Lavender Shortbread Cookies
These Lavender Shortbread Cookies are buttery and lightly sweet, with a floral flavor and aroma from dried lavender. They’re simple to make, only require 5 ingredients, and gift really well to family and friends!
If you’re a fan of shortbread, you must try these Lavender Shortbread Cookies.
Variations of shortbread run plenty, but none of them quite compare to the pairing of lavender’s fragrant nature with the buttery, crumbly hallmarks of classic shortbread. These cookies are just delectable.
If you’ve never baked with lavender before, it’s wonderful, and something I’ve done a lot of on this site over the years. There’s Lavender Blackberry Crumbles, Lavender White Chocolate Lace Cookies, and Lavender Honey Yogurt, to name a few.
Dried lavender is something that you can purchase and keep in your spice rack for years, so whenever the spark to use it comes up, it’s at your reach and available to be added to pretty much any baked good.
One thing that’s really nice about this shortbread is that it keeps really well. That makes it a great cookie to give as a gift, and one that can also be mailed with little issue. The cookies are very sturdy and unlikely to crumble or fall apart during shipment.
Even if you’re not shipping them, it’s nice that they last for so long and retain much of their freshness for longer than most cookies. A lot of cookies get stale and go downhill within a day or two, but these are great for weeks.
These lavender cookies are pretty consistent with the expected shortbread experience, and have a nice crumbly nature to them, with plenty of the dense crunch that I love to munch on. My husband Pete likes shortbread a bit softer than I do, so I usually underbake a few for him to enjoy. They’re very flexible that way.
And just like your usual Shortbread Cookies, there are only a small handful of ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, and dried lavender. Sometimes the best desserts are the simple ones with minimal ingredients. Case in point: pound cake will also always be one of my favorites. This recipe from my friend Liz looks like the Best Pound Cake ever.
I bought dried lavender from the spices section of Williams Sonoma, and it’s possible your local grocery store may have it in the spice section as well. You can also order it online on Amazon.
How to Make Lavender Shortbread Cookies:
To get started, we want to grind up the dried lavender. This ensures we don’t have big chunks of lavender in the cookie, and it also helps the lavender flavor disperse throughout the dough.
I like to grind the dried lavender in a mortar and pestle, but when I first posted this recipe in 2011, I didn’t have one, and chopped the lavender up finely with a knife. I imagine you could also bash it up in a bag with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer instead.
Once the dried lavender has been ground up, add it to a bowl with softened salted butter and granulated sugar:
Splurge on the good butter for shortbread
This is a recipe where I recommend you buy the fancy grass-fed European butter. It is SO essential for the flavor of the cookies, and the cheap bulk sticks don’t have much flavor.
Why I use salted butter for shortbread:
It is customary to use unsalted butter for baking so you can add the salt yourself and control the amount, and I used to do this with shortbread. However, after making whipped shortbread last Christmas with salted butter, I’ve concluded that salted butter is much better suited for shortbread. That way you don’t get little flecks of salt throughout the dough, but rather an evenly dispersed salt content throughout.
Whip together the butter, lavender, and sugar until combined:
You can do this entire process with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, but if you have both, I recommend the stand mixer. It will bring the dough together better at the end (and it’s what I use most of the time, but wanted to show the hand mixer method too since a lot of people don’t have stand mixers).
Next, scrape the sides of the bowl down, and add vanilla extract:
Briefly mix that in, then add all purpose flour:
Mix the flour in until little crumbs form. It will be difficult for the hand mixer to shape this into an actual dough because at some point it just tosses around the “crumbs,” but you should be able to squeeze a clump of crumbs together with your hands and have it hold together nicely:
Shape it into a ball with your hands (if using a stand mixer, it will shape it into a cohesive ball for you), then roll it out onto a mat, into whatever shape you’d like:
I was baking with James, and we had fun making all sorts of different shapes. We did squares and rectangles just like the Walker’s shortbread shape:
Then I re-rolled the scraps and cut out circles that you can see here at the top:
The shape of shortbread is completely up to you, and you can do multiple different shapes in one batch.
Make sure to chill the shortbread in the fridge
Next, place all the shortbread into the refrigerator for one hour, until firm and cool to the touch.
The purpose of chilling the dough is to prevent spreading in the oven. If you’ve ever had shortbread spread into a mess in the oven, it’s because the butter got too warm.
It’s time to bake!
Shortbread doesn’t spread much in the oven, so you can place the shortbread pretty close together on the tray. Even still, I split this batch between two trays, with the squares and rectangles on one, and the circles on another.
Unless you’re using an airbake sheet pan, I recommend putting them on parchment paper or a silicone mat. Not because of sticking (trust me, these cookies don’t stick since they are so buttery), but because otherwise the bottoms of the cookies might brown a bit too much. This isn’t required, but if you notice that when you bake that the bottoms of cookies tend to get brown or scorched, lining the pan helps.
How long to bake shortbread:
For 1/2″ thick shortbread, I bake for about 20-25 minutes in a 350F oven.
You will know the cookies are done when they’re slightly golden brown on the edges.
I find the that variation in bake time between sizes isn’t actually that much either.
Why isn’t my shortbread crunchy yet? It needs to cool. When you take the shortbread out of the oven, if it looks brown on the edges but isn’t crunchy, don’t worry. Shortbread always needs to cool, and will crisp up after 30 to 60 minutes of resting on the pan.
How to Store Shortbread: Once the shortbread has cooled completely, pack it into airtight tins or containers, and store it at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. It probably won’t last that long though, heh. Enjoy!
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
These Lavender Shortbread cookies are buttery and lightly sweet, with a floral flavor and aroma from dried lavender. They're the perfect cookie to pair with tea or give as a gift!
- 2 tsp dried lavender
- 3 sticks (3/4 pound) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 17.5 ounces by weight all purpose flour, or 3.5 cups measured
- Grind the lavender up very finely using a mortar and pestle, until it is almost a powder.*
- In a stand mixer** fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, sugar, and lavender powder until combined and spread around the bowl.
- Add the vanilla and mix just until it disappears.
- Add flour to the bowl, and mix together until a dough ball forms.
- Roll the dough out on a baking mat about 1/2" thick, then cut desired shapes. Squares, rectangles, and circles all work well.
- Place the cookies on a sheet tray, and refrigerate for 1 hour, until cold and firm to the touch.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges.
- Let the cookies cool to room temperature, and enjoy!
*If you don't have a mortar and pestle, chop the dried lavender as finely as possible with a knife, or bash it with a rolling pin.
**You can use a hand mixer as well, but you’ll need to do more kneading and shaping at the end. The stand mixer will beat it into a cohesive dough that can be rolled, but a hand mixer will not. It just kind of “tosses” it about as crumbs, so you'll need to shape it more by hand at the end before rolling.
Did you make this recipe?
I'd love to know how it went!
This post was originally published in March 2011, and was updated with new photos and writing in May 2018.