Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies

Hi friends, happy Friday! Do you have any plans for the spooky weekend ahead of us? Boyfriend’s brother is coming over for dinner tonight, we’re heading to a friend’s for a scary movie night tomorrow, and chillaxing at home for Halloween. I’ve just never been a huge Halloween gal, people in masks totally freak me out. Obviously I liked to dress up and go trick-or-treating as a kid, but that was purely for the sweets. Now that I’m more than capable of making my own sweets, I like to stay safe & cozy at home on Halloween night. This year, we plan on spending the day eating Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies and watching horror films: Halloween (1978) and The Conjuring 3 for sure, and maybe Scream 2 if we can fit it in. It’s going to be great! Enough about my plans, can I tell you about decorating these spooktacular skeletal cuties? I’m obsessed.

Why Spooky Skeleton Shortbread?

These Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookie cuties have actually been on the blog since October 2013 – eight whole years! Although I’d started Passionate Baker the year previously, 2013 was the first year I was actually regularly posting content. And, like any other food-blogger out there, the thought of spooky season passing without any scary-baked-good content was just unthinkable. I went out, bought a gingerbread man cookie cutter, and made butter cookies to pipe cute skeletons on to. They’re more cute than scary, but that’s exactly the vibe I was after!

Decorating Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies

Let me just make this clear from the get-go: decorating cutout cookies is not my forte. Doing it for the blog all those years ago was my very first time, and there haven’t been many times since. This is less of a recipe post – although, I’ve included an extra buttery & crisp sugar cookie recipe below – and more of a decoration inspiration post. Here are some decorating tips for making your own Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies:

• I made my own royal icing, but you can totally use store-bought for convenience. Honestly, there’s very little difference and you might as well save on dishes.

• obviously, the skeletons cannot be anatomically correct – but I think we’re allowed a little creative license here. I went for six ribs, some semblance of a tiny pelvis, and cutesy little limbs with dots for digits. A skull with two eye holes and a mouth is just right!

• bare in mind that royal icing spreads ever-so-slightly as it settles, so leave more space between bones than necessary. Two of my little guys ended up as Cyclops skeletons.

• I accidentally broke a skeleton, but it turned out okay. I glued him back together using raspberry jam – and the result made it look like a bloody cut! Perfect for Halloween!

That’s really all there is to decorating these Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies! They’re cute and easy – if I can do it, you can do it! Will you join me in making these little guys this Halloween? If you do, please tag me on Instagram – I’d love to see!

Happy Halloween!

PS: if you’re looking for some seriously good cookie decorating inspiration, check out Amy and Rosie!

5 from 2 votes

Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies

Adorably scary Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies – perfect for Halloween! Buttery sugar cookies decorated with royal icing.
P R E P20 minutes
C O O K10 minutes
T O T A L1 hour 40 minutes
Author: Passionate Baker


  • 227 g cold salted butter, cubed into 1-inch cubes
  • 198 g caster sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 425 g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder


spooky skeleton shortbread cookies

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, vanilla extract, and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg, beat until combined, and scrape down the sides.
  • Add the flour & baking powder to the mixing bowl and beat on low for 2-3 minutes, until crumbly in the middle but sticking to the sides of the bowl.
  • Turn the dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper and use your hands to bring together into a kind of rectangle shape. Place another large sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8-1/4 inch between the two sheets. Transfer the dough to the fridge and leave to chill for at least 1-hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, stamp out the dough. If the dough starts to get warm or malleable at any stage, return it to the fridge for 5-10 minutes. When stamped, transfer the cookies to a parchment lined tray – spacing them about 1-inch apart – and pop in the freezer for at least 10-minutes.
  • Bake the cookies in the preheated over for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just beginning to go golden brown. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking tray for at least 15-minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • shortbread adapted from Michelle Lopez

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Please leave a comment & a rating below, or tag me on Instagram @imvcki. Thank you so much for supporting Passionate Baker!

Perfect All-Butter Shortbread
Christmas Cookie Box
Pecan Linzer Cookies


2 thoughts on “Spooky Skeleton Shortbread Cookies”

Leave a Reply

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

Rate this recipe