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
145 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
    May 16, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Overgrown rosemary bush by the back door – sigh! I’m always floored by the abundance of herbs just growing wild and crazy when I visit the west coast. I’ll have to make do with my little container herb garden to make these beautiful crackers. Great work!

    • Reply
      May 16, 2018 at 10:56 am

      Oh sorry to make you jealous, Karen, I’m super jealous of people who get actual ‘weather’, like rain and snow, so it evens out!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    May 15, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    I love savory shortbread and these are the prettiest with all the lovely herbs!

  • Reply
    Martha in KS
    May 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    My cousin Glenda is on the Herb Committee of the Master Gardeners in Las Vegas. I’m sending this recipe to her – I’m sure she’ll be excited to try it. Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Wow, what fun, I hope she likes it :)

  • Reply
    Monday Musings, May 14 • Nourish and Nestle
    May 14, 2018 at 5:00 am

    […] Now I just need to have a part to make these! […]

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    May 13, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    These crackers are just beautiful Sue! And I bet they taste amazing! I love the printable too! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    May 12, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Sue, this is wonderful ! I have all the herbs on my balcony ……. just looking at them ……. will do definitely !

    • Reply
      May 12, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Isn’t it wonderful to have fresh herbs so handy?

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 11, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    So pretty and no doubt delicious! Love the printable, too :) Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    This is a champion idea and can be made so pretty or not as desired. Would be lovely with just the right cheese or pate. Must away to the kitchen and I can enjoy them tomorrow for Mother’s Day!!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Sure would appreciate being able to print recipes without the photo, which uses a lot of ink. Other blogs allow an option to uncheck photo and/or nutritional info prior to printing. Yet others simply print recipe without ink guzzling photos included. Thanks for your consideration!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Oh sorry RMB, I don’t think my recipe plugin has that option but I’ll check into it today for you.

    • Reply
      Marlene Bellamy
      May 11, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      Maybe print in black and white? Or copy recipe text into a Word document.

    • Reply
      Nancy May
      May 12, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Copy and paste into a Word document or pdf and then you can do whatever you want to them. I keep one photo but reduce it down to postage stamp size. Then I can print with or without the photo! Easy peasy!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I adore savory shortbreads using herbs! I haven’t made them in years, and now after seeing your photos, that’s all I want to make right now. Perfect dessert after a spring brunch, or for gifts!

  • Reply
    Lynn A
    May 11, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Oh, these look wonderful!! I want to make them and serve them with roasted red pepper bisque for a light, but elegant girls lunch!!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Perfect for a girls lunch :)

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 9:45 am

    What a pretty dish with so many flavors in it.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 9:44 am

    These are so beautiful and would make fantastic gifts to take around to freinds and family.

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 9:56 am

      You’re right, and you could even use the little place cards as labels, or write up the recipe on the menu template!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Oh my goodness!! These are absolutely gorgeous. I love sweet shortbread but I’ll make these even just to look at them, so so pretty! They’re so great for parties or party favors!

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 8:32 am

    these are absolutely stunning!!! i love how you pressed the herbs in, they look so fancy!!! this is such a cool idea!

  • Reply
    Kavita Favelle
    May 11, 2018 at 8:19 am

    These are gorgeous and since we have lots of herbs growing in our back garden, would be a lovely way to incorporate them into our baking. They look super pretty and bet they taste great.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 11, 2018 at 8:16 am

    So fun, so pretty, so unique! I can’t wait to try these. I already love everything about them!

  • Reply
    Kate Crawley
    May 11, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Love these shortbreads, Sue! I’ve been meaning to say how great your new photo is too!

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Thanks Kate <3

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    May 11, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Well now … aren’t these absolutely brilliant!? Another amazing and beautiful way to entertain – and no doubt delicious! Sharing and pinning Sue – and happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    May 11, 2018 at 3:37 am

    How pretty! Shortbread cookies are my absolute favourite, Sue.

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