The Best Ever Gluten Free Shortbread
My gluten free shortbread recipe will give you the perfect combination of melt-in-the-mouth buttery biscuits with a slight crumble. They take 20 mins to make, you only need 3-ingredients and they’re naturally dairy free too!
In the style of Marks and Spencer’s, “this isn’t just any old shortbread, this is Jessica’s Kitchen shortbread” 😉
I think my gluten free shortbreads could possibly be my favourite recipe because its so easy, delicious and its the base of so many things – my gluten free jammy dodgers, twix, Starbucks style choc chip shortbreads and loads more!!
4 Sections in this Blog Post
Before we get cracking, let me tell you about the **4 SECTIONS IN THIS BLOG POST**
(1) Ingredients – the 3 things you need and alternatives
(2) Flavourings – the recipe below is for simple “plain” gluten free shortbread and its delish on its own, but I’ve included this section incase you’d like to chuck in some fruit, choc or something extra!
(3) Iced Biscuits – all the tips you need if you’d like to ice your shortbreads
(4) FAQ – your questions answered
(1) Gluten Free Shortbread Ingredients
Its super duper easy – you just need 3 ingredients and they’re all easy to get hold of.
(1) Gluten Free Flour
- Self-raising is my preference but if you’ve only got plain flour in the cupboard, it’ll still work.
- Brand: I like Doves Farm FREEE
(2) Stork Block
- The block of Stork in the picture above is the best if you can get it (you want the one that comes in 250g foil block, NOT a tub, and it says “biscuits and pastry” on the front)
- Stork is naturally dairy free too!!
- If you can’t get Stork:
- You can buy alternative brands but it has to be a vegetable oil based block. Make sure the ingredients states “vegetable oil” (usually 75%). The packet will likely say something like “baking block for biscuits”.
- Don’t substitute with a block of real butter e.g. Lurpak (which is made of milk, not oil) because the results will be very different!!
(3) Caster Sugar
- White granulated sugar would be fine too. Or golden caster sugar (will just result in a slightly browner shortbread)
Want to add something extra to your gluten free shortbreads? In the recipe below, I’ve included an “OPTIONAL” line, where you can add flavourings.
You could add food flavouring, available in the cake decorating section of all supermarkets and normally gluten free. Maybe orange or lemon flavouring? Coconut? Or perhaps raspberry gin! All flavouring are slightly different in strength, but as a guide I’d recommend adding 1/2 tsp of flavouring to the recipe below.
You could also add choc chips, nuts or dried fruit.
If you’d like to add jam or fresh fruit, it will make a wetter, slightly stickier dough but it will work just fine!
Want some ideas? I’ve taken the shortbread recipe in this post to make the following:
- Raspberry Shortbread Rounds
- White Chocolate and Strawberry Shortbread Triangles
- Starbucks-Style Choc Chip Triangles
(3) Icing your Gluten Free Shortbread
Want to make an iced biscuit like these?
OPTION 1: You can buy icing pens in most supermarkets
OPTION 2: Make your own using Royal Icing
What is Royal Icing? So, regular icing is like the pink box and just get mixed with water to produce quite a runny icing. Royal Icing sets with a hard finish. This means (a) you can layer it to add details like the bow or blush cheeks and (b) its a lot easier to pipe lines and shapes, around the outside of the biscuits for example.
There’s two ways to make Royal Icing:
- You can buy special “royal icing” (purple box) for which you just need to add water. Follow the instructions on the box!!
- If you only have regular “icing” (pink box), you just need to add the egg! Sounds weird but bare with me…For every 250g of icing sugar:
- Whisk 1 egg WHITE (not the yolk) until soft peaks
- Add the icing sugar and whisk until its really stiff and it looks just about possible to pipe with!
*Just for your knowledge – Basically option 1 already has the egg white added, so if you’re using regular icing, you need to add it yourself :)*
How to use Royal Icing: Ideally you need a piping bag and a little nozzle (something like a no. 2). If your design is less intricate, you can use the back of a spoon, the end of a paintbrush, a fork and your finger to achieve quite a lot of designs!!
Top tips: let one colour dry on your gluten free shortbread before you add the next and don’t pick up the biscuit and tilt it whilst its still wet as the icing will run everywhere. I did this with my first avocado attempt and I’m still not over it…haha
Q. Can I make this recipe dairy free?
A. It is! This Stork is naturally dairy free. Its actually VEGAN too!
Q. How long will my gluten free shortbreads keep for?
A. Usually 3-5 days in a sealed, air-tight container… although they never last that long in my house!!
Q. Why is my shortbread crumbly?
A. It could be down to your brand of flour. My favourite is FREEE Self-Raising which contains Xantham gum which reduces the crumbliness of cakes and biscuits. If your brand hasn’t got any Xantham gum in it, you can buy it in the free from aisle of most supermarkets. Add 1/4 tsp for this recipe.
Q. Why are my shortbread cookies a bit too brown around the edges?
A. Either they’re slightly overbaked or your oven is too hot.
How to tell: if they’re dry and crumbly throughout, you’ve overbaked them and need to reduce your cooking time by a minute or two. If they’re perfect in the middle and not dry, the oven was too hot so just reduce the temperature by 10oC next time (everyone’s oven is a slightly different temperature so its really easy for this to be the case!)
