M&M Shortbread Cookies Recipe (2024)

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This shortbread is simple to prepare, and it will be a beautiful and delicious addition to any holiday cookie plate!

Putting a recipe on bags of baking supplies is really one of the more genius marketing strategies out there. It gets me every. single. time. At least in one way or another, they always get me.

Have you seen the bags of Christmas M&M Minis? I think there might be a recipe for sugar cookies on there. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. I’ve never actually looked at the exact recipe though, because I get totally sidetracked by the tiny little illustration of the cookie… which looks like shortbread to me.

So I have been dreaming about M&M shortbread for weeks, and finally decided to make a batch for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. And they did not disappoint! I managed to stop at eating just one cookie, but I don’t think I’m going to stop dreaming about them any time soon…

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is as cool as it sounds. Basically, gazillions (okay, 576 to be exact) of bloggers agree to send a batch of cookies out to three bloggers. This arrangement it totally Secret-Santa-style, so you have no idea who drew your name until a box of cookies shows up at your door!

I’ve participated in it for the past 3 years, and it’s always a blast. The cookies are delicious, but I think it’s even more fun to have a small personal connection with a few of the other bloggers out there!

To top everything off, The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap raised over $4,400 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer!! What a fun experience this cookie swap is each year. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it!

The base for this shortbread recipe came from one of my very favorite bloggers, Kristen who blogs at Dine and Dish.

M&M Shortbread Cookie Tips

  • The dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • If the dough is too crumbly, add a little more butter. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.
  • I like to use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to roll out my dough on. This way, there’s no need to flour the surface and the cookies don’t stick.
  • The cookies can also be baked on a greased baking sheet, but they may not be as pretty.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

M&M Shortbread Cookie FAQ

What kind of M&Ms can be used?

Any type of M&Ms will work in this recipe. I used the Christmas Mini M&Ms, but regular sized M&Ms or even peanut butter M&Ms would be delicious!

Can these cookies be frozen?

Yes, these cookies can be frozen. They will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Do I have to use a stand mixer?

A stand mixer is not necessary, but it will make the job a lot easier. You can use a hand mixer or mix by hand with a spoon.

Can I use a different type of candy melts?

You can use any color of candy melts that you would like. I used chocolate candy melts, but white, silver, or any other color would be beautiful!

Can I use a different type of cookie cutter?

Yes, you can use any type of cookie cutter that you would like. I recommend a star-shaped cookie cutter, but any shape would be cute!

M&M Shortbread Cookies are a delicious and easy addition to any holiday cookie plate! These cookies are simple to prepare, and they will be a beautiful and delicious addition to any holiday party! The dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer, making these cookies the perfect make-ahead dessert!

M&M Shortbread Cookies Recipe (4)

M&M Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 12


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups flour
  • optional: 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup M&M minis
  • optional: 1/2 cup chocolate candy melts for drizzle


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar (a stand mixer is great for this, as the powdered sugar will make quite a mess if you're using a hand mixer).
  3. Slowly add the flour (about a half cup at a time), mixing a bit in between each addition.
  4. The mixture will look crumbly at first, but the dough will come together after a few minutes. If needed, add water (one teaspoon at a time) to help dough form. I ended up adding 1 tbsp + 1 tsp. However, beware of adding to much. This dough should not be sticky.
  5. Gently mix in the M&Ms with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  6. Turn dough onto a lightly floured silicone baking mat or parchment paper and roll out to a 1/4" thick rectangle. Using the parchment or baking mat, life the dough onto a baking sheet (leave the parchment or silicone mat as the lining). Cut dough into 12 rectangles.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges begin to turn a light golden brown.
  8. Let cool completely. on a wire rack.
  9. Drizzle the melting candy over top and sprinkle with additional M&Ms if desired.

Don’t miss a bite!

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M&M Shortbread Cookies Recipe (5)

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M&M Shortbread Cookies Recipe (2024)


What is the secret to making good shortbread cookies? ›

Tips To Make the Best Shortbread Cookies
  1. Choose High Quality Butter. No matter what brand of butter you buy, if it's real butter, you can rest assured that it's the best. ...
  2. Keep Ingredients Simple. ...
  3. Add Flavor. ...
  4. Don't Overwork. ...
  5. Shape Dough. ...
  6. Chill Before Baking. ...
  7. Bake Until Golden. ...
  8. Add Finishing Touches.

