Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies + Video

If you think these fun, festive Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies look difficult to make, think again! They’re not only super easy, the decorating technique is also a breeze! Check out the video and you’ll be a believer!

Happy Birthday USA! We’re thrilled to celebrate your 241st anniversary coming up on July 4th. But we hope you don’t mind – instead of birthday cake this year, we’re commemorating your big day with a stack of the prettiest, most festive, super patriotic cookies you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting! In honor of you and our beloved flag, we’re calling them Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies.

Close up photo of Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies on a white cake pedestal with American flags in the center.

It’s funny, though we’re barely two weeks into the season, here in the U.S. we’re approaching “the peak” of summer. If you don’t live here, that might sound sort of strange, but to us, it makes perfect sense. Our big summer holiday is the week surrounding the 4th of July, when we celebrate the anniversary of our independence as a nation. As crazy as it sounds, after the fourth, the summer seems to subtly wind down, as school supply ads begin to sprout up and sales on summer clothing and outdoor “stuff” are here, there and everywhere.

Overhead photo of a cooling rack full of Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies.

Parties, picnics and festive get- togethers are planned and anticipated all year long for this first week of July. The highways and byways of the nation are crammed, as many leave everyday life behind and head to the lake, beach or mountains for a getaway. It’s a time to swim, fish, sun, boat, bike, hike, explore, read and simply chill out.

Our celebration includes parades, patriotic songs, fireworks and, of course, lots of good food. I wanted to give you a spectacular recipe that would bring lots of rave reviews, but also one that would be fairly easy to make at this busy time of year. As I thought through it and tossed around ideas, I remember the Glazed Cutout Shortbread Cookies I posted earlier this year. “Perfect”, I thought and started experimenting with a patriotic version.


Instead of using a mixer as I did with the Glazed Cutout Shortbread Cookies, I decided to try these cookies as a one-bowl-no-mixer recipe and it worked out well. Just make sure your butter is nice and soft and you’ll be good to go. The dough comes together in just a few minutes!

Closeup photo of Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies with a circle of American flags in the center.

Oh, and the decorating technique for these Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies? I know it looks a bit fancy and time consuming, but that’s not true on either count. I figured you might think I was spoofing, so Scott and I made a video of both the cookies and the icing technique, so you could see for yourself!


See what I mean? Easy peasy! And a perfect activity to do with children of all ages. Each cookie turns out totally unique, so everyone will be thrilled with their own personal creations.

Closeup side shot of Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies with American flags in the top left of the picture.

Not American? Not a problem! You can make these fun cookies too and make them the colors of your flag. Or your school colors. Or your best friend’s favorite colors. Or whatever colors you fancy!

A closeup photo of a Glazed Shortbread Cutout Cookie with a decorative pink, white and red glaze.

Pinched for time? Although these shortbread cookies come together fairly quickly and are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, you could also use this decorating technique on plain store-bought sugar cookies. No one has to know you cheated just a bit! Ready to celebrate? Make the occasion beautiful with these Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies and wait for the ooohs and aaahs!

Café Tips for making these Red, White and Blue Shortbread Cookies…

  • Make sure the butter is nice and soft. Otherwise it will be difficult to mix the dough without a mixer. I usually set the butter out the night before.
  • I like to use 3/8-inch dowels on either side of the dough when I’m rolling it out. The dowels keep the dough from being uneven. (See demonstration in the video above.)
  • Dough needs to be chilled for 15 minutes before rolling. If you chill it longer, it’s fine, but you’ll need to let it warm up a bit as it will be too firm for rolling.
  • When dipping the cookies in the glaze, let them drip in a separate bowl. That will keep your glaze from getting murky and your patterns less dramatic. (See drip bowl on the right in the image below.)

Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies

  • Allow Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies to dry on a wire rack for an hour after glazing, then store in an airtight container.
  • Cookies can also be frozen. Thaw on a sheet pan for an hour or two before serving.

Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24


1 cup butter, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon lemon extract

4 tablespoons half & half, maybe a little more

red and blue gel food coloring (or color of your choice)


1. For the cookies, preheat oven to 350˚. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

2. Beat softened butter with a whisk until soft and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy.

3. Add flour and salt. Mix with a sturdy spatula or large whisk, just until all flour is incorporated. Make sure there’s not dry flour at the bottom of the bowl.

4. Place dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk. Wrap well and chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

5. Remove dough and unwrap. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough about 3/8- inch thick (see notes above and video).

6. Cut into shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Gather scraps into a ball, preroll and cut more cookies. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape better when baked.) Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned at the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

7. For the glaze, combine powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon or almond extract and 3 tablespoons of the milk in a medium large bowl. Mix well and add more milk, one teaspoon at a time until a thick but drizzle-able glaze is formed. Transfer half of the glaze to a small bowl. With a toothpick, add a small amount of red and blue gel food coloring and swirl it just a bit. Don’t swirl too much or the icing will become murky. Use a light hand with the gel food coloring. A little goes a long way!

8. Dip one cookie at a time into the glaze. Let the cookie sit on the top of the glaze and gently push down at all the edges to ensure the surface of the cookie is covered with the glaze. With your thumb and forefinger, pull the cookie out of the glaze and allow the excess icing to drip off into a separate bowl. Then quickly flip the cookie right side up and give it a gentle jiggle to allow the glaze to flow evenly over the surface. Repeat with remaining cookies. (See video above for demonstration of this technique>)

9. Add more of the white glaze to the bowl when needed. Repeat adding more gel coloring as needed.

10. For storing, see Café Tips above.


See Café Tips above.

These festive, Red, White and Blue Glazed Shortbread Cookies are not only easy, the decorating technique is also very simple.

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