An image depicting a stack of golden, crumbly vanilla bean shortbread cookies, dusted with a delicate layer of powdered sugar

Vanilla Bean Shortbread

Looking for a treat that’s buttery, crumbly, and oh-so-delicious? You’ve come to the right place! We’ll show you how to make vanilla bean shortbread that will melt in your mouth.

With just a handful of ingredients and a few simple steps, you’ll have a batch of irresistible cookies in no time.

So get ready to indulge in the perfect combination of vanilla and buttery goodness. Let’s get baking!


Explore the origins of vanilla bean shortbread, tracing its roots back to its earliest known recipe.

Imagine yourself transported to the 16th century, where the delicious aroma of freshly baked shortbread fills the air. It’s believed that the first recorded recipe for vanilla bean shortbread originated in Scotland, known for its rich culinary traditions.

The simplicity of the ingredients, including butter, sugar, and flour, combined with the delicate flavor of vanilla beans, created a culinary masterpiece that quickly gained popularity. This delectable treat was often served during special occasions and celebrations, becoming a symbol of warmth and hospitality.

As time went on, vanilla bean shortbread spread across the globe, captivating taste buds and becoming a beloved treat in various cultures. Today, this buttery, melt-in-your-mouth delight continues to delight dessert enthusiasts, while paying homage to its humble beginnings.

Ingredients for Vanilla Bean Shortbread

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar (also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar)
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (or alternatively, you can use 1-2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Extra powdered sugar for dusting
  • Vanilla sugar for sprinkling on top before baking (if you have it)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the seeds from the vanilla bean or the vanilla extract.

  3. Sift the flour and salt together, then gradually add to the butter mixture. Mix until a dough forms.

  4. Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it comes together. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.

  5. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters and place on the prepared baking sheet.

  6. If you like, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with vanilla sugar.

  7. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn golden.

  8. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

  9. Once cool, dust with additional powdered sugar if desired.

Tips for Cooking

As you continue preparing vanilla bean shortbread, here are some helpful tips to enhance your cooking experience.

Tips for Cooking Benefits
Use room temperature ingredients Allows for even mixing and baking
Chill the dough before baking Helps the shortbread retain its shape
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough Creates clean and precise edges
Dust the work surface with flour Prevents the dough from sticking
Rotate the baking sheet halfway through baking Ensures even browning

Final Thoughts

For the best results, follow these final tips to perfect your vanilla bean shortbread.

First, make sure to use high-quality ingredients, especially the vanilla beans. The flavor of the shortbread will greatly depend on the quality of the vanilla beans, so don’t skimp on this ingredient.

Second, be patient and give the dough enough time to chill in the refrigerator. This will help the flavors develop and make the dough easier to handle.

Third, when rolling out the dough, lightly flour the surface and rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Fourth, use a sharp knife or cookie cutter to cut out the shortbread into desired shapes.

Bake the shortbread until the edges are lightly golden.

Enjoy your delicious homemade vanilla bean shortbread!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Different Type of Bean in the Recipe Instead of Vanilla?

Yes, feel free to use a different type of bean in the recipe instead of vanilla. Feel adventurous and try flavors like coffee or almond to give the shortbread cookies a unique taste. Enjoy your delicious creation!

How Long Does the Vanilla Bean Shortbread Stay Fresh?

The vanilla bean shortbread remains fresh for approximately one week when stored correctly in an airtight container. It is recommended to savor it within the initial few days to experience the ultimate taste and texture.

Can I Freeze the Vanilla Bean Shortbread Dough?

Yes, you can freeze the vanilla bean shortbread dough. Freezing it is a convenient way to have it available whenever desired. Simply tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer.

Can I Substitute Butter With a Dairy-Free Alternative in This Recipe?

Yes, you can easily replace butter with a dairy-free alternative in this recipe. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with dietary restrictions. Simply ensure that you select a dairy-free alternative that possesses a comparable texture and fat content.

Can I Add Additional Flavors, Like Chocolate or Citrus, to the Vanilla Bean Shortbread?

Yes, feel free to incorporate extra flavors into the vanilla bean shortbread. You can enhance the taste by including chocolate chips for a delicious and indulgent experience or add a burst of freshness with zesty citrus fruit zest. Let your imagination run wild and experiment with different flavor combinations!

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