Gluten free shortbread biscuits

Gluten free shortbread biscuits

Had a little bash at making some gluten free shortbread biscuits and was delighted with how well they turned out and thought I’d better get on and share the recipe with you.

I did consider adding other ingredients to this shortbread recipe. But then decided that it was better to share a great basic recipe and let you decide how you want to enjoy these yummy, buttery biscuits. Whether that be to leave them plain, or jazz them up with other bits and bobs you fancy. I’ve added a few suggestions at the bottom of the page to start you off.

You will spot that I have included xanthan gum in this recipe. It isn’t an ingredient I often use (it’s already added to most gluten free self-raising flours). However, for things like shortbread, scones and fruit cake, xanthan gum is beneficial, as it holds the crumb together well and prevents things from being too crumbly when you eat them.



110g (4oz) butter, unsalted or salted will work – It’s a matter of personal taste (leave butter out to soften at room temp for approx 1½hrs before you need it)
50g (2oz) caster sugar (icing sugar can be used instead)
175g (6oz) gluten free plain flour, sifted
1 level teaspoon xanthan gum
Teaspoon *vanilla extract or paste
Extra caster sugar to sprinkle over the biscuits

Ingredients for gluten free shortbread



Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5/170C Fan.

Lay a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a large flat baking tray (approximately 10 x 15 inch).

In a large bowl cream together the softened butter and sugar and then add the vanilla extract.

Butter and sugar for gluten free shortbread
Ingredients in a bowl for gluten free shortbread ready to mix

Add the gluten free flour and xanthan gum and mix well. The mixture should all start to come together. At this point it’s best to get your hands in, and like you do with pastry, gently squeeze the mixture together until it forms a ball.

Gluten free shortbread ready to roll out

Transfer the shortbread dough onto a clean surface lightly dusted with gluten free flour. It’s best not to over dust with flour, as you don’t want to alter the consistency of the biscuit.

Gluten free shortbread dough

Roll out the dough to approx ¼ inch thickness. Then using a cutter of your choice cut out the biscuits. I originally used a 3 inch cutter when I first noted down the recipe, but have since switched to using a 2.5 inch cutter as I think it gives a much better size biscuit.

Gluten free shortbread cut out with cutter

With a palette knife, gently lift and lay the biscuits onto the baking tray. For a traditional shortbread look, prick them all over with a fork. If you prefer a smooth finish leave this bit out. I find it’s best to chill the biscuits for 20 minutes at this stage.

Gluten free shortbread biscuits before baked

Remove the biscuits from the fridge and sprinkle with caster sugar and pop them into the oven.

Gluten free shortbread with caster sugar before baked

Bake until pale golden-brown. It will take about 20 minutes for the 3 inch size and 16-17 minutes for the 2.5 inch ones. Of course, if you do smaller or larger biscuits you will need to adjust the cooking time. Tiny biscuits, the sort that are nice to slip on a saucer to go with a coffee, would only take about 8-10 minutes to bake.

baked gluten free shortbread

Allow the biscuits to cool completely before removing them from the baking tray.

Gluten free shortbread biscuits on a lovely pink china plate


Recipe notes and suggestions:

These shortbread biscuits will keep well in an airtight container. I would recommend that you polish them off within a week. Should there be any left at this point.

Grated orange zest added to the basic shortbread mixture would give these biscuits a lovely zing. Orange flavoured shortbread would also work really well when served with a delicious rich chocolate mousse. 

Finely grated lemon zest would be another winning ingredient to add to this simple shortbread recipe. You could then, if you like, transform the fragrant biscuits into a rather posh pud, by adding a spoonful of lemon curd, a little crème fresh and some fresh raspberries.

Culinary lavender in shortbread (not something I’ve ever tried) is apparently a big hit with many people too.

Should you add any of the ingredients above, I’d recommend you miss out the vanilla essence so not to confuse the flavours.

*Chocolate chips, *fudge pieces, *dried fruit or *nuts would of course be perfect to pop into the shortbread mixture before rolling it out.

I’ve made these shortbreads and added *crystallised ginger and *dark chocolate pieces…very tasty indeed!

These shortbread biscuits are the ideal thing for children to have fun decorating. Just leave off the additional sugar before baking so they have a nice flat surface to work with.

And for my final suggestion for the shortbread biscuit recipe; would be to dunk the biscuits into melted *chocolate or decorate them with melted chocolate squiggles. Yum!

Thanks for checking out this recipe. Do hope you treat yourself or someone special to a batch of these buttery biscuits soon.

For now,
Liz x


*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out.

This shortbread recipe was taken from the BBC food website and adapted to make it gluten free.

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