Vegan Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread
Imagine a cookie that dissolves on your tongue with ravishing yet subtle sweetness. That’s Scottish Shortbread for you, and it is, of course, a classic for all times.

Making shortbread vegan poses a challenge because butter is one of the most important ingredients here. Unlike some recipes where butter usually provides mostly the fat and just a little of the flavor, in shortbread — which is made with just a handful of ingredients– it provides ALL of the flavor.

In my cardamom-pistachio shortbread, my almond shortbread cookies or my lemony shortbread, I usually use oil and shortening because the nuts and lemon provide enough deliciousness so the butter won’t be missed. But for just plain old Scottish Shortbread, which I adapted from the Joy of Cooking, I use vegan butter sticks.

Because these butter substitutes which are easily available now in supermarkets do such a great job of mimicking the flavor and texture of the real thing, no one would be able to tell that this shortbread is vegan– yes, made absolutely without harming an animal.

I also used 2 tbsp of shortening because I find it gives shortbread the perfect texture: flaky, crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth and simply delicious.

Vegan Shortbread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious vegan shortbread with the perfect texture
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: Scottish
Serves: 16
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp vegan butter, like Earth Balance
  • 2 tbsp trans fat-free vegetable shortening
  • 1¼ cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  1. Beat sugar, salt, vegan butter and shortening on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Sift in the flour gradually into the butter-shortening mixture, mixing with a spatula. Stir together with the spatula until the dough comes together. If needed, sprinkle a few drops of ice-cold water so the dough holds together.
  3. Grease an 8 X 8-inch baking dish.
  4. Put the shortbread dough in it and press with your fingers into a smooth, even layer.
  5. Using a fork, pierce holes into the shortbread dough in a decorative pattern.
  6. Bake in a 300-degree oven for 45-50 minutes until the shortbread is pale golden in color and slightly dark at the edges.
  7. Remove to a rack and let cool until it's slightly warm. With a sharp knife, cut almost all the way through to form squares. At this point you can sprinkle the shortbread with 1-2 tsp sugar.
  8. When completely cooled, break into bars and devour!

This one goes, of course, to It’s A Vegan World: British. We still have a good 10 days to go before the deadline, so hurry on all you fabulous cooks out there, and let me see how wonderfully creative you can get. I’m waiting!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Hi! This looks great, another wonderful Vegan British food. Do you have a suggestion for an Indian dish I could make in advance and possibly freeze to reheat this weekend at a music festival/camping we will be at this weekend? Is freezing and reheating a good idea for an Indian dish?
    Peace, Stephanie

  2. says

    Hey,vaishali,they are cute beauties trying to tempt me..I think many are about to drool here..yes,when you prepare a vegan shortbread,butter plays a vital role I agree to check this asap.thanks

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