Savory Herb Shortbread (and Party Printables!)

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Savory Herb Shortbread dough rolled out, with cookie cutter.

Set out these buttery savory herb shortbread crackers at the cocktail hour for an elegant alternative to chips.  I’ve included a pretty customizable menu and place cards to help you set the theme for a brunch or afternoon tea.

Savory herb shortbread crackers on a cooling rack

We’re trying something new and fun today, so in addition to my recipe, I’m including downloadable printables for your next spring brunch or gathering.   The menu is customizable so you can print them out with your own fabulous line up.  Place cards, too!  You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader (it’s free) to fill in your menu and print.  Instructions below.

These herby shortbread crackers are based on my Asiago Lemon Thyme Shortbread which was published way back in 2011 ~ wow, has it been that long??  That was based on an Ina Garten recipe, and I’ve always loved the concept.  Shortbread is one of my favorite things to eat, and granted I mostly go the sweet route, but every now and then I crave these cheesy biscuits, they go great with a chilled glass of wine.

Savory Herb Shortbread dough rolled out, with biscuit cutter

I used rosemary from the overgrown bush just outside my front door, it thrives in the California heat and provides me with an endless supply.  The stalks are long and sturdy enough to use as skewers for my Rosemary Chicken Skewers, but for this savory shortbread recipe I snip the tender tips.  I process them right into the dough which gets infused with that wonderful piney flavor.

Savory Herb Shortbread dough being rolled out

You can have endless fun with this concept.  Use thyme or sage instead of rosemary (be sure it’s fresh!) and roll more fresh herbs right onto the top of your dough before cutting.  The laminated herbs will cook right into the crackers.

Savory Herb Shortbread dough being cut out on waxed paper.

Savory Herb Shortbread ready to bake

These savory shortbread crackers are substantial enough to be served on their own so they make a super easy starter

Rosemary Parmesan Savory Shortbread with white wine

Tips for making savory herb shortbread ~

  • Butter should be at room temperature, I leave it out overnight.
  • Measure your flour using the fluff, scoop, and level method for accuracy.
  • Use fresh rosemary, dried won’t be nearly as fragrant.  Remove the leaves from the stems and give them an initial chop before adding to the processor.
  • Process the dough in your food processor just until it comes together in a lump.  This should happen in 30 seconds to a minute.  You can do this by hand, just be sure to get the dough thoroughly mixed and all the flour hydrated by the butter so it isn’t crumbly.
  • Depending on the moisture content of your butter and cheese, you may need to add a tiny bit of water to your dough to bring it together.  Start with 1/2 tsp and go from there.
  • If you are going to laminate fresh herbs on your crackers I found that some worked better than others.  Parsley, sage, lavender, and thyme worked well for me.  Parsley kept its green color the best of all.
  • I bake my shortbread so that it has a soft texture, like a shortbread cookie.  If you’d prefer a crisper texture, cut them a little thinner and bake a little longer.

Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread
Rate this recipe
35 ratings

Category: appetizer, snack

Yield: makes about 1 1/2 dozen crackers

Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced rosemary leaves, plus extra whole leaves for the tops of the crackers (If you like you can mince the rosemary right in the food processor first)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • extra whole leaf herbs for laminating onto the dough


  1. Put the flour, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Add the chunks of soft butter and pulse about 30 times to combine into a crumbly mixture. The process until the dough comes together, this should not take longer than 30 seconds to a minute. If the dough does not come together, add a tiny bit of water to the bowl, start with 1/2 tsp, and process again.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and bring together into a smooth flat disk, just like you do with pie crust dough. The dough should be smooth and uniform, without dry floury parts. Knead it with your hands if necessary. Wrap the disk in the plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F
  4. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/8 thickness. I do this between two sheets of waxed paper and it works like a charm, no sticking. If you want to laminate herbs onto the surface of the dough, lay them out onto the dough, leaving space between. Put the waxed paper back over the top and lightly roll with your rolling pin to press the herbs right into the dough. Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out your circles. Remove the dough to a baking sheet. Reform the leftover dough, roll and repeat until all the dough is used.
  5. Bake the shortbread for 10-15 minutes, until they are just starting to turn pale golden around the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the pan, then remove to a rack. The shortbread will firm up as it cools.

Make it your own ~

  • Make it ahead ~ you can make the crackers up to a couple of days ahead of time, or freeze the dough.
  • Make it easy ~ if you don’t care about the herbs laminated on top of the crackers you can roll the dough into a log and slice and bake.
  • Make it pretty ~  use edible flowers in place of the herbs ~ try spicy marigold petals.
  • Make it with different herbs ~  I think thyme or sage would be fabulous.
  • Make it with different cheese ~ other hard aged Italian cheeses like Asiago, Romano, or Grana Padano would work too.

