Savory Herb Shortbread (and Party Printables!)

Savory herb shortbread crackers on a cooling rack

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

herbed shortbread crackers prove shortbread isn’t only for dessert

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. If you love this concept be sure to check out my gorgeous pansy topped shortbread!

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.

Savory Herb Shortbread dough rolled out, with biscuit cutter

fresh rosemary is rolled right into my shortbread dough for a fabulous herby flavor

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

herb shortbread can be changed up in lots of ways

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

how to serve savory shortbread crackers

These savory shortbread crackers are substantial enough to be served on their own so they make a super easy starter with some nice white wine. You don’t really need to add cheese because it’s baked right in!

which wine goes best?

I suggest a dry Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, but go with what you love.

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.
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!

Savory Herb Shortbread ready to bake
3.39 from 597 votes

Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread

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.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield 18 crackers
Calories 101kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced rosemary leaves (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
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • whole herbs for laminating onto the dough


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • 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.
  • 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.


Cook’s notes


  • 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.


Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 206IU | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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savory herb shortbread pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2022 at 9:02 am

    These look heavenly. Has anyone tried making these with Almond Flour for a low carb option?

  • Reply
    November 4, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Sounds easy and delicious ?

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Sullebarger
    May 16, 2021 at 9:53 am

    5 stars
    How do you do keep the fresh herb leaves from “roasting”; not keeping the fresh green color.and turning brown while baking?

    Thanks you!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 16, 2021 at 10:16 am

      The herbs do dry and turn darker when baked, that’s normal. I found that some work better than others, as I mention in the post. You might try the method I use in my pansy topped shortbread post, where I press the herbs flat first, and then apply them to the cookies while they are hot out of the oven. I haven’t tried it with these savory shortbread, but it might work.

  • Reply
    Lucy Stoddard
    April 14, 2021 at 8:07 am

    5 stars
    Absolutely beautiful and delicious. Used them for an appetizer for a dinner party and they were a real hit. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Sarah Asciutto
    February 6, 2021 at 8:58 am

    What does it mean to laminate the herbs?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 6, 2021 at 8:59 am

      That just means to press them into the shortbread so they’re flat, and almost a part of the dough surface.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    5 stars
    I made the “Fruitcake Short Breads”, but instead of the rum extract I used Fiori de Siclia and they taste like Panettone. The savory concept is tempting for use at wine tastings. I plan on using the basic recipe and “playing with it

    • Reply
      December 21, 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Oh gosh, I’m so curious to taste the cookies with fiori de sicilia, I don’t have any and I think I’ll order some on Amazon now, I need to taste that!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I want to try the lavender flavor but wonder if I would use the same amount as the rosemary? Lavender can be quite strong so I don’t want to overdo it!

    • Reply
      December 20, 2020 at 4:01 pm

      I would definitely reduce the amount, but I love the idea of using lavender. Be sure you have food grade lavender, and I would start with maybe 1 tablespoon.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2020 at 8:28 am

    5 stars
    These were delicious! The only changes I made were: I added about 1 TBSP of granulated sugar to cut the sharpness of the parmesan and I used a mix of parsley, sage and thyme in the dough. Thanks for a wonderful and very versatile recipe – I will be making these again for sure!

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