These lemon shortbread cookies are a classic and are an intensely flavored buttery cookie. Keep this recipe on hand for special occasion or simple afternoon teas with friends and family. 

Lemon shortbread cookies on a plat with a cup of tea and lemon wedges beside it.

Simple yet Elegant

These cookies are made with the simplest ingredients and yet the pack an elegant and flavorful punch. The frosting with bits of yellow lemon zest look fancy and yet only take a few minutes to put together. 

A Rich, Sweet Cookie

Don’t be tempted to make these into large cookies. They are sweet and buttery and better suited for small bites. The great thing about this is that they can go a long way on holiday buffets or at pot-lucks. 

These are rich despite the small amount of sugar in the actual cookie.

Unless you’re making these cookies for a vegan – use real butter. The flavor is simply going to be the best. 

Substitute Any Citrus

Have oranges on hand? Use orange juice and zest instead of lemon. In fact, these cookies will work delightfully well with any citrust you have on hand. 

For a truly lovely cookie platter consider making several different flavors (grapefruit, orange, & lemon for example).

Skip the Frosting

If a person wanted too, they could skip the frosting. The cookies are delightful on their own and will be less intensely sweet or lemony without the frosting.

A drizzle of melted white chocolate over the tops of the cooled cookies would also be delightful instead of frosting, if desired.

Make Ahead

The lemon shortbread cookie dough could be made several days in advance and refrigerated before baking. The dough could also be frozen for up to 3 months before baking. If the dough was frozen let thaw in the refrigerator until the dough can be dropped onto baking sheets.

Great Keepers

The cookies will stay fresh for up to a week at room temperature. They will keep for up to 6 months frozen. Freeze them with or without frosting.

These cookies will freeze into solid rocks so be sure to let them thaw completely before serving. 

Yield: 44 Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies


Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/4 Cups Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 teaspoons Grated Lemon Zest

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Zest


Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon juice until combined.
  5. Add the flour and lemon zest mix until a dough forms.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonsful onto prepared making sheets.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Edges will be golden.
  8. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. When cool glaze.

Lemon Glaze

  1. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth and pourable.
  2. Gently spoon the glaze over the cooled cookies.
  3. Let harden at room temperature.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 45 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 17mg Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 3g Protein: 0g
We cannot guarantee the accuracy of these numbers. Please use as a general guideline only.
Lemon shortbread cookies on a plat with a cup of tea and lemon wedges beside it.

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Amanda and her husband are working hard to turn their little acre and a half into a self-sufficient homestead in south central Alaska. They raise chickens, both egg layers and meat chickens, have a large garden and very large greenhouse. They hope to eventually adds goats to the homestead and maybe even a cow!

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