Spring party printable menu and place card

The menu pdf file is fillable with your own text if you open it using Adobe Reader (see instructions below), while the place-cards simply have a blank space for you to fill in your guest’s names by hand. Of course you could also print out a blank menu and fill it in by hand, as well, if you were just going to display one copy on a counter or a buffet, for example.

Simply click on the links below to download your free copy of either the printable menus or place-cards!

To use the fillable option on the menus, follow these steps:

  1. Download Adobe Reader if you don’t already have it (it’s free.)
  2. Open the menu file in Adobe Reader, and fill in the text boxes with your menu items.
  3. To print either file, make sure your print settings are set to “scale” at 100%.
  4. Cut out your menus or place-cards along the lines indicated at the corners using scissors or a paper-cutter.

screen shot showing adding text to printable menu

Happy spring entertaining!



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Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    Vaidehi Patel
    December 1, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Very easy and beautiful. However mine puffed up in the oven and can’t figure out why. Any advise?

    • Reply
      December 1, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Some of mine puffed slightly. Try chilling the crackers before baking, that should help with the puffing.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Any suggestions on how to mailing these if we’re making them as a gift for the holidays?

    • Reply
      November 8, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Shortbread is delicate, so I would definitely make sure they don’t have any opportunity to shift or move in their packaging, Christine.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Can you use gluten free flour?

    • Reply
      November 5, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      I have made shortbread with gluten free flour before, and it works, but the texture is definitely different.

  • Reply
    November 1, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Can this recipe work without cheese?

    • Reply
      November 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      I haven’t tried it without the cheese Sabiha, so not sure.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    These look wonderful! Can they be baked in a 8×8 or 9×13 and scored before baking so they come apart into crackers easily? Also for the person who asked about GF, I regularly use almond flour (1:1 ratio with white flour) or combo almond/coconut flour and my shortbread comes out beautifully each time. I also incorporate coconut palm sugar to make it lower glycemic for those with blood sugar isssues. The color is a little darker at times but people have a hard time telling that it’s anything but my traditional shortbread. Love your recipes!

    • Reply
      October 27, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Thanks for the input Amy, and as for the pan, I haven’t baked these flat like that, but I have baked shortbread in my 8×8 pan and like the result.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2018 at 4:12 am

    Hi! Can I leave out the cheese entirely or will that skew the ratios of the other ingredients? Will substituting lemon zest work? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Savoury Herb Shortbread - Indecision & Cake
    August 19, 2018 at 10:32 am

    […] was my first attempt at a savoury shortbread. I spotted the recipe I wanted to try on The View from Great Island. The recipe there calls for unsalted butter, but since I only had salted butter on hand I used that […]

  • Reply
    August 19, 2018 at 6:52 am


  • Reply
    Pat Tarlton
    August 18, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Do you grease the cookie sheet or is there enough butter in the dough ?

    • Reply
      August 18, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      I like to use parchment paper with shortbread so it doesn’t get too dark on the bottom, but you won’t need to grease your pans.

  • Reply
    Jonathan Stiers
    August 16, 2018 at 7:50 am

    I love this! So cute! :)

  • Reply
    August 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?

    • Reply
      August 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

      They’ll keep about a week, Vanessa.

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    June 8, 2018 at 8:01 am

    I love your answer to Jemma about using the template to print the recipe if giving as a gift. :)

    • Reply
      June 8, 2018 at 8:11 am

      We’re going to be offering that very thing for our next printable, Karen, stay tuned!

  • Reply
    June 4, 2018 at 5:09 am

    These look amazing!! I can’t wait to try! Can these also be made using the log-chill-slice method, or is there a reason (other than the herb-laminating) you roll it out flat and use cutters?

    • Reply
      June 4, 2018 at 6:56 am

      No, you can roll the dough into a log and slice and bake, I do that with many of my shortbread cookies, and it works great with savory shortbread too.

      • Reply
        June 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm

        Excellent! Thanks :) I’ve seen you do it with others so thought that would be the case!

        • Reply
          June 4, 2018 at 4:52 pm

          Just be sure to slice them on the thinner side, I think the savory ones taste better that way.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Is there any way to convert to gluten-free? These look so good, but I have to eat gluten free.

    • Reply
      June 2, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      I haven’t tried a gluten free version with these Barbara, maybe another reader will chime in on this.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    These are gorgeous! Can they be made without a food processor?

    • Reply
      May 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      Sure, you can make shortbread by hand, just cut in the butter really well, and blend and blend! The rosemary can be finely mined by hand, too.

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