(Last Updated On: December 20, 2022)


National Shortbread Day on January 6 recognizes a classic Scottish treat enjoyed around the world known as shortbread.


Shortbread is a traditional Scottish dessert typically made with:

  • 1 part white sugar
  • 2 parts butter
  • 3 parts flour

Modern recipes deviate from the 3 ingredient rule by splitting the sugar portion into equal parts of granulated sugar and powdered sugar and adding salt. Bakers commonly use plain white (wheat) flour to make shortbread. However, some bakers use ground rice or cornflour to alter the texture.

Shortbread earns its name because of its crumbly texture. Its high-fat content provided by the butter results in a shortbread crumb. “Shortening” refers to any fat that may be added to produce a “short” (crumbly) texture.

Prepared often during the 12th century, Mary, Queen of Scots receives credit for the innovation of the shortbread during the 16th century. As it was expensive to make, the sweet cookie was reserved as a luxury for special occasions.

In Shetland (northeast of mainland Britain), they traditionally break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride upon the entrance of her new home.


  • Invite a friend over for tea and enjoy these delicately flavored treats while catching up.
  • Share shortbread with co-workers. Invite nieces and nephews to help you bake up a new shortbread recipe.
  • Use #NationalShortbreadDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar continues to research this indulgent cookie holiday. While we do, we’re going to dunk a few freshly baked Scottish shortbreads into our coffee. We suggest you do, too!

Shortbread FAQ

Q. Can I freeze shortbread?
A. Yes. Shortbread freezes quite well. Avoid using freezer bags to prevent breakage. Instead, use a freezer container with a lid.

Q. Should shortbread dough be chilled before baking?
A. Yes. Chilling shortbread dough firms up the butter and allows the dough to keep its shape while baking.

Q. Does shortbread make a good gift?
A. Yes! Shortbread is not only a delicious treat to receive, but it also keeps well.

Q. Should I sprinkle sugar on my shortbread?
A. You can, but it’s not required.

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