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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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These Lemon Shortbread Cookies are light, buttery cookies that offer a subtle lemon flavor that literally melts in your mouth.

lemon shortbread cookies

I am a huge shortbread cookie lover! I just can’t stop making them over and over since they are so simple to make. It was always hard to decide which one is your favorite because when you took a bite of one, it instantly became your favorite until the next one came along.

Today’s recipe is also not an exception. Love that these cookies taste light, tender, and buttery with refreshing lemon flavor and aroma.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies Ingredients

These are the ingredients you will need to make these cookies.

  • Unsalted butter. These shortbread cookies are eggless, so the butter is important to bind the ingredients together and bring out the delicious buttery flavor.
  • Confectioners’ sugar. Instead of using granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar has a tiny bit of cornstarch in it to keep it from clumping and that plus the powdery consistency of confectioners’ sugar keeps the cookies soft and tender.
  • Lemon zest. This is where the lemon flavor comes from.
  • Vanilla extract. This adds the subtle and delicious flavor of vanilla to baked goods.
  • Cake flour/all-purpose flour. This provides the structure in the shortbread cookies. You can use both all-purpose or cake flour for shortbread cookies. I personally like to use cake flour because it gives light, crisp, and tender textures to the cookies. If you use all-purpose flour, I find them softer and chewier than the ones made with cake flour.
  • Salt. To enhance the flavor.
shortbread dough

Why You Should Chill Your Dough

Chilling the dough before and after shaping will help to retain the shape of the cookies. A short stay in the fridge will firm up the cookies and solidify the butter. This will help keep them from spreading too much and helps concentrate those flavors for your best shortbread. In addition, the cold dough will make the cutting neat with sharp edges.

Once I make the dough, I usually wrap it with plastic wrap then chill it for 30 minutes. Then, roll the dough into an even 1/4-inch thickness with a rolling pin. Cut the dough with a cookie cutter or sharp knife. Pierce the middle of the cookies with a skewer helps to minimize the spreading and chill the cut dough again if your dough has warmed up for a little more before baking.

lemon shortbread cookies

Add More Flavors to These Cookies

Add your own twist to these cookies. You can add nuts and dried fruits for extra flavor and textures. These Lemon Shortbread Cookies also work well with most of the common culinary herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano. I personally love pairing these with thyme. The herb tastes earthy, a little bit sweet, with a slightly minty taste. For this recipe, you only need to add 1 tablespoon of your preferred herbs.

adding thyme to shortbread cookies
lemon shortbread cookies

More Shortbread Cookies Recipes

While you are here, check out also these shortbread cookies recipes!

lemon shortbread cookies
5 from 2 votes

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

These Lemon Shortbread Cookies are light, buttery cookies that offer a subtle lemon flavor that literally melts in your mouth.
Author: Jaja Bakes
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Scottish
Servings: 25 cookies
Tap or hover to scale!
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time16 minutes
Additional Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 11 minutes


  • 2/3 cup (150 gr) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (60 gr) confectioners’ sugar
  • Lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 gr) cake flour/all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, confectioners sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until incorporated.
  • Scrape the bowl down and sift in the dry ingredients. Mix with a spatula until the dough starts to come together. It will look crumbly at first, but the dough will come together as you continue mixing.
  • Wrap the dough with plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator or until it is firm enough to cut through.
  • Preheat oven to 355°F/180°C and line two baking pans with parchment papers.
  • Take out the dough from the refrigerator and open the plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch/5 mm thick slab. Cut the dough with a crinkle cutter or a sharp knife into 1.5-inch/4 cm rectangles. Place the cut dough on baking sheets, spaced at least an inch apart. Re-roll the scraps and refrigerate a few minutes until firm again and repeat the process until all dough is used.
  • Use a skewer to poke holes in the cookies (optional).
  • Chill in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes if the dough has warmed up.
  • Bake for 13-16 minutes or until the bottom edges of the cookies are golden brown in color.
  • Transfer to a wire sheet to cool completely.


Use cake flour for light, crisp, and tender cookies. Use all-purpose flour for softer and chewier cookies.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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