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Chocolate Shortbread

These chocolate shortbread cookies might look simple, but they’re rich, buttery, and chocolatey, with just a hint of cinnamon. Better still, they’re a cinch to make! 

And, if you’re looking for more easy shortbread recipes, check out these 3-ingredient shortbread cookies, this butter pecan shortbread, and these pecan sandies!

Chocolate shortbread stacked on a white plate.

Easy Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread is one of the simple pleasures of baking. Not only is the rich, buttery flavor irresistible, but shortbread recipes tend to use ingredients most bakers are likely to have in their kitchen already. Which means you can make shortbread anytime the craving hits!

These chocolate shortbread cookies add cocoa powder to classic shortbread for a cookie that chocolate lovers will appreciate. This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and whenever I make it, the shortbread bars always disappear quickly! 

While many shortbread recipes start with cold butter, this one calls for softened butter. This means you can mix the dough with an electric mixer rather than by hand, making it easier than a traditional shortbread.

Why You’ll Love This Chocolate Shortbread Recipe

While I’m a big fan of traditional shortbread, this chocolate shortbread recipe holds a special place in my heart too. Here’s why I think you’ll love it just as much:

  • Perfect buttery texture. Every bite of this chocolate shortbread is rich, tender, and filled with cocoa and cinnamon flavor.
  • Super easy. This shortbread recipe is made with simple ingredients, and the process takes just 1 hour, with only 20 minutes of prep work.
  • Great for any occasion. You could make this shortbread during the holidays or just because! It’s really up to you.
Overhead view of ingredients for chocolate shortbread.

What You’ll Need

As promised, these are all simple ingredients that you probably have on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter – Let the butter soften before you start the recipe by allowing it to sit at room temperature for about half an hour.
  • All-purpose flour – Measure your flour by weight for the best results. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, then use the spoon and sweep method.
  • Dutch-process cocoa powder – This has a milder, less acidic flavor than natural cocoa powder.
  • Ground cinnamon – You can omit the cinnamon if you prefer, but I love the way it complements the chocolate flavor of this shortbread.
  • Salt – Feel free to use whichever kind of salt you like best (sea salt, etc.).
  • Baking soda – To add just a little bit of lift.
  • Sugar – This recipe calls for both granulated sugar and superfine sugar. Here’s how to make superfine sugar.
Chocolate shortbread cookies stacked on a plate set on a cooling rack.

How to Make Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread tends to be easy to make, and this recipe is no exception. Use high-quality ingredients and follow the recipe to the letter and you can’t go wrong!

  • Prepare. Preheat your oven to 325ºF and line a 12×8-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, letting it hang over the two opposite sides.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. 
  • Finish the dough. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and sugar in a second mixing bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Chill the dough. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Refrigerate it for about 15 minutes, or until firm.
  • Bake the shortbread. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then bake the shortbread for about 20 minutes, or until firm.
  • Cut and decorate. While the shortbread is still hot, cut it into 4×1-inch pieces using a pizza cutter or large knife. Sprinkle the tops of the shortbread cookies with granulated sugar, covering them completely. Let the cookies cool in the pan, then serve or store them.

Tips for Success

This chocolate shortbread is fairly straightforward, but here are a few tips to make sure it turns out perfectly.

  • Measure the ingredients accurately. Use a kitchen scale to measure them by weight, if possible. Otherwise, use the spoon-and-sweep method for the best results.
  • About the pan size… Small jellyroll pans often measure 12″ x 8″, but a quarter sheet pan will work if that’s what you have. The cookies will just be slightly longer and not quite as thick.
  • Don’t skip the refrigerator time. Chilling the dough will help your shortbread achieve its best flavor and texture.
  • For clean slices, use a sharp knife, a pizza cutter, or a sharp bench scraper. Also, if you use the parchment paper to lift the shortbread onto a cutting board, cutting them will be much easier.

