Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies are a simple, buttery, and utterly delicious cookie perfect for afternoon tea, an after school snack, or any occasion.

vanilla bean shortbread cookies, stacked, with tea cups

Vanilla bean shortbread cookies are subtle but delicious!

If you’re looking for a soft spoken, elegant cookie to pair with coffee or tea, look no further. These demure cookies speak in the hushed tones of floral vanilla bean, they quietly crunch and then melt away in your mouth. After you eat one or two, you’ll wonder why you’d ever need anything else in a cookie.

vanilla bean shortbread cookies on a blue napkin

what you’ll need:

  • butter ~ I use unsalted.
  • sugar ~ confectioner’s
  • flour ~ all purpose
  • vanilla bean
  • vanilla extract

a stack of shortbread cookies with tea

more shortbread cookies

3.54 from 122 votes

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Tea Cookies

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies are a simple, buttery, and utterly delicious cookie perfect for afternoon tea, an after school snack, or any occasion.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Yield 24 cookies
Calories 117kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Cream the sugar and butter together with the vanilla bean seeds. Blend in the flour and vanilla extract. Keep stirring until the dough comes together.
  • Turn the soft dough out onto a floured surface and for into two disks, like for pie dough. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out the cookies. Place them on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
  • Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator while you clean up.
  • Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes until firm.
  • Cool on a rack


Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 4mg | 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.

Don’t forget to pin these Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Vanilla Bean Shortbread Tea Cookies pin

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Beth Friedman
    February 8, 2021 at 7:51 am

    5 stars
    My daughter bought me some vanilla bean paste so I googled recipes using it and saw your recipe..
    I’ve never used it before. You put in both the vanilla bean paste and vanilla?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 8, 2021 at 7:53 am

      I’m obsessed 😉 But feel free to choose one or the other.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    Hi, after baking can you freeze the cookies? I plan on baking these ahead of time just wondering if they freeze well after I bake them.. Thank you

  • Reply
    March 1, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    When using the thermometer do you balance the tip of it against the bottom of the pan or just not touching? I simply love your posts, thank you so very much. This question is one I have had since I started baking, many, MANY years ago!! Have a wonderful day!

    • Reply
      March 1, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      When you use a candy thermometer (or deep fry thermometer) they generally have a clip on them that allows you to clip it to the side of the pan so the tip doesn’t touch the bottom. If you’re using something else, then it should not touch the bottom of the pan. Hope this helps.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2019 at 9:49 am

    I wonder if you could just slice these after rolling into a log & chilling, Instead of rolling out the dough & cutting out with a cookie cutter? Sometimes I’m just lazy! Thank you.

    • Reply
      July 17, 2019 at 11:22 am

      Absolutely, I get lazy too 🙂

    • Reply
      March 1, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      Yes, certainly does. Thank you dear!!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Two questions have you ever used a cookie press with the dough instead of rolling them out. And if we’re using the vanilla bean paste it replaces the vanilla bean and the extract?

    • Reply
      December 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      I haven’t used a cookie press but I often roll the dough into a log, chill, and slice and bake. And yes, the paste takes the place of the bean and extract.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    So I am making these for my grandmother who Celiac so she cant have gluten. I cant find a straight forward recipe with out having to buy a million things. Will this recipe would if subsgiting with gluten free flower and a binder?

    • Reply
      April 25, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      I’m not sure, Trinity. I’ve made my basic shortbread in a square baking pan with a gluten free flour mix, but not these cookies, sorry.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Hi, when you say confectioners sugar are you meaning powdered sugar or regular granulated sugar?

    • Reply
      November 30, 2018 at 7:15 am

      I mean powdered sugar!

  • Reply
    allyson sampson
    October 25, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    could you use these for cut out/ royal icing cookies? do they spread?

    • Reply
      October 25, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      These don’t spread, so yes, I think you could.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2017 at 10:47 am

    5 stars
    Instead of using only vanilla flavoring I used half almond, and I also replaced the vanilla bean with fresh orange peels (two of the little cutie peels chopped up because that’s what I had in the house) and they tasted just like marmalade!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Nice! I adore almond, and the combination with the Cutie zest sounds amazing!

      • Reply
        December 19, 2017 at 11:10 am

        Would they be good made into a sandwich cookie with marmalade, too??

  • Reply
    December 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    5 stars
    Baked them for a tea party with some friends and everyone absolutely loved it! They smell and taste absolutely amazing! So simple but so delightful

    • Reply
      December 16, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      These cookies really are as simple as a cookie can get ~ glad you liked them!

  • Reply
    May 14, 2017 at 11:00 am

    These look amazing! I just got an embossed rolling pin – any advice on how to use that with this recipe? Should I chill dough first before rolling out or after cookies are cut so it holds the stamp? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      August 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      I was wondering the exact same thing.

      • Reply
        August 10, 2018 at 6:21 pm

        I haven’t tried these with an embossed stamp or rolling pin, but I would definitely chill the dough first.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Do you think the dough would hold up if I refrigerated over night? I have a massive baking day coming up with a girlfriend and like to make my doughs the night before to keep things moving when it comes to the oven. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Oh absolutely!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I made these but I didn’t follow the order of ingredients. I am blaming the cute 7 month old baby at my feet. Instead I mixed everything all at once, mixed with my mixer and hoped for the best. They came out pretty good but a bit dry. Which, I know is the nature of shortbread but they just were not giving me the va-va-voom I was looking for. So I melted down semi-sweet chocolates and dipped the face of them and they are one of the most amazing cookies, ever! Also, I didn’t use a fancy cutter, I used Halloween cookie cutters instead and they have morphed into divine Autumn treats.

