Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

5 from 40 votes

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies make for a show-stopping teatime cookie! This light and elegant treat is so easy to make and has the most incredible flavor.

A group of cookies with a bowl of dried leaves.

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Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies Recipe

These Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies are the perfect cookie for an afternoon tea party. If you’re like me, you’ve got a dream to have grown-up tea parties inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

I’ve always loved that book and still have the hardback copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass that I received as a kid. And I think I’ll always strive to host the most magical tea parties, because who doesn’t want to go to a tea party?

Shortbread is already a great teatime cookie. I added earl grey tea leaves into the mix to bring in its smoky, bergamot flavors. But I always have elegant cookies with tea, whether it’s these Earl Grey cookies or my matcha shortbread cookies.

If you ask me, they’re just so fun for a grown-up tea party! A buttery cookie and a good cup of tea is the best way to spend an afternoon. As the Mad Hatter says “it’s always tea time!”

More cookie recipes: Heart Sugar CookiesSoft Chocolate Chip CookiesWhite Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Why you’ll love this recipe

This is a great recipe for those who need a cookie that isn’t too sweet, but is delicate and delicious. It brings out the flavor of the tea leaves just beautifully:

  • These are wonderful make-ahead cookies! You can prep the dough ahead of time and bake later, or simply store the cookies until needed.
  • Buttery shortbread cookies are a wonderful addition to bake sales and cookie swaps. This cookie is sophisticated, pretty, and absolutely delicious.
  • This recipe makes 3 dozen cookies. You’ll have more than enough cookies for your tea parties and gatherings! Serve tons of guest…or eat all of them yourself, I’m not judging.
A stack of cookies next to a bowl of tea.

Tools & Equipment

You’ll need a few different tools to make these earl grey shortbread cookies. Make sure you’ve got a hand mixer or stand mixer and a few mixing bowls. You will also need at least two baking sheets and some parchment paper. It can also be handy to have a silicone spatula so that you can scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix.

Make sure you’ve got some measuring cups and measuring spoons to measure out each ingredient. Plastic wrap is needed to wrap the dough before refrigerating, and you’ll need a rolling pin to roll it out. Choose whatever cookie cutter you want to make these shortbread cookies into different shapes!

Ingredients

These basic ingredients are all you need to make the best earl grey shortbread cookie recipe. Here’s a list of everything to have on hand:

  • all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • pure vanilla extract
  • loose-leaf Earl Grey tea 
A bowl of cookies and a bowl of tea on a white surface.

Substitutions and Variations

For a fun themed look, cut the cookies into tea bag shapes and dipped them into dark chocolate to make them look like tea bags. They taste the same and look absolutely adorable! You can also simply do the circular cookies dipped in chocolate as well.

Make these cookies gluten free by using a gluten-free all purpose flour in place of the regular flour. The texture may be a bit different, but they’ll still be quite tasty!

To bring out the bergamot flavor, feel free to add a small splash of bergamot extract.

Make an easy lemon glaze by mixing together a bit of lemon zest and lemon juice and powdered sugar. Orange juice and orange zest would be a delicious flavor too.

A bowl of cookies next to a bowl of tea.

How to make Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Each tender shortbread cookie is a bite of pure perfection. Here’s how to make this simple and elegant recipe:

  1. Whisk together the all purpose flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Then, in the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add sugar to the fluffy butter and continue to beat together for another two minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients on low speed, incorporating it all together by periodically scraping the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is barely sticky.
  4. Then form the cookie dough into two balls. Wrap them in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for about an hour, or until firm.
  5. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  6. Roll out one of the disks on a lightly floured surface until it’s about a ¼-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter or knife and then transfer to the previously prepared baking sheets.
  7. Re-roll any scraps of dough and repeat the process until all cookie dough is gone.
  8. Refrigerate the cookie cut outs for 30 minutes and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve and enjoy!

Tips & tricks

Make your new favorite cookie a success with these few simple tips:

  • For the best flavor, use a high quality loose leaf tea. If you don’t have loose earl grey tea, opening up a few tea bags will work too.
  • If you plan to dip the cookies in chocolate or add a glaze, allow them to cool completely to room temperature before adding.
  • Make sure you have a clean work surface that has been floured lightly before rolling out the cookie dough. There’s nothing worse than picking up crumbs from the countertop in your cookie dough!
A bowl of tea and cookies on a white surface.

