Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


It always comes as such a surprise to me when someone doesn’t like a flavour that I love. I know that different people’s tastebuds perceive flavours differently, and what is delicious to some is bitter and abhorrent to others. Cilantro is a good example, I know several people who find it soapy and bitter, whereas I adore it. On an intellectual level, I understand that there is something physiological underlying this, but it still doesn’t keep me from being utterly astonished when someone professes disgust at a food I love. I suppose I just think that there are certain flavours that should be universally loved. Rosemary is one such flavour. I remember a friend in grad school telling me she didn’t like focaccia because she didn’t like the rosemary on top. I couldn’t fathom it. This simply didn’t compute…how can you NOT like rosemary?

We’ve had a source of fresh rosemary around for almost a year now. Last spring, we had several pots of herbs on our patio, and when the weather got too cold in the fall, we brought them inside and put them on the windowsill of our big, south-facing front window. Just as that one plant was beginning to die out, around Christmas, a friend gave us a large rosemary plant in the shape of a Christmas tree from Trader Joe’s. That plant has thrived, although it’s no longer in the shape of a tree, from all of my trimmings and using for recipes. But it’s so wonderful to have, and I love coming up with recipes to showcase that sharp, evergreen flavour.

This particular recipe is one I had rolling around in my brain for quite some time. I love the idea of a savoury shortbread, and rosemary seemed like a perfect match for it. Although I call it shortbread, it’s not shortbread in the strict sense of the word. True shortbread is an interplay between butter (or shortening) and flour. But without the gluten in flour, I have to find another way to bind the ingredients together. In this case, an egg is my binder and the butter is actually kept to a minimum. With a low oven temperature and a longer baking time, I can mimic the texture of shortbread, even with low carb, gluten free ingredients.

The Results: Rosemary…how can you not love it? And this savoury shortbread is a wonderful way to showcase that crisp, evergreen taste. The parmesan provides a salty, sharp complement to the rosemary, and the sea salt on top adds an elegant touch. These are perfect as an afternoon snack or an appetizer before dinner. Perfect with a glass of wine.

Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread

This recipe has been included in our cookbook, Low-Carbing Among Friends, Vol. 1. It is available for purchase at or at

Makes 16 shortbread. Each piece has 2.13g of carbs.

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  1. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says

    These sound so good! I love rosemary and it must be delicious with all that parmesan!

  2. Pretend Chef says

    These sound delicious especially with the rosemary. I too find it unbelievable when I love a food and someone else doesn't. There are many debates in this household over what's "good". Haha!

  3. Becky says

    Savory shortbread sound so good, especially with the rosemary. You are lucky to have a "private stash", so you don't have to run to the o use rosemary in a recipe.

    Hope that you had a very Happy Mother's Day!

  4. safire says

    This sounds delicious! I like all herbs and spices :) so I tend to go very heavy-handed in some of my cooking!

  5. Food Glorious Food! says

    Lovely recipe! I have never made any cookies with herb before… But I can imagine how tasty it will be! Thanks for sharing!


    Heavenly. I make a non gluten-free version of this that is completely addictive, so I'm (again) amazed at your healthier version. :)

  7. Parsley Sage says

    Om nom nom! These look very yummy. I love savory shortbread and I'll tell you what…if someone doesn't like rosemary, keep a wary eye! 😉 Thanks for sharing

  8. Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} says

    Rosemary is such a versatile flavor. I love cooking with it and I love it in bread too. This looks like a tasty twist!

  9. Foodness Gracious says

    Ah rosemary is one of my favorites, the other being thyme. I can see why some people would say cilantro tastes soapy,ha ha. Your shortbread looks the bomb and to add in parmesan takes it from economy to first class…
    Great job!

  10. Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition says

    You always have the best recipes! I come here to get inspiration from you all the time! And your pics are always so gorgeous!

  11. Jennifurla says

    I have made shortbread with Rosemary myself, Love this combination…I have plants that are taller than me in our yard.

  12. Lisa says

    Wow – these look wonderful! Thank you as always for posting fantastic low-carb recipes. Cannot wait to try them!

  13. Stephanie says

    I am addicted to Parmesan Cheese and I have a big ol' Rosemary plant begging me to pick him! These are on my list. YUM!

  14. Shanon says

    These look incredible…and I love the description.."perfect with a glass of wine". I'll definitely be giving this a try!

  15. His Way or Her Way says

    These look really good and elegant. I like that it has rosemary in it. I am a new follower of your blog and hope that you'll visit ours soon!


  16. Kari says

    I like rosemary but am not always sure what to do with it (I always associate it with meat, which I don't eat), so it's great to see an example!

  17. scratch-made wife says

    What a unique idea. I like rosemary quite a bit – as does the husband – so these would probably go over quite well in our house. If you had made them with cilantro, though, I'm not so sure. That's right: My husband is one of those people. 😉 He can detect cilantro from a mile away and always says, "Uh, there's cilantro in that."

  18. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    My husband doesn't like rosemary, I didn't realize that was so common. I do, though, and I think these look great!

  19. Daksha says

    Oh my does this look fantastic!And your photography is gorgeous – I can’t wait to try this recipe.Thank you!!

  20. Correen says

    Love, love rosemary…sweet smell along with a savory taste. Mmm, the best of both worlds, as far as herbs are concerned. From your pics alone I imagined these shortbreads having a perfect "snap" with a melt-away in my mouth. :)

  21. Juanita says

    Those came out looking so perfect! Rosemary and parmesan is a winning combo…especially in these lovely, buttery biscuits!

