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Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

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These Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies are crisp on the outside, tender and buttery inside, and filled with bright lemon and thyme flavors.

lemon thyme shortbread cookies

When life gives you lemons, make delicious things with them! Today I have Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies for you. These light, butter cookies offer subtle lemon and thyme flavors. They are delicious eaten plain, but I personally love spreading bright vibrant lemon glaze on top to give the cookies extra sweetness and tartness. This recipe is one of my favorite cookies. They are dangerously addictive, you may find yourself eating the whole batch.

Lemon Thyme 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.
  • Fresh thyme. Thyme is a great pairing with lemon. The herb tastes earthy, a little bit sweet, with a slightly minty taste. If you don’t have thyme, it’s okay to omit it or substitute it with other herbs like rosemary.
shortbread cookie 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.

shortbread cookie dough
shortbread cookie dough
lemon thyme shortbread cookies
lemon thyme shortbread cookies
lemon thyme shortbread cookies

More Shortbread Cookies

While you are here, don’t forget to check out these delicious shortbread cookies recipes!

lemon thyme shortbread cookies
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Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

These Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies are crisp on the outside, tender and buttery inside, and filled with bright lemon and thyme flavors.
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


Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

  • 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
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Lemon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (120 gr) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Fresh thyme leaves


Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

  • 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. Stir in the thyme with a spatula.
  • 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 350F/180°C and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  • 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 2 inch/5 cm cookie cutter. 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.

Lemon Glaze

  • In a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar with lemon juice with a spoon until well incorporated.
  • Spread the glaze on the cookies with a spoon. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Let the cookies sit until the glaze has set.


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


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 92kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 174IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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