1 (one of the most famous shortbread recipes)

Makes around 16 pieces (8 per round)

1lb (500g)plain flour
1lb (500g) self raising flour
1lb (500g) butter
8oz (225g) castor sugar
Half teaspoon salt


  • Cream the butter and sugar together.

  • Combine with the sieved flour and salt. Use finger tips and do this gently.

  • Shape into 2 rounds with your hands. DO NOT ROLL

  • Put on a baking tray.

  • Pinch the edges with your finger and thumb to give a nice finish.

  • Prick the base all over with a fork.

  • Bake in a low oven, 140 C/ 275F/Gas 1 for around 1 hour.

  • Leave to cool, cut into the required shape.

  • Turn onto a rack.

  • Shortbread Mini Rounds

    FAMOUS SHORTBREAD RECIPES 2 (with caraway seeds)

    Makes around 16 fingers or (minirounds)

    12 oz (350g) Plain flour
    6 oz (170g) Butter
    2 oz (50g) Granulated sugar
    4 tbs Milk
    Teasp Caraway Seeds


    • Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar.

    • Gently heat the butter and milk together and as soon as the butter has melted stir the liquid into the flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.

    • Turn it onto a floured surface and knead it lightly.

    • Roll the halves out directly onto a baking tray.

    • Decorate the edges the edges and the top using a fork.

    • Bake at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

    • Cut lightly to divide into finger portions.

    • Leave to cool in baking tray, then turn on to a cooling rack.

    Shortbread Round

    The next one is perhaps is not one of the most famous shortbread recipes, but I still like it. I hope you will too.

    FAMOUS SHORTBREAD RECIPE 3 (cinnamon and almond flavour)

    Makes around 16 pieces

    1 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    1 egg
    3 cups sifted flour
    powdered sugar


    • Cream butter and sugar.

    • Add almond extract and egg; beat well.

    • Blend in flour.

    • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board;

    • knead until smooth.

    • Roll out to piecrust thickness then cut into shapes.

    • Place on a greased baking sheet; prick with a fork.

    • Bake at 275 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

    • While still warm, roll in powdered sugar; sprinkle with cinnamon.

    Please remember if you are Canadian or American you can order Scottish Food products direct from the States from Caledonian Kitchen Med.

    See also the following pages for more recipes:-

    Easter Sunday Menu - Have a look at the recipes I've chosen for Easter Sunday - Cream of Carrot & Coriander Soup, Roast Lamb, followed by profiteroles.
    Valentine's Meal - Try the recipes I've chosen for Valentine's Day - starting with Smoked Salmon Mousse followed by Steak in a Whisky and Pepper Sauce, and finishing with a delicious Chocolate Cream.
    Mothers' Day - A simple menu of Cottage Pie followed by rhubarb crumble.
    Christmas Cake - Do try this recipe for a traditional Christmas cake.
    Black Bun - This is traditionally served at Hogmanay when bringing in the New Year.
    Clootie Dumpling - This rich and traditional dish is a favourite all year round but especially at Christmas time.
    Christmas Pudding - This traditional pudding is usually served on Christmas day throughout the UK as well as Scotland.
    Cullen Skink - This famous fish soup is made with smoked haddock.
    Trout in oatmeal - This traditional and famous dish made with local ingredients.
    Roast Turkey - This simple recipe will be ideal for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
    Roast Venison - Make Christmas, Thanksgiving or other celebration special by serving roast venison to your guests.
    Best Scone Recipes - Try the plain, fruit or the cheese scones.
    Haggis - Try this world-famous dish.
    Pretend Haggis - If you can't face the 'real' thing, try this easy-to-make pretend haggis recipe.
    Forfar Bridie - Try this filling meat 'pastie'.
    Raspberry Recipes - See what you can do with a punnet of delicious raspberries, including the famous dessert, Crannachan.
    Scotch Broth - See the recipe for hearty Scotch Broth.
    Scotch Eggs - A simple recipe for you to try. Can be served hot or cold.
    Scotch Pancakes - A quick, inexpensive treat for your guests.
    Potato Scones - Serve Potato (or tattie) scone as part of the traditional Scottish Breakfast.
    Tablet - Indulge in this delicious, but sweet Scottish confectionery.
    Scottish Leek Soup Recipes - Try these two famous Scottish Leek Soup Recipes.
    Scottish Lorne Sausages - Try this everyday dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    Scotch Pies - This Traditional pie is made with mutton or lamb.
    Savoury Mince Pies - This pie is made with minced beef (or hamburger meat).
    Traditional Fish and Chips in Batter. - If you're visiting Scotland - do try this from a good Fish and Chip Shop. But if you want to make it yourself, here's the recipe. Serve with 'mushy' peas.
    Stovies - Try this simple, everyday dish, can be made with lamb, corned beef or even sausages.
    Tipsy Laird - This delicious whisky trifle (similar to sherry trifle) is traditionally served at a Burns Supper.
    Burns Supper - Learn a bit more about a Burns Supper and get the Menu and recipe for Haggis, chappit potatoes and bashed neeps.
    Porridge - Try a bowl of this famous Scottish breakfast dish.
    Savoury Mince Pie - This delicious but simple pie is served in households across Scotland.
    Salmon Patties - A variation on the Fish Cake - but using Scottish oats.
    Hogmanay - See how we bring in the New Year in Scotland.
    Traditional Scottish Christmas - Have a look at some Scottish Christmas traditions.

    Also look at some of the recipes contributed by visitors to this site.
    Grandma Wright's Clootie Dumpling, Mince and Tatties, Quick Microwave Christmas Pudding, Cup of Tea Cake, Scottish Recipe against a Sore Throat, Gaelic Coffee, Mealy Potatoes, Scot's Pepper Pleasure Boat

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