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Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies

Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies

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We’re exploring Middle Eastern cooking today and these Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies are a delightful way to end a meal!

Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies

Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread

When I think of Middle Eastern desserts, I conjure up visions of delicate, flaky fillo, orange water or honey infused syrup and lots of nuts. Knowing that two thirds of the current household wouldn’t go for any exotic ingredients, I had a challenge on my hands…till I came up with Graybeh or Graybeh, a Lebanese shortbread cookie.

Simple as can be, browned butter was mixed with powdered sugar, flavored with vanilla and a drop of almond extract, then flour. No eggs, no leavening, no worries.

I used my cookie disher (like a mini-ice cream scoop) and placed mounds on a parchment lined baking sheet, dotted each with a nut and popped them into the oven. So if you love shortbread, these little gems will hit the spot.

Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies

Baking Tips

A couple notes: Use premium butter. With so few ingredients, a cheapo brand will result in less than spectacular cookies. I used Kerrygold for these.

With the absence of leavening, these cookies will not rise nor spread. Whatever size or shape you place on your baking sheet will be what comes out of your oven.

Also, blanched almonds are one of the typical toppings, but the only blanched almonds I could find were slivered, so I went with the non-blanched version.

Pistachios are another option…I think I munched on many more than made their way onto the cookies. And, by the way, if your hubby or children aren’t fan of nuts, you can do as Mr. Skinny Chick did. Remove the nut and pop into your mouth. Swallow and repeat.

Thanks to Norma, of Allspice and Nutmeg, for inspiring me with her recipe! Scroll down to see all the exotic fare from the Middle East featured today!

More Middle Eastern Recipes:


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Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies

Ghraybeh or Shortbread Cookies

Recipe from Allspice and Nutmeg

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 17 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cookies
  • Method: Cooking, Mixing, Baking
  • Cuisine: Lebanese


  • 1 cup butter, browned
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/42 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 drop almond extract (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 300º.
  2. Cook the butter in saucepan on medium-low until the butter is a golden color.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the powdered sugar into a large bowl and add the butter. With a hand mixer on low mix until it’s combined and the sugar is dissolved. Mix in the vanilla
  5. Turn off the mixer and add the flour a little at a time stirring till it forms a ball.
  6. Form balls of dough and press an almond in the top if desired on parchment lined surface.
  7. Bake 13-15 minutes on parchment lined baking sheets, they shouldn’t brown. Cool very well before removing from baking sheet.
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53 comments on “Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies”

  1. I followed this recipe exactly. I did add the almond and vanilla extract just before the flour as that step was omitted in the instructions. Still, these did not turn out like I expected. They have a very weird texture. The Lebanese cookies I grew up on are crunchy. These didn’t taste that bad but something is not right about this recipe. Maybe softened butter instead of browned? and granulated sugar vs confectioners.

    • Thanks for your feedback, John. I have never tasted the authentic recipe, so I’m not sure about the texture. Maybe baking them a little longer would give you a crisper texture. I’ll double check the instructions with my source and edit to get the vanilla added in (you put it in at the proper spot).

  2. Thank you so much for the idea with the icecream scooper! That helped me to make the perfectly shaped ghraybeh. 

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