Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts

Gather the kids in the kitchen to make these festive Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts. 

Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger

Shortbread Cutouts: Something for Everyone

Whether you’re looking for a fun family activity during the holidays, wanting to make a simple Christmas dessert or are baking homemade food gift for neighbors, these shortbread cookies should definitely be on your must make list. The beauty of cutout cookies is that you can customize in so many ways. For example, Ellie wanted to make star cutouts while Frances was insistent on using the stockings cookie cutter. I wanted to add sugar and salt to the top of mine while the girls chose only sugar. We also collectively decided to add fresh rosemary to make them more festive but, of course, herbs can be left out.

Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger

Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts

These delightful little cookies are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Plus, the combination of sugar and salt make a crispy crystal topping that pairs perfectly with the fresh rosemary. Should you choose to ice the cookies, feel free. However, I like to highlight the butter and rosemary flavor by keeping it simple with this sweet and salty combo. It would also be fun to make a simple powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over the cookies. Add some lemon juice and lemon zest–yum!! So many option!


Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger

Cook’s Tips: Lessons Learned

I researched many shortbread cookie recipes and tested quite a few batches before getting these just right. In my research, I learned that some people like to use room temperature butter while others swear by cold butter. Some tell you to chill or even freeze the dough overnight while some say not to worry about it at all. I played around with different methods until I found what works best for me and for these yummy cookies—use softened butter, chill 30 minutes, roll, use cutters and bake.

Here are a few other lessons I learned:

  • Use parchment paper or a silicone bake mat to keep the cookies from sticking.
  • If the dough cracks or won’t roll out smooth, give it 10-15 more minutes to come to room temperature.
  • Store in an airtight container. The rosemary flavor becomes more prominent a day or two after baking.
  • Bake until the edges are golden brown. Because everyone’s ovens cook slightly different, be sure to keep an eye on the cookies to avoid over or under baking.


Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger

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More Holiday Recipes

**Love rosemary like I do? Then you MUST try my Rosemary Roasted Almonds. They are seriously addictive and have the most amazing flavor. L

**Looking for more easy dessert recipes? Give no-bake White Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Bites a try or have some fun with Snowman Marshmallow Pops, Santa Marshmallow Pops or Reindeer Marshmallow Pops.

**Want a fun and clever twist on your cheese board? You can’t miss this Christmas Tree Charcuterie Board!

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Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger
Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger

Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts

  • Author: Holley Grainger
  • Yield: 20-24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert


  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (plus extra as needed for rolling)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Using a stand mixture, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl as needed to ensure ingredients are combined.
  2. Whisk together flour, rosemary, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture with the mixer on low. Increase speed to medium and mix until flour is incorporated and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Divide dough in half shaping each piece into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. When ready to bake, heat oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove dough from the refrigerator and unwrap.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into rounds or shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with a pinch of additional sugar and salt, if desired.
  6. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.