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

If you’re a fan of shortbread, these Arabic Cookies will hit the spot!

Overhead view of Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies on a small white plate with a glass of milk

Why You Must Make

  • When I think of Middle Eastern desserts, I conjure up visions of delicate, flaky fillo dough, orange water or honey-infused syrup, and lots of nuts. This is a simple recipe to get a taste of the cuisine.
  • Shortbread cookies are easy to make and even easier to eat!! They practically melt in your mouth.
  • Simple as can be, melted butter is 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 of dough 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.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – All-Purpose Flour, Powdered Sugar
  • Butter – Melted and browned for more flavor. Plain melted butter can also be used.
  • Vanilla Extract – Make sure it’s real vanilla and not artificially flavored. Orange blossom or orange flower water can also be used to flavor these cookies.
  • Almond Extract – Just a drop or two for additional depth of flavor, optional.
  • Whole Almonds – Blanched are preferred (skins removed). May also use pistachios.

Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies on a small white plate and in a white bowl

Recipe Tips

  • Use premium butter. With so few ingredients, a cheapo brand will result in less than spectacular cookies. Generic brands have more water added and the cookies may not hold their shape as well.
  • 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 to garnish your Lebanese cookies. 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 fans of nuts, you can do as Mr. Skinny Chick did. Remove the nuts and then pop the cookies into your mouth. Swallow and repeat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s in Ghraybeh?

The main ingredients include flour, butter, and powdered sugar. Blanched almonds or pistachios are often added to garnish.

How Long Have Ghraybeh Been Around?

Ghraybeh can be traced back to the 10th century. The first recipes didn’t contain almonds.

What Does the Name “Ghraybeh” mean?

The name came from the Arabic word for exotic cookies.

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Ghraybeh or Lebanese Shortbread Cookies

Ghraybeh or Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Yield 30 cookies

Recipe from Allspice and Nutmeg


  • 1 cup butter, browned
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1¾-2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 drop almond extract, optional
  • Whole almonds to garnish, optional


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


You may also use pistachios to garnish.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g


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