Irish Shortbread Recipe

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Irish Shortbread, or “Petticoat Tails” – one of the easiest cookies to make. But there are a few tips that you need to know.


We made Irish shortbread for St. Patrick’s day, served on Irish Belleek china with Assam tea, a tea commonly served in Ireland. The perfect thing for catching a leprechaun.

Irish shortbread on Irish Belleek china
Irish shortbread on Irish Belleek china

Shortbread is a popular cookie in England, Scotland and Ireland. In Ireland, there is a version called Petticoat Tails that are named this because they are baked in a circle and look like a petticoat when a wedge is cut from the circle. We used a tart pan to achieve the scalloped edges of the cookies so they would look like petticoats.

Shortbread requires only a few ingredients and comes together in minutes, so they are really easy to make. But the method and ingredients are a bit different from cookies that start by creaming butter and sugar together. They are made using what is called a “reverse creaming” method, and then baked in a round pan on a lower temperature.

Irish shortbread baked in a tart pan
Irish shortbread baked in a tart pan


  • Use the best Ingredients – we list the brands in the recipe for a reason.
  • Corn starch is added because it decreases the amount of protein in the dry ingredients and makes the cookies more tender.
  • They are made using a reverse creaming method – the dry ingredients are mixed together and then the butter is added cold.
  • Measure all the ingredients by weight – it’s more accurate and much easier.
  • Use a tart pan with a removable bottom to give the cookies shape and make it easier to remove them from the pan once they are cooled.
  • Use a cake pan to flatten the cookies before baking.
  • Remove the center by placing a cookie cutter in the center and poke holes in them to let them bake more evenly.
  • Bake the cookies for a longer time at a lower temperature, just until they start to brown.
  • Allow them to cool completely before unmolding them.

Irish shortbread baked in a tart pan
Baking Irish shortbread in a tart pan makes it easy to remove.
Irish shortbread cookies "petticoat tails"
Irish shortbread cookies “petticoat tails”

After the cookies are cooled, they can be decorated with powdered sugar sifted over a stencil for a more formal presentation.

Irish shortbread cookies "petticoat tails"
Irish shortbread cookies “petticoat tails” decorated with powdered sugar and a stencil

Irish shortbread for St. Patrick’s day, served with Assam tea (Irish breakfast tea). Like we said – the perfect bait for the leprechaun trap.

Irish shortbread gift in origami envelope
Irish shortbread gift in origami envelope


We have listed the brands for some of the ingredients because ingredients are everything. We have found that these brands give superior results. And by using brands like Horizon dairy products and Wholesome sugar we cut our carbon footprint in half and are helping to control climate change.

We use produce from the farmer’s market or a local farm stand. Locally grown fruit makes all the difference. Farmers who sell locally choose which variety to grow based on flavor instead of how well it survives transport and storage. It is picked when ripe, often just the day before, or the day of the market, so it tastes incredible. Buying local also creates a smaller carbon footprint in transportation, and it helps our local economy, giving jobs to people in our community.

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We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no gifts or payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.

Irish shortbread


Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: Irish Shortbread


  • 1 stand mixer
  • 1 food processor
  • 1 food scale
  • 1 tart pan with removable bottom 8 or 9 inch, but adjust the baking time – We used an 8 inch pan
  • 1 parchment paper
  • 1 cake pan
  • 1 skewer
  • 1 2 inch round cookie cutter



  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Place the mixing bowl on the scale and measure in the flour, corn starch, superfine sugar (see ingredients note), and salt by zeroing the scale after each ingredient is measured. Stir to mix.
  • Cut up the cold butter into cubes about 1/2 inch in size.
  • Stir the cold butter into the flour mixture.
  • Using the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for about 4 minutes, until the mixture looks like crumbs. Check for any remailing large pieces of butter and rub them together with your fingers to break them up.
  • Spread half the mixture into the tart pan. Using the bottom of the cake pan. press the mixture flat.
  • Spread the rest of the mixture into the pan. Using the bottom of the cake pan, flatten the mixture. Using the back of a fork, press the mixture around the edges into the scallops of the pan, keeping the dough as flat as possible. The fork will also add to the "petticoat" look.
  • Place the cookie cutter in the center, pushing it to the bottom.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 300°, and place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and into the oven.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the tart pan from the oven. Leave the cookie cutter in place, but remove the dough in the center. Use a sharp knife to score the round into 8 equal sized cookies. Use the skewer to carefully poke holes in each cookie.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for 30- 40 more minutes. The cookies should be just lightly browning.
  • Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool completely.
  • Check that the cookies are pulling away from the tart pan and remove the ring and the cookie cutter.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the cookies apart where they were scored.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This is one of the things we discovered while traveling and recreated when we got back home. We researched the science and techniques behind the recipe and used tips from exceptional chefs. Then we used the best ingredients we could find to create this recipe. For more ideas, see our other posts about recipes inspired by travel.

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