Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are chocolaty, buttery and are perfect for rolling out and cutting into shapes. A simple, six ingredient, cookie that quickly disappears!

stack of star shaped chocolate shortbread cookies on a tartan Christmas plate

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These might be fighting words, but I will take a shortbread cookie over a sugar cookie any day.

Chocolate dipped shortbread cookies or dark chocolate stars are two classic examples of shortbread, but these rich, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate shortbread cookies are vying for my favorite cookie pick.

With only six ingredients, they are super simple to make and they roll out beautifully. They hold their shape when you bake them and are a dream to work with.

I left this batch plain but you can also dip them in more chocolate – white, dark, or milk – and top them with sprinkles.

When I originally posted these in 2012, we decorated them with canned frosting.

Any option will work, but I promise they’re delicious as is.

plate of chocolate cookies in gingerbread & snowmen shapes


BUTTER – You’ll need two sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature.
POWDERED SUGAR – Also sometimes called confectioners’ sugar.
VANILLA EXTRACT – With only a few ingredients, you need high quality ingredients. Try to use pure vanilla extract instead of imitation. You can buy it in bulk at Sam’s or Costco or even make your own in the instant pot.
COCOA POWDER – I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder which is a blend of natural and dutched cocoas.
FLOUR – All purpose white flour is what I use. I haven’t tested others.
SALT – Kosher salt for balance.

overhead shot of ingredients laid out to make cookies


  • Mixing Bowls – I like these with the grippy bottoms.
  • Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer – I have used both for these cookies and do prefer using the stand mixer for these, but either will work just fine.
  • Rolling Pin – For rolling out the dough.
  • Baking Sheet – I prefer lipped baking sheets so nothing slides off. From experience.
  • Cookie Cutters – I used holiday shapes.


STEP ONE: Cream the butter with your mixer until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add in the cocoa powder, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the salt.

STEP TWO: Slowly add in the flour, making sure to mix until fully incorporated, but not to overmix.

overhead shot of mixer beaters with chocolate batter

STEP THREE: Divide the dough in half and place half onto a board (or your counter) lined with parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to evenly roll to 1/4 inch thick. Set aside. Repeat the steps with the other half of the dough.

STEP FOUR: Place both slabs of dough, still sandwiched inside the parchment paper, on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour.

STEP FIVE: After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Either cut out the dough into rectangles or use cookie cutters to make shapes. Place them evenly spaced apart on the prepared cookie sheets.

chocolate dough rolled out with cookie cutters

STEP SIX: Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven and let set before removing from pan. If decorating, let them cool completely.

chocolate shaped cookies on a baking sheet

Though similar, the main difference in these two cookies is the ingredients. Shortbread cookies do not have eggs – sugar cookies typically do. Shortbread cookies generally have more butter, making them tender and crumbly, while a sugar cookie is sweeter and sometimes chewy.


Shortbread cookies can be frozen as dough or after they’ve been baked.


The prepared dough can stay covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or wrap in plastic and kept in freezer for one month.


How many cookies this recipe makes will depend on the size and shapes you choose to make them. Mine (doing the gingerbread men and snowmen) made 30 cookies.


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30+ Classic Christmas Cookies
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Click here to view my entire collection of cookies.

plate of chocolate cookies with text overlay reading chocolate shortbread cookies


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plate of star shaped chocolate shortbread cookies
4.80 from 10 votes

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Servings: 30 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are chocolaty, buttery and are perfect for rolling out and cutting into shapes. A simple, six ingredient, cookie that quickly disappears!


  • ½ lb unsalted butter at room temp (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • cup Hershy’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose white flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt scant


  • In a stand mixer, cream the softened butter with the paddle attachment until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and beat until fluffy.
  • Add in the vanilla and mix.
  • Slowly add in the cocoa. Mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
  • Add salt and mix.
  • Slowly add the flour and mix until incorporated. Take care to not over mix.
  • Put half of the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Lay another piece of parchment on top. Use a rolling pin to flatten evenly to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Repeat these same steps with the other half of the dough using two new sheets of parchment paper.
  • Place both slabs of rolled out dough, still inside of the parchment paper, on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with silicone mats.
  • Cut the cookies with whatever cookie cutters you like & place evenly spaced apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 min, rotating pans halfway through. Let sit on baking sheets 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Let cool completely before decorating.


Prepared dough should chill at least one hour but will be fine, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. Wrapped tightly, the dough will freeze well for up to a month. 
Makes approximately 24-30 cookies but it’ll depend on the size of your cookie cutters.
If your dough gets warm while cutting out the cookies, stick the cookie sheets in the fridge for up to a half hour to firm up. It’s easier to work with chilled. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Originally published December 31, 2012

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies - perfect for decorating! | Persnickety Plates
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies - perfect for decorating! | Persnickety Plates
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies - perfect for decorating! | Persnickety Plates
Chocolate Shortbread Cookies - perfect for decorating! | Persnickety Plates

4.80 from 10 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. 4 stars
    I made these cookies today but they came out a bit too crumbly for me. I prefer a more sturdy cookie that doesn’t crumble in my hand while eating. Will probably try adding a little bit more flour next time.