No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts

5 from 4 votes
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No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts |

These shortbread cookies are light and soft. With a gentle bite, the buttery crumbs will melt in your mouth, with the toasted nuts lingering on your tongue. Then, with a sip of hot black tea with honey, you will feel your body grow warm with joy.

We have a routine in my family. We sit down together every Saturday afternoon and enjoy a cup of tea while indulging in a cookie or slice of cake from our favorite bakery. Our choices of drinks are freshly brewed coffee, black tea with milk, or black tea with homemade lemon honey. We chat about everything. From stories of office gossip to international events. We have a very healthy family relationship. At this peaceful moment of afternoon tea, I always feel that we are united and can overcome anything together.

No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts |

This family tradition lasted for years, until my dad was diagnosed with early-stage diabetes. His family has a history of diabetes, so it came as no surprise. Since then, my dad has been restraining himself at every meal, and seldom eats sweets. We still enjoy tea together as usual, but it seemed something was lacking when there was just a lonely cup of tea in my dad’s hand.

Fortunately, these no-sugar shortbread cookies came to our rescue last year. We just purchased our first oven and started learning to bake. There was a buttery shortbread cookie recipe from my mom’s friend that we really loved. We had made it so many times, tweaking the recipe to perfect its texture and add more nuts. Every time a new batch came out of the oven, my dad would taste half a cookie and say that it was so great that he wished he could eat all of it. We wished so too!

No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts |

When I mentioned this to my thoughtful boyfriend, he suggested replacing the sugar with Splenda, and he brought that sweetener all the way from the US. It was a great idea!

We replaced the sugar with the sweetener, and tried the recipe again. The cookies came out wonderfully, and the texture was somehow even fluffier! The best part is, now our Saturday afternoon tea is back on the right track. Each of us will have a cup of hearty and warm tea with a few freshly baked cookies.

Isn’t it the best moment of the week?

No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts |

I have made a short video below to walk you through the cooking process. If you like the video, don’t forget to subscribe to my video channel on YouTube to get the latest cooking tips.

I submitted the post to entered The Great Denby Cake Off  competition and hopefully I could get a new set of baking kit soon! 🙂

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No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts

No-Sugar Shortbread Cookies with Nuts

5 from 4 votes
These shortbread cookies are light and soft. With a gentle bite, the buttery crumbs will melt in your mouth, with the toasted nuts lingering on your tongue. Then, with a sip of hot black tea with honey, you will feel your body grow warm with joy.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 40 cookies


  • 250 grams (8.8 ounces) butter , softened
  • 5 tablespoons Splenda (or other no calorie sweetener) (*see footnote 1)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (310 grams / 11 ounces) all-purpose flour (* see footnote 2)
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) hazelnuts , toasted and finely chopped
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) walnuts , toasted and finely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add butter, sweetener and salt. Mix until fully combined.
  • Sift in half of the flour and mix until smooth. Sift in the rest of the flour and continue to mix until the flour is fully combined.
  • Fold in hazelnuts and walnuts. Mix until the nuts are evenly dispersed within the batter.
  • Roughly divide the batter into 4 parts (each part will make 10 cookies). Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of batter and shape it into a round cookie with your hands (5 millimeters / 1/2 inches in thickness). Continue to work on the rest of the dough in the same manner. Place cookies 5 millimeters (0.2 inch) apart on the parchment paper.
  • Place the cookies on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 12 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden (*see footnote 3). Transfer cookies to a wooden surface or rack to cool down.
  • Serve with coffee or black tea.
  • Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


  1. For normal shortbread cookies, replace sweetener with white sugar.
  2. You could replace the all-purpose flour with cake flour, which will result in a fluffier texture.
  3. If you use cake flour, the edges of the cookies are unlikely to turn golden. The cookies should be cooked through after 12 minutes in the oven, even if the color hasn't changed.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 99kcal, Carbohydrates: 5.7g, Protein: 1.7g, Fat: 8.1g, Saturated Fat: 3.4g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 94mg, Potassium: 38mg, Fiber: 0.7g, Vitamin A: 3IU, Calcium: 1mg, Iron: 3mg
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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Monica says:

    What a wonderful, sweet tradition you have with your family. I loved reading about that, Maggie. And I’m so glad you were able to make these cookies so that your dad could enjoy them with you all. There’s nothing like sitting down, taking a break, enjoying some good food and conversation with loved ones.

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks for the kind words Monica!
      My dad seldom eats desserts nowadays but fortunately we managed to cook some no-sugar ones that we could enjoy together. Really enjoy the family time every week 🙂

  2. Elaine says:

    5 stars
    Those cookies looks so great and healthy. Best choices of afternoon tea gathering.