    • Reply
      October 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      Sounds wonderful Jennifer — I hope you gave the 7 month old a taste 🙂

  • Reply
    August 31, 2016 at 7:38 am

    5 stars
    These are the best cookies I’ve ever made! I love how light and airy the dough is. My kitchen smells amazing now! And the cookies came out perfectly and stayed delicious for the week that we were able to not eat them all. 🙂 Perfection!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I so wanted these to work. They so did not. I double-checked the ingredients and measurements. Everything was in order, but I ended up with a buttery flat mess on the baking sheet. We’re crumbling it up to go over ice cream, so we’re calling it a ‘reinterpretation’ but something went very wrong somewhere.

    • Reply
      November 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Hi.. after baking a few years, I realized that the brand of butter matters. If at room temperature it is hard to get off the paper, it has too much liquid. I use Land of Lakes every time. Also if your butter is too cold it won’t work properly either..

      • Reply
        November 16, 2016 at 11:34 am

        Great point Kate! I’m a Land of Lakes user too, and when I buy cheaper brands I can always tell the difference.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Do you recommend using both vanilla bean and vanilla bean paste? I’ve never used the paste and am worried I would overload them with using scraped seeds as well.

    • Reply
      December 9, 2014 at 6:44 am

      A lot of people will skip the vanilla bean, so the suggestion is there for that reason. I agree that the bean and the paste together might be overkill…but you never know…;)

  • Reply
    Trish Kane
    November 30, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Where do you buy vanilla beans for this recipe?

    • Reply
      November 30, 2014 at 6:22 am

      I usually just buy my beans at the grocery store, Trish. But I recommend Olive Nation or Beanilla, which are online suppliers,

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    5 stars
    I made the Vanilla Bean short bread today and they are delicious,I added some grated NUTMEG,the short bread cookies are buttery crisp the will go great with Tea,Coffee or cold glass f milk, I will triple the recipe for the Holidays.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      I love the idea of adding the nutmeg 🙂

  • Reply
    Ruth Bethune
    April 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Where is the print icon please? Ruth Bethune

    • Reply
      April 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Sorry Ruth, my older recipes don’t have the printable recipe plugin, I’m trying to convert them all over to it, slowly!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    i’ve never heard a cookie described as demure–i like it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna Elick
    January 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I love shortbread. Vanilla bean sounds perfectly fabulous. They are simple and fantastic all in one bite, arent they? Even sitting next to the truffles, I would go for the shortbread… However, I can’t say the same for the cake. I have a bit of a ‘thing’ with cake. haha

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 12:25 am

    and i am so glad i finally switched over to using vanilla bean paste instead of pods–far cheaper!!! and just a tasty!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I’m always happy to have a delicate shortbread recipe on file – it’s something everyone loves and such a handy thing to whip up if people are coming over. Love the flecks of vanilla bean, too… we brought back heaps of vanilla beans from our honeymoon in Bali that are waiting to be mixed into these!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    January 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    As I sit here drinking my cup of Jasmine tea and cookie-less, I’m salivating over these cookies. Can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    January 20, 2013 at 2:44 am

    These look super amazing! I can’t ever, ever, ever have too many shortbread recipes! This one will most definitely go into my collection! Would it be okay if took the blue tea cups too? I love those, so pretty!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Such a lovely cookie and I like your blue and white accessories!


  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    January 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I actually make a variety of vanilla bean shortbread that is my favorite! But yours are different than mine…and they do look so demure and dainty sitting there. I’ll be trying yours next time!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 20, 2013 at 1:57 am

      I’ll check your blog to see if you’ve posted them…I’d love to try another version. I’ve become such a vanilla fiend this year that I’m going to buy some beans in bulk.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Aloha! I love all types of shortbread but have never made a recipe with confectioner’s sugar — can’t wait to try this one!

    Can you confirm if it’s 1 pound or 2 sticks of butter, please? I thought there were 4 sticks in pound.


  • Reply
    Debby Foodiewife
    January 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    How beautiful are these? I love all the vanilla bean specks. I’ll be that the confectioners sugar makes these super tender. Drool.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 20, 2013 at 2:05 am

      You can use either kind of sugar, and I also like the kind of sandy texture that regular sugar gives them. I sometimes alternate.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    January 19, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I never make shortbread in favor of the more ooey and gooey type cookies. I need to change that up. The flavor in these is right up my alley.

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    January 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    My favorite kind of cookies..So pretty w/ blue and white:)

  • Reply
    Nantucket Daffodil
    January 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    OMG, I posted a photo in the sidebar of my blog of the most wonderful little bird cookie pictures….I do believe your cookies would be the perfect base, and I KNOw I can easily convert to gluten free!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Grab my latest e-book

for free!

Subscribe to get first dibs on all my new recipes, plus extra subscriber only benefits!


You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

You have Successfully Subscribed!