These buttery Almond Shortbread Cookies have the sweet flavor of almond extract and the nuttiness of real almond in the dough. This recipe makes a small batch of just a dozen, but it can be easily doubled or tripled for your holiday baking needs.
If you’ve been following along here, you know I’m a big fan of shortbread. And these almond shortbread cookies are nothing short of amazing! They’re buttery, sweet and nutty, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Best of all, you can roll the dough into a log, refrigerate them, freeze them, slice them up and bake them whenever you want. They are the perfect addition to your list of holiday cookies this season. I promise you’ll love them!
How to make Almond Shortbread Cookies
What type of almond to use?
You can use roasted whole almonds, sliced almonds or almond pieces for this recipe. Make sure the almonds have been roasted to bring out the natural nutty flavor. Or you can always roast them in a skillet over medium heat, allow to cool before grinding them up.
- Add roasted almonds to the bowl of your food processor.
- Process the almonds into a fine ground, but don’t turn them into almond butter. If some bigger pieces remain, that should be fine.
If you don’t have a food processor or want to skip this step, you can use almond flour instead, either blanched or unblanched (with the skin) will work.
How to prepare almond shortbread dough?
- Add softened butter, sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract to your stand mixer bowl.
- Beat with the paddle attachment until combined and fluffy.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ground almonds (or almond flour), and salt. Add to butter mixture.
- Mix until the dough forms.
- Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a log about 6” long, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, cut the dough with a sharp knife into ½” thick slices. Place on a baking sheet about 2” apart, sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 13 – 15 minutes at 350°F.
From photos 7 & 8, you can see the difference between the dough made with ground whole almonds and almond flour, I use blanched almond flour (without the skin). The one made with almond flour will have a smoother and more uniform texture.
The one made with ground almonds will have different size almond pieces, providing a little crunch and textural interest. These cookies will also have a more nutty and complex flavor. I highly recommend using whole roasted almonds or roasted almond pieces if you can.
Can I use a cookie cutter to create shapes with this almond shortbread dough?
I find it easiest with this dough to treat it like a refrigerated slice-and-bake cookie dough. If you do decide to cut these into shapes, use almond flour in the dough so it is easier to cut. Different size almond pieces from ground whole almonds may prevent the cookie cutter from giving a clean edge.
To prepare the dough for cutting with a cookie cutter, in step (photo) 7, shape it into a disc instead of a log, refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll the dough out to ½” thick and cut it with desired shaped cookie cutter.
Note that these almond shortbread cookies spread more than ones without nuts mixed in, like these espresso shortbread cookies or this strawberry shortbread. Freezing them before baking could help curb the spreading a bit but does not prevent it completely.
One great thing about shortbread cookies is that they are so easy to modify. Check out these ideas if you want to switch up the flavor.
- Try ground walnuts or pecans with a pinch of cinnamon.
- Use pistachio with a pinch of cardamom and some orange zest.
- How about adding cocoa powder and ground macadamia nuts to make these Chocolate Shortbread Cookies with Macadamia Nuts.
- Switch out the nuts for dried shredded coconut to make these Coconut Shortbread Cookies.
- You could use seeds instead of nuts, some poppy seeds, and lemon zest will give you these Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies.
- Or change it up with pepitas or pumpkin seeds with pumpkin pie spice for that perfect Fall flavor.
This dough freezes well and is the perfect candidate for making ahead. Once you make the dough and roll it into logs, wrap well, place logs into a freezer bag and freeze up to three months. You can also slice the logs it before freezing, layer the sliced cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper in between so they don’t stick together.
More Shortbread Cookies this way!
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Caramelized Sugar Shortbread Cookies
- Narutomaki Emoji Shortbread Cookies
- Matcha Shortbread Cookies
Any of these shortbread cookie recipes will be a great addition to your holiday baking, but be sure to try these almond shortbread cookies. They have such a delicious nutty flavor, and so easy to make. Make a double batch because you’re gonna want to.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Almond Shortbread Cookies
- Add sugar, softened butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat using the paddle attachment until combined and fluffy.
- Process almond in a food processor to a fine ground, but before it turns into almond butter. Whisk together flour, ground almonds, and salt in a mixing bowl and add to the beaten butter mixture. Mix until a dough forms.
- Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll it up and form a log about 6” long. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut into ½” thick slices with a sharp knife. Place dough on a baking sheet about 1” - 2” apart. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the top, press a whole almond into the middle of the cookie if desired, and bake for 13 - 15 minutes until the edges are starting to turn light brown. Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheet.
- You can use whole almonds, sliced almonds, almond pieces or almond flour in this recipe. If using almond flour, you don’t need to process it in the food processor before mixing with the other dry ingredients.
- It is best to weigh the almonds if using different options to ensure you’re using the same amount of almonds. However, for the almond flour, the measurement will be about ½ cup + 1 tablespoon.
- This recipe makes a dozen but it is very easy to double or triple to make a larger batch.
- This dough spreads more than the typical shortbread cookies due to the addition of almond, freezing the dough before baking will help a bit with the spreading.
This post was originally published on 12/17/2014. The recipe has been updated and republished on 10/17/2019 with the latest improvements, extra tips, and process photos to help you in the kitchen.