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Lemon Shortbread Cookies Easy Recipe

In this post: An easy recipe for Lemon Shortbread Cookies. A fresh lemon and sugar glaze tops off these lemon shortbread cookies. They melt in your mouth!

*UPDATE December 4, 2020: The original recipe for these lemon shortbread cookies was published in 2015. It was delicious, but the dough was very crumbly. To eliminate this issue, I adjusted the ingredients, and it works much better! Find the updated version in the recipe card below.

When it’s too cold to go out, I head to the kitchen. This week I made what I lovingly refer to as “comfort food.” A pot of soup, banana bread and these little lemon shortbread cookies. During these long, cold evenings, I have been pouring over old cookbooks trying to find easy recipes with basic ingredients. These lemon shortbread cookies are just that. You should have everything you need, except maybe the lemons, in your pantry. So add lemons to your grocery list, and you will be ready to whip up these amazingly good shortbread cookies! 

lemon shortbread cookies stack pin with text

Lemon Shortbread Cookes Easy Recipe. A fresh lemon and sugar glaze tops off these lemon shortbread cookies. They melt in your mouth!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookes Easy Recipe. A fresh lemon and sugar glaze tops off these lemon shortbread cookies. They melt in your mouth!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 25 cookies
Prep Time 25 minutes
Refrigeration time 10 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup butter (softened) (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (about one large lemon)
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest if desired

Instructions

  • Zest and juice the lemons. Set both zest and juice aside.
  • Beat butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until smooth. About 2 minutes.
  • Add flour in two increments, and blend well, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and beat just a bit more.
  • Put the dough out on to a floured surface. Knead and turn until it comes together, adding more flour if necessary. Shape into a disc.
  • Divide in half. Wrap and refrigerate dough for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Remove one section of dough from refrigerator. Roll out to 1/4 in. thick.
  • Cut out with cookie cutter. I used a 2 1/2 in. circle.
  • Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 6-7 minutes. Do not brown. Bottoms will be light golden.
  • After removing from oven, let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Place cookies on cooling rack.
  • Repeat process for second half of dough.
  • Combine powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice. Stir well. Add more lemon juice until the glaze is desired consistency.
  • Drizzle over cooled cookies.
  • (If second half of dough is too hard to roll out, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.)

Notes

Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, I got about 30 cookies. How many cookies this recipe makes depends on how thick you roll them out and the size of your cookie cutter. 
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Lemon Shortbread Cookies: The Glaze

The glaze is the perfect way to top off these cookies. I placed the cooling rack with the cookies on a large cookie sheet. I started out by spooning on the glaze, but after about two cookies, I just picked up the bowl and drizzled it over the whole batch. I had them all glazed in less than a minute. 

bowl of glaze for lemon shortbread cookies

If you want just a basic shortbread cookie, it would work to leave out the lemon peel and lemon juice from the cookie dough. In place of the lemon juice, any kind of milk or cream could be substituted. 

lemon shortbread cookies star cutouts

Lemon Shortbread Cookies for the Holidays

This is the perfect recipe for making Christmas cut-out cookies. Simply follow the recipe, but when it’s time to cut out the dough, use festive Christmas cookie cutters. After drizzling on the glaze, it’s very fun to add sprinkles or sanding sugar.

best hot chocolate recipe in mugs with red striped straws

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Lemon Shortbread Cookies Sources:

Lemon Shortbread Cookes Easy Recipe. A fresh lemon and sugar glaze tops off these lemon shortbread cookies. They melt in your mouth!

If you are east of the Mississippi, stay warm. If you are where the sun is hot and shining, think of us in the deep freeze! See you soon…

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47 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was beyond easy and so delicious! Highly recommend adding the zest into the glaze, it adds great flavor and makes the glaze look so pretty :)

  2. 5 stars
    I made these cookies as part of my Christmas cookies for my family, these are so good I could sit down with a cup of coffee and eat them all.
    Thanks for sharing your recipes and Happy Holidays.

  3. I love lemon and I love shortbread cookies! How do they freeze?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I’m not sure…I’ve never frozen them. You could try freezing them before adding the glaze. Bring them to room temperature before glazing. Let us know how it works!

  4. Jill Jaynes says:

    I love On Sutton Place for beautiful, sophisticated designs and projects that are easy for anyone to do! Thank you for sharing your gifts for design and deliciousness with us! That said, I MUST know where you found that beautiful plaid mug!! I suffer from the same #plaidpassion as you! LOL!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I picked up those mugs at TJMaxx a few years ago…so I don’t have a source. I wish I could be more help!

  5. Jeanne Zarrella says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Light and lemony. Used a 2 inch round cutter and got 31 cookies. I will be making these again! Thanks for sharing!

  6. These are sooo amazing! Great lemon flavor and I also was able to get 30 cookies! I used a heart shaped cutter. Love them with coffee and tea!

  7. Sharon Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing these recipes with us. Sharon

  8. Made your cookies today…so yummy and pretty. Not too sweet, just perfect with a cup of coffee for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up!

  9. Well…I love everything lemon! So, I did the ultimate test. I made 3 different lemon shortbread cookie recipes…one being this one. I made sure the other 2 were 5-star rated. Then, I invited some girlfriends and my boyfriend over for a taste test.

    I was a little concerned about the simplicity and not having salt, vanilla or corn starch in them. Not any more though :)

    Your cookies WON!!! HANDS DOWN. No contest really. They are Sooo melt-in-your-mouth good! I had undercooked one batch a little, but they were really good still…actually we couldn’t decide if we liked them better.

