Vegan shortbread, tender, crumbly, buttery, moreish and oh so tempting.

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A piece of vegan shortbread with a cup of lemon and Earl Grey tea.

This easy vegan shortbread recipe is a very simple, but utterly divine, combination of three basic ingredients with a choice of added flavourings. 

All you need is flour, vegan butter and caster sugar and, in less than an hour, you will be nibbling on this crumbly deliciousness. 


A stack of shortbread biscuits on a striped napkin.

How To Make Vegan Shortbread

For a saveable recipe card with ingredients and instructions see below. For extra tips and tricks to help you on your way, read on!

This simple biscuit recipe is what my grandmother referred to as a Three Two One recipe. You need three parts flour to two parts butter and one part sugar. 

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. For many years I did this by hand with a wooden spoon which is GREAT for upper arm strength and an all over workout. 

These days I bung it in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, press start, fold my arms and watch the magic happen. Needless to say, I am not as fit as once I was! 

Either method works, you are looking for a light, fluffy combination of sugar and butter. Once you have achieved this fluffiness add the flour and any flavourings. 

Roll up your sleeves and bring the whole lot together with your hands. It will feel like an impossible task, the mixture will seem far too dry but as you press it together the warmth of your hands will perform a baking miracle.

Gradually you will realise that it is forming into a soft dough and you are gathering up any stragglers into a glorious buttery ball. 

When you have a lovely dough in your hands shape it into a flat disc on a lightly floured surface, wrap it in baking parchment and leave it to rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes. 

Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll your dough out until it is about 1cm thick then cut it into whichever shapes you desire.

I love a shortbread finger and, even more, I love my gorgeous copper biscuit cutter!

Biscuit dough rolled out and cut into fingers using a copper biscuit cutter.

I have a drawer full of cutters of all shapes and sizes but I really love using this one because it makes the best use of the dough! There is no need to re roll the biscuit dough nearly as many times with this beauty! 

Vegan shortbread biscuit dough cut into shortbread finger shapes.

To Chill Or Not To Chill?

Bake Off fans will know that chilling biscuit dough is, generally, a jolly good idea. It helps them to keep their shape and stops them from spreading in the oven. 

I chill my dough for ten minutes after pulling it all together and I have found that, for this recipe, that is enough. 

I experimented with chilling the cut out biscuits to see if that made any difference by popping half into the freezer and leaving the other half out to fend for themselves. 

It made no difference whatsoever! However, if you find you have some spread do try the chilling method next time. Every oven is different and every kitchen prep area is different.

Shortbread biscuits, cooling on a wire rack.

Optional Extras for Oomph

I always add a little vanilla to my biscuits for a bit of extra oomph and it is easy to ring the changes by adding more flavours. If you look closely at my dough you will see little flecks of lemon zest because there is not much my lot like better than a zesty biscuit! 

Speck of lemon zest in vegan shortbread biscuit dough.

Once you have cut out all your biscuits, lay them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake them for about 15 – 20 minutes until just beginning to brown.

Let them cool on the tray for a couple of minutes then lift them carefully onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. 

Shortbread fingers cooling on a wire rack.

I flavoured my shortbread with lemon and, for a real citrus kick, I brushed them with a little lemon juice and sprinkled them with lemon sugar.

Lemon sugar on shortbread biscuits.

For a flavoured vegan shortbread you can add:

  • Vanilla extract for its gentle, warm sweetness.
  • Citrus zest – lemon shortbread works really well, as does orange and lime.
  • Chocolate chips – for a little extra sweetness.
  • Dried fruit – cranberries at Christmas are fabulous! 
  • Fresh herbs – chopped rosemary works really well and a lavender biscuit is a glorious thing! 
  • Chilli flakes for a bit of a kick! 

A cup of Earl Grey tea with a snapped shortbread biscuit on the saucer.

More Vegan Biscuit Recipes 

If you are in the baking mood (I always am), you might also like:

Storing and Serving

These vegan shortbread biscuits store well for several days in an airtight tin. 

They are perfect served up with a cup of Earl Grey tea with lemon.

Earl Grey Tea with lemon and shortbread on blue and white striped napkins.

A stack of vegan shortbread biscuits on a blue and white striped napkin.

Vegan Shortbread

A three ingredient vegan shortbread recipe with optional extra flavourings. Tender, crumbly, moreish and very tempting!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baked Goods, Biscuits and Cookies
Cuisine: Scottish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chilling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 232kcal


  • 2 Baking Trays
  • Baking parchment
  • rolling pin
  • A metal cooling rack
  • Cookie Cutter


  • 300 g plain, all purpose flour sifted
  • 200 g vegan butter or margarine
  • 100 g caster sugar

Optional Extras

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large lemon zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon sugar


  • Preheat oven to 160C/320F.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • Cream butter, sugar (and vanilla if using) together until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in sifted flour and lemon zest if using.
  • Bring together with your hands and squeeze together until you form a buttery dough.
  • Flatten your dough into a disc and wrap in baking parchment.
  • Chill for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly flour your surface and roll dough out to 1cm thickness.
  • Cut out your biscuits with a cookie cutter, re rolling trimmings and cutting out more until all dough is used.
  • Lay biscuits on your prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes until just lightly browned.
  • Leave to cool on the trays for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Decorate (optional)

  • Brush each cooled biscuit with a little lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle with lemon sugar.


Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.
These shortbread biscuits will store well for several days in an airtight tin.
The biscuit dough can be frozen before baking.
For further tips and tricks please see the body of my post. 


Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 637IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
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