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Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies

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Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies are a recipe from Royal pastry chef John Higgins that’s perfect for Christmas cookies or afternoon tea.

Shortbread cookies on a white platter with a red ribbon

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Queen Elizabeth is known for her love of afternoon tea. In fact, we wrote about the Queen’s favorite tea recipes.

She is also known for her love of shortbread cookies.

Queen Elizabeth with Royal Red Sash

This recipe is reputed to be her favorite. Chef Higgins says of the Queen’s favorite shortbread cookies, “Taste is king, even for a Queen!”

Shortbread cookies are an easy, 4 ingredient, rather quick fix for Christmas cookies, afternoon tea, or snacks.

While we’ve made different shapes and sizes of shortbread cookies here at 31Daily, these are special. I will always love shortbread petticoat tails, but these deserve a special place at the table too.

Baked shortbread cookies on a cooling rack

Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies Ingredients

Scottish shortbread typically has 3 main ingredients. The royal recipe adds a 4th ingredient. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here’s a list of what you need.

  • All-purpose flour: Some shortbread recipes list bread flour but I’m using all-purpose here.
  • Butter: I’m using salted butter. Add a pinch of salt if you’re using unsalted butter.
  • Sugar: You can use granulated sugar or powdered sugar. Most royal recipes use powdered sugar.
  • Cornstarch: This is the ingredient the royal recipe adds to typical Scottish shortbread. Cornstarch softens the shortbread, makes it less glutinous. This shortbread is very soft and delicious.

Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies

These shortbread cookies are made to measure according to Chef Higgins’ instructions. The recipe yields 16 finger cookies with the dough depth at 1/2-inch.

According to my measurement, I rolled the dough to 11-inches by 6-inch. Each shortbread finger measures 2.75 inches by 1.5 inches.

That being said, they DO NOT have to be exact. In fact, you can cut them into circles if you prefer. I’m told they do that too at Buckingham Palace.



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Top view of shortbread cookies on a white serving platter
Shortbread cookies on a white platter with a red ribbon

Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These Buckingham Palace Shortbread Cookies are a recipe from pastry chef John Higgins that's perfect for the holidays or afternoon tea.


  • 1 cup butter, (2 sticks, 8oz, 227g), softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, (5 oz, 150g) sifted
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, (2 oz, 61g) sifted
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (8 oz, 250g) sifted
  • granulated sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. Sift the powdered sugar and cornstarch into a medium bowl or the stand mixer along with the softened butter. Mix until the butter begins to break up.
  3. Add the flour and mix together until a dough-like consistency forms.
  4. Roll out the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness. Mine measured 11 inches by 6 inches. Cut into fingers or circles. Dock with a fork if you like for that trademark shortbread marking.
  5. Transfer the cut cookies to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden in color.
  6. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 92mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g

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  1. Hi! Is the powdered sugar and flour measured first then sifted or sifted then measured? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sally, these are so fun to make. I always sift and then measure. That being said, I’ve heard from several that they did not sift the ingredients, only scooped and measured and they turned out great.

  2. This recipe is still incorrect. It says 1 cup or 4 ounces. Good thing I read the comments! Very tasty, thanks for sharing it.

    1. Hi Karen, bake them on a sheet pan. I like to cool them on the rack and also give them another sprinkling of sugar.

    1. Hi Paul — it should be 1/2 cup or 4 ounces. I’ve corrected the ingredient. Thanks for alerting me!!

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