Substitutions & Recipe Variations

Keeping the proportions in this recipe intact is important, but there are a few things you can do to jazz these shortbread cookies up!

  • Mix in extract. Instead of adding in cinnamon, you could add in vanilla extract (or orange extract if you like a little bit of citrus flavor).
  • Add in zest. Also feel free to add orange zest!
  • Dip them in chocolate. Dipping your chocolate shortbread cookies in melted chocolate is a great idea! You can even add chopped nuts on top as decoration, if you like.
Chocolate shortbread cookies lined up on a wire rack.

How to Store

Chocolate shortbread will last about 4 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge to extend their shelf life to a week.

Can I Freeze Chocolate Shortbread?

Yes, shortbread freezes beautifully! Place the shortbread cookies in a freezer bag or airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper if necessary. Freeze for up to 3 months; when you’re ready to enjoy them, let the shortbread thaw on the countertop at room temperature.

Chocolate shortbread on a white plate on a wire rack.

More Shortbread Recipes

If you’re looking for more easy shortbread recipes, you’re in the right place!

Chocolate Shortbread

Yield 24
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

These sweet, simple chocolate shortbread cookies are always a hit! They're buttery, rich, and filled with subtle cinnamon flavor.

Chocolate Shortbread stacked on a white plate


  • 1 & 1/2 cups (339g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 & 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons (315g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 & 1/2 tablespoons (24g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (190g) superfine sugar*
  • granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 12″x 8″ rimmed baking sheet or quarter sheet pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over two opposite sides.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
  4. Spread the dough into the prepared pan. Chill the dough in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes or until firm.
  5. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake for about 20 minutes or until firm.
  6. While still hot, cut into 4″x1″ pieces. (A pizza cutter works wonderfully for this.)
  7. Sprinkle the top of the shortbread with granulated sugar, covering completely. Cool completely in the pan.


  • *If you don’t have superfine sugar, process granulated sugar in a food processor for 15 seconds. Read more here: How to Make Superfine Sugar
  • Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.
  • To store: Chocolate shortbread will last about 4 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge to extend their shelf life to a week.
  • To freeze: Place the shortbread cookies in a freezer bag or airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper if necessary. Freeze for up to 3 months; when you’re ready to enjoy them, let the shortbread thaw on the countertop at room temperature.

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    14 Comments on “Chocolate Shortbread”

  1. I need to make those! I’ve been looking for a good chocolate shortbread recipe as I have a request for them, but sadly, I don’t have this book, I’ll have to see if the library does.

  2. These sounds like they would be the perfect goody. I love Martha!

  3. I’ve had a shortbread recipe on my counter for WEEKS. Maybe MONTHS. This, however, will replace it. Because chocolate always wins. Always.

  4. Hi!

    I left you a comment on Flickr – couldn’t resist to do it here too. 😀

    These look so delicious. I think they’re a great Xmas gift!

  5. I nominated you for a food blog award:

    I hope you don’t mind!

  6. Thanks, everyone! These really are some kind of good. And thanks, Rachel, for nominating me! Very exciting!

  7. These are really good. The amazing thing is that there are no wet ingredients yet the cookies are moist.

  8. I couldn’t find an email address for you. But I wanted to let you know that I made this recipe and posted about it as part of a roundup for holiday cookie recipes.

    They are even better than advertised. They may be one of my all time favorite cookies. Thanks so much for posting them!

  9. These are definitely yummy. Glad you liked them! FYI, my email is on my “about” page.

  10. I just made these about two hours ago. Well, I made my own version – no mixer, no superfine sugar and no food processor, no unsalted butter, no baking sheet anywhere near the correct size – had to tweak the process a bit, but they’re still absolutely wonderful…nowhere near as pretty as yours, but wonderful.

  11. Wow, I like a baker who’s not afraid to tweak! So glad you liked them!

  12. I made these for the first time in December 2019.  Everyone loved them!!  They are easy and delicious, and a nice addition to my Christmas cookie platter.😀👍

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