5 Ingredients or Fewer

Snickerdoodle Shortbread

June  1, 2021
18 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Makes 8x8-inch pan
Author Notes

Shortbread, meet snickerdoodle. Snickerdoodle, meet shortbread. In this mashup cookie, you get the best of both worlds: a buttery, crumbly, tender shortbread, spiced with cinnamon, and coated in a sparkly cinnamon-sugar crust. To get said crust, all you have to do is grease and sugar the pan (just like grease and flour, but better). I love how the cinnamon toasts in the oven, becoming a bigger-personality version of itself. A little bit of vanilla underscores the snickerdoodle vibe. A couple notes about the execution: The dough comes together with a few clicks of the food processor (easy-peasy!), but do keep an eye on it. When it’s ready, the dough should hold together but still be quite crumbly. When you press it into the pan, that will take care of the rest. And don’t forget to cut the shortbread into bars right after you take it out of the oven. This ensures neat, even squares (if you cut it when it’s cold, its crumbly tenderness will work against you). I love this with tea or coffee, especially as an afternoon snack. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Snickerdoodle Shortbread
  • Cinnamon-sugar crust
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pan
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Shortbread
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, cold
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Butter an 8x8-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the sugar crust. Dump the cinnamon-sugar into the buttered baking dish and tap it around, so the inside of the pan is completely coated. Pour the remaining cinnamon-sugar back into the small bowl.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple times to combine. Chop the butter into big pieces and add them on top of the dry ingredients, along with the vanilla extract. Pulse in short bursts until an extremely crumbly dough forms. Overmixing will hurt the tender, crumbly texture, so check frequently. If you can squeeze some of the bits and they hold together, it’s ready.
  3. Dump the shortbread mixture into the prepared pan. Use the palms of your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup to press down the mixture until it’s totally smooth. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar evenly on top. Use a fork to prick the dough all over.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is deeply golden-brown and dry to the touch. As soon as it comes out of the oven, use a knife to cut it into 16 squares. Let the shortbread completely cool before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jenn Ugo
    Jenn Ugo
  • Michael Johnson
    Michael Johnson
  • Moema Bentley
    Moema Bentley
  • Karen Lusby Lewis
    Karen Lusby Lewis
  • Ashley Taylor
    Ashley Taylor
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

24 Reviews

Jenn U. June 1, 2021
a perfect recipe! i made it dairy free w/ miyokos unsalted butter sticks and the result was amazing. incredible texture and beyond simple, thank you! the recipe indicators were so helpful
Neena October 20, 2020
Just made these delicious snickerdoodle shortbread mashup cookies ! Love the taste and texture. I also like the idea of the cinnamon sugar dusted inside the baking pan. Definitely will make it again and again! I was a little worried about the dough being crumbly but watched that portion of Emma’s video again to make sure. I also think the butter came up a tiny bit with fork pricks. Maybe I should place in frig after dusting top with cinnamon sugar. I did use cold butter. All in all fantastic recipe!
bfrasier68 July 31, 2020
I love snickerdoodles. I love shortbread. This is a perfect union. Tried out this recipe for the first time tonight. Turned out perfectly! Sweet, buttery, so damn yummy!
Stillmeadowlark June 15, 2020
Family loved them, tho I and another felt they are over sweet. I’ll make again, cutting back on particularly the base and topping use of sugar. Could not prick top with either a fork or a cake tester. Just pulls up a clump of dough.
Ashley T. December 13, 2021
I found that using a bigger toothpick (not sure how big your cake tester was) and rotating it in and then gently rotating it out avoided that bringing up clumps issue.
L May 22, 2020
Just made these bars and they are amazing! Followed recipe exactly as written and came out perfect.
Michael J. May 11, 2020
Didn't work - couldn't prick with a fork because it simply came up in clumps on the tines of the fork...it's been in for an hour and still isn't dry or set...followed instructions to the letter. All I can figure is something went wrong when processing it...the butter was cold, but it never seemed to want to come together.
Amy March 24, 2020
Just made these and they are amazing! I changed one thing. I used 1/4 cup lt brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar in the cookie dough. My husband and I can’t stop eating them. Perfection!!! Thanks for the recipe. Quick and easy and just right for being stuck at home. 😍
Emma L. March 24, 2020
Thanks, Amy! Brown sugar sounds great.
Patty G. March 22, 2020
If you don't have a food processor, would cutting the butter in with a couple butter knives work, like you do for pie crust? Or use a pastry blender?
Emma L. March 22, 2020
Hi Patty! Do you have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment? I think that would be your next best bet. But if not, a pastry blender might work, too—just would take a bit longer. If you try one of those, please let me know how it goes!
Maureen March 19, 2020
This is so simple and so delicious! I love snickerdoodles and I love shortbread so it is a win/win.
AlamoBowl16 December 21, 2019
Perfect! I halved the recipe for just two people. I used Kerrygold butter which made it sooo good. I also used a small springform pan which made it real easy to cut.
Great recipe and turned out so much better than I thought it would.
kittyfood December 12, 2019
This recipe is a real keeper! I wasn't able to make the fork pricks on the top before baking because the dough was so flaky, but the finished product was fine without that step.
Moema B. October 13, 2019
Omg the house smells amazing!!! Like Thanksgiving and Christmas wrapped up in one giant cookie hug. I actually used a spring form pan because my baking dishes are too big and I was afraid the crust would be too thin. I think the only thing I would recommend would be to put the dough in the fridge to chill for a bit after you use the processor and put it into a baking dish. I felt like it actually got a bit too warm and was hard to push down. Maybe because I let the butter come to room temperature. Other than that if you have loved ones bake them some of these snickerdoodles!
Emma L. October 14, 2019
Giant cookie hug! I love that.
Marie F. October 11, 2019
Delicious! They were better than snickerdoodle cookies!
Emma L. October 14, 2019
Wow, thanks!
Karen L. October 10, 2019
This is a hit! I made two 8 x 8 pans for a good number and all have LOVED it. Will definitely add to the repertoire! Will be ideal for Christmas treat plates too!
Emma L. October 14, 2019
Yay, thanks Karen!
Juliet October 9, 2019
Just made this with my 9 year old. Simple, easy to follow instructions and really nice taste and texture. So yummy, we will make this again and again.
Emma L. October 9, 2019
Thanks, Juliet—so glad you two made the recipe!
Caryn October 9, 2019
Can you please give proportions and timing for a 9x13 pan? Thanks!
Emma L. October 9, 2019
Hi Caryn! Someone actually just wondered the same thing on the Hotline—here's a link to my reply: https://food52.com/hotline/43984-could-i-double-for-a-9x13-with-success