These lemon shortbread cookies are the perfect balance between sweet and sour! They are super light but bursting with fresh lemon flavor. One bite is all you need to be hooked on these cookies!
Are you a lemon fan?
If you are well then you have come to the right place! These cookies have so much lemon flavor in them between zest and the juice. They are also so easy to make and only have a few ingredients.
You probably already have all you need to make these cookies so I am just highlighting a couple must haves:
- Lemon– we need it all!
- Confectioners Sugar– this offers that melt in your mouth feeling
- Turbinado Sugar– also known as sugar in the raw. For sprinkling and totally optional!
How to make the cookies
All you need to mix is a medium sized bowl and a good spatula! You can use a hand or a stand mixer but it really isn’t necessary.
You will also need a cookie cutter. Use any fun shape that you want!
Step one: Make the cookie dough
In a medium sized bowl combine the butter and confectioners sugar. Mix by hand or on low speed until light and fluffy about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add in the lemon zest and juice and mix to combine. Add in the flour and salt, and mix until a firm dough is formed.
Step two: Chill the dough
Once the dough has come together shape it into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour.
Step Three: Rolling and cutting
Unwrap the dough onto a large piece of parchment paper. Cut another piece and place it over the top of the dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/2″ thick and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Place the cookies 1 1″2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Repeat the process with the scraps until all the dough is used.
Step 4: Bake!
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Garnish them with some coarse sugar and lemon zest.
Do I really have to chill the dough?
YES you really have to.
These cookies have a lot of butter in them and the butter needs to be chilled before putting it into the oven. If you try to bake them without chilling they will definitely spread out of their shape.
If you chill them, they will bake in the shape you want it to be in. This recipe will really keep its shape (even with sharp edges!) if you just chill it before baking!
Tips for shortbread success
- If the dough is getting too warm and sticky to roll, just add it back to the fridge for another few minutes for it to firm up.
- Roll out the cookies in between parchment paper. You can also roll them out onto a floured surface but I find that parchment paper is easier and less messy!
- To lift the cookies more easily- cut the cookies out and take away the scraps. Chill the cookies on the parchment paper (lay them on another tray) for 5 minutes, then lift them with an offset spatula onto their baking sheet.
- Use any fun cookie cutter shape you can find!
How to store
Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. The freeze well too! Freeze them in a freezer safe bag for up to 2 months.
Find more lemon and shortbread recipes here:
- Italian Ricotta Cookies (with lemon)
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- Raspberry Lemon Linzer Cookies
- Easy Lemon bars
- Coconut Lemon Cookies
Lemon Shortbread Cookie Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- turbinado sugar optional for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl or the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar together on low until light and airy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the 2 tsp lemon zest and 1/2 tsp lemon juice and mix lightly to combine. Add in the 2 cups of flour and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Mix until a unified dough forms.
- Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Unwrap the dough and place it between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough into 1/2" thickness and cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. Repeat the process with scraps. You might have to chill the scraps for a few minutes again before re-rolling. Lift the cookies using an offset spatula onto their baking tray. If the cookies wont lift easily, chill them again for a few minutes then try to lift again.
- Line the cookies 1 1/2" apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until firm. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar or more lemon zest if you want!