Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe

This Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe is a buttery cookie full of bright, zesty lemon flavor and topped with a sweet and bright lemon glaze. They are sure to go quickly!

We’re big fans of lemon desserts. From our perfect lemon cake recipe to our fluffy, moist lemon ricotta cookies.

Lemon shortbread cookies with lemon icing in a basket.

Why This Recipe is Best

You will love the simple buttery, lemony taste and the light crispy crumb of these shortbread cookies – and how easy they are to make!

  • Easy shortbread cookie base that’s just 5 ingredients!
  • The cookies are light and airy, not dense and hard like some shortbread.
  • BIG lemon flavor from lemon zest and lemon juice! Perfect for lemon lovers!
  • The sweet lemon glaze can be drizzled over top or you can dunk the cookies into it for a pretty finish!

Looking for more lemon cookies? Be sure to add our lemon crunch cookies to your baking list, packed with crunchy lemon oreo cookies!

Skip the lemon and make our new, melt in your mouth, coconut shortbread cookies next!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make lemon shortbread cookies.

Our lemon shortbread recipe is based off a classic shortbread cookie, with minimal ingredients! They are sure to melt in your mouth!

  • Unsalted Butter (room temperature)- This is my preference in all of my baking. If you only have the salted variety, omit the kosher salt in the cookie dough. Use our tips and tricks on how to soften butter quickly!
  • Powdered Sugar {Confectioners Sugar} – This adds sweetness to these cookies and helps provide the light and delicate crumb we love in shortbread. We prefer this over granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract – Be sure to use PURE vanilla extract, not imitation. Try our homemade vanilla extract for best flavor.
  • Lemon – You need lemon zest AND fresh lemon juice for this cookie recipe. And more for the lemon glaze. Two large, fresh lemons should do it. Need more help? Check out our guide on how to zest a lemon!
  • All- Purpose Flour- use our tips on how to measure flour properly. The biggest issue most people have when baking is not knowing how to measure ingredients correctly.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make lemon shortbread cookies.

Making our easy lemon shortbread cookies is quite simple.

  • Make the shortbread cookie dough. We use the paddle attachment for our electric mixer (stand mixer). The dough may be crumbly. That’s totally normal. Just use your hands to work the dough until it starts to stick together.
  • Roll and chill. Continue using your hands to roll the dough into a foot-long log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Slice and bake. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into thin slices. Use parchment paper or silpat on your baking sheet for best results. Bake until the cookies begin to brown on the edges.
  • Cool then glaze. Make sure the cookies cool completely before adding the icing. Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest to make the glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies or dip the cookies partway into the glaze.
Lemon cookies on a wire cooling rack.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use your hands. Using your hands to roll the dough into a ball then shape it into a log helps the crumbly mixture hold together better to chill and slice.
  • Chill the dough. For best results, be sure to allow the dough to chill for at least 30 minutes before slicing and baking the cookies.
  • Use a sharp, not serrated, knife to slice the cookie dough. Rotate the log of dough a few inches after each slice to help keep the dough smooth.
  • More lemon. Want an even deeper lemon flavor? Add lemon extract to the cookie dough!
Bite taken out of a lemon shortbread cookie.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make lemon shortbread cookie dough in advance?

Yes. This shortbread dough can be stored in the fridge for several days before baking. When you’re ready for homemade shortbread, just slice and bake. You can also freeze the cookie dough until ready to bake and slice.

How do I store shortbread cookies?

These cookies, once cooled and set, can be kept for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes, you can store the baked cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the cookies cookies before adding the lemon glaze.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

4.75 from 4 votes
By: Aimee
This Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe is a buttery cookie full of bright, zesty lemon flavor and topped with a sweet and bright lemon glaze. They are sure to go quickly!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies


For the Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced (see note)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Glaze, optional

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
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  • In a a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and juice, and mix until fully blended.
  • Add flour and salt. If the mixture is still crumbly after blending, use hands to fully combine.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured counter. Roll into a 12-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to bake, slice dough into thin slices. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until cookies begin to lightly brown on edges. Cool completely.
  • If desired, dip tops of cookies in lemon glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Drizzle of tops of cooled cookies, or dunk top of cookie in glaze and tap on side of bowl to allow excess drip off.


  • Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice- Every lemon results in varying amounts of zest and juice. You’ll need about 1 Tablespoon lemon zest and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice for today’s cookie dough recipe.
  • Storage: Store in airtight container at room temperature.
  • Freeze: Store the baked cookies in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the cookies cookies before adding glaze if desired.


Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 12mg, Sugar: 5g
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!
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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on March 22, 2023

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