These buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread cookies are real simple to make!  You’ll love the subtle flavor of Earl Grey tea and lemon in these classic cookies.  Enjoy them with a cup of tea or a London Fog.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
plate of Earl Grey shortbread cookies with two cups of tea
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Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

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I’ve always loved a good shortbread cookie, and what could be better than adding Earl Grey tea leaves to this melt-in-your-mouth cookie?  I proudly present to you this easy and delicious teatime cookie: Earl Grey shortbread.

holding a plate of Earl Grey shortbread cookies

What’s the difference between a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie?

Sugar cookies and shortbread cookies have a lot of similarities, but they’re actually two different cookies.  Let’s learn their similarities and differences!

Sugar Cookies

  • Ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, and salt, along with eggs and baking powder or baking soda
  • Shape: usually rolled out, cut in decorative shapes.
  • Decoration: usually decorated with icing.
  • Texture: they can be soft and chewy or crispy.

Shortbread Cookies

  • Ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, and salt, but doesn’t contain eggs or a leavening agent.
  • Shape: can be rolled out or sliced.  they’re usually round, rectangular (fingers), or triangular (petticoat tails).
  • Decoration: traditional shortbread is left plain or sandwiched with jam, but some people glaze them.
  • Texture: traditional shortbread is firm and crumbly, not soft.

cup of tea with two Earl Grey shortbread cookies

Are shortbread cookies British?

Shortbread cookies actually originate from Scotland, but are popular throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom.

What kind of sugar do you use for shortbread cookies?

You can use almost any kind of sugar to make shortbread cookies–it just depends on personal preference.  For these Earl Grey shortbread cookies, I recommend using powdered sugar because it gives the cookies their melt-in-your-mouth texture.

  • White Granulated or Caster Sugar: White sugar is the traditional choice for shortbread cookies.
  • Powdered Sugar: The cornstarch in powdered sugar gives shortbread its melt-in-the-mouth texture.
  • Light Brown Sugar: The molasses in light brown sugar gives the shortbread a chewy, molasses-y flavor.

dunking an Earl Grey shortbread cookie into a cup of tea

Why did my shortbread cookies spread?

The dough was too soft!  Make sure to chill the dough until it’s firm before baking, and your shortbread cookies won’t spread.

How do you know when shortbread is cooked?

Shortbread is baked when it’s a light golden brown around the edges and on the bottom of the cookie.  If it’s still white, it’s not baked enough.

Earl Grey shortbread cookies with two cups of tea

How long will shortbread cookies keep?

Shortbread cookies will keep for about a week at room temperature.  Store them on a plate covered tightly with plastic wrap, or in a metal cookie tin.  Plastic containers will make the cookies go soft.

taking a bite of an Earl Grey shortbread cookie

Can you freeze shortbread cookies?

  • Yes, you can freeze shortbread cookies.
  • Place them in a zip-top freezer bag and press out the extra air.  Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.

How to Make Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Gather the ingredients for the shortbread: all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, salt, butter, lemon zest, and Earl Grey tea.  You’ll need 2 tablespoons of tea leaves, which is approximately 7 regular-sized tea bags.

ingredients for Earl Grey shortbread cookies

Beat the butter, salt, lemon zest, and Earl Grey tea until smooth, scraping down the sides once with a spatula for an even mix.

mixing butter, Earl Grey tea leaves, salt, and lemon zest

Sift the icing sugar into the butter mixture, then beat it until smooth.

sifting icing sugar into a bowl

Sift in the flour and mix until a smooth dough forms.  Be careful not to overmix, or the cookies will be tough.

Earl Grey shortbread cookie dough

Shape the dough into logs on a large piece of plastic wrap, then twist the ends to seal.  Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes, then slice with a sharp serrated knife.

slicing logs of cookie dough

Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and store in the fridge until the oven is preheated to 350 F.

Earl Grey shortbread cookies on a cookie sheet

Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, until light golden around the edges.  Let the cookies cool on wire racks, then enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey tea or a London Fog.

Earl Grey shortbread cookies on a wire rack

Pro Tips for Making Earl Grey Shortbread

  • Soften butter quickly by cutting it in cubes and microwaving it in 5 second increments, smashing it with a spoon between each one.
  • Don’t overmix the dough, or the shortbread cookies will be tough.
  • Chill the dough thoroughly.  The dough is so soft and buttery that you can only slice it when it’s hardened.
  • Be careful not to overbake.  Bake until the cookies are a light gold around the edges, then let them cool on wire racks.
  • Store leftover cookies at room temperature.  Cover them tightly with plastic wrap or put in a cookie tin.

cookie sheet, kitchen scale, parchment paper, and blue spatulas

Our Go-To Kitchen Tools for Earl Grey Shortbread

Looking for more tea party treats?  These ones are some tasty options.

white plate of glazed lemon scones with lemon curd and pink flowers person dunking a gluten free ratafia biscuit in a cup of coffee holding a piece of millionaire's shortbread

The pleasure of a 5-star review for these Earl Grey shortbread cookies would be greatly appreciated.

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plate of Earl Grey shortbread cookies with two cups of tea

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies


  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 26 cookies 1x

Description

These buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread cookies are real simple to make!  You’ll love the subtle flavor of Earl Grey tea and lemon in these classic cookies.  Enjoy them with a cup of tea or a London Fog.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (225g)
  • 2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves, about 7 tea bags (12g)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (56g)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240g)

Instructions

  1. Place the butter, Earl Grey tea leaves, salt, and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and blended, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until well mixed, then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and mix again.  Sift in the flour and mix gently until a smooth dough forms.  Be careful not to overmix the dough, or it will make the shortbread tough.
  3. Dump the shortbread dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap the plastic around the dough and shape it into a log, twisting the ends to seal.  (You can make more than one log if you like.)  Place in the freezer until the dough is firm but not completely frozen, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Slice the log into 1/4 inch slices with a sharp serrated knife and place the cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets.  Store the trays in the fridge until the oven is preheated.
  5. Bake each tray for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges.  Use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks and allow them to cool.  Serve with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: British

Keywords: shortbread, earl grey shortbread, cookie

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4 thoughts on “Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

  1. My daughter and I are big fans of Earl Grey tea, so I am excited to try this recipe, which sounds incredibly delicious!! Another exceptional recipe Emma!

  2. I am a fan of Earl Grey tea, so when I heard about these cookies, I wanted to try them. Of course, they were really good. I highly recommend these delectable cookies!

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