These darling little elf on the shelf cookies are easy to make, miniature shortbread cookies that are bite sized little pops of joy!

Elf on the shelf cookies are a delicious treat to make your elf, or for your elf to gift to well behaved children, of course.

These are miniature little cookies that are ready in minutes, requiring just four ingredients. Easy and delicious, and perfectly elf-sized, too!

An elf on the shelf sitting on a kitchen counter, with tiny shortbread elf on the shelf cookies surrounding her.
Want to save this?
Enter your email below and I’ll send it to you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

We have so much fun with our elf, even if intermittently. It’s fun to see if and what kind of surprises our elf has been up to.

I love the elf on the shelf fun on the lead up to Christmas – no one knows what he’s been up to overnight! It will be such a treat for your kids when they wake up and find he has been busy baking cookies for them!

These shortbread Elf on the Shelf cookies make the sweetest treat for children and will get them into the holiday spirit. Elf on the Shelf Cookies are also a great gift for you elf and a fun activity for kids!

They are a nice reminder that giving goes both ways. Bonus – they are so easy to make, that they are perfect for beginning bakers and little helping hands.

Make a big batch of these mini cookies – they come together so quickly with just a few ingredients. The shortbread is deliciously sweet and buttery and you can easily make full sized cookies from this recipe if you wish. 

No matter how you roll them out, I think you’re going to love them!

An elf on the shelf sitting on a kitchen counter, with tiny shortbread elf on the shelf cookies surrounding her.

Why You’ll Love these Elf on the Shelf Cookies

  • Just four ingredients
  • So easy to make
  • Kids love them
  • Customizable

Love shortbread flavor? You’ve got to try my chocolate chip pecan snowball cookies! It’s a classic cookie recipe with a delicious chocolate twist. 

Tiny cutout shortbread elf on the shelf cookies on a marble countertop.

Ingredients and Substitutions

These simple cookies only require a few simple ingredients.

  • Butter: Unsalted and softened. Learn how to soften butter quickly in this guide.
  • Sugar – Granulated white sugar.
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract is preferable over imitation vanilla. Learn how to make homemade vanilla extract here!
  • Flour – All-purpose flour works well here. You can try a gluten free flour for baking, but we’ve never tested it!
  • Salt – Optional, but we like a little salt to balance the sweet around here.

Variations

  • Add food coloring to the dough before baking.
  • Use almond extract instead of vanilla.
An elf on the shelf sitting on a kitchen counter, with tiny shortbread elf on the shelf cookies surrounding her.

How to Make Elf on the Shelf Cookies

It takes just 20 minutes to make 48 of these cute mini cookies!

  1. Combine sugar, butter and vanilla.
  2. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  3. On floured plastic wrap, press into a disc shape (like a thick plate) wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. On floured parchment paper, roll dough to 1/4″ thick.
  6. Use cookie cutters to cut elf cookies into shape and peel excess dough. Transfer parchment paper filled with cutouts on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 8-9 minutes.
Tiny cutout shortbread elf on the shelf cookies on a marble countertop.

Tips

  • Need help with baking conversions? Check out my Essential Measurement Conversion Chart or use the yield tab in the recipe card.
  • Mix this shortbread cookie dough until just combined. Don’t overmix, as it could result in a crumbly, dry finish.
  • Be sure to refrigerate your cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This prevents them from spreading too much.
  • Don’t roll these tiny cookies out too thin! Keep them at right around 1/4 inch thick for the perfectly poppable melt in your mouth cookies the elves in your house will love!
  • Bake the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, or use a silpat liner.
  • If your cookie sheets are dark, it might shorten your bake time – so watch them carefully during the last couple minutes of baking.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are shortbread cookies different from other cookies?

Traditional cookies will generally have more items for binding and rise – like baking powder, baking soda and eggs. Shortbread features just a few ingredients, including butter and sugar. They are tender, a little more crumbly, and melt in your mouth!

Why is my shortbread dough so dry?

This is usually because your butter wasn’t softened enough before mixing your cookie dough. You might also be overmixing your dough – mix it until just combined!

An elf on the shelf sitting on a kitchen counter, with tiny shortbread elf on the shelf cookies surrounding her.

Dietary Considerations

  • To Make Gluten Free: Use a 1:1 gluten free flour.
  • Nut Free
  • Vegetarian

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – Once these Elf on the Shelf cookies have cooled to room temperature, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3-4 days.
  • Refrigerator – Store in the fridge and they should be good for up to a week.
  • Freezer – You can freeze these elf on the shelf cookies in an airtight container for up to three months.
Tiny cutout shortbread elf on the shelf cookies on a marble countertop.

More Cookies

An elf on the shelf sitting on a kitchen counter, with tiny shortbread elf on the shelf cookies surrounding her.
5 from 5 votes

Elf Cookies

Elf on the Shelf cookies are easy to make, miniature shortbread cookies that are bite sized and delicious. They're a perfect treat to make your elf or for your elf to gift to well behaved children!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 9 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total: 49 minutes
Servings: 48
Pin Rate Print
Save this recipe!
Enter your email and I’ll send it to you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon salt (a pinch- optional)

Instructions 

  • Combine sugar, butter and vanilla.
  • Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  • On floured plastic wrap, press into a disc shape (like a thick plate) wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • On floured parchment paper, roll dough to ¼" thick.
  • Use cookie cutters to cut elf cookies into shape and peel excess dough. Transfer parchment paper filled with cutouts on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8-9 minutes.

Julie’s Tips

  • Be sure to refrigerate your cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This prevents them from spreading too much.
  • Mix this shortbread cookie dough until just combined. Don’t overmix, as it could result in a crumbly, dry finish.
  • Don’t roll these tiny cookies out too thin! Keep them at right around 1/4 inch thick for the perfectly poppable melt in your mouth cookies the elves in your house will love!
  • Bake the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, or use a silpat liner.
  • If your cookie sheets are dark, it might shorten your bake time – so watch them carefully during the last couple minutes of baking.
  • Once cooled, keep the cookies in an airtight container and they will be good for about 4 days.
Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

Explore More

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this Recipe




1 Comment