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Overhead shot of a red and silver metal cookie tin filled with triangular pieces of brown butter shortbread, on a wood surfaced topped with a cloth.

Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 20 cookies 1x


Chewy, nutty, and sweet, this is the shortbread cookie to beat all others. Why? Because it’s made with delicious brown butter.


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt


  1. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil that hangs over the sides to create a sling. You may use either a fluted 8 or 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom, or an 8-inch square pan. Grease lightly.
  2. Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it turns a darker, caramel color and emits a warm, nutty smell. This will take approximately 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-proof mixing bowl.
  3. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine. Add the flour and stir until combined. Spread dough in prepared pan, and let sit for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. Lightly sprinkle the surface with flaky sea salt, and place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the sides of the tart pan, or lift the shortbread out with the aluminum foil sling that you created. Using a very sharp knife, slice into 12 triangular wedges. Place these on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat pan liner.
  7. Return to the oven and toast for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: shortbread, brown butter, cookie, holiday baking, Christmas