These strawberry shortbread cookies are the perfect sweet treat! Take a soft, buttery shortbread base and add sweet, tart strawberry jam and you’ve got these strawberry jam shortbread cookies! And if you love these strawberry butter cookies, try my Lemon Curd Cookies, my Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies, or my Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies with Cinnamon Sugar!
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Strawberry Shortbread Cookies (Knotts Berry Farm Inspired)
If you've had the Knotts strawberry shortbread cookies, this recipe has all those flavors and then some! It's a soft, buttery shortbread cookie that comes together with just a few ingredients. Then, before baking, we'll add a bit of sweet strawberry jam to give them even more amazing flavor! And because they're so easy to make, you'll want to make these strawberry butter cookies over and over!
What is the difference between a butter cookie and a shortbread cookie?
I sometimes call these strawberry butter cookies, because they've got more ingredients than a traditional shortbread cookie. Shortbread cookies traditionally have three ingredients: flour, butter, and granulated sugar. These strawberry shortbread thumbprint cookies also include a little lemon zest for added flavor, and they use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar.
What does cornstarch do to shortbread?
Though it's not a traditional ingredient, I use powdered sugar in many of my shortbread-based recipes, like my chocolate orange shortbread cookies or my cranberry white chocolate shortbread cookies. In my experience, the cornstarch and lighter texture of powdered sugar works so well in shortbread cookies to keep them from spreading in the oven. It also contributes to a soft, light texture that I love!
What is the trick to shortbread?
My #1 tip is to make sure that your ingredients stay cold all the way up until the cookies go into the oven. That's why for this strawberry jam cookies recipe, we're using cold butter to mix into our dough, then chilling the dough again to give the dough time to rest and make sure it's fully chilled. Then, once our cookies are formed, we'll add one more quick chill while the oven preheats. All this chilling keeps the butter from melting too quickly in the oven, which keeps the cookies from spreading too much and helps us achieve the tender, buttery texture we want in these strawberry shortbread thumbprint cookies!
Strawberry Cookies Ingredients
- powdered sugar - I like using powdered sugar because it gives these strawberry jam cookies a softer, lighter texture! Be sure you use a kitchen scale to measure your powdered sugar for best results, or use the spoon-and-level method.
- lemon zest - this is optional, but a little lemon zest complements the sweetness of these strawberry butter cookies, and adds delicious flavor!
- salted butter - your butter should be cold and cut into cubes. I like to cut it into cubes and then place it back in the fridge to chill. I use salted butter for this recipe, but if you prefer, you can use unsalted butter and then add ½ teaspoon of salt with your flour. For the best flavor, I recommend using a high-quality European-style butter -- I often use Kerrygold.
- all-purpose flour - like your powdered sugar, it's important to use the accurate amount of flour. since scooped flour can have varying amounts depending on how much the flour is packed down, I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure it by weight, or using the spoon-and-level method.
- strawberry jam - the best part of these yummy strawberry cookies! You can use any strawberry jam or strawberry preserves you like, preferably one made with almost all fruit! I like Smuckers Simply Fruit.
- white sparkling sugar - I like to add some sparkly coarse sugar to the tops of these strawberry butter cookies before baking to add sweetness and crunch!
I prepared these cookies with a food processor, which makes the dough much easier to bring together with cold butter. If you don't have a food processor, you can also use a stand mixer. You'll also need baking sheets, parchment paper, and a microplane grater to zest your lemon!
Tips and F.A.Q.
You can make shortbread cookies with cold butter or with softened butter -- I use softened butter in my chocolate orange shortbread cookies. But for thumbprint-style cookies like these strawberry cookies I prefer using cold butter to make sure that the shape and texture of the cookie stays intact.
It won't be the end of the world, but your cookies might spread a little too much and lose their shape. They also won't have the time to rest in the fridge, so the flavor and texture won't be as good.
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
Equipment you may need
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar - measured by weight or fluffed using the spoon-and-level method
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) lemon zest
- 1 cup (227 g) salted butter - cold, cubed
- ½ teaspoon (2 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 2 cup (250 g) all-purpose flour - measured by weight or fluffed using the spoon-and-level method
- ⅓ cup (113 g) strawberry jam - or strawberry preserves
- white sparkling sugar - for topping (optional)
- Combine powdered sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer. Mix to combine and bring out lemon oils.
- Add cold cubed butter and cream with sugar mixture until well-combined and smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Gradually add in flour, processing until fully incorporated and dough is well mixed. Place dough in refrigerator, covered, to chill for an hour.
- Roll dough into smooth tablespoon-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Use the back of a utensil, your thumb, a teaspoon measuring spoon or a wine cork to press a shallow indentation in the center of each dough ball (about halfway down).
- Fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon of strawberry jam and sprinkle each with white sparkling sugar (if using).
- Place baking sheet in freezer to chill for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes, or until edges of cookies are slightly golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet, then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.