Shortbread Crust, Sablé Breton
Shortbread crust, also known as sablé breton crust, is a buttery pastry used as the crust for pies, tarts, and cookie bars. Learn how to make shortbread crust with this easy recipe! Pin it for Later »
Shortbread Crust Overview
Skill Level: Beginner
Shorbread crust, like shortbread cookies, is a buttery, crumbly, and slightly sweet crust used for pies, tarts, and cookie bars. The contrast of the rich and slightly salty crust works perfectly with fillings like cheesecake, lemon curd, or raspberry jam.
What is a Shortbread Crust?
Shortbread crust, also called sablé breton in French, is a simple mixture of butter, sugar, flour, and salt. The name “shortbread” comes from the high ratio of butter in the recipe. Butter acts as a barrier against gluten formation and actually shortens gluten strands.
Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
- This crust can be used in place of any pie crust. If the filling will need to be baked after adding it to the crust, follow the instructions to par-bake the crust. If the filling will not need to be baked, make sure the crust is fully cooked and cooled before adding the filling.
- It is important that the butter is truly room temperature so that it is pliable enough to mix with the other ingredients.
- The mixture will be very crumbly after mixed. It will hold together when you press it into the pan.
- Butter adds richness and keeps the crust tender by inhibiting gluten formation.
- Sugar sweetens the crust and contributes to the structure.
- Salt & Vanilla flavor the crust.
- Flour binds the crust together and creates the main structure.
Shortbread Crust, Sable Breton Crust
This is a recipe for a basic shorbread crust that can be used as a crust for pies, cheesecakes, tarts, or cookie bars. This recipe will work in an 8x8" (20x20 cm) or 9x9" (23 x 23 cm) square baking dish, a 9" (23 cm) pie plate, or a spring form pan.
For an 8x8", 9x9", or a 9" round pan
- 1 stick (112 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (65 gr) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup + 2 TBSP (134 gr) all-purpose flour (*see note for gluten free substitution)
For a 9x13" Pan
- 1 1/2 sticks (168 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (98 gr) granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- large pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup + 3 TBSP (200 gr) all-purpose flour (*see note for gluten free substitution)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Prepare your pan by lightly oiling or lining with parchment paper.
- In the bowl or a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix together all of the ingredients at once. The mixture will be very crumbly.
- Using damp hands, transfer the dough crumbs into the prepared dish and pat down evenly. Use a fork to dock the dough all over.
- Bake on the middle rack at 350 F (177 C). If the filling will need to be baked, par-bake the crust for 20-23 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. If the filling will not need to be baked, bake for 30-33 minutes until the crust is completely cooked and let cool completely.
- Use as the crust for lemon bars, cheesecake, ice box pie, fruit bars, etc.
- Gluten Free Crust: This recipe works well with a gluten free blend such as Bob's Red Mill's Baking Blend or Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour.
- Chocolate Shortbread Crust: Substituted 2 TBSP flour with 2 TBSP cocoa powder.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 177
62 Comments on “Shortbread Crust, Sablé Breton”
ooooh this looks fantastic, I don’t think I’ve ever used a shortbread crust before, I totally need to change that!
YES! Sweet and salty for the win!
This crust is delicious! (I made the lemon bars ) I was wondering if the original recipe would work for tart pan or if I should do 1.5x recipe. What do you think?
Hi there! So glad you enjoyed the lemon bars! What is the size of your tart pan? This recipe will work in an 8×8″ (20×20 cm) or 9×9″ (23 x 23 cm) square baking dish, a 9″ (23 cm) pie or tart pan, or a spring form pan
This is a very simple, super easy recipe that I used for a short crust for a key lime pie. I wanted a hint of a toasted coconut flavor and added a couple of pinches of shredded coconut that I toasted, but erred on the side of not adding enough so as not to change the original recipe too much. Bettie’s recipe is a keeper for me! Thank you!
Hi Nita! I’m so glad you enjoyed this crust! Sounds so delicious for a key lime pie!
Hi there! This looks great, I’m eager to experiment! Do you recommend letting the crust cool before adding a filling that will be baked? Or just pull it out after 20-23min, fill and return to oven? Also, I saw in the ingredients list that there’s a note RE: gluten-free but couldn’t find it on the page. Would you mind sharing that tip?
Thanks so much!