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks Elaine! Glad you like those 🙂

  3. Margaret Anne @ Natural Chow says:

    Shortbread cookies are THE best. Sadly, my family hasn’t had them in so long because of a severe nut allergy that two of us have. I am definitely going to try making these cookies so I can surprise them! Thanks for such an amazing recipe, Maggie!

    • Maggie says:

      Sorry to hear about your nut allergy Margeret 🙁 My mom loves nuts in everything, so we always add a lot whatever we bake at home. Enjoy the cooking and let me know if your family like them! 🙂

  4. mila furman says:

    These look fantastic!!! I love your routine too… Something I hope I one day can start with my growing family 🙂
    Thanks for coming by and linking with us at #FoodieFridays! You have been pinned 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks very much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Will share more at your link party. Have a great weekend 🙂

  5. Robyn says:

    5 stars
    Gorgeous photos, delicious cookies – a perfectly beautiful recipe and post. These will be so great to take to my cousins when I go to the US for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to share them. Thanks for a fabulous recipe!

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks Robyn! Those are so easy to make and great for Thanksgiving! Hope you enjoy 🙂

  6. Michelle @ Healthy Recipe Ecstasy says:

    I love these cookies and I love your family tradition. My brother has diabetes so my family also likes to find low-sugar/no-sugar alternatives! I’m also entering the Denby Cake Off but I have no idea what I’m making because my first tea cake attempt was a fail!

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Michelle, sorry to hear about your cake but the tea cake idea sounds really delicious! For the Denby Cake Off competition, I didn’t see a deadline on the website, so I guess you got plenty of time! Hope you have a great weekend and good luck with the baking!

  7. Felice says:

    Yummy! I’m not allowed to have sugar, fruit, or ANY dairy for medical reasons. Thanks so much! These will be the first shortbread cookies I can actually eat and I’m so excited!!!

    *Is it ok if I use non-dairy butter in Leah of regular butter?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Felice, I’ve never tried to use non-dairy butter in the recipe so I’m afraid I cannot answer your question. Could you point out the brand of nondairy butter you use?
      I’d love to try that out myself sometimes. I suspect it works though. A lot of my Chinese friends use vegetable oil stead of butter to bake cookies, and it usually works out well. Again, I cannot be 100% sure unless I test it myself.

  8. Roshan says:

    5 stars
    so so very delicious and they are so very easy to bake.
    My kids and family loved them. Baked them today with my daughter for christmas and i feel they are perfect for gifting too. Thanks a lot. And merry christmas to you and your family.

    • Maggie says:

      I’m so glad to hear the recipe worked for you Roshan! Happy New Year to you and your family 🙂

  9. Sheila Grover says:

    I live on the USA and I do not know what metric system you are using. For me 2 cups of flour would be 16 ounces. Is that what I should use or are there different measurements. Thanks

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Sheila, I’m pretty sure you should use the 11 ounces flour (not 16 oz.) because I converted the cups from it. The cup measurement varies a lot depends on how you scoop the flour and it’s not very accurate.
      Happy cooking and I hope your cookies turn out great.

  10. Sneha says:

    Hi Maggie!

    The recipe looks amazing! I was looking for something just like this as I’ve been asked to cut down on sugar during my pregnancy. Just a question, i’m not sure everyone in my house would prefer to have sweetener, so can I replace it with honey or maple syrup? And how much or it?

    Thank you

  11. Bahar says:

    Hi Maggie,
    Is it possible to make these cookies without nuts?
    Thank you,

  12. Cece says:

    Hi, I made the cookies for my grandpa who cannot have a lot of sugar but they are very soft and crumble when you pick them up? Should I leave them in the oven longer?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Cece, these cookies are quite soft comparing to the ones you made with sugar. But I think it helps to harden them a bit more if you leave them in the oven longer.

  13. Chris says:

    I just discovered this website, and I really like your blog philosophy and writing style! I think that was also one of the best picture captions I’ve ever read (first picture)–what a way to capture our interest!

    However, I wanted to sound anote of warning about Splenda, a well-known brand of the sweetener sucralose: studies indicate it may not be as safe as previously supposed. A much safer option would be stevia.

  14. Lucy says:

    Hello Maggie. I am a diabetic and found your recipe when I googled “no sugar short bread cookies “. I made these cookies for Christmas. What a hit. They were delicious and all eaten up. No left overs. Yummy. Thank u for posting this recipe. These cookies were awesome. Thank u.

  15. JB says:

    5 stars
    I make this so much as a cheesecake crust for my sister who has a sugar allergy!

  16. Jenny Freeman says:

    But sugar isn’t the only thing to avoid. You can’t have carbs so these would be no good with all that flour. You shouldn’t have recipes with flour in! Carbs turn into sugar.

  17. LP says:

    The ingredient list should read butter, softened (not melted). When you melt the butter the cookies don’t hold together.
    Also the instructions should include where to add the salt.

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