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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Zesty Lemon Shortbread Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Laura Kasavan
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Classic all-butter shortbread cookies get a burst of fresh, zesty lemon flavor in these lemon shortbread cookies! With a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, glazed lemon shortbread are the perfect cookie for lemon lovers.



  • 2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) fresh lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup (168 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp (2 g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (245 g) all-purpose flour

For Rolling

  • 1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar


  • 1 Tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 g) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10 g) milk


  1. Make lemon sugar: Combine sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse for 1 minute, until zest is finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, beat sugar and lemon zest in a large mixer bowl on low speed until well mixed.
  2. Make shortbread dough: Beat butter, lemon-sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour just until incorporated and dough begins to come together in large pieces. Finished dough will be somewhat crumbly but will hold together when pressed.
  3. Chill dough: Divide the dough in half and turn out each half onto a piece of plastic wrap. Roll each half into a 6 1/2-inch log, using the plastic wrap to help shape the soft dough. Wrap logs tightly in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator (see note below).
  4. Slice cookies: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place granulated sugar on a large plate and roll the logs of dough to coat generously with sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch rounds. Place rounds 2 inches apart on baking sheets. If desired, gently press rounds with the bottom of a measuring cup to make them perfectly level. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator while preheating oven to 350°F.
  5. Bake cookies for 14 to 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until light golden and edges are set. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Make glaze: Whisk together melted butter, salt, lemon zest, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and milk until smooth. Dips the tops of cookies in lemon glaze (or drizzle with glaze) and let set before serving.
  7. Store cookies at room temperature in an airtight container.


Butter: Do not use European-style butter. The higher fat content will cause the cookies to overspread.

Chilling tip: For uniformly round slice-and-bake cookies, cut two empty paper towel rolls in half lengthwise. Chill logs of dough inside the center of each cardboard roll until firm.

Storage tips: Store shortbread cookies in an airtight container, placing parchment paper between the layers. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for up to 5 days. Shortbread can also be wrapped well and frozen for up to 2 months.

Make ahead: Chill logs of dough until firm, then slice logs into rounds and place rounds on baking sheets. Freeze for 1 hour, then transfer to freezer bags and store for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to bake, bake the cookies directly from the freezer (do not thaw), adding 1 to 2 minutes to the baking time.