Q. Do I reaaaaally need to chill the dough in the fridge
A. It develops the flavour and also firms up the dough, making it less sticky and easier to roll out so its certainly a good idea but not compulsory.
Q. I haven’t got baking paper – can I use tin foil
A. Yes! I think baking paper is preferred due to the heat distribution but I’ve never had a problem using either.
The Best Ever Gluten Free Shortbread
- 250 grams Stork block - see description in the "Ingredients" section of the blog post
- 380 grams gluten free self-raising flour - you can swap for gluten free plain flour
- 120 grams caster sugar
Make the Dough
- Cut the Stork into rough squares and place into a mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar to the bowl too.>We cut the Stork into smaller pieces to make it easier to whisk at the next stage
- Cream the butter & sugar until smooth and fluffy. >Ideally, mix with an electric hand whisk for about 30 seconds. Don't cut this time short because (1) it creates a creamy shortbread and (2) it warms up the butter which makes the next stage easier! >You could also use a wooden spoon but you'll have to really go for it!!
- Add the flour and whisk again. It'll start resembling breadcrumbs like the first picture. Keep whisking and it will then form bigger lumps like the second picture. Stop at this point!>Don't worry about sieving the flour – just tip it in 😉>There should be no white flour showing by the time you've finished this stage, it should be all mixed in
- OPTIONAL: at this point, you can add any choc chips, nuts, fruit, whatever you fancy and stir through with a spoon
- Use your hands to press the mix together into a big ball.>If its still quite crumbly, you might find it easier to make several balls. Be quite heavy handed with it and squish it all together until as smooth as possible
- Transfer the shortbread dough to a big piece of cling film>Don’t worry if its falling apart a little, it'll firm up in the fridge>I go for a sausage shape as it chills more evenly (and quickly!) in the fridge than a big ball
- Wrap it up tightly. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
Baking: The dough is now ready to use however you'd like to! Here's how to make plain shortbread biscuits
- Pre-heat your oven to 175oC (fan)
- Remove the dough from the fridge, remove the cling film & take a lump of the dough. >I work with about 1/3 of the dough at a time.
- Dust your hands in flour. Play with the lump of dough, moulding into a smooth ball.>You can be quite heavy handed with it again, play with it like its playdough!
- Scatter some flour over the worksurface. Place the ball the surface, use the palm of your hand to flatten slightly and then bash with a rolling pin to flatten a little more>Bashing with the rolling pin helps to stop the shortbread dough from falling apart. This is my fave top tip for this recipe! It makes the dough so much easier to work with.
- Add some flour to your rolling pin and roll out until its about 1cm thick.
- Cut out your shapes!>You can cut your shapes with proper cookie cutters, empty tins of beans or cut shapes out of paper and just draw around them with a knife>Once you've cut your first lot of shapes, gather together the dough, dust everything in flour and roll out again. It doesn't matter how many times you do this – it wont affect the dough
- Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, a few cm apart from each other. Place in the oven for 10-12mins, until the edges are just browning.>They won't spread out a lot in the oven, but you still need a little space around them whilst they're cooking!>Turn the tray around at the 8 min mark. Its likely the front of your oven is a slightly different temperature to the back so this will make sure the shortbreads brown evenly
- Remove and leave ON THE TRAY until cool. WARNING: if you try to move them before they have cooled, they’ll probably crumble. Don't be tempted to push them around on the tray either!! Just leaaaave them!!!
Want some more shortbread recipes?
Here’s all of my favourites! (all gluten free & dairy free options too):
17th December 2020 at 8:10 pm
Can I make one round shortbread to cut into petticoat tails instead of individual biscuits?
22nd December 2020 at 8:49 am
Hey – yes I think that would work perfectly x
19th May 2021 at 8:45 am
Is that 170°C with a fan oven ?
19th May 2021 at 10:44 am
yes sorry should have put that!
5th November 2021 at 9:04 am
Can i use icing sugar instead of caster sugar?
16th December 2021 at 8:32 am
sadly not – you’ll definitely need caster sugar
1st December 2021 at 8:49 pm
Could I add a teaspoon of ground ginger to this recipe? I’m trying to recreate Kimberly biscuits for my sister. Thanks!
2nd December 2021 at 9:12 am
Absolutely – enjoy! Xx
1st February 2022 at 7:25 pm
My go to shortbread recipe – perfect every time!
2nd February 2022 at 7:29 am
Easily the best gf shortbread recipe ever. No one in my family could figure out how I was eating them too, they didn’t believe they were gf! ??
24th February 2022 at 10:17 pm
We love this shortbread recipe for my 9 year old son. Do you know if it’s ok to freeze the dough as I’d like to cook half and save half. Or could I refrigerate it for a few days?
25th February 2022 at 7:15 am
Hey! Ohh good question – not sure about the freezer (I’ll try that today and come back to you!) but you can definitely keep it wrapped up tightly in the fridge for a couple of days. I do that all the time 🙂 so glad you like the recipe x
23rd February 2023 at 9:35 pm
I can’t wait to try making this for my daughter’s class. There’s a couple of her classmates who are gluten free. Just wondered if I can add sprinkles to make birthday cake shortbread cookies. Thank you.