  22. foodblogandthedog says

    I love all herbs except dill, can't stand it! These rosemary biscuits sound delicious. I'm trying to get my head round a vegan version. Olive oil and flax seeds maybe, I'm new to this vegan thing! 😀

  23. RavieNomNoms says

    I agree, it is sometimes hard to believe that people don't like things that you love. For example I love both cilantro and rosemary. I do think they can be overpowering if you use to much…but I do love them.

    Your Parmesan shortbread looks amazing!

  24. Jill Colonna says

    Carolyn, I'm always impressed with your special gluten-free, sugar-free recipes. This is no exception: love the sound and look of your rosemary shorbread. BTW, I'm like you: how can people not like something. Latest was at a party and someone said: I just HATE chocolate. OK…Should have had these handy!

  25. Sandra says

    Incredible!!! I love everything from the recipe to the pictures! Hey foodbuzz I want to see this on top 9!!!!!!I am totally buzzing!!!

  26. Tiffany says

    Don't gasp… I don't like rosemary! BUT…. I STILL want to make your shortbread, with thyme :D.

  27. Cake Duchess says

    I feel same like you. I guess b/c I grew up having to try every thing and I like almost every thing. Especially rosemary. These look perfect for a glass of white wine for certain.

  28. All That's Left Are The Crumbs says

    I love the savory elements to your shortbread and your photos are simply beautiful. Totally buzz-worthy.

  29. MikeVFMK says

    Love shortbread and love the idea of Rosemary and Parmesan together in this cookie. Great combination! And I, for one, love rosemary. People that don't are missing out.

  30. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    I love rosemary, these sound wonderful!
    My taste buds have to disagree with yours on the cilantro though 😉

  31. Emily @ A Cambridge Story says

    Very interesting! The look like little polenta cakes. Will have to try these out. Or perhaps with lavender!

  32. Roxana GreenGirl says

    rosemary, Parmesan in a shortbread, what's not to love. perfect snack.
    stunning photos Carolyn.

  33. sara @ CaffeIna says

    Once a week we have fresh focaccia at school and some kids (usually craving for bread) do not eat it because of the rosemary. I'm always shocked. I love love love rosemary. Once I tried a rosemary parmesan cookies recipe but it was a failure. I guess it's time for me to try again with your recipe. I'm looking forward!

  34. Sarah says

    I love rosemary! I've made lemon rosemary shortbread but I love the idea of going all savory with the parmesan! I'll be trying these for sure!!

  35. Nami @ Just One Cookbook says

    Hi Carolyn! I have to say, until I visit your site and see all these yummy treats have low carb and gluten free, I didn't know it's possible to eat these sweets and keep it healthy. You are really inspiring so many people with your beautiful pictures that convince us these are as good as regular kind. i love shortbread and these look so delicious!

  36. Maris (In Good Taste) says

    If these are as good as the pictures I am sold! What a wonderful combination of flavors

  37. The Harried Cook says

    I have never tried rosemary in shortbread before, but I love rosemary and I think I would love it… :) Love the pictures too! They are gorgeous! :) Thanks for sharing!

  38. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    Wouldn't these be good with dill too? Hmm, what fun it would be to play around with your recipe. I'm with you on the rosemary – love it – but I'm a cilantro hater.

  39. Kate@Diethood says

    Everyone is always really shocked when I tell them that I HATE watermelon. :)

    Shortbread and rosemary…this has got to be incredibly delicious!

    Congrats on Top 9, my friend!

  40. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says

    What a great idea to do this with almond flour! I make a similar cookies with kalamata olives and rosemary or basil. I'm definitely going to experiment with the almond flour next!

  41. gastronomic nomad says

    YUM! I agree…I just love the smell of rosemary baking in my kitchen! I did a version of this with herbes de provence for the holidays a few years back and I still have people asking for me to make them to this day.

  42. Correen says

    First off, loved that little bundle of shortbread wrapped up in a string…what a great food gift idea. And then yum to your creative recipe, rosemary and Parmesan go so well together.

  43. Megan'sCookin' says

    I love rosemary and cilantro too! These look amazing and I bet they tasted amazing. Nice pictures!!!

  44. Hester aka The Chef Doc says

    Congrats on this awesome savory shortbread! It looks fantastic and I can't wait to make a savory one myself :-)

  45. says

    These look fabulous! I have linked to this post in today's Delicious Links roundup. Happy Monday and I'm so glad I found your blog, LOVE IT :)

  46. kaurandt says

    I bought all the ingredients this weekend and am preparing to bake! Just needed one more peek at your pics. Thanks in advance because I don't know how these could not turn out fabulously!

  47. kaurandt says

    These are divine! I just baked a batch this afternoon and am enjoying with a chilled sauvignon blanc. Thanks for a superb recipe. Love your blog. Am trying the chipotle cheese crisps next.

  48. Xean says

    wow! they are lovely and look so yummy. perfect for breakfast paired with the best cup of coffee makes my day complete.


  1. […] Previous to our low carb lifestyle we made lots of fancy breads for any special occasion: italian bread, garlic bread, bread with chocolate swirled into it. Ok, Dan actually made all the fancy breads, but I helped eat them! For a baker extrodinaire like Dan, the low carb lifestyle can seem restrictive at times. I searched my new low carb cookbooks for something special this weekend and found these: Rosemary Parmesan Shortbread. […]

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