Shortbread (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

Shortbread (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)

You know those ornate, rather baroque tins of biscuits that transpire in abundance this time of year? The ones invariably filled with crumbly, buttery, sugary shortbread? Yeah, those ones. The same ones chockfull of ingredients that make many of us go “OUCH!” if we dare to partake.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, grains, nuts, or refined sugar, then this recipe for shortbread should excite you as much as it does me! These shortbread are delightful little bites that make the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. And I have no doubt they will also go superbly with a mug of hot (unspiked, of course!) apple cider.

The holiday season is wonderful for many reasons: cherished time spent with family and friends, cozy spells tucked away inside (in your onsies, perhaps?) with an enchanting book or a favourite movie, and, of course, fun stretches in the kitchen, producing the yummiest of homemade baked goods.

Share the shortbread love and put this delicious recipe on your holiday-baking list. Your near and dear will thank you for such scrumptious noms.

4.9 from 7 reviews
Shortbread (Paleo, AIP, Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Treats
  • ½ c coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ⅔ c palm shortening, melted (*NOTE: Measure the shortening solid, then melt. This should get you about ½ c once melted because ⅔ c melted will result in too much liquid.)
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. water
  1. Set oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, and pinch of salt.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the melted palm oil (see note in ingredients list), maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir thoroughly. Add the water and continue to stir until you have a nice dough (the mixture continues to thicken after the water is added).
  4. Divide the dough into quarters and roll between two sheets of parchment. Cut into shapes. Alternatively, you can press the dough into a greased 8x8 glass baking dish.
  5. Using a thin spatula (because this makes it easier than attempting to pick up with your hands), transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pierce with a fork.
  6. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes, until lightly golden.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the baking sheet or before cutting into squares.

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by

Martine Partridge, founder of Eat Heal Thrive, is an eater of whole, nourishing, real food. She is also a combatter of Crohn's Disease. Martine wholeheartedly believes that food is the fulcrum for good health and has had wonderful results in managing autoimmunity by eating to heal, and healing to thrive.

There are 56 comments for this article
  1. Jan at 5:20 pm

    Before I go over the moon about these teach me this please: might coconut oil do in place of the palm oil???? (Still learning about all this – deeply grateful for what ever you might teach me about this kind of thing!) Thanks!!

    • Martine Partridge Author at 8:26 pm

      Hi, Jan. I was sure I had responded to your query sooner, but I have been experiencing blog-related glitches lately, so sorry about that! To answer your question: yes, you can use coconut oil in place of the palm shortening. 🙂

  2. Carol in Colorado at 10:06 pm

    I have not used or purchased palm oil. Do you have a recommendation? I love shortbread cookies and would like to try them. I think I will try adding some lemon flavoring and lemon zest too.

  3. Amanda at 10:23 am

    Shortbread was one of my childhood favourites and probably the first thing my mum taught me to bake when I was about 5. She even had a special shortbread tin.
    Could I sub coconut oil for the palm oil as it’s difficult to get here in Australia, or do you mean red palm oil?

    • Martine Partridge Author at 11:55 pm

      Hi, Amanda. Shortbread does evoke a lot of good memories, doesn’t it? 🙂 Yes, you can substitute melted coconut oil for the palm shortening, which isn’t easy to come by here in Canada either. I wouldn’t use the red palm oil — I fear it may affect the flavour.

      • Amanda at 2:03 am

        I just made some today and really took me back 🙂 these are delicious and I made them to take to a Christmas morning tea tomorrow so that I would have something to eat. Not sure there will actually be any left though! Oh and I actually used the shortening in the end. Super super yummy

    • Martine Partridge Author at 11:52 pm

      Hi, Gina. Organic palm shortening is what I used; I wouldn’t use the red palm oil (I’d worry about it affecting the flavour). You can also just use melted coconut oil if you can’t get your hands on the palm shortening. 🙂

    • Martine Partridge Author at 10:04 pm

      Hi, Karen. Thanks for letting me know how much you enjoyed the shortbread! And also good to know it works with ghee. While I can’t tolerate dairy, many of my readers use ghee, so I’ll be sure to let them know. 🙂

  4. Sonia at 12:26 am

    I don’t have access to palm shortening. I see a comment that says coconut oil will work. Is the measurement the same? They look simple and divine. Going to try this weekend 🙂

  5. Pingback: Shortbread (Paleo, AIP, Vegan) | The Paleo Partridge | d'liteful cravings
  6. Bree at 7:10 pm

    I should clarify my question. I mean do they hold their shape so that a candy cane or snowman cutout still looks like it did going in, or just a big blob? 🙂

    • Martine Partridge Author at 3:36 pm

      Hi, Bree! Sorry for the late reply…I have had several readers make these cookies using Xmas-shaped cut outs, and they look great! 🙂 One follower on Instagram made the candy-cane shapes which turned out awesome. I’ve also seen cute mitten-shaped cut outs.

