These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection!

These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

It’s almost Christmas time – which means it’s time to make some whipped shortbread cookies!

I absolutely love Christmas baking.  The only problem is that as the years pass, I am starting to have too many favourites!

We have to pick and choose every year now.

Especially since I do love to bake, and there’s all my childhood favourites, all my husband’s childhood favourites, and I have this need to try new things every year too.

That makes for far too many cookies.

So not everything gets made, or we’d have Christmas baking in the freezer all year long.

Whipped Shortbread - These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

These whipped shortbread cookies get made every single year though.  Without fail.

They’re my absolute favourite Christmas cookie – and I don’t even like candied cherries that much, so if they’re not your thing either, don’t let them stop you from making these!

Oddly enough, even though this is my mom’s recipe, it’s virtually identical to the one my mother-in-law makes.

So it’s on both mine and my husband’s list.

Basically, they’re the perfect Christmas cookie.

Whipped shortbread were the only cookie that my whole family would always make together every year when I was growing up.

I think we’d usually make a double or triple batch because they were everyone’s favourite!

Whipped Shortbread - These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

We’d all have jobs.  Dad would mix the dough and roll it into little balls, I’d press each one down with a fork, and my sister and brother would stick the cherries on top.

I figured I had the best job because I never liked touching the sticky cherries.  My son agrees with me on that and won’t help with that part.

Evidently my mom got stuck with cleanup?  I don’t remember.

I do remember that making whipped shortbread equated to Christmas being just around the corner.

If you’ve never tried whipped shortbread, add this one to your “new Christmas cookies to try” list.

Maybe you’ll find a new family favourite too!

Whipped Shortbread - These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

Why is it called shortbread?

It’s called shortbread because of the large amount of butter in the cookies.

The term short means crumbly, like pastry should be.

So shortbread cookies are buttery cookies that are a bit crumbly.

Don’t expect a chewy cookie – shortbread cookies are crisp, lightly sweet, and a bit crumbly.

These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

What does shortbread taste like?

There is a lot of butter in shortbread, but not as much sugar as you might expect, like sugar cookies.

Shortbread has a buttery, lightly sweet taste. They are not overly sweet.

If you like your cookies really sweet, you might prefer sugar cookies to shortbread.

These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

Can you freeze shortbread cookies?

Yes, I freeze my whipped shortbread cookies all the time.

Place the cooled cookies in an airtight container with wax paper in between the layers of cookies to prevent them sticking together and freeze for up to 3 months.

They defrost very quickly at room temperature, and are very good even when they’re still cold.

These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, with a cherry on top, are so quick and easy to make. Christmas cookie perfection.

How to make Whipped Shortbread Cookies:

  • You can use a stand mixer, food processor or electric hand mixer to make these cookies – I’ve used all three with good results.
  • Make sure you whip the dough well. It will be crumbly at first and then will come together into a ball – this takes 2-3 minutes of whipping in a stand mixer or food processor, and 4-5 minutes with an electric hand mixer. It takes longer than most cookie doughs to mix but the cookies will be difficult to roll into balls if you don’t whip the dough long enough.
  • If candied cherries don’t appeal to you, you can make them without or put something else (chocolate, nuts, sprinkles, whatever you like) on top, but keep in mind that the cookies themselves aren’t super sweet.
  • If you have a cookie press, these cookies can also be shaped with one of those instead of rolling the dough into balls and pressing it down with a fork.
  • Here are some more fantastic Christmas cookie recipes for you:

Yield: 30 cookies

Whipped Shortbread

Whipped Shortbread

These light and sweet whipped shortbread cookies, topped with a cherry, are quick and easy to make. They make the perfect Christmas cookies!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 cup (0.5 lb, 227g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1.4oz, 40g) corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5oz, 213g) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (2oz, 57g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) vanilla
  • 15 candied cherries, sliced in half


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the candied cherries in half. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add the corn starch, flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and whip until light and fluffy. Make sure to whip the dough until it comes together into a ball and isn't crumbly at all (see Notes).
  3. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 tablespoon each, and place them about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Dip a fork into a small bowl of flour and press the cookies down with it to flatten them. Make sure to dip the fork into the flour and shake off the excess before flattening each cookie so that it doesn’t stick.
  5. Place half a cherry in the middle of each cookie, pressing it down lightly.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 7 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


Be sure to measure the flour correctly for these cookies. I use the dip and sweep method to measure my flour (fluff up the flour in the bin first, then scoop with your measuring cup and level it off with a knife or flat edge). I also measure my powdered sugar and cornstarch this way. I've included the weights as well, so you can use a kitchen scale instead if you have one.

When whipping the dough, be sure to keep whipping until the dough has come together into a ball and is light and fluffy. It will be crumbly at first but will be smooth after whipping it for 2-3 minutes in a stand mixer or food processor, or 4-5 minutes with an electric mixer.

If candied cherries aren't your thing, chunks of chocolate are good, or nothing at all - the cookies are great on their own too!

Source: My mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 6.2gSaturated Fat: 3.9gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 44mgCarbohydrates: 8.9gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 2.8gProtein: 0.7g
  1. Sheena Royle says:

    These were quick easy and yummy!! I did have to add a few tablespoons of milk to get it to form a dough, otherwise it was just staying powdery.

    1. Stacey says:

      I never add any. That being said, I have made them with salted butter instead and they are just as good. So you can definitely use salted butter instead if you like – I don’t actually find it matters too much for these cookies.

        1. Stacey says:

          Hi Ann – I’m sorry, I’ve never had that happen. The only thing I can think of is that maybe your butter was too soft when you started so it warmed up a lot when whipping? It should be soft enough that it will indent when you press a spoon into the side, but the spoon shouldn’t slide right through it. Hopefully that helps!

  2. Amy says:

    I used a recipe from Best of Bridge that called for mixing ingredients for 10 minutes (said more mixing the better) so I used my food processor. The butter melted and mixture separated. Can I still use when butter hardens or should I throw out.

    1. Stacey says:

      I’ve never had that happen Amy, that’s too bad! I would certainly still try using it once the butter hardens again – worth a try. I would put the dough into the fridge and let it firm up again (not cold and rock hard, just firm enough that it’s solid and about room temp again) and then try mixing it to bring it together again (maybe with cookie paddles in a stand mixer instead if you have one?), and bake them. I’ve never had that happen (and I’ve made these with my food processor many times – but I mix for 2-3 minutes in the food processor) so I’m not positive it will work, but it’s worth a try. Good luck!

  3. Bernie says:

    For powdered sugar can I use icing sugar As we don’t get powdered sugar here in Canada… have seen super fine grain sugar…


    1. Stacey says:

      Powdered sugar and icing sugar are the same thing. I tend to use either word – I’m in Canada and have always called it icing sugar, but always got a lot of questions asking what it was when I said that so have started saying powdered sugar more often now. I need to just start putting both words I think!

  4. Denise says:

    I’ve made these for years, but mine are called “Pastel Melt-Aways”. You can tint the dough too, also roll two colors in a log and cut or roll in colored dots. I don’t use the candied jellies. Great recipe.

  5. Amanda says:

    I just made these and they are AMAZING! I skipped the cherry and dipped half the cookie in melted dark chocolate and added sprinkles for the kiddos. Thanks so much for sharing This! Will be making these forever now I’m sure! 🙂

    1. Stacey says:

      Love the dipping in chocolate idea – I definitely need to do that next time! I’m not a big fan of the cherry myself and always make some plain, but the kids love the cherries. So glad you loved them!

    1. Stacey says:

      Sorry Barbara – the written recipe is correct – typo in the video. I will have to re-edit that to make it right! Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Allison says:

    Do these work with margarine or vegan butter? I’d love to make them for potlucks so people with different dietary needs can still have a delicious treat!

    1. Stacey says:

      We have made them before with margarine (the hard brick kind, not the soft kind in the tub) and they work well, the flavour is just a bit different. I haven’t ever tried them with vegan butter though.

