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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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Lemon shortbread cookies are a perfect buttery, tender crisp, sweet and tart lemon flavored treat  that is easy to make and even easier to eat! Drizzled with a bright lemon glaze, these are the perfect amount of sweet and tart! Perfect for lemon lovers!

lemon shortbread cookies on wire cooling rack

Shortbread cookies are buttery, tender crisp, and rich cookies that are famous for being a much loved melt in your mouth cookie. They are easy and simple to make, and yield amazing cookies everyone loves!


This version has sweet and tart lemon zest in the shortbread dough, and is topped with a lemon icing drizzle.

lemon shortbread piled in front of cooling rack

Ingredients needed:

The best part of this recipe is that you only need a few ingredients which means you can easily bake them almost anytime:

  • Unsalted Butter – the butter is important here. Get the best quality butter you can afford for the best taste and texture. It needs to be softened.
  • Powdered sugar – also known as confectioner’s sugar, you want to use this kind of sugar to help get the correct cookie texture.
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Salt
  • Lemon Zest – for the lemon flavor!
  • Vanilla extract – use a good quality pure extract for the best flavor
overhead view of lemon shortbread on cooling rack

How to make these easy shortbread cookies

This recipe is really straight forward. For the full set of directions, please scroll down to the recipe card below:

Mix the dough

  1. Cream the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla, then add in the flour and salt and mix until just combined.

Press into the pan

  1. Line a 9” square pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs over the sides.
  2. Place the dough into the prepared pan and press the dough evenly into a pan. Using a flat bottomed glass helps to get it packed tightly and evenly.
  3. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes into the shortbread. You could also use a fork.

Bake

  1. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  2. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then lift the shortbread out of the pan by the parchment paper overhang.
  3. Place the shortbread on the parchment paper onto a cutting board and use a long sharp knife to cut the shortbread into squares. 
  4. Allow to cool all the way before drizzling with lemon icing.
mixing shortbread and pressing into pan

How to make lemon icing

Lemon icing is super simple to make! 

Combine together powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to make it drizzly – you can use more or less lemon juice to make the icing thicker or thinner depending on your preferences.

lemon shortbread cookies on counter with slices of lemon

Recipe Tips

How to cut shortbread

It is essential to cut the shortbread when it is still hot from the oven. Let it rest about 10 minutes, and then use the parchment paper to carefully lift the shortbread out of the baking pan onto a cutting board. Use a smooth bladed knife to cut strips lengthwise, then rotate the bars (by the parchment paper) to cut strips going the other way. Cut small portions because these are rich cookies.

How to keep shortbread crisp

Let the baked shortbread cool completely on a wire rack before storing. If you are drizzling with the icing, that needs to be completely dry before storing, too. Shortbread keeps best in a metal tin or glass jar with tight fitting lids. They also keep well when stored in the refrigerator. Do not store them with other chewy cookies or in a plastic container because they will not keep their crispness.

lemon shortbread on counter

Food tastes better when its shared! If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate below!

Yield: 24 cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recip

overhead view of lemon shortbread on cooling rack

Lemon shortbread cookies are a perfect buttery, crispy, sweet and tart lemon flavored treat that is easy to make and even easier to eat!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Lemon Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a 9” square pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs over the sides.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla, then add in the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
  5. Place the dough into the prepared pan and press the dough evenly into a pan. Using a flat bottomed glass helps to get it packed tightly and evenly.
  6. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes into the shortbread. You could also use a fork.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then lift the shortbread out of the pan by the parchment paper overhang.
  9. Place the shortbread on the parchment paper onto a cutting board and use a long sharp knife to cut the shortbread into squares.
  10. Allow to cool all the way before drizzling with lemon icing.


Lemon Icing

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sguar and enough lemon juice to make a drizzly icing. Adjust the level of lemon juice depending on your preferences - more lemon juice will make a thinner drizzle and less will make it thicker. Drizzle the icing over the cooled shortbread cookies.

Notes

Store these cookies in a metal or glass container with a lid on the counter for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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Jennifer

Friday 17th of June 2022

Give me ALL the lemon desserts this summer! These cookies were amazing & are totally going in the rotation!

Maryeileen

Sunday 15th of May 2022

I didn't see a temperature listed for the lemon shortbread.

Jenni

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

Hi Maryeileen! The temperature can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post! It is 350 degrees F for these cookies! Enjoy!

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