4 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread

Four ingredients – that’s all this recipe calls for and I bet you’ve got them in your pantry!

Sometimes I find a new recipe I want to try and when I see the long list of ingredients I tend to put it on my “maybe” list.  You know, that list that never sees the light of day.

These 4 ingredient brown sugar shortbread cookies are one of those recipes that makes the keeper list and you’ll find yourself making them over and over during the holiday season.

Only 4 ingredients - brown sugar shortbread

Need a quick gift?  Brown Sugar Shortbread to the rescue!  Need an easy cookie recipe for a cookie exchange?  You’ve found it!

This is also the perfect cookie to go alongside a cup of coffee or spiced cider.  It’s buttery and not overly sweet.  It reminds me of those butter cookies that come in the pretty tins at Christmas time – the ones that come layered in little white cookie liners.  Yes, those.

4 Ingredient Brown Sugar Shortbread


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons white sparkling sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add flour, a little at a time, beating at low speed until smooth.
  5. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
  6. Roll dough into 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Cut with a 2" cookie cutter.
  8. Place 1 inch apart onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  9. Sprinkle evenly with sparkling sugar.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden.
  11. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.
  12. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
These cookies are so pretty and tasty that they don’t need icing!  That’s a good thing for me since I’m not really gifted in that department.

Brown Sugar Shortbread - only 4 ingredients

PS – Because I like to keep it real, I’ve got to tell you something.  I had the photo shoot of this little cookie all planned out in my head.  And because I baked these on the Sunday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend, there were lots of hungry men/boys lounging around watching the game and waiting on me to finish up so they could eat the cookies.

Yes, I was in a hurry.  When I was uploading the photos I realized the over-sized cinnamon stick that looked so cool in my head looks like a crocodile breaching the water of a swamp (apple cider).  Retake?  Nah. There’s only crumbs left.  It is what it is.  And these cookies are amazing with or without the cinnamon crocodile.

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Alli’s passions are writing, storytelling and throwing a mean party (that’s a good thing). She’s learned plenty of party planning tricks along the way and loves to share her menus, recipes and helpful hints for extraordinary events!All of Alli’s parties have to be fun, frugal and fabulous! The décor is always simple, yet stunning. The food is scrumptious and satisfying. Stick around and she’ll show you how to take her ideas and make them your own.

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  1. Oooh, those sound yummy. And easy. I need easy because I bake with a five year old. 😉

  2. Yes and yes! The holiday season is busy with parties and entertaining and I’m always looking for a unique hostess gift that isn’t over the top. Can’t wait to try this recipe with my family!

  3. I love shortbread cookies!!! Since the Walker family won’t adopt me, I’m super happy to have this very simple recipe. I will definitely be trying this. I think we will even make some for Rory’s teacher. 🙂 Thanks for the giggle…I needed it this morning. Cinnamon Crocodile. HA! PINNED, shared, etc…

    Life With Lorelai

  4. I’m growing to love shortbread cookies. At first they were a bit “doughy” and I didn’t like that. Now with a side of milk, all is swell with shortbread.

    Love the backstory even more.

  5. These look amazing!!! And I’m with you on that list of ingredients LOL I have a LOT of recipes in my “to try” file LOL

  6. These look absolutely delicious! My even put them on this years Christmas Baking List

  7. This looks delish and so very easy. I love your presentation, Alli!

  8. Alli, I can tell that these are flippin’ delicious! I adore shortbread, but I always use the tried and true recipe. Nothing wrong with shaking it up!

  9. These are sooooooo easy-to-make, and they look fantastic!!
    The kink of cookies I personally can’t stop eating once I start…. 🙂

  10. Oooo….those look yummy. Shortbread cookies are one of my favorite and the sugar sprinkles make them even better.

  11. These look absolutely amazing! Just makes me giddy for Christmas. 🙂

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