Hi Michelle! If the filling is also baked, you do not need to let it cool before adding. If you are adding a filling that will not be baked, like pastry cream for a tart, then yes you should let it cool. All of my recipes just got transferred to a new platform and a few notes didn’t transfer over. Thanks for letting me know, I will add the gluten free note back in. I have made this with a baking all-purpose blend like Bob’s Red Mills Gluten Free blend and it works out great!
uI don’t know what 1.5 is so could you give the recipe for a 9×13 pan? please thank you
It’s updated Maxine! Enjoy!
i made this two days ago it was good but i have so many more questions. it seemed to divide my cheese cake. It stuck to the sides of the spring form pan. what if I wanted it softer?
At the top of the directions for a 9×13 pan it gives the measurements and then when you get to the bottom it says for a 9×13 inch pan you should increase the ingredients by 1.5. So which is correct, the measurements underneath where it says for 9×13 or the bottom where it says to increase it by 1.5? I think I’ll just find a different shortbread recipe!
Hi Jane. I originally wrote this recipe for a smaller crust as that is what I used it for and gave instructions to multiply the quantities so you could use it for a larger pan. I later edited the recipe to do the math for you to try to be more helpful for those who needed it for a larger pan. I was trying to make it so you didn’t have to do the math yourself. I just forgot to delete the note about doing the math. You will notice the quantities for the 9×13 are 1.5 times the quantities for the smaller batch. I will delete the note. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Thanks for your quick response! I’ll give it a try! 🙂
Could I press this down and cut it out to put in a mini tart pan?
this is an excellent recipe. I have made it several times now. Generally, I bake it, then allow to cool, then crumble and rebake with my filling. I prefer a soft crust to a hard crust for cheesecakes. If I am making bars, and I need the crust to be stable to hold the filling, then I will par bake as directed, put in my filling and finish baking. Works great either way. I like to keep the crumbs on hand for “urgent” baking needs. . Store well in sealed container or in freezer. I particularly like that this recipe does not require cornstarch. I have made many variations on this recipe, including using 100% whole wheat pastry flour, add-ins like zest or lavender flowers. Rose or orange water instead of vanilla….chopped nuts….you get the idea. Very versatile. OH. and chocolate powder if I want chocolate shortbread. Thanks so much for a great recipe!
That’s so great to hear! Thanks for the tip on adding cocoa powder!
I want to use this for a peach bourbon pie. The filling needs to be baked an hour. How do I keep the crust from getting overdone?
You can tent some foil around the top of the pie while it bakes to prevent it from over-browning!
This crust is absolutely wonderful and reminds me of my Grandma Wallace’s that has been my favorite since I was in my highchair. The best part about your version (beyond the fact that it is delicious of course) is that your method provides weights and measurements instead of “a bit of this and a touch of that”. 😉
Thank you so much for sharing this new family favorite 🙂
Oh I’m so glad you enjoy this crust recipe and that it reminds you of your Grandma! That is wonderful!
Could this crust be made an frozen ahead of time? Would I bake then freeze? Or could I prepare up to the baking point and freeze
Hi James, if you want to make the crust ahead of time I would freeze it raw. If you are using a glass or ceramic baking dish, let it thaw before baking or it might break in the oven!
This looks perfect for my Limoncello Tart. I usually use almond cookies & crush & add 2 TLB melted butter in
My food Processor for the crust but this recipe should work much better. I will add a tap of almond extract. Thanks so much!!!
I’m looking for a crust I can use in mini cheesecake pans that won’t shrink down the sides. I notice there is no chilling time required for this crust, does it not shrink? It seems like a lot of crusts for tarts, etc do that.
I’m a pastry chef (when I’m not on extended, impromptu pandemic vacations). I’ve been spending my days with ferments like sourdough, ginger bugs and kombucha but my hungrier half requested a lemon meringue pie. Your shortbread reads as the best recipe, and I’m sold. I was wondering if you’ve ever cut the butter with lard?
Hi Jill! So glad to hear you like my recipe. I haven’t used lard specifically in this dough, but I do use it a lot in pastries and it works beautifully! I think it would be great!
I used 1/2 lard in a blind baked crust for lemon meringue pie, and it’s delicious. Works really well with your recipe. I don’t think I’d use lard for cookies, but in a pie crust with other sweet elements it’s a nice balance. Definitely worth a try!
I am going to use this crust in a tart pan for a fresh strawberry cream tart. Do I have to put weights in it when I blind bake it and poke holes or not? Thank you so much for your input.
Loved what you had to say about the recipe and how the ingredients function and interact. Disliked all the pop up ads which made your site difficult to navigate. But great instructions regardless.
Will this pie crust hold up, and not burn (of course I cover with foil), when I bake a pie for 1 hour?
I love your recipes…. however, I would love to be able to print out the recipes without advertisments taking up half of the space! I understand the purpose on the website.. but not on the printed out versions. So frustrating.
