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Irish Shortbread Cookies with a Secret for Easy Roll-Out

Preview: Irish Shortbread Cookies are classic shortbread cookies cut into shamrock shapes and glazed with green icing. Includes an easy roll-out tip for the dough.

Do you celebrate holidays at your office with food? Somebody at my work decided we should all bring green food for a potluck in March. I threatened to bring a green salad. Then I remembered my favorite shortbread cookies.

Shamrock Shortbread Cookies - Plate of frosted green shamrock shortbread cookies

What do I need to make these cookies?

You will need only a few ingredients and even less talent.  A miniature shamrock cookie cutter, green food coloring, shortbread cookie dough, and a simple frosting.  That’s it! 

The best thing about these cookies?


Wait! There’s more…

If you haven’t tried these cookies in any of the various forms I’ve already blogged about (Pink Shortbread Cookies,) you may not realize how easy they are to make. Luckily, rolling out the dough doesn’t have to a sticky mess.

That’s where this secret I learned from Dorie Greenspan comes into play.

How to roll out Irish Shortbread Cookies using a zippered plastic bag:

shortbread cookie dough in a zippered plastic bag
Simply put the dough into a Ziploc bag and seal.
rolling out dough inside plastic bag
Roll the dough to a uniform thickness that fills the entire bag.
Cookie dough ready to put in the freezer.
Place the bag into the freezer and chill the dough until hard.
Remove frozen dough from the freezer.
peeling the plastic back from the dough
Uncover dough by trimming two edges and unzipping the top of the bag. Pull back the plastic.

Open the bag on 3 sides and let your cookie-cutter go wild. Because the dough has been thoroughly chilled, the cut-out cookies are easy to pick up with your hands or peel off the plastic before transferring to a cookie sheet, ready to bake.

Cutting out Shamrock Shortbread Cookies with a cookie cutter
Use cookie cutters of choice to cut out cookies. You may need to use a toothpick or dull point of a knife to extract small pieces i.e. legs, tails, stems, etc.

Here’s the best part…

Clean-up is as simple as throwing the bag away. No flour to sweep up. No sticky dough to scrape from your counter or cutting board.

Dorie’s technique is adaptable to almost any roll-out-the-dough-and-cut-into-a shape recipe.  Give it a try!

Taste-testing shortbread cookies. Looks like chocolate found its way into a few cookies.
My little taste tester. She wanted to add chocolate to a few of the cookies. Not bad. Not bad at all!

WARNING: These shortbread cookies taste fantastic straight out of the freezer.  I suggest you double wrap and hide if you have freezer moles at your house.

Frosting Shamrock Shortbread Cookies with granddaughter
A fun cookie to make with kids. They will love eating them, too.

More recipes for the cookie monster in your tribe

pinterest image showing plate of frosted shamrock shortbread cookies

If you enjoyed this recipe, it would help others and me if you gave it a five-star rating inside the recipe card below. 🤩 No comment required. Thank you.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. Questions or suggestions? Please email me: Paula at

Yield: 72 bite-sized cookies

Irish Shortbread Cookies

Irish Shortbread Cookies

Irish Shortbread Cookies are classic shortbread cookies cut into shamrock shapes and glazed with green icing. Use a Ziploc bag to roll out dough for easy clean-up.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
  • 2 + drops green food coloring


  1. Combine butter and sugar into a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  2. Combine flour and baking powder separately. Add slowly to butter using low speed. Stop beating as soon as the flour mixture is incorporated. Over-beating will result in toughness.
  3. Form the dough into a slightly-flattened ball. Place into a zippered plastic bag. Chill about 30 minutes. With bag cracked open slightly to allow air to escape, roll dough until evenly distributed throughout bag. Place back into refrigerator until firm--at least another 30 minutes or up to 2 days. Can be frozen at this point.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  5. Remove cookie dough from fridge and carefully cut two sides of bag with kitchen shears or scissors, leaving one side intact. Lay top layer of plastic back and use cookie cutter to make cookies. Because the dough is cold and firm, they should peel off the plastic easily. Place onto prepared cookie sheet. Re-roll scraps after replacing plastic over top of new ball and refrigerate a few minutes until firm again. Repeat as needed until all dough is used.
  6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until light brown around the edges. Time will vary greatly depending on the size and shape of cookies. Check early and often. Cool 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack and wait until cold before icing.


  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and extract. If too thick, add more milk a few drops at a time. If too thin, add more powdered sugar or let sit for awhile. Tint with food coloring. Ice cookies and allow to rest until dry. I prefer to turn cookies upside down and dip into icing just enough to cover surface. Goes faster, although a little messy, until you get the hang of it. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap for 1 month in the freezer.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 105Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather Technique inspired by Dorie Greenspan.

Updated and republished in March 2019.


Thursday 22nd of November 2012

Do you think these would work with peppermint extract in Christmas Shapes?


Friday 16th of March 2012

Can't wait to try these. I have sooo many ideas. Pink hearts as you mentioned for Valentines Day, lots of pastel eggs for easter. Red maple leaves for Canada Day, (or for my American friends red, white, and blue stars for July 4th) red orange yellow and brown leaves for back to school or Autumn. Brown turkeys and those previously mentioned leaves for Thanksgiving. How about white ghosts, yellow moons, black bats and orange pumpkins for Halloween. It's endless.


Sunday 18th of March 2012

Love your ideas!


Friday 18th of March 2011

Update: I took a plate of the cookies to work in the ED tonight and everybody LOVED them! Definite success. :-)


Thursday 17th of March 2011

I've been wanting to try this cookie recipe and I finally got around to it today. They were easy and tasty! Thanks for all the great recipes and pictures!


Tuesday 15th of March 2011

What gorgeous cookies AND opening photo! Is that pie/tart pan? Stunning.... and who wouldn't like this site? I think your co-workers are nuts... :) Beautifully-glazed cookies - they're perfection. I made sandwich cookies. Huge ones... not nearly as nice though!

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