    1. Stacey says:

      I’ve never actually tried that as the dough mixes up very quickly. I have frozen the baked cookies (every year in fact) and they defrost very quickly when we want to have them. We will pull out a plateful and they will be defrosted within 10-15 minutes of taking them from the freezer so that’s always been the way I’ve frozen them. I think if you wanted to freeze the dough to bake later it would probably work just fine after defrosting, but I haven’t actually tried it so I can’t say for sure!

        1. Stacey says:

          Shortbread isn’t overly sweet, and it does have a dry, crisp texture. It’s not supposed to be a moist, chewy cookie – they’re meant to be lightly sweet, crisp, melt in your mouth cookies. So if that’s what you ended up with then you likely did everything right! You might like these sugar cookies better if you’re looking for a sweeter cookie that’s chewy instead of crisp.

        2. Brandie says:

          I made them tonight and they definitely could have used a bit more sugar! They were light and crisp and had perfect texture! I’m just used to having them a bit more sweeter

  7. Kristan says:

    Love this recipe! Super easy, simple to double or triple. And I love the delicate, crumbly crispness. Much better than store bought. My little girl said they weren’t sweet enough, but I explained that was what shoetbread was. I can’t wait to pair this with a coffee or tea.

  8. Mary says:

    I made these yesterday & they are delicious & so easy. I have never had such a light & tender shortbread. They look like they take a long time, but are very quick. They are such a beautiful Christmas cookie with the cherries on top, but I think I will be making them year round because I can’t stop eating them. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  9. Chrissy says:

    I made these today and not sure what went wrong. The cookies flattened out during baking and then got really brown around the edges…

    1. stacey says:

      Hi Chrissy, I’m sorry I’ve never had that happen with these! Two things it might be is oven temperature. If your oven runs hotter then the temperature you set that can cause cookies to spread too much. Or if you aren’t weighing your flour you might get less per cup then I do and have too little flour in the cookie dough. That can cause your cookies to spread too much as well. Hope that helps!

      1. Chrissy says:

        Thanks for your reply!! I think I didn’t have enough flour in them like you mentioned. They were still a big hit at the party tho!! Delicious 🙂

    1. stacey says:

      I’ve never tried that, so I don’t know. I think if you wanted to try you would want to chill the dough though, they tend to spread a bit in the oven so the shapes probably wouldn’t hold unless the dough was chilled. Let me know if you try it, and how it works! I do have this sugar cookie recipe if you want one for rolling and using a cookie cutter though:

  10. SabihaIkhlas says:

    Hi Stacey,

    I am sabiha,nice cookies.can u also display a chart showing how much calories, etc. Plz. Cause I just love all types of cookies so I have gained weight to 80.9. Now I am conscious,want to reduce.


    1. stacey says:

      Hi Sabiha – I’m glad you like the cookies! I don’t actually display nutritional information on my recipes as that info can really vary based on the different brands of some products. If you would like to find out the nutritional info for any recipe on my site, you can easily copy and paste the ingredients into an online nutritional calculator to find out.

      1. stacey says:

        Thanks Gail – the recipe is right on the post, below the video and above the comments. If you’re on mobile, there is a button that you have to click that says “read more” right before the comments that will bring up the rest of the post. In the recipe card box there is a “print” button so you can print it out if you want. Let me know if you have any trouble!

  11. Shelley Harynuk says:

    I’ve been making these at Christmas for years and as you say they are foolproof. So tickled to see that you are now doing videos. Your recipes are wonderful and your photography is fabulous. Thanks so much. Love your blog.


  12. Premeshwar says:

    Hi can you please give me the measurements in ounces. That would be great because I do not have cup measure. Thank you!

    1. stacey says:

      I get 5 ounces of flour per cup when I weigh it. I haven’t weighed the other ingredients for this recipe yet, but am planning to update it with all the weights this year when I make them! You could probably find the conversions online for most of the other ingredients though.

