Recipe Review

This 3-Ingredient Shortbread Is Delightfully Easy (and Delicious)

published Dec 21, 2022
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King Arthur's shortbread shown on a surface and in a baking dish
Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

I’m always wary of recipes that only use three (or fewer) ingredients, but in the case of this shortbread recipe from Taste of Home, I realized it’s the most classic iteration of the recipe. Following the traditional formula of one part granulated sugar, two parts butter, and four parts flour, this recipe promised to offer up the most classic form of the cookie. But with so few ingredients, would it taste too bland? I was eager to get in the kitchen and find out.

How to Make Taste of Home’s Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

You’ll start by preheating the oven to 325°F. While it’s heating, you cream together softened unsalted butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer. Then you beat in all-purpose flour. The dough then goes into an ungreased 9-inch square pan, where you press it into an even layer and then prick it all over with a fork. The shortbread bakes until light golden, 30 to 35 minutes, and then is cut into squares while warm. Then the cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Credit: Photo: Julia Gartland; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

My Honest Review of Taste of Home’s 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

I loved the half-inch thickness of these cookies — thick but not too thick. I cut the “slab” of shortbread into 16 squares, based on the suggested yield. Next time, I would either cut it into 25 squares or 24 rectangles; the 16 squares felt just a little too big.

The cookies were wonderfully “short” and crumbly, with the irresistible shortbread texture you crave, and the flavor of butter — boosted with gentle sweetness — was at the forefront. Because the recipe includes no salt and uses unsalted butter, the flavor is very mild (and also very classic). Although it might not be traditional, I would prefer a hint of salt to elevate all the flavors. 

If You’re Making Taste of Home’s 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies, a Few Tips

  1. Try a different butter. The recipe calls for unsalted butter. For a flavor boost, I suggest using cultured butter, which would lend more complexity and a hint of tang.
  2. Add a little salt. The next time I make this recipe (because I will be making it again), I will either stir in a quarter teaspoon table salt or use salted butter instead of unsalted. Just a little bit of salt would go a long way in amping up the flavor.
  3. Cut in the pan. When the pan of shortbread came out of the oven, I used a butter knife to cut it into squares. This worked great and saved me the trouble of trying to remove the whole shortbread from the hot pan (and possibly breaking it). 

Overall rating: 9/10