Crystallized Ginger Shortbread

4.50 from 6 votes

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When butter meets crystallized ginger, wonderful things happen.

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread
Crystallized Ginger Shortbread in a baking dish.

Even though the holidays are all about excess, there is something so lovely about a simple roast, a simple side of brussels sprouts, a simple cookie. I’m not talking about ascetic – just simple.

I started imagining these cookies when the email went out about the annual cookie swap at work. If you’ve never been part of a cookie swap, find a way to fix that and fast It is one of life’s charming pleasures, to bring a big batch or two of homemade cookies somewhere, trade most of them away, and leave with an assortment of goodies that amounts to WAY more than you would ever have endeavored to do on your own.

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread on a wire rack.

I come from a long and proud line of ginger fans, and while my gingersnaps are a perennial holiday must, I was just in the mood to celebrate butter as well. Butter. What can one say about butter? Everything good. In cooking I am an equal opportunity fat player – oils, butter, different things for different dishes. When it comes to baking: Butter.

So some sticks of butter and a container of crystallized ginger both looked at me, and looked at each other, and sparks flew.

The little nuggets of crystallized ginger are chewy and just ideal with the simple flavor of the shortbread.

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Knife cutting Crystallized Ginger Shortbread on a wooden board.

These are sort of bar cookies, small squares of shortbread that beg to be nibbled with a cup of coffee or mug of tea. I figured two per serving, but I would very much understand if that didn’t seem sufficient. I love the texture of these – crumbly and buttery at the same time. What luxury. And the little nuggets of crystallized ginger are chewy and just ideal with the simple flavor of the cookie dough.

Person holding a piece of Crystallized Ginger Shortbread.

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4.50 from 6 votes

Crystallized Ginger Shortbread

When butter meets crystallized ginger, wonderful things happen.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Chilling and Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 18 People


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting the counter
  • ¾ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the salt, then the flour, and then the vanilla. Finally beat in the crystallized ginger. The dough will appear crumbly but then hold together when you pinch it.
  • Press the dough into an 8-inch square baking pan so that the top is flat and the dough is even. Score the top with a sharp knife into 36 small squares. Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes, or the fridge for at least an hour, until it firms up slightly.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes minutes, until just very slightly colored; the edges will be just a bit browned. Remove the cookies to a wire rack and cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully flip the shortbread, turn it right side up, and cool completely on the rack out of the pan.
  • Place the shortbread on a cutting board and using a large sharp knife cut into sqaures following the lines you scored in the doiugh before baking.


I love the texture of these – crumbly and buttery at the same time. What luxury. And the little nuggets of crystallized ginger are chewy and just ideal with the simple flavor of the cookie dough.


Calories: 199kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 67mg, Potassium: 20mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 315IU, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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  1. Made this today for a women’s luncheon, everyone loved it, I did add a pinch of powdered ginger. I also baked it for about 33 min, so it was still a bit moist in center. Perfect!

  2. Good shortbread cookie. Having made a few batches of similar cookies, these suggestions: chill the dough for ten-twenty minutes in the fridge; it will make it easier to cut the cookies and move them to the cookie sheet. Roll the dough kinda thick—maybe 3/16”–1/4”; it will make a “toothier” cookie—moist, with only a thin browned bottom crust. Watch them in the oven very closely; remove them from the oven when the are only the slightest bit brown at the edges.
    Finally, maybe add a teaspoon or two of ginger powder to the mix? Would make the flavor just a little sharper.

    1. thanks! I actually just changed this to make it a pan shnortbread cookie, which makes the cutting cookies easier. and I love the idea of adding powdered ginger – defintiely would make them sharper.

    2. The best shortbread recipe and agreed powdered ginger improves them, just put my 6th batch in to take to a friend for coffee Easter Friday. If I dare say it they even outdo the CWA and they are some of the best in the world!

    3. Thanks so much for the tip of adding extra ginger powder, Steve. These are amazing! I’m excited to make these again & again!