I have a handful of go-to baking recipes I rely on because I’m a bit of a hurried baker, and this simple shortbread cookie recipe is a fool proof favorite – I can always throw these together with little effort! I shared the recipe with a lemon zest twist in my cookbook, and this version gets tinted green for a sweet shamrock treat to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day! This recipe makes a fun, buttery, sticky dough and is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen—have them help shape the dough into a ball and roll it out before you stamp out the cookies with cookie cutters.
A few tips for success: first, make sure you chill the dough, and you can even re-chill the cookies for a few more minutes after you’ve rolled and stamped them out. Keeping the dough cold helps them hold their shape when they’re baked. And another tip, adjust the recipe with different food coloring and cookie cutter combinations to adapt it for various holidays, I’ve made yellow flowers, red hearts… get creative!

Shamrock Shortbread Cookies.
Serves: 24 Cookies
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • Food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, butter, and sugar in a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.Sift flour into the butter mixture and stir to fully combine the ingredients.
  3. Add in the food coloring and adjust to your desired color before packing the dough together into two balls. Cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. After the dough chills, place it on a floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to ½ inch thickness.Stamp the dough with your desired cookie-cutter shape and transfer to baking sheet.
  5. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10–12 minutes.