Hi KP, are you printing via the Print button that is right above the ingredient list? There are no advertisements on the printable recipe.
Can whole wheat flour be successfully used as a replacement for the all purpose flour? And if so, would I exchange it using equal quantity? Thank you
I’d like to use your shortbread crust recipe fir a mincemeat pie. Any suggestions for a top crust of a mincemeat pie with a shortbread crust?
Hi Lorraine, a shortbread crust isn’t ideal for a top crust unless you add it in strips instead of a whole top piece. I believe a pie crust is more traditional for a mincemeat pie.
Perhaps a crumble for the top for the mincemeat pie using your shortbread crust like in an Apple crisp? Would you have a recipe for that?
Hi Bettie do I bake the pastry blind if using it for a strawberry tart filling ?
Made the crust for an 8”x8” blueberry cream cheese bar I made. The shortbread crust in the bar recipe was not to our liking. But this one. Heaven.
Thanks for the recipe, we really appreciate it!
The crust looks so good, who needs filling? Lol!
When you mention Bob’s for gluten free, is that the 1/1 flour blend?
Or the one made from chickpeas & fava beans?
Really hoping it’s the 1/1… I can’t eat fava.
May have to try it anyway, looks so yummy!
Has anyone mentioned if they used any vegan butters for this?
Can’t have dairy either (or eggs now, sigh.)
Shortbread is so good on it’s own! Yes, you can use the Bob’s 1/1 gluten free flour blend. I haven’t tried the chickpea one but I imagine it would work as well. I’m not sure about vegan butter, I would try searching for a specific vegan shortbread recipe just so you know that it’s been tested well.
Hello Baker Bettie,
This seems very similar to pate sablee. I’m making a tart with a similar crust but it calls for a 9-10″ tart pan which I don’t have. After chilling, do you think this could be baked in a free form style without a tart pan? My thought is this type of crust is too delicate to form a raised outer edge. The tart’s filled with lemon pastry cream with fruit on top.
Hello, can you please help. I would love to make your crust recipe for a 9×13 twix cheesecake bars.
My question is this
Do I still par bake the crust for 20-23 minutes, the cheesecake has to bake for 1hr. I’m afraid the crust will burn. Thank you in advance
Yes, I would still par-bake the crust.
You are wonderful! Not only did you give both grams and cups, but also different pan sizes. Much needed. Also tips are terrific. Thank you
I’m an experienced baker… I made this for my lemon bars and the crust wouldn’t pack down properly, so it lifted completely when I poured the lemon mixture on top. My whole pan of bars was ruined. What can I do to prevent this from happening again? Is it because the lemon mixture is too liquidy? Please help!
I don’t have a printer. How do I send this recipe in an e-mail to save it on my PC?
Click Print and then change the Destination to “Save to PDF” and it will download directly to your computer.
Recipe on intial Pinterest page calls for 2+ sticks butter, however when clicking on recipe it calls for 1+. Wondering which is correct??
Hi, always use the ingredients listed on the actual recipe 🙂
I tried this recipe to use as a base for lemon bars. I omitted the vanilla and used Bob’s Redmill cup for cup gluten free flour mix. It smelled amazing while cooking! Unfortunately, once the lemon bars were cooked and mostly cooled, I cut into them and the shortbread crust crumbled. Any ideas on how to keep this from happening?
I made the shortbread pastry and it was very very soft, not crumbly at all. I had to use floured hands in order to pat it into the pie dish. When partly baked, b we cause I was making a cheesecake, the pastry shell shrunk like crazy! Any tips on what I should do. I plan to make it again this week and again in 2 weeks.
I’ve been looking for a gluten free shortbread crust for years…THIS IS IT!!! I make pecan bars every year for Thanksgiving but the Claire Robinson recipe (for the crust) doesn’t convert to gluten free at all. This was so easy (my 11 year old made it) and was delicious, held together, and was perfectly buttery (not greasy at all) Looking forward to trying other recipes on the site.
how do i accommodate this for a 6 inch tin?
Is it square our round? You can use the first set of ingredients and you may just have a little dough leftover.
its a round 6.5 inch springform pan
If I were to make a pear tart using this crust, can I par bake it for 20 minutes and then freeze it and bake the Tart later?
Hi Bettie, with this recipe could i press this into mini cupcake liners and then bake. Would I have to reduce or change the cook time and or temp? I want to make Jello cream cheese squares for a Party, but instead try to make them individual rounds in liners (if that make sense?). I would appreciate any tips you can offer me. Happy Holidays to you.
I want to use the crust for the base of a cupcake. Would you recommend baking crust before baking the cupcake? Thanks!