Butter Shortbread Cookies for Tea

These delicious, crumbly butter shortbread cookies are perfect with an afternoon tea or coffee. Here are three different takes on a basic butter cookie that will have you sneaking back for more.

butter shortbread cookies for tea
strawberry filled butter shortbread cookie
salted caramel butter shortbread cookies

What are butter shortbread cookies?

These delicious, delicate little butter shortbread tea cookies are a simple cookie made with flour, butter, and sugar. They remind me of these cookies that my grandmother always had. She stored them in a blue tin and they were called Royal Dansk Danish Butter Cookies. I used to get them after school as a snack. While these cookies are slightly denser, they still have the unique buttery flavor and flaky melt-in-your-mouth texture that was so noteworthy.

I love these cookies because they are so easy to make and fun and easy to adapt! We have tea parties on Fridays and these are SUPER easy to whip up in an assortment of flavors. Some of our favorites are:

  • Classic Butter
  • Toasted Buttered Pecan
  • Salted Caramel
  • Chocolate Pistachio
  • Seedless Strawberry Jam
  • Seedless Raspberry Jam
  • Birthday Cake with Vanilla Buttercream & Sprinkles
ingredients for butter shortbread cookies

Ingredients for butter shortbread cookies

The ingredient list for these butter shortbread tea cookies is short and sweet. To make these, you only need:

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Sticks of butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Table Sugar + 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 Salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

How to make butter shortbread cookies

These are the easiest cookies to make- No mixer even required! First, in a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, and salt egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

butter cookies
double yolked egg
vanilla for cookies
mixing cookies
prepared cookie dough

Then, once your dough is ready, measure dough in 1 Tbsp size balls and gently press them down with your hands. If making thumbprint cookies to fill, press your thumb into the center, creating a small imprint in the dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to look golden brown.

Tbsp cookie dough
pressed cookie dough
thumbprint cookie
baked thumbprint cookie

To fill:

Simply spoon out 1/2 tsp of filling into the center of each cooled cookie. If spreading with chocolate, work quickly so that the chocolate doesn’t harden as it cools! Or try coming up with your own favorite toppings. The sky is the limit! Enjoy!

How to store butter shortbread cookies for tea

To store these cookies, put cooled cookies into an airtight container or Ziploc bag and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. To freeze: Let cookies come to room temperature and store before filling with jam or caramel in an airtight Ziploc bag or storage container. These can be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze after filling: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the filled cookies on the parchment, and stick the cookie sheet into the freezer for several hours. Once the filling is frozen, transfer to an airtight container and place back in the fridge.

baked thumbprint cookies

By the way, if you need a good tea to go with it, try my recipe for London Fog with Maple Cream

butter shortbread cookies for tea

Butter Shortbread Cookies for Tea

Callie Morgan
These delicious, crumbly butter shortbread cookies are perfect with an afternoon tea or coffee. Here are three different takes on a basic butter cookie that will have you sneaking back for more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 3 dozen


  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 sticks salted butter room temp
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 1/4 Cup caramel dessert sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Strawberry Jam
  • 1/4 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp butter


  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
    2 sticks salted butter, 1/2 Cup sugar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla
  • Next, mix the salt into the flour and mix in the flour mixture into the butter mixture until everything is incorporated.
    2 Cups Flour, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Using a one Tbsp measuring spoon, measure out small balls of dough and gently press down to flatten. For thumb-print cookies (filled) take your thumb and gently press down in the center of each dough ball, creating a small indention for your filling. If icing or covering with chocolate, simply use a fork and press down gently to create a criss cross pattern.
  • Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for 5-10 minutes on a baking rack. Then fill with 1/2 tsp of caramel, strawberry jam. Or spread with chocolate. Enjoy!
    1/4 Cup caramel dessert sauce, 1/4 Cup Strawberry Jam

Chocolate Spread

  • Melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate chips have all melted and chocolate is smoothe.
    1/4 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips, 1 Tbsp butter
Keyword cookies, easy dessert, homemade, tea snack

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  1. 5 stars
    I needed this! Great staple recipe and love how yours look like they don’t crumble when you push in the thumbprint.

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