Strawberry shortbread cookies are tender, buttery cookies made with just five ingredients. Cut out in heart shapes, these fruity cookies are perfect for Valentine's Day.
If you've never had a shortbread cookie before, they are buttery, tender, and delicate. They don't contain any leavening agents, so they won't puff up in the oven.
Shortbread cookies have been reader favorites for years, so I decided to expand and make a strawberry version of this classic dessert. Recipes like chocolate chip shortbread cookie dippers, brown butter shortbread cookies, and iced lime shortbread cookies are some of my most popular.
These treats are made with freeze-dried strawberries. They are 100% fruit with no added artificial color or flavor, just natural strawberry sweetness and a light pink tint.
You can cut them out into any shapes you like or slice them into bars, making them ideal for any occasion. Make heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day or flower shapes for Easter or Mother's Day.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Unsalted butter - Can be substituted with salted butter (omit the salt listed in the recipe). Your butter should be softened at room temperature (not cold, not melted) to make a proper dough consistency.
- All-purpose flour - I haven't tested this recipe with other types of flours, so I can't say whether your cookies would turn out or not. Baking is an exact science, so swapping ingredients at a 1:1 ratio is not recommended.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your cookies without making them "salty".
- Confectioner's sugar - Confectioner's sugar incorporates into the dough better than granulated sugar, giving a more consistent result. However, ¾ cup of confectioner's sugar can be substituted with ½ cup of granulated sugar if necessary.
- Freeze-dried strawberries - To give these cookies their strawberry flavor, freeze-dried strawberries are a must. Fresh strawberries will not work in this recipe, and will make the dough very wet. This recipe is written to include a dry ingredient, like freeze dried strawberry powder. To make plain shortbread cookies, simply omit the strawberry powder.
I find freeze dried strawberries in the produce section of my local grocery store. Any bag that's about .8 to 1 ounce works in this recipe.
If you can't find freeze dried strawberries locally, they can also be purchased on Amazon:
- Nature Restore Freeze Dried Strawberry Powder, 8 Ounces (skip the food processor and buy powder instead)
- MUNCHBERRY Freeze Dried Strawberries [2oz Bags - 2 Count]
To prepare your freeze dried strawberries, place them in a food processor and pulse until you have a fine powder.
The secret to making good shortbread
What is the secret to making good shortbread? Use high quality ingredients and measure those ingredients properly!
High quality ingredients - Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, each one is very important. If possible, use a high quality butter like Kerrygold. It has a velvety texture and superior flavor, which translates into a more flavorful cookie.
Measure ingredients properly - The biggest issue I see in cookie making in general, but especially shortbread, is the improper measuring of ingredients. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe (only five!), it's very important that each ingredient is measured exactly. Too much flour makes your dough too crumbly and dry to come together properly. Too much butter makes your cookies spread too much in the oven.
How do you accurately measure cookie ingredients? Use a kitchen scale. Every baking recipe on my website includes gram measurements in the recipe card. Click 'metric' and the cup measurements are replaced with gram weights.
If you don't have a kitchen scale, use the spoon and level method for flour. Gently spoon flour into the measuring cup until full, then level off the top with a knife. How accurate is the spoon and level method? It's not perfect, but better than scooping with the measuring cup. Check out my 10 tips for baking cookies post for photos of my flour measuring demonstration.
Tips and tricks
- Cream together your butter and sugar until fluffy. This creates a smooth, even dough which translates into a consistent, perfect batch of cookies.
- Add your (properly measured) dry ingredients slowly, and mix until just incorporated. Overmixing dough once the flour has been added can make your cookies tough because the gluten has been overworked.
- Refrigerate your dough for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and to help firm up your dough, making it easier to roll out and cut.
- If your dough has been in the refrigerator for longer than 30 minutes, allow it to warm up for 10 minutes on the countertop, making it more pliable.
- Dust your countertop, rolling pin, your hands, and your cookie cutters with flour. Don't be afraid to dust with flour. If your dough sticks to the counter, you'll have even more of a mess than a little flour.
- Use parchment paper (or silicone baking mat), not a greased sheet. Adding grease to a cookie sheet makes the cookies spread more in the oven.
- Keep an eye on your cookies, not the time. Baking times are estimates of what worked for me. Your oven may run hotter or cooler, or your cookies may be thicker or thinner, and may require a slightly different baking time.
- Cookies are done when they look set/dry across the top and are just barely beginning to lightly brown around the edges (you may not even see browning).
- Allow your cookies to cool for several minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack. Shortbread is very delicate, especially when warm, and can fall apart if disturbed too early.
How long do shortbread cookies last?
Homemade shortbread cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. To help keep your cookies fresh for longer, add a slice of bread to your cookie container. The cookies soak up the moisture of the bread, helping them stay fresh and tender.
For best flavor and texture, serve homemade cookies within a day or two of baking, and freeze any extras you don't plan on eating within 2-3 days.
Shortbread cookies, as well as shortbread cookie dough, can be frozen for up to three months in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container.
To thaw baked cookies, place on the countertop for 1 hour. To thaw dough, transfer to the refrigerator and allow to thaw overnight.
Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
- .8 ounce (23 g) freeze dried strawberries
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (85 g) confectioner's sugar
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a spice grinder or food processor, grind freeze dried strawberries into a powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add butter and confectioner's sugar and mix with a hand mixer until creamed and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients - freeze dried strawberry powder, flour, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix with a hand mixer until ingredients are just incorporated. Your dough will be very thick and crumbly, but holds its shape when pinched between two fingers (shortbread dough does not come together like regular chocolate chip cookie dough).
- Shape dough into a disc and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Dust counter top and rolling pin with flour, then roll dough to ¼" thickness. Using a 2" heart shaped cookie cutter (or other shapes), cut dough into shapes. Using a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
- Bake for about 9-12 minutes, or until cookies look set/dry across the tops and they begin to very lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring off baking sheet. Shortbread cookies are very delicate and need time to cool before handling.
- Quantity of cookies will depend on the thickness of your dough and size/shape of cookie cutters. We used a 2" heart to make 40 cookies.
- Leftover cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container. To keep fresh longer, place a slice of bread in your cookie container. The cookies soak up the moisture from the bread and stay tender longer.
- Freeze-dried strawberries cannot be substituted with any sort of wet strawberry ingredient (jam, fresh strawberries, etc). Strawberry powder can be omitted to make a plain shortbread cookie. Or, try my chocolate chip shortbread cookie dippers instead (they can also be cut into heart shapes).
- For a vibrant pink/red color, add a few drops of red food coloring with the butter.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!