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Parmesan Shortbread with Black Pepper

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Savory shortbread cookies with Parmesan cheese and black pepper that are perfect for serving as a snack with wine.

Parmesan Shortbread with Black Pepper

If by some chance you like to have your wine and eat some cookies too, crunchy Parmesan shortbread cookies is a recipe for the file.

And if by another chance you could care less about wine, but require a sweet treat no matter what, I’m confident you’ll be equally pleased to indulge in one of these.

The savory elements of black pepper and Parmesan are at play in these savory cookies, which makes them a great partner for wine or other adult concoctions.

But at the same time these crumbly, buttery cookies are subtly sweet, with a balance of crunch from cornmeal and some sea salt – just as delicious as an appetizer, or to savor along with tea or espresso.

Parmesan Shortbread with Black Pepper

To me that equates to a perfect ratio.

I love cheesy Parmesan shortbread cookies for the very reason they’re not overly sugary, yet they deliver a richness of flavor that’s irresistible.

There’s just enough cornmeal for sandy texture, and Parmesan cheese fills the kitchen with a tempting aroma as they bake.

The last touch is some lemon-infused sugar sprinkled over the top of the warm shortbread.

A stack of Parmesan Shortbread with Black Pepper on a white cocktail napkin.
shortbread cookies with black pepper and parmesan

Savory Parmesan and Black Pepper Shortbread Cookies

Karen Tedesco
Buttery, savory cookies with crunchy cornmeal, Parmesan cheese and black pepper. These are perfect as a go-with wine or appetizer.
Print Pin
5 from 1 community review
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Baking
Servings 14 cookies


  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (80 g) brown rice flour
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup (80 g) stoneground cornmeal
  • cup (35 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (240 g) 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • cup (80 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest


  • Preheat oven to 325 (160 C) degrees.
  • Sift both flours and the salt over a medium bowl. Use a whisk to stir in the cornmeal, cheese and pepper.
  • Pulse the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until creamy. Add the flour mixture and pulse just until a soft dough forms (about 30 seconds).
  • Pat the dough in an even layer into a 9-inch square or round tart pan with a removable bottom.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the top is very lightly golden and the dough feels set when pressed gently. Stir together the granulated sugar and lemon zest and sprinkle over the top of the shortbread as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  • Cool the pan on a rack 10 minutes, then unmold the shortbread and cool 10 more minutes. While it’s still warm, cut the shortbread with a large, sharp knife into 16 squares or 12 wedges.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 278mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 428IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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  1. Hi Karen,

    What a delight. I have come to enjoy savory shortbreads, and this sounds wonderful. The bend of black pepper and Parmigiano is quit tempting. Also I would imagine that the play between the a.p. flour, brown rice flour, cornmeal and confectioner’s sugar lends this shortbread a most complex and pleasing texture. Brava! Nice job! I have to try this.

  2. stoneground cornmeal? is it a special kind?
    thanks in advance

    1. Hi Pearse – good question. Stoneground cornmeal is just coarsely textured, like polenta, rather than the more finely milled corn flour. As long as you buy “cornmeal” and not corn flour it will work just fine.

    2. Also, if you’d rather leave out the cornmeal entirely, just use an additional 1/2 cup rice flour.

      1. this is my new favorite snack to have when i have people over for drinks

        and i actually omitted the rice flour and did an extra 1/2 cup cornmeal and it was still great!

  3. This is a great idea. I like shortbreads any day and since I have a savory tooth, this would be perfect for friday night with wine. I will try this 🙂

    1. Kankana – That’s what I love to hear! I hope you enjoy both Friday night pleasures.

  4. This shortbread sounds so good! I don’t think I’ve ever had a completely savory shortbread before, but I’m definitely up for the challenge. 🙂

  5. I’m the girl that sprinkles black pepper on almost everything, so these shortbread are my kind of snack!

    1. I knew you were my kind of girl! A little spicy.

    1. Marta – never?! It’s time to get introduced to shortbread for sure. 😉