Savoury Rosemary & Parmesan Shortbread

Vintage plate of shortbread garnished with a fresh rosemary sprig.

Drinks are always better with nibbles. Over the Bank Holiday weekend as we had such beautiful weather we had two little nibbles-and-rose wine sessions. For one of them I made my Mum’s famous recipe for Classic Cheese Straws. For the other I made some Savoury Rosemary & Parmesan Shortbread, flavoured with the end of a piece of parmesan I found in the fridge and fresh rosemary from the garden.

I started making these last summer, and I’m happy to reprise them again this year!

As far as difficulty is concerned, I’d put them firmly for experienced biscuit makers; the mixture is very short (which means crumbly, so much so than say a traditional quiche shortcrust) so it is very difficult to work with. However, if you want to this Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread a go and you’re not frightened of a very cheesy pastry like this, they’re beautifully light and very addictive.

If you’re looking something else to try first in the cheesy-pastry-things-to-go-with-drinks category, as well as those Classic Cheese Straws I mentioned (which are the perfect training wheels for this recipe, by the way, as it’s a similar mixture but cheddar cheese which has more structure than parmesan, and the addition of an egg yolk makes the mixture much easier to work with!) do check out my 5-ingredient Crystallised Ginger Cheese Straws, which are made with pre-made puff pastry, so are more of an assembly job more than anything else, or my Parmesan & Paprika Cocktail Stars, which are even easier still! You might notice that these last two recipes I’m linking you two are quite festive – don’t let the summer-centric text of this post stop you serving this savoury shortbread as a festive drinks nibble if you’re that way inclined!

Plate of rosemary parmesan biscuits on a wooden table.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these shortbread ahead?

Yes, you can keep them baked in an air tight tin for up to 3 days. The chilled dough can also be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

I’ve had success substituting gruyere cheese for the parmesan.

Can I use a different herb?

Fresh thyme leaves are also delicious here!

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Vintage plate of shortbread garnished with a fresh rosemary sprig.

Savoury Rosemary & Parmesan Shortbread

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes (plus chilling)
  • Yield: Makes 35 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Cuisine: British


A delicious, light savoury shortbread flavoured with parmesan and fresh rosemary – perfect for drinks parties and at home happy hours!


  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary needles
  • 160g (6 oz) plain (all purpose flour)
  • 75g (2.5 oz) parmesan, finely grated
  • 110g (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (350F). Finely chop the rosemary needles and set aside. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until you get a sandy consistency.
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball and wrap in kitchen wrap before chilling for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough out to roughly 1/2 cm thickness before cutting out circles with a cookie cutter. Bring the scraps together into a ball and roll them out again – trying to work the dough as little as possible to keep the shortbread nice and light – to get as many shortbread as possible.
  5. Bake the shortbread for 8-10 minutes until just golden. Leave them to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.


I use one size cookie cutter smaller than standard – if yours is larger, you may get less than 35 biscuits in your batch. Regardless, they happily serve up to 4 people with drinks.

Don’t chill the dough for more than 30 minutes or it will become too hard to roll out!