The Queen's Favorite Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies

16 servings
25 min

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These Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies are rich, tender, and buttery. They were among the late Queen Elizabeth’s favorite sweets for her afternoon tea. This recipe is from the Buckingham Palance Pastry Chef, John Higgins.

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The cookies are lovely for bridal or baby showers, Mother’s Day, Christmas, or tea parties. They’re also delicious with a hot cup of tea or your morning coffee.

What Are Shortbread Cookies?

Shortbread or ‘shorties’ are traditional Scottish cookies that are lightly sweet, crisp, and very buttery. They differ from other cookies in that shortbread cookies have no leavening agent.

Ingredients Needed

I love a recipe that uses only a few ingredients and they’re ones you typically already have on hand. These cookies have only five ingredients.

  • Butter – I use a salted European style butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Vanilla

Steps To Make This Recipe

  1. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven.
  3. Sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch.
  4. Add the butter and vanilla to the mixture and cream until fluffy.
  5. Stir in the flour until a dough forms.
  6. Roll the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle.
  7. Cut into 16 rectangles.
  8. Prick each rectangle 3 times with a fork.
  9. Place the rectangles on the cookie sheet and bake until just beginning to turn golden.

Tips For Making Perfect Shortbread

  • Allow your butter to soften to room temperature so that you can cream it easily.
  • Take the time to sift the ingredients to ensure that you don’t overmix the dough. Overmixed dough makes tough shortbread. That’s never a good thing.
  • Bake the cookies until the bottoms are just beginning to turn golden on the bottoms and the tops of the cookies are still pale in color.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet or on a wire rack so that they are sturdy and don’t crack when you lift them.


  • Swap the vanilla for almond extract and add ½ cup of chopped almonds to the dough.
  • Swap the vanilla for orange extract and dip the bottoms of the baked cookies in dark chocolate.
  • Add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice for a taste of autumn.

Please consider a few of our other cookie recipes:

  • Chai Spiced Snowball Cookies
  • Chocolate Crinkle Kiss Cookies
  • Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Soft Red Velvet Cookies With Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Pfeffernusse Cookies
  • Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
  • The Ultimate Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
The Queen's Favorite Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies
Recipe details
  • 16  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 10 Minutes Total time: 25 min
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  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup cornstarch, sifted, more for dusting.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the butter and vanilla. 
Cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the flour and mix just until a dough forms. Do not overmix.
Lightly dust a flat surface with powdered sugar and turn the dough out onto the surface.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle that is ½-inch thick.
Cut the dough into 16 rectangles.
Use a fork to make prick marks on each of the rectangles.
Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.
Remove the cookies to a serving platter or in an airtight container.
Eats By The Beach (Millie Brinkley)
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