This easy French Sable Cookies recipe shows you how to make this classic butter shortbread. They're crisp, rich, buttery and delicious. Make them for the holidays or share a batch with friends and neighbors.
Sable cookies are a French cookie that is similar to shortbread or sugar cookies with a rich, buttery taste and slightly crumbly texture.\
In fact, sable means sand in French, so their name comes from their sugary, sandy texture.
These butter cookies originated in Sablé-sur-Sarthe in Sarthe, France in the 1600s and have remained popular.
French sable cookies are delicious because they're crisp on the outside and slightly soft in the middle.
They have a very simple list of ingredients that you can find anywhere so you can easily whip up a batch!
French sables can be made into any shape or size that you want including rounds, squares, or rectangles.
These buttery “sandy” cookies will impress anyone, but they're super easy to make with this authentic French recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This easy sable cookie is simple to make and has just 5 ingredients.
You can shape them in any way you enjoy to fit the theme of the holiday or occasion. Try cutting them into festive shapes for Christmas.
They can be decorated or left plain. You can also stamp them with pretty patterns.
This is an authentic French recipe, but it's quick and easy.
You only need a few simple ingredients for Sable Cookies!
- Salted Butter - Gives this cookie its classic buttery shortbread flavor and texture when used in the easy cookie dough.
- Granulated Sugar - Not as much sugar is used in these cookies as you would find in other cookie recipes as the sugar just gives a lightly sweet flavor.
- Egg Yolks - Binds the cookie ingredients together and helps them set while cooking and baking so they are able to stay in their shape.
- All-Purpose Flour (plain flour) - This dry ingredient makes up the bulk of the cookies holding the main flavors together.
- Icing Sugar - Adds additional sweetness to the cookies while also blending with the other ingredients to create a classic sable shortbread texture.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
Wondering how to make this sable recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prepare for baking: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with either parchment or a silicone baking sheet and set it aside.
Cream the butter and sugar, and eggs: Add the granulated sugar and butter to a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat the butter and sugar together until it is smooth, fluffy, and creamy. Then, add the egg yolks and beat until everything is fully combined.
Add the dry ingredients: To the wet ingredients, sift in the flour and icing sugar. Mix by hand with a spoon or rubber spatula until it forms a stiff dough.
Shape the cookies: Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until it is ¼ inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the cookie shapes and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Once all the cookies are rolled out, place them in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes.
Bake and serve: Bake the butter cookies for 12 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Before making the dough, leave out the butter and eggs to come to room temperature first. This will help ensure the texture says intact when baked.
Don’t overwork the dough. Mix the cookie dough just until combined. Overworking flour could cause the dough to stiffen up compromising the texture of the cookie.
When adding the cookie shapes to the baking sheet, you may need to use two baking sheets depending on their size.
The cookies should be completely cool before serving. Once cool, the texture of the cookie will be a classic shortbread.
Flavor the cookies with an extract such as vanilla, maple, or almond for an additional layer of flavor.
Mix in some of your favorite chopped nuts for a nutty taste and crunchy texture.
Add some lemon zest for a great flavor.
Add your favorite colored sprinkles or cookie decorations to the dough before baking for a colorful shortbread cookie.
Dried fruit makes an excellent addition to these cookies giving them a sweet and tart flavor.
Add some cocoa powder to the dry ingredients for a chocolate sable shortbread cookie.
Storing: French sable cookies can be stored in an air-tight container or ziplock bag for up to 1 week.
Freezing: French sables will stay fresh in the freezer for up to three months. Sable cookies should be placed in an air-tight container or ziplock bag before they're frozen.
This depends on the country of origin. Sable means sandy referring to a crumbly texture. Shortbread can be the same but also have more of a sugar cookie-type texture depending on how it's made.
Since there are so few ingredients in shortbread cookies, you’ll get the best results from buying high-quality ingredients such as grass-fed butter.
Shortbread cookies are famous for being flat and crunchy which means they don’t need to rise. Therefore, no leavening agent is needed in a butter cookie recipe.
More cookie recipes
Maple Cream Cookies - the classic Canadian cookie with a rich maple flavor.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies - Rich and festive with crushed candy canes on top.
Blackberry Cookies - these easy cookies are naturally bright blue from the blackberries!
Jammie Dodgers - You'll love this British cookie with jam sandwiched in the middle.
Check out more cookie recipes.
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French Sable Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter (215 grams)
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups all purpose flour (plain flour) (250 grams)
- ½ cup powdered icing sugar (60 grams)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with baking parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Add the butter and granulated sugar to a medium bowl and cream by beating with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolks.
- Sift in the flour and powdered icing sugar and stir by hand to form a stiff dough.
- Lightly flour the work surface and roll the sable dough out to ¼” thick. Cut out cookies with a round (or other shape) cookie cutter (I use a 2” cookie cutter). Roll out the dough scraps and repeat until it’s all used up.
- Place the cookies onto the tray (use 2 trays if necessary), leaving room between the cookies, and place into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
- Bake the sable cookies for 12 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Before making the dough, leave out the butter and eggs to come to room temperature first. This will help ensure the texture says intact when baked.
- Don’t overwork the dough. Mix the cookie dough just until combined. Overworking flour could cause the dough to stiffen up compromising the texture of the cookie.
- When adding the cookie shapes to the baking sheet, you may need to use two baking sheets depending on their size.
- The cookies should be completely cool before serving. Once cool, the texture of the cookie will be a classic shortbread.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.