What to serve with Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

You should pair these cookies with your favorite tea! Learn a bit about drinking tea and the essentials you need to do it well. This Russian tea is a family favorite and of course, you can always make it a cocktail. This peach tea old-fashioned is perfect for summer!

A warm London fog latte would also be a delicious pairing with these cookies. Even a cold brew iced tea is a refreshing beverage to pair with yummy earl grey shortbread cookies!

Make the most perfect tea party with a batch of these cookies, an earl grey cake with vanilla bean frosting, chai latte cupcakes, and pocket watch pops. Don’t forget some savory treats like this queen of hearts tomato tart and an asparagus ricotta puff pastry tart.

FAQ

What’s the secret to good shortbread cookies?

The main key to a good shortbread cookie is using a high-quality butter. It’s also important that you don’t over-mix the dough. Overworked dough can create a tough cookie. Make sure that you refrigerate the dough long enough too so that the cookies don’t spread in the oven.

Do leftover shortbread cookies need to be refrigerated?

Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week. However, you can extend the life of your cookies for a few more days if you store them in the fridge.

A bowl of tea and cookies on a table.

More tea-inspired recipes

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A stack of cookies next to a bowl of tea.

Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies shaped like tea bags and dipped in dark chocolate make for a show-stopping tea party cookie!
5 from 40 votes
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ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons loose-leaf Earl Grey tea or other black tea, or the contents of 2 Earl Grey teabags

instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
  • In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add sugar and continue to beat for 2 more minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture and tea on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until dough is barely sticky.
  • Form the dough into two equally sized balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten gently into a disk. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or more.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • On a floured surface, roll out one of the discs into a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter or knife. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Re-roll any scraps and repeat with remaining disk.
  • Refrigerate shaped cookies until firm, about 30 minutes, so they retain their shape while baking. Bake until firm and golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • If desired, tie on thick thread. Attach the other end of the string to 1.5-inch squares of cut paper to resemble a tea bag.

notes

To make tea bag shapes: Use a rectangular cookie cutter or knife. Trim off two adjacent corners. Poke a hole in the dough with a skewer or toothpick. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Re-roll any scraps and repeat with the remaining disc. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
For chocolate-dipped cookies: In a heat-proof bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. (You can also use a double-boiler on the stove.) Dip the bottom third (the side without cut corners) of each cookie into the chocolate to resemble a tea bag. Place on wax paper. Refrigerate until hardened, about 20 minutes. (This recipe was inspired by these gorgeous tea bag cookies from Sandra Kavital.)
The cookie dough is loosely based on Martha Stewart’s Shortbread Cookies recipe.

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nutrition information

Yield: 36 cookies

amount per serving:

Serving: 1cookie Calories: 77kcal Carbohydrates: 7g Protein: 1g Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 13mg Sodium: 49mg Potassium: 9mg Fiber: 0.2g Sugar: 2g Vitamin A: 156IU Calcium: 3mg Iron: 0.3mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!

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Comments

  1. Jenna @ A Savory Feast says

    Ahh these are too cute! I want to throw a tea party just so I can make these cookies.

  2. Erin @ The Speckled Palate says

    I had NO IDEA that you were a ballet dancer for so long! That’s crazy and so cool!

    And these cookies? Mmm. Yes, please. I haven’t been big on tea until recently, so I can imagine this combination of flavors… and that chocolate… makes these cookies divine. Nice work, friend!

    • Susannah says

      Isn’t that funny? Such a long time ago. Thanks so much for the kind words about the cookies! I love tea in anything. (Especially cocktails.) Wish we could eat these over a cup of tea sometime soon. Come over anytime! <3

  3. Ashleigh says

    Hi Susannah! These cookies look amazing. I thought you might want to know that your pins have an error when I tried to click through them to your blog. There just might be a URL error or something. I just thought you might want to know. Have a great week!

    21standmain.com

    • Susannah says

      Hi Ashleigh! Thank you so much for letting me know. I fixed them. Hope you enjoy the cookies too! <3

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