Is Shortbread Dough Supposed To Be Crumbly? 

Is Shortbread Dough Supposed To Be Crumbly? 

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We all want melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. But, flavors aside, you might sometimes find your shortbread dough too crumbly. And for some bakers, it might be too bothersome. You always have this question –

Is shortbread dough supposed to be crumbly?

Shortbread is naturally crumbly. But if it’s crumbling too much for your liking, add two tablespoons of butter. Also, try adding some water to make it easier to knead. Parchment paper at the time of kneading also helps. Remember to refrigerate the dough before and after shaping it.

Are you still overthinking about it? Take a chill pill! We have got you covered with our detailed instructions. 

Just follow our lead and take a leap of faith in us! But first, let’s figure out what you want.

Shortbread: Crumbly or Buttery? 

That’s the thing about Shortbread cookies! The choice is yours. You can make your cookies precisely how you want them. From incredibly crunchy and crumbly to extremely buttery and soft, there’s something for everyone.

Isn’t it great that you can make different kinds of cookies with just three basic elements? But you have to understand how the ratios of the ingredients affect the final texture. Whatever you prefer, crispier or more buttery, remember, the ratio is important!

Shortbread is naturally crumbly. But if it’s too much for you, there is no need to worry. You must fix your crumbling shortbread dough if you want delicious buttery shortbread. Let’s try and fix it together! 

Why is My Shortbread Dough Crumbling?

There are a lot of things that affect the texture of your shortbread. To some extent, your shortbread is supposed to be crumbly. But too much crispy shortbread might not be your favorite! 

We have listed some reasons why your shortbread dough might be crumbling. Let’s check those out!

Reason 1: Too Much Flour

The explanation for the hardness of the shortbread dough is that you used too much flour. The ratio of the three ingredients is important. Even a modest amount of extra flour can cause your dough to become dry and flaky.

Reason 2: Not Refrigerating the Dough

After you’ve made the cookies, scrambling to your oven is unnecessary. Instead, refrigerate the dough for half an hour or more. Unlike the puddings in the fridge, the shortbread dough will benefit from it. However, for watery pudding, the case is different.

You’ll need to refrigerate the dough twice. Otherwise, the dough will harden. First, you must put it in the fridge after kneading the dough. Then you’ll take it out, shape the dough into cookies, and refrigerate it again. 

You’ll see that the cookies will plump up. And the butter will harden after a brief stay in the fridge. Then, they won’t expand too much.

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Reason 3: Need More Butter

The dough for your shortbread cookies will never be soft and supple without enough butter. To make it melt-in-your-mouth buttery, you’d need more butter!

But remember, if you use melted butter, add only one tablespoon at a time. Then knead until the dough holds its shape; if it doesn’t, add more butter. 

Reason 4: Overmixing the Shortbread Dough

Overmixing the ingredients is another thing to watch out for. The preexisting fats could simply mix up within the batter if the ingredients are over-mixed. This will make your dough crumble.

Reason 5: Overcooking the Dough

You should never bake shortbread dough for too long. There are no eggs in the dough, so it only needs a small amount of cooking time. 

Also, browning is unnecessary in this case. Your shortbread will be baked when you see it is just beginning to turn golden around the corners.  

Reason 6: Ingredients at Room Temperature

Another main reason for dough consistency is not up to the mark is the ingredients. Remember to use butter that is at room temperature and not frozen. 

These were all the problems that caused your shortbread dough to crumble. Next time keep a check on these and prepare yourself. 

How To Fix My Crumbling Shortbread Dough?

If you want some in-the-moment solutions, we have some tricks and tips for you. Just follow these to make your dry dough a little bit softer! 

Method 1: Add a Little Butter

Add a little butter if your shortbread dough feels like sand in your hand. One tablespoon should be enough for you to try. After that, if the dough doesn’t hold, add another spoonful of butter. 

Method 2: Use a bit of water

You’d want a consistent dough. For that, you need to add a little bit of water. Do this if adding butter doesn’t work. This will make the kneading easier. 

You can also use milk or flavored lemon or vanilla extract instead of water. But usually, a few drops of water does the trick. 

Method 3: Use Parchment Paper

If your dough is crumbling and you can’t hold them, we have a fix for you. 

You can use baking parchment paper in this case. Roll the dough on the paper and then knead it with a rolling pin or your hand. Do it until the dough holds together. 

Remember that your shortbread cookie dough should not be excessively buttery. The dough can be crumbly. But if you squeeze them, it should hold the dough together.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use cooking oil instead of butter in Shortbread dough?

You shouldn’t use cooking oil instead of butter in shortbread cookies. If you do, then you’ll see that your cookies will be very hard. And it will be tough to chew. 

Can I fix my shortbread dough if it is over-kneaded?

It is highly unlikely for you to fix your over-kneaded dough. That’s why you shouldn’t use a hand mixer to make shortbread cookies. Just knead the dough with your hand or a rolling pan. 

How can I fix chewy shortbread?

If your shortbread is chewy, it’s not baked enough. Put it in the oven again, and you’ll see that your shortbread is fixed. Before putting them in the oven, poke some holes in your cookies with a fork. 


Now you know in detail – is shortbread dough supposed to be crumbly? Just decide what you want. If this is your first time, then you can experiment with it.

Don’t make the dough runny like other cookie dough. All that baking will bind the classic ingredients together. 

Now get your mittens and start baking!

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