Traditional scottish shortbread

Traditional Scottish Shortbread


I always associate shortbread with Christmas, and it was something my mother in law made every year.  The ingredients for shortbread are simple, and all shortbreads are based on the traditional proportions of 1:2:3 – sugar, butter and flour – although these amounts are varied slightly in most recipes. Today some people substitute a portion of the sugar with caster sugar and a portion of the flour with cornflour.  It makes the texture of the shortbread more refined, but I love the traditional way making this recipe crisp and crunchy, and my mother in law’s recipe is a winner.



shortbread recipe

The History of Shortbread

“Shortbread may have been made as early as the 12th Century, however its invention is often attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th Century. Petticoat Tails were a traditional form of shortbread said to be enjoyed by the queen. The round shortbread was flavored with caraway seeds, baked and cut into triangular wedges. The triangles resemble the shape of fabric pieces used to make petticoats during the rein of Queen Elizabeth I. Shortbread was also made in individual round biscuits called shortbread rounds and in a rectangular slab, which was cut into thin pieces known as fingers. All of these forms of shortbread are still made today. “


The Best Scottish Shortbread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
Servings: 12
Author: Ev based on Moureen Thomas' recipe
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 60 g sugar
  • 115 g salted butter
  • If using unsalted butter add a pinch of salt
  1. Pre-heat the oven 325F / 165C degrees.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl .
  3. Grease a 7 inch square baking tray or 8 inch circular cake tin if you are making petticoat tails.
  4. Put butter into a bowl and add the pinch of salt if using unsalted butter.
  5. Mash butter with a fork until it is soft and creamy and all lumps have gone.
  6. Add sugar and mix quickly and incorporate well.
  7. Add the flour a little at a time - use your fork at the beginning and then knead well on a lightly floured board.Knead for about 7-10 minutes.
  8. Press the kneaded shortbread into your prepared tin. (1/2 in thick).
  9. Prick surface with a fork and bake in oven for 35-45 minutes, making sure not to let it get too brown.
  10. Whilst still quite warm in the tray, mark across and cut into required shapes. but leave them there in the tray until cooled.
  11. Sprinkle with castor sugar.


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  • Reply Peggy December 11, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    Thanks for this great recipe. I do prefer traditional to the new recipes

  • Reply Anonymous December 11, 2014 at 6:23 AM

    Yummy this looks simple enough for me to try. I am a complete beginner

  • Reply Vicky December 11, 2014 at 6:24 AM

    Making these today and will let you. Know how they turn out

    • Reply Ev December 11, 2014 at 6:26 AM

      Let me know if you have any problems Vicky.

  • Reply Eric December 11, 2014 at 4:26 PM


    • Reply Ev December 12, 2014 at 5:24 AM

      My favourite critic

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