What is the mistake in making shortbread? ›

The most common mistakes when making shortbread are over-working the dough, and incorporating too much flour.

What is the difference between a shortbread cookie and a Scottish shortbread cookie? ›

So if you hear the term "Scottish shortbread," you might think it's a different version of the shortbread you're familiar with, right? Well ... actually, no. "Shortbread" is just Scottish shortbread; they're one and the same.

When making shortbread What must you not do? ›

The key with shortbread is not to overhandle it. Make the dough exactly as instructed, but don't mess around making shapes or over rolling the dough - you will end up with delicious but tough biscuits. Stretching and pulling the dough activates the gluten in the flour, making chewy cookies and not crisp ones.

Should you chill shortbread dough before baking? ›

After shaping the cookies, don't rush to the oven! Instead, chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so (overnight is OK, too). A short stay in the fridge will firm up the cookies and solidify the butter. This will help keep them from spreading too much.

What is the best brand of butter for shortbread cookies? ›

Spend extra when it really counts: If you're making a recipe where butter really is the star (think shortbread or biscuits), splashing out for a package of Kerrygold or Vital Farms is worth the expense. The fine differences in the flavor are most impactful in these recipes.

Why is shortbread unhealthy? ›

Why is shortbread considered to be bad for you? Shortbread is considered unhealthy because of the high butter content. How long do homemade shortbread cookies actually last? Depends on how you define that… they won't make you sick for weeks after they become unpalletable, which is after a couple of weeks at best.

Should butter be cold for shortbread? ›

If it's too warm, the butter and sugar cannot properly cream and the cookies will taste dense. Many shortbread recipes call for cold butter worked into the dry ingredients and that gives you a wonderfully flaky cookie but if not mixed properly, the results can be inconsistent.

Why do you put holes in shortbread? ›

The word "bread" comes from "biscuit bread" which was made from leftover bread dough that was sweetened and dried out in the oven to make biscuits. Why do you poke holes in shortbread? The holes allow the moisture to escape during baking and more even heat distribution. This helps dry out and crisp up the cookies.

What do Americans call shortbread? ›

Shortbread isn't a bread, it's what we Americans call a cookie.

What is shortbread called in Scotland? ›

Triangular wedges of shortbread became known as "petticoat tails", and this form of shortbread has become particularly associated with Mary, Queen of Scots. It has been suggested that a French term for the wedges of shortbread was petit* gâteaux or petites gatelles – little cakes, and this became "petticoat tails".

Why is shortbread so expensive? ›

As shortbread was made with butter, sugar and flour, it would be both expensive and difficult to get hold of the ingredients, and so became synonymous with wealth, luxury and celebrations.

What happens if you don't chill shortbread dough? ›

But in this shortbread cookie recipe, it really makes a difference. Chilling the dough helps the cookies hold their shape. If you don't chill your shortbread dough, the cookies will spread as they bake.

What are the disadvantages of shortbread? ›

Sugar provides a fast source of energy. There are rarely any artificial additives. Cons: Shortbread is a weight watcher's nightmare because it is extremely high in saturated fat and calories. Saturated fat is the 'bad' fat which is linked to artery-clogging high cholesterol and heart disease.

Should shortbread be crunchy or soft? ›

Shortbread should always have a tender, melting texture, but be slightly crisp when you bite into it. It should not generally be damp or wet underneath. A classic shortbread recipe will also only have flour, butter and sugar as the ingredients (in a 3:2:1 ratio) and not egg, which could lead to excess moisture.

What happens if you add too much butter to shortbread cookies? ›

Butter is an emulsifier and it makes cookies tender. It also adds in the crispy-around-the-edges element. Adding too much butter can cause the cookies to be flat and greasy. Adding too little butter can cause the cookies to be tough and crumbly.

Should shortbread cookies be soft or hard? ›

Shortbread should always have a tender, melting texture, but be slightly crisp when you bite into it. It should not generally be damp or wet underneath. A classic shortbread recipe will also only have flour, butter and sugar as the ingredients (in a 3:2:1 ratio) and not egg, which could lead to excess moisture.

Why did my shortbread cookies come out hard? ›

These proportions make shortbread a lot more dense compared to cookies, which means you could easily end up with shortbread that's hard and crunchy rather than buttery and crumbly. Per Cooktop Cove, this can occur when the dough has either been overworked or not chilled for long enough.

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