10 shortbread variations to add something something to the ho-hum original

From tea to citrus, here's a list of things you can add to the basic shortbread

Shortbread cookies
Shortbread cookies

You can add all kinds of good stuff to the basic shortbread cookie to make them more special. So good, in fact, that you'll want to create an Etsy store. 

Cheese, please!

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything that cheese doesn’t go with. Savoury cheese shortbread? Yes please! Cut the sugar and add shredded cheddar, Parmesan, or perhaps gruyere to turn sweet shortbread into a savoury cracker that you can serve with everything from soup to appetizers!

Add herbs

Herbs are becoming more and more popular in desserts, so why not use them in shortbread? Rosemary or thyme would make for a delicious savoury cookie, whereas lavender or mint could add some pizzazz to traditional, sweet shortbread.


A spot of tea

Tea isn’t just for drinking, you can bake with it, too. Grind up loose leaf chai or Earl Grey tea and stir it into your shortbread batter. These are especially appropriate if you plan on drinking tea with them.


Substitute a couple of tablespoons of the flour in your recipe for cocoa powder, and you have yourself chocolate shortbread. Everything is better with chocolate, right? Let's go one step further and think of adding other ingredients that pair well with chocolate, like orange (zest), mint or caramel and add those in, too!



Grate some citrus zest – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, you name it – into your shortbread. Not only will it add lovely, floral notes, it may also help you forget that it’s the dead of winter in Canada, maybe.


Dip it in chocolate

Give your shortbread a spa treatment by bathing it in melted chocolate. Even better, when the chocolate has hardened slightly but is still tacky, sprinkle it with coarse sea salt and shredded coconut.


Dried fruit and nuts

In addition to spices and herbs, dried fruit and nuts are great add-ins to shortbread. Try peanuts and raisins for a take on PB&J, or cranberries and pecans for a festive version.


Sugar and spice

Traditionally, shortbread is made with icing sugar or white granulated sugar. Kick things up a notch by infusing your white sugar with vanilla or cinnamon and then put it to work in your favourite shortbread recipe. You’ll be glad you did.


Shortbread sandwich cookies

Shortbread’s neutrality makes it the perfect candidate for sandwich cookies, whether they're filled with a smear of Christmasy peppermint icing or a rich dulce de leche. Why have one cookie when you can have two?


Bar form

For those of you who find shortbread a little too boring all on its own, it makes a great base to carry a plethora of other flavours. They say Millionaire’s Square got its name because it is so rich and decadent. I say you can’t go wrong with shortbread, chocolate and caramel.