Can You Use Powdered Sugar in Shortbread?

Shortbread is a classic Scottish cookie that is known for its buttery, crumbly texture. Traditional shortbread recipes call for granulated sugar, but it is possible to use powdered sugar instead. Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner’s sugar, is a granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder. It is often used in baking to create a smooth, even texture.

Using powdered sugar in shortbread can result in a cookie that is more tender and crumbly than one made with granulated sugar. The powdered sugar will also dissolve more easily into the butter, creating a smoother dough.

Here are some tips for using powdered sugar in shortbread:

  • Use a 1:1 ratio of powdered sugar to granulated sugar. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of granulated sugar, use 1 cup of powdered sugar.
  • Cream the butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. This will help to incorporate air into the dough and make the cookies more tender.
  • Be careful not to overmix the dough. Overmixing can toughen the cookies.
  • Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. This will help the cookies to hold their shape and prevent them from spreading too much.
  • Bake the cookies at a low temperature (325 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10-12 minutes, or until they are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges.

Here is a recipe for shortbread cookies made with powdered sugar:


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
  6. Cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter.
  7. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Why Try This Recipe

  • They’re a classic. I think everyone should have a good go-to shortbread recipe, and this is mine. No, it’s not particularly showy, but it’s a classic and a reliable recipe.
  • It’s simple. With just six ingredients and a short time spent in the fridge, shortbread comes together quickly. Yes, it’s not as visually appealing as apple pie or praline cookies, but shortbread isn’t made that way.
  • It tastes good, with a flavor reminiscent of butter and a texture that melts in your mouth and crumbles slightly under your teeth.
  • It’s versatile. Add the vanilla extract, leave it out, or use vanilla bean paste in its place. Elevate the cookies by using European-style butter instead of traditional butter. Add chocolate chips, or dip in chocolate, and cut into desired shapes (I chose hearts, but you could also cut with a knife instead of a cookie cutter to make rectangles).

This is the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie tray. I eagerly await your feedback on this revised version ❤️

Traditionally, shortbread is only made with butter, sugar, and flour, but I’ve discovered that a few minor modifications produce even better results. Here’s what you need for my recipe.

can you use powdered sugar in shortbread

  • Butter. European butter is a great upgrade in this case! Because shortbread calls for so few ingredients, the caliber of each one can have a significant impact on the finished product. I don’t usually spend the extra money, and you don’t have to, but using European-style butter will result in more tender and buttery baked goods (because it contains more fat!).
  • Powdered sugar. In this shortbread cookie recipe, powdered sugar will be used, much like in my fruit tart crust recipe. This can also be referred to as icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar, or 10x sugar.
  • Flour. Use all-purpose (also often known as “plain”) flour. Self-rising flour will not work here. If you don’t use a kitchen scale, you risk over-weighing and creating a dough that is too dry.
  • Cornstarch. This promotes tender, melt-in-your-mouth results. It also helps the cookies hold their shape beautifully by preventing them from spreading too much in the oven!
  • Vanilla extract. This is not a traditional ingredient, so feel free to omit it, but I really enjoy how it gives the shortbread a richer, more complex flavor. A scraped vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste would also work!

Take note that this recipe does not call for baking soda or powder; this is expected for shortbread cookies!

Sam’s Tip: This dough is fairly stiff, so if you add all of your dry ingredients at once, it will be very difficult to combine everything. Instead, add them little by little.

Recall that this is only a summary of the components I used and my rationale. Please read all the way to the bottom of the post for the recipe!

The Best Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Though I loved the original for years, my old version began to feel more like a sugar cookie, so I’m excited to share my updated shortbread cookie recipe with you today! I wanted to make a few adjustments to produce results that were more beautifully shaped while remaining tender, soft, and melt-in-your-mouth. This is true, classic, perfected shortbread.

What Sugar To Use In Shortbread? | Best Shortbread Recipe?


Can I use powdered sugar instead of sugar for cookies?

It is not recommended to substitute powdered sugar for granulated sugar. Since powdered sugar has a much finer texture, and it contains a small percentage of cornstarch to prevent caking, substituting can give you unexpected results. Q.

What are common mistakes when making shortbread?

The most common mistakes when making shortbread are over-working the dough, and incorporating too much flour. The less you work the dough, the more crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth your shortbread cookies will be.

What’s the difference between Irish shortbread and Scottish shortbread?

Irish Shortbread Is Distinct From Scottish Shortbread Irish shortbread not only sometimes changes up the butter-to-sugar ratio (possibly going with 2/3 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of butter), but also adds cornstarch in place of some of the flour present in the traditional recipe.

Do you use powdered sugar in shortbread cookies?

The reason powdered sugar is used is because you’ll get a softer texture in your cookie, a delicate melt-in-your-mouth cookie. For a different version using brown sugar, try my brown sugar Scottish shortbread cookies. Flour – You’ll need to use all-purpose flour in these cookies to absorb the moisture of the butter, drying the dough.

How do you make shortbread with powdered sugar?

This shortbread recipe with powdered sugar is easy to make with just the following simple ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (don’t use table salt or it will be too salty!) 2 Tablespoons sanding sugar for dusting on cooked shortbread, optional To make Scottish shortbread cookies, start by creaming the butter until light and fluffy.

What is powdered sugar in shortbread?

Powdered sugar is also known as icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar and it dissolves quickly and evenly into the dough. Using powdered sugar will create a smoother texture and a more delicate shortbread. Shortbread is a classic Scottish dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries.

Can you use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar for shortbread?

This recipe comes from our Glaswegian neighbor who uses powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar for his Scottish shortbread recipe. While Americans would consider a piece of shortbread a “cookie,” it’s actually called a “biscuit” outside of the US. This can be confusing since Americans consider a “biscuit” something similar to a British scone.

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