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 596 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
    Claudia Clarke
    August 1, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    What a fantastic and savory recipe. As soon as I get some unsalted butter and take clippings from my rosemary plant I’ll be in business! Thank you so much ?

    • Reply
      Claudia Clarke
      August 1, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      Thank you so much!!! Not with a question mark. Duh!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    I am so excited to try these savory herb shortbread that i asked my hubby to get me mixed herbs from the grocery store today! I love savory shortbread! In the city of Bangalore in India, there is a well-known bakery that makes “khara biscuits”, which uses finely chopped seeded green chili and finely chopped cilantro mixed right into the dough. The chili gives almost no heat, but does give a lovely aroma. In Bangladesh, they make a salty shortbread with only nigella mixed with the dough. This biscuit (cookies are called biscuits abroad) is ubiquitous in every person’s home, even in the backwater villages, and served with tea for sudden drop-in guests. The nigella shortbread are unforgettable.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Hi. Can these cookies be frozen?

    • Reply
      March 21, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Shortbread freezes well Eloisa, but I’m not sure the pressed herbs would do so well. If you’re making them with the herbs chopped, like the rosemary, they would freeze better.

  • Reply
    Hanna Sigmon
    March 20, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Safe to assume all purpose flour is used in this recipe?

    • Reply
      March 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm

      Yes, that’s right!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    you recipes look so good.iam in australia and i love Ina Garten,s recipes

  • Reply
    December 27, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Do you suggest a dip to go with it ?

    • Reply
      December 27, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      I don’t really recommend serving these with a dip Preet, they do better on their own.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Is it possible to replace butter for olive oil?

    • Reply
      December 18, 2018 at 8:00 am

      No, sorry Sarah, shortbread needs to be made with butter.

      • Reply
        suzan fawcett
        August 9, 2022 at 3:00 pm

        what about ghee instead of butter?

        • Reply
          Sue Moran
          August 9, 2022 at 3:26 pm

          I don’t know, I haven’t tried that. Let us know if you do!

  • 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.

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