    So, drop the apron, hands up and thanks for the great new recipe. :)

    Making the scones tomorrow for my Monday Morning Meeting at work. I’ll let you know how my coworkers like them…they are all foodies.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know all of this…I loved it!

  10. I love anything lemon. These look delicious. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. Tanya Simms says:

    Love the tablescape ideas…especially the blue mason jars. Would you tell me more about the seat covers on your dining room chairs? I love that look.
    Also…plain flour on the lemon shortbread cookies?
    Thanks so much,
    Tanya

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Tanya…I covered the chair cushions myself with grain sack inspired fabric. I included a link to the fabric at the end of the post. And yes…regular flour in the cookies. Thank you!

  12. Have to try these tomorrow! Thank you!

  13. Can’t wait to try these

  14. Ready Assembled White Wardrobes says:

    I really love these lemon shortbread cookies. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe.

  15. I can’t wait to try these! Thank you for the recipe.

  16. Daniela from Sukhi says:

    Sweet and easy, just how you want it to be! :)

  17. Thank you for your wonderful Web site! I appreciate ALL your efforts to share with us! I’m looking forward to making these today. Any tips/techniques for rolling the dough out evenly?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Rolling dough out just takes practice…in my humble opinion. Steady pressure on the rolling pin helps and a well-floured surface. I also turn my dough frequently and I think that helps too. Good luck!

      1. I think you’re right! It must take practice and then more practice! Thank you!

  18. Yum! Thanks Ann looks like another winner. Have a great Sunday!

  19. Lorri Rauscher says:

    They look delish!!!! I will have to try them. I love anything that has a lemon flavour.????

  20. thank you for such a wonderful recipe! I had some left over lemons, and I am tired of making bread. These cookies are tremendous. Just lovely!

  21. Sally Wells says:

    Made these today in heart shapes for Valentine’s Day. Colored the glaze pink. Delish!

  22. Deb @ PaperTurtle says:

    Oh these sound fantastic. My grandma loves anything lemon so I will be making these and sending them to her for Valentine’s day. Thanks for sharing! :o)

  23. Anne, I got up this morning and made these. They came out great.
    Didn’t add the milk to the glaze just extra Lemon juice. Made two full dozen and my daughter is Almost through that.
    Quick n easy recipe.
    Thanks

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you for letting me know! Good job on the glaze too. I think I will do that the next time I make these. Have a good rest of the weekend! ~Ann

  24. Thank you for the recipe, looks delish! I have been enjoying your site as I have been looking around, your photos are excellent . Love your projects and your lovely sewing skills…very inspiring.

    My 2 lemon trees are bursting with lemons right now and I love shortbread…so thanks for the printable recipe. I am so sorry for the deep freeze that is going on across the nation, as we are having unusual weather..warm and sunny and are now expect to have drought this summer. I was born here in California and cannot remember having such a warm December and January ever. Wish we could send some back east.

  25. Shortbreads have become my all-time favorite cookies. I love experimenting with the different ingredients you can use to make them. Your lemon shortbreads looks so yummy!

  26. Amy @ Ms. Toody Goo Shoes says:

    I love talking lemon! I love talking shortbread! The combo has me swooning. I will be pinning and baking these!

  27. Bonnie Morgan says:

    Ann, Your cookies are very pretty and sound delicious. I love your recipes.

  28. Lemon cookies mmmmmmmmmmm I could eat one right now with a lovely cup of tea. I shall make these tomorrow I think. Thank you for the recipe.

  29. Michele/Finch Rest says:

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMM – my hub’s favorite. I love your pics and the way you do a printable recipe, Ann.

    Isn’t this snow storm something? We’re staying in, too – warm and cosy. Take care.

  30. Yum…………………….
    Thanks for this recipe Ann-
    It’s real cold here too… I love the winter… The snow is so beautiful, plus I am retired and do not have to go out and drive in it. So now I just get to look at the beauty of the winter.
    I will make these cookies and bring them to my Mom’s and sisters for Super Bowl..
    Have a warm and beautiful day.
    Rose

  31. Angie Lawson says:

    Oh Ann, these look just delicious! I can’t say no to anything with lemon in it☺ I’ve pinned them and will be trying them soon! Ann I love your blog, your home is SO beautiful. Thanks!–♥Angie

  32. Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    Ann, I love lemon in anything and I’m sure these are delicious! I’m pinning them so I can make them when I’m not dieting! :) We are having a deep freeze here in SC and we are not used to this. It’s supposed to be about 10 degrees tonight. Haven’t seen temps this low in a long time!

  33. My husband will love these he is a huge lemon fan. Thanks Ann!!!

    Cynthia

  34. Thank you. I will be making these for my Sunday School class next Sunday.

  35. Lemon is my husbands favorite! And these look scrumptious!

  36. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    My husband loves shortbread cookies and these sound wonderful!

  37. Lemon perfect, it’s my favorite flavor next to chocolate :)

  38. Kathleen G says:

    Another lemon recipe! Going to pick a lemon or two off the tree today. Good timing. Nice to share the rewards of your baking with your parents. We share our lemons too. Keep warm Ann. Kathleen in Az

  39. Wow! Deep freeze you’re not kidding. Another day off from school for my grandkids here in Ohio, that makes four. Love lemon in everything, so your recipe is a treat. Planning to bake these tomorrow and enjoy them with a cup of tea during Downton Abbey Sunday evening.

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