  13. im says:

    I just made these and they seemed to be perfect – Until I started baking them..the whole cookie sheet is one big cookie! it just melted together. I measured as descried and used standmixer..

    1. stacey says:

      Oh no! I’m not sure what could have happened, I’ve never had that happen with these. I use a shiny aluminum baking pan and don’t grease it, not sure if you did anything different there that could affect things. I’ve also read that an oven that runs even 25 degrees hotter then it’s supposed to can cause that. Other then that I’m not sure what it could be! Sorry they didn’t work out for you!

  14. Ei says:

    Hi Stacey. I have made these cookies twice in the past week and they were delicious! I mixed for several minutes with a wooden spoon. The dough went from crumbly to smooth in a few minutes. These have become a family favourite. Merry Christmas, Ei

  15. Kelly says:

    How long should you whip the butter before adding the other ingredients? How long do you whip the dough? Mine didn’t turn out quite right and I measured like you said.

    1. stacey says:

      I whip the butter for 1-2 minutes in a stand mixer before adding the other ingredients – basically until it’s fluffy and there aren’t any more lumps in it. Then I add the rest of the ingredients and whip again, for probably 2-3 minutes. It will be very crumbly at first and then come together into a dough at which point I mix for another 30 seconds or so until it’s smooth. It will be a smooth, tacky cookie dough. What went wrong with yours?

      1. Kelly says:

        I had mixed reviews. I think it’s more of a persons preference. My husband didn’t like that they were kid of paste like in his mouth, for lack of a better words. My coworkers loved them.

        1. stacey says:

          I think most things are like that – everyone isn’t going to like everything! I’m glad your coworkers enjoyed them! 🙂

    1. stacey says:

      I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you Roxanne. All I can think is maybe you measure flour differently then I do? I’ve been making these cookies for years and have never found them crumbly. I use the dip and sweep method for measuring flour which will give about 5 ounces of flour per cup, and I sift after measuring, not before. I also whip the dough for several minutes before it comes together into a smooth dough, it is crumbly at first. Hopefully that helps!

    1. stacey says:

      Hi Michelle – I’m so sorry they didn’t turn out for you – I’m not sure what went wrong. My family has been making this recipe as long as I can remember and they are always wonderful. I use the scoop and sweep method to measure the flour/corn starch in this recipe so maybe if you use a different method you ended up with a different amount of flour in your dough? That’s all I can think that could cause the difference.

  16. Michelle says:

    I have been searching online for a shortbread cookie recipe and my gosh there are plenty to choose from! Your recipe seemed to be one that I could make so I printed it off, got all the ingredients and made it tonight. It’s the first time ever I made shortbread cookies so I was a little scared I would fail. I am so happy to say these cookies turned out perfectly!!! In fact they were sooooo good I made a second batch while the first one was still cooling on the counter! It was so important to me to find a recipe like this one.This recipe makes shortbread cookies that are very light,fluffy and melt in your mouth as soon as you eat them! My friend who always made them for our family every year as a X-Mas gift passed away earlier this year so I really wanted to make shortbread cookies like hers so in a way her spirit is still with us as we enjoy shortbread cookies. I know she is with us in spirit but it just seemed to feel better with cookies around like the ones she made and this recipe is so close to hers , I think she would be very proud of me for how these turned out! I like to believe her hands were helping mine as I was making these delicious shortbread cookies! thank-you so much for sharing this recipe. I will be making these every year! Merry Christmas! 🙂

        1. stacey says:

          Hi Tammy, the instructions are right on the recipe card – below the video and right before the comments.

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    1. stacey says:

      I sift after measuring. I use the scoop and sweep method for measuring my flour (and powdered sugar), fluffing up the flour a bit before scooping it so that it’s not packed down at all, and then sweeping the excess flour off the top of the measuring cup with a knife. I find I get the most accurate measurement this way. I then sift it into the bowl I’m using to make the cookies.