  7. Amy at 1:48 am

    My husband loves shortbread and his Scottish grandmother use to make them every year. I would love to make these for him! We are the rare few that can tolerate grass-fed butter. Do you think I could substitute grass-fed butter for the shortening and if so, would the measurement be the same? Thank you! 🙂

    • Martine Partridge Author at 6:25 pm

      Hi, Amy. I would use the same measurement for the shortening if going with grass-fed butter. Is it salted? If so, you may need to adjust the salt to taste accordingly (I always like my shortbread a tad on the salty side!). Let me know how it goes for you — I bet they’ll turn out wonderfully with the butter. 🙂

      • Amy at 4:31 pm

        Thank you! 🙂 I have grass fed unsalted butter so I’ll give that a go without adjusting the salt first and then maybe a batch with the salted….I like mine salty too. 😉 I’ll be sure to report back! 🙂

  8. Diane at 7:03 am

    Am I missing something? I just put this all together and ended up with soup. 1/2 cup coconut flour doesn’t seem like very much flour.

    • Martine Partridge Author at 6:25 pm

      Hi, Diane. Coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture (up to 3X that of the more commonly used wheat flour!), so that’s why recipes often use less of it. I find this mixture, like the Molasses Cookies, thickens up as you stir wet and dry ingredients. What kind of coconut flour did you use?

      • Shannon at 1:22 am

        I got soup as well. I even tried doubling both the flours and it was still a liquidy mess. I used the coconut flour from Trader Joes.

        • Martine Partridge Author at 11:41 pm

          Hi, Shannon. I’ve never used the Trader Joes brand, so I can’t say if that is causing the problem with consistency. As I’ve noted in the recipe, after adding the 4 tbsp. of water, the mixture continues to thicken. Initially it does seem more liquid, but the coconut flour absorbs so much of the moisture. It’s unfortunate that this was your experience because I’ve had loads of great feedback on this recipe with lots of readers even sending me photos of their finished product. 🙂

  9. Sarah at 3:41 pm

    Hmmm, think I need to bake these longer; mine were lightly golden, but are soft in the middle. Also, being Scottish and an accomplished baker of real shortbread (have only been on AIP for a month or so), I need to call these something else in my head to avoid disppointment, but I’m sure once I get the baking time right for my oven they’ll be really tasty biscuits 🙂

    • Martine Partridge Author at 11:56 pm

      Yes, temp and cooking time can indeed vary from oven to oven. Without sugar and butter, it is difficult to get that exact shortbread flavour we’re accustomed to, but I bet these would work great with ghee if and when that’s something you’ll reintroduce after AIP. Sadly, I can’t go near dairy in any form, but these shortbread totally do the trick for me at the holidays! Happy AIP-ing, and thanks for stopping by the blog. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Rendering Lard~ | petra8paleo
  11. Pingback: Food Coma Fridays. - Real Food with Dana
  12. Rae at 1:35 am

    This was delicious! I messed around with the ingredients a bit, too, and can think of all kinds of things to do with this one. It’s a great shortbread base – wonderful all on its own. I can also add in things like applesauce, honey, lemon, herbs, or whatever other flavors I’m craving. Very versatile! I also added in some cream of tartar and baking soda. The texture is just melt-in-your-mouth perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Pingback: Paleo Christmas Cookie Exchange (AIP Friendly) | A WordPress Site
  14. Pingback: Fruit Pizza | AIP Dining
  15. Pingback: Paleo Christmas Cookie Exchange (AIP Friendly) | Beyond the Bite
  16. Pingback: Paleo Christmas Cookie Exchange (AIP Friendly)
    • Martine Partridge Author at 7:50 pm

      Hi, Haydee. So many apologies! I don’t know how I missed getting to this until now. I’m not sure how this recipe would work with almond flour, but if your mom is following the elimination phase of AIP, then nut flour is a no-no until successfully reintroduced much later on. 😉 If you experiment and make tweaks, I’d love to hear about them!

  17. Audra at 7:05 am

    I just made these and substitute the plam shortening for 1/2 coconut butter, 1/2 coconut oil. They are pretty darn good, although I’d like to try the original recipe to decide which I liked better.
    The altered recipe was great! The kid’s were able to use cookie cutters and make different shapes. When it came time to separate the cut out cookies from the left over dough, I chose to remove all of all the left over dough, and left the cut out cookies right on the pan where they were first cut. Then we balled up all the left over dough and divided it up to make a small batch of thumb print type cookies.

    Very good!

    • Martine Partridge Author at 7:51 pm

      Hi, Audra. Thanks so much stopping by to let me know that you and your family enjoyed the recipe. I like your addition of coconut butter — sounds rich and yummy! I also love that you were able to make some thumbprint cookies. Sounds like you had a great time baking with the kiddos. 🙂

  18. Jill at 7:42 pm

    Just made these and they were delish! Easy and pretty quick too. I was worried there for a bit when it was still super watery and I still needed to add the water. But magically it all worked like you said and the cookies are a big hit. Thank you!

  19. Pingback: Coconut turmeric spiced shortbreads - Earth and Air Homestead

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: