Easy Slice-and-Bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies to the Rescue

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Sneak Peek: This recipe for Easy Slice-and-Bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies makes a thin, crispy, and chewy (because of the coconut) shortbread cookie. Keep a roll of dough in the freezer at all times for “sweet” emergencies.

Baked Coconut Icebox Cookie on a Metal Cookie Spatula

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Grandma called them icebox cookies. But we call them coconut shortbread cookies. Think of them as the original slice-and-bakes, but fresher and tastier.

Thankfully, you can store the dough in your fridge or freezer instead of an icebox. In addition, shaped cookie dough logs are handy for “sweet” emergencies like unexpected company, a last-minute cookie tray, or a sneaky sugar attack.

Come a little closer because I need to whisper this little secret. Even the raw dough satisfies, but you didn’t hear it from me. So please keep reading to the end of this post for my story about cookie dough.

Homemade slice-and-bake coconut shortbread cookies are guaranteed to wake up any coconut cravings you’ve neglected lately. The fragrance of toasted coconut combined with rich buttery shortbread will make your house smell better than any scented candle.

Why you might want to keep these coconut shortbread cookies in your freezer:

When you keep logs of prepared cookie dough in your freezer, you can have fresh warm cookies in the time it takes to preheat your oven and bake them.

With only five ingredients, you can throw the dough together in a hurry. However, the prepared dough MUST be refrigerated (or frozen) before baking, so plan ahead.

Add this super simple cookie to your collection if you are a coconut lover. They’re great on their own, but they also play nicely with a simple dessert like vanilla bean posset with lemon, microwave pastry cream, or creme brulée. We like to crumble them to sprinkle on our homemade yogurt.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • BUTTER: Next to coconut, butter is the star ingredient. No substitutes exist.
  • SUGAR: Granulated sugar is best here. Anything else will change the texture and taste which isn’t all bad. Just different.
  • VANILLA EXTRACT: Try almond extract if you prefer or don’t have vanilla on hand. Use half as much almond as you would vanilla.
  • FLOUR: All-purpose flour is recommended. Bleached or unbleached–it doesn’t matter.
  • COCONUT: This recipe was formulated for flaky sweetened coconut. Substitute unsweetened coconut if your sweet tooth is better controlled than mine.

ingredients needed for coconut cookie recipe

How to make Coconut Shortbread Cookies:

Beat butter until creamy

1. Use an electric mixer with a large bowl and the paddle attachment to beat the room temperature butter until smooth and creamy.

Add sugar and vanilla extract

2. Add granulated sugar and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy.

Adding flour

3. Add flour to the butter-sugar mixture.

Mix in flour and add coconut

4. Mix just until flour disappears. Add shredded coconut.

shaping dough with a spatula and wax paper

5. Dump the dough onto a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap.

coating logs with coconut

6. Shape the dough into two rectangular blocks. Coat with coconut: wrap and chill or freeze.

sprinkle with more coconut if desired

7. When ready to bake, slice logs into 1/2-inch slices and place them onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with more flaked coconut if desired.

baked shortbread cookies ready for a tea party

8. Bake cookies at 300˚F for 20-30 minutes or until they turn light golden brown on the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are coconut shortbread cookies good to mail?

These lovely but delicate cookies are not good travelers. That is to say, no US Mail or UPS. On the other hand, they are perfect for a party, shower, a Christmas cookie tray, or teatime snack.

How long can I store the dough in the freezer?

The dough will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Double wrap the dough to avoid freezer burn.

How long will baked shortbread cookies stay fresh?

Store them in an air-tight container for up to a week. Store in the freezer for 2-3 weeks.

How can I keep the shortbread dough from spreading too much while baking?

1. The cookie dough must be well-chilled. Either freeze for two hours before baking or chill the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper. It helps to prevent spreading.
Since there is no baking powder in these cookies, they will spread some. You won’t have to wait very long for the cookies to cool and get crispy.

The dough is hard to slice when it’s frozen. Any suggestions?

1. Let the dough sit on the counter for a few minutes. It makes a big difference.
2. Warm your knife (serrated works best) by running it under hot water or dipping it in a container of hot water.
3. Put the log of dough in the microwave and use the DEFROST cycle to soften it–less than a minute. It doesn’t take long, so stand by.

The rest of my cookie dough story.

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My mom was ahead of her time when she engaged in aversion therapy with my pre-teen self.

I asked her if I could make an entire recipe of Butterscotch Refrigerator Cookies for the sole purpose of eating the dough.

She said, “yes.”

I made a batch and ate most of it.

I never made that recipe again. Instead, I make shortbread cookies.

If you like shortbread cookies, too, have a look at these Pink Simple Iced Shortbread Cookies. If you’re into coconut, check out Quick Coconut Cake with White Cake Mix. It’s a Pinterest favorite.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

coconut icebox cookies on a cookie sheet

Easy Slice and Bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Keep the dough for these crispy coconut shortbread cookies in your freezer for sweet emergencies.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Desserts
Servings 30 cookies


  • 1 cup butter - (2 sticks, softened) 230 gr
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar - 150 gr
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ¾ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour - 210 gr
  • 1 cup flaked or shredded coconut plus some for covering the log of dough - 80 gr


  • Mix 1 C butter until creamy. Add ¾ C sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Gradually add in 1¾ C flour, then 1 C coconut, and mix well.
  • Form dough into 12 x 3 x 1-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. I like to form a log into a shape that will result in rectangular cookies when sliced.
  • Optional: Sprinkle the wax paper or plastic wrap with about 1/4 cup of loose coconut. Lay the shaped log on top of the coconut and roll it to press the coconut into the sides.
  • Freeze at least 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat your oven to 300˚F (150˚C).
  • Slice dough into 1/3 to 1/2-inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart on a silicone mat or parchment paper-covered cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes. Edges should begin to turn golden.



Nutrition Facts
Easy Slice and Bake Coconut Shortbread Cookies Recipe
Serving Size
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keywords: butter cookies, icebox cookies, slice and bake cookies, coconut, shortbread, coconut cookies, freezer cookies
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Recipe Rating


  1. Dee Amick says:

    Oh Yummy. Shortbread and Coconut! What is not to love about those sweets?

  2. Would be so delicious with some whipped cream and strawberries….mmm

  3. We made some similar coconut shortbread cookies for TWD a ways back that had lime zest added. So good! Love the rectangles, I always have such a hard time getting a nice round log for chilling the dough!

  4. tasteofbeirut says:

    These cookies look so pretty and must taste wonderful!

  5. I LOVE refer cookies! They are so convenient – but I’ve never made coconut refer cookies. Will have to add this to my must-bake list. I’m sure they were wonderful the the burnt sugar ice cream – I made this and it’s in my freezer – locked up tight. It’s too tempting to not eat the whole container! I love the shape of these cookies too – they’re just perfect Springtime cookies!

  6. These look fabulous Romaine! I don’t make shortbread enough, and it’s sooo good 🙂

  7. I have made your greek yogurt which, by the way, is now the center of my life, and these cookies. They are to die for. Everyone at work took the recipe. But the yogurt will get me to 80 – I’m now 70!!! Ha!

  8. I just made these tonight for my husband who LOVES coconut. They are fantastic!!! This is a keeper recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Can i use dessicated coconut?

    1. Hi Maya,

      Probably. But honestly, I haven’t tried it myself so can’t say for sure.

  10. Can I add pecans to them?

    1. Seems like a great idea to me.

  11. Maureen Barton says:

    These are delicious!!!!!!

    1. Thanks, Maureen. Never get tired of hearing this!

  12. A perfect way to get 2 different cookies from the same recipe would be to drizzle 1/2 with chocolate.

    1. Oh yes. That sounds fabulous!!! A “Mounds” shortbread cookie–YUM!