  18. 'Mom 2" says:

    Great photos of the most delicious shortbread cookies EVER! When I asked Dad what his favourite Christmas cookie he wanted me to bake ‘for sure’ this year, it was, as you mentioned, our family favourite, Whipped Shortbread. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them! Yours look PERFECT! I hope mine look as yummy, so that my grand-kids enjoy mine as much as yours! (even if it IS the same recipe)
    One thing you’ve shown me that is different, though, is to roll the dough into balls and flatten them slightly with the fork. I’ve always done them as ‘drop’ cookies, and they end up in various sizes …. thanks, Stacey!

    1. stacey says:

      I really like the whipped short bread. It’s much lighter and more delicate than the regular shortbread. I know my husband and father-in-law don’t even like regular shortbread, but they love these, so it is different. I have never used a cookie press for them myself, but my aunt always uses a cookie press for this recipe, and I think my sister has too, so you definitely can! Hope you enjoy them!

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  20. Jessica says:

    wow! I’m so glad you are doing this. Whipped shortbread is my favorite too. I do almost no baking at my house ( because we would eat it and we don’t need any more treats) but, it’s not Christmas without it. However, my mom always did them like a drop cookie rather than a ball but it still had that cherry thing on top. I can remember as a child, hiding those discussing things all over the house. Now I have fun experimenting with other thing to put on top. I’ve tried pecans, m&m’s, smarties, And chocolate. Pretty much anything I have that’s sweet. Keep blogging girl!

    1. stacey says:

      Thanks Jessica! Glad you like it! I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of the cherries myself, but most people love them, and I will say that they look pretty! I may have to switch it up for chocolate one year though, that would be fantastic.

  21. Alyssa says:

    These are so pretty and easy to make too! I wanted to let you know that I am linking to this post if you don’t mind. You’re welcome to share your photos at my site if you’d like.

  22. Mir says:

    Time does speed up once you have kids, Stacey! It’s very disconcerting.
    These are gorgeous! I can see why they’re your fave!

  23. mira says:

    These are my all time favorite cookies Stacey! And we also like to make them together with my family! Yours are zoo cute! Pinning and making them soon!

  24. Ashley says:

    I definitely cannot believe it’s well into December … I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done yet! But I guess I feel like that just about every year! 🙂

    Cookies like this are my favorite … the ones that are family recipes we make over and over. These look wonderful!!

  25. You still have Halloween candy? That’s so funny! It’s also such a coincidence that your own family’s recipe is so similar to your in-laws! That sure worked out well! These cookies are super pretty and they look so buttery and delicate. I’ve never tried whipped shortbread (that concept is brand new to me actually), and I must try these soon! I know what you mean though… so many recipes to try! I hate narrowing down! Haha. 🙂

    1. stacey says:

      I know! It’s hard not to make everything! I really wish there was a way to make like a quarter batch of everything, but the one egg in most recipes always messes me up! So hard to use half an egg! 🙂 If you’ve never tried whipped shortbread, you need to, I love it. It’s so much better than the regular shortbread which I find kind of dry and hard. Maybe I just haven’t had a good one though!

  26. I can’t believe that it’s December 8th either! Christmas will be here before we know it! These shortbread cookies are so adorable, Stacey! I love the candied cherries in the middle. These are some of my favorite Christmas cookies, love them!

    1. bob says:

      I’ve made this recipe too from my Mom’s collection. I also make it by replacing the sugar with 4 year old cheddar cheese and a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder depending on your appetite for a bite! Try it – their great with a glass of wine or a cocktail.

      1. stacey says:

        I have never tried a savoury version of shortbread but it sounds like a fantastic idea! I’ll have to try that this year – thanks Bob!

    2. JEAN JENSEN says:

      Hi Stacy,
      I made your whipped shortbread cookies they were delicious, Ive made whipped shortbread for years but used double the cornstarch and my recipe never called for vanilla and i think that’s the secret to the taste of your cookies ,cant wait to try some more of your recipes .

      1. stacey says:

        So glad you liked them Jean! Thanks so much for commenting and letting me know! I hope you find more recipes you love here! 🙂

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