These frosted lemon cookies are bursting with fresh citrus flavor! Easy and quick to make, they are the perfect springtime treat that the whole family will love.

I love incorporating lemon into my baked goods during spring and summer. It’s such a light and refreshing flavor and these cookies are no different!

Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.
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If you love lemon as much as I do, be sure to check out my lemon ice cream and lemon loaf recipes.

These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious! They are wonderfully light and creamy with bursts of lemon in every bite. My only regret is that I didn’t double the recipe as I was asked for more as soon as the batch had disappeared!

These cookies fall somewhere between a classic sugar cookie, a butter cookie recipe and a traditional shortbread. Call them whatever you’d like, but I’ll call them too delicious for words.

Cookies are always better with frosting in my humble opinion! Don’t skip our complete guide to the BEST Lemon Desserts too.

A bird shaped cutout frosted lemon shortbread cookie on a marble countertop.

Why You’ll Love these Frosted Lemon Cookies

  • The frosting on these cookies adds the perfect hint of sweetness and makes these cookies melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
  • You can, of course, enjoy these cookies without the frosting, but it’s so worth the little extra effort!
  • I can’t stress this enough: no decorating skills required! If I can do it, anyone can! I’ve always wanted to learn how to decorate cakes (and cookies), but as they say, fake it ’til you make it! A $1 tip does the trick!

“Yummy! This is so delicious. I love lemon flavored desserts and these cookies are just perfect. The texture is so light and melts in your mouth. Love it. Thanks.”

– Lisalia

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Butter – I like to use salted butter in this recipe, as the added salt really helps to bring out the flavors. If you use unsalted, you may want to add in a pinch of salt to the dough.
  • Lemon Juice and Zest – Fresh is always best when it comes to lemon juice. It has the brightest flavors so skip the bottled stuff.
  • Flour – All purpose. Plain and simple!
  • Corn Starch – Corn Starch is a thickening agent and makes these cookies creamy and light.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar, it is super fine and what makes these lemon cookies so sweet and creamy. You can make your own powdered sugar by putting granulated sugar into a food processor until fine and fluffy.
Frosting a clear tube with a silver tip.
Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.

How To Make Lemon Cookies

  1. Prep – Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Zest and juice your lemons.
  2. Combine – Butter, sugar, flour and starch in a large bowl or fitted stand mixer. Beat at a low speed to combine, scraping the side as needed.
  3. Chill Dough – Form in flat disk shape, rolled between sheets of parchment or wax paper (as pictured) for 1-2 hours until firm.A ball of cookie dough on a marble surface Marble surface with cookie dough pushed out flat
  4. Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Ours were around ¼ of an inch thick, but you could leave them up to ½ an inch thick depending on desired thickness.
  5. Bake – Place on ungreased baking sheets – for easy cleanup I always line with parchment paper). Bake for up to 8 minutes – see notes below on baking times.
  6. Cool – Allow them to cool completely.

For the Frosting

  1. Combine – As cookies are cooling, make your delicious lemon frosting! Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat at a medium speed in your stand mixer until combined.
  2. Frost – Using a frosting tip or even a plastic bag, pipe a dab of frosting onto each cookie and enjoy! 
Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.

Tips

  • Bake Time Will Vary – You will need to adjust your bake time based on how thick your cookies are and the size of your cookie cutters. They are ready when they are set (no moisture appearance in the middle) and slightly brown.
  • Chill Dough – It is essential to chill the dough before cutting and baking the cookies. This will help to prevent spread and the dough will be easier to roll out.
  • Use a Frosting Tip (or even a ziploc bag!) – This makes them oh so adorable, without any special skills! To use a ziploc bag, simply cut the corner off at an angle, fill the bag, remove air and seal. Squeeze to frost.
  • Bake the cookies on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.
Frosted lemon shortbread cookies in a bird shape.

Make More (or Less!)

Scaling up, down or substituting? You’ll love this printable Measurement Conversion Chart!

Frosted lemon cookies in a bird shape on a white platter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a butter cookie and a shortbread cookie?

These little frosted lemon cookies are a combination of shortbread, butter and sugar cookie flavor and texture.
The ratio of butter to sugar is what sets butter and shortbread cookies apart. Butter cookies have extra sugar and are baked at higher temperatures, whereas shortbread cookies have a little more fat and generally require cold butter.

Can I skip the lemon zest in this recipe?

It’s completely optional. It does add a lovely texture and additional flavor, but lemon zest is rarely a requirement for the success of a recipe.

Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.

Decorating Suggestions

  • Add Sprinkles
  • Dust with Powdered Sugar
  • Add Fresh Lemon Zest
  • Add Edible Glitter (Luster Dust)
Frosted lemon cookies in a bird shape on a white platter.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – You can make the cookies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days at room temperature.
  • Refrigerator – If you have extra, the frosting will keep covered in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Same goes for the cookies!
  • To Freeze – Unfrosted lemon cookies keep well frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. I like to place them in a freezer bag, followed by an airtight container so freezer odors don’t seep in.

Dietary Considerations

  • To make Gluten Free, use a 1:1 gluten free flour and cornstarch.
  • Nut Free
  • Vegetarian
Frosted lemon cookies in a bird shape on a white platter.

More Cookies

5 from 13 votes

Frosted Lemon Cookies

Soft, delicate frosted lemon cookies that melt in your mouth and are bursting with fresh citrus flavor!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour
Total: 23 minutes
Servings: 36
Pin Rate Print

Ingredients  

Lemon Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • cups powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, combine butter, lemon juice, flour, corn starch, powdered sugar and zest on low, scraping as needed.
  • Shape dough into a flat disk by rolling between sheets of parchment or wax paper (as pictured) and wrapping in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1-2 hours, or until firm.
  • Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Roll ¼ of an inch thick or up to ½ an inch thick.
  • Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake 7-8 minutes – see notes below on baking times. Allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting

  • In a medium mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine butter, zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar.
  • Using a frosting bag and tip or even a ziploc bag with the corner cut, pipe frosting onto each cookie and enjoy! 

Tips

Tips

  • Bake Time Will Vary – You will need to adjust your bake time based on how thick your cookies are and the size of your cookie cutters. They are ready when they are set (no moisture appearance in the middle) and slightly brown.
  • Chill Dough – It is essential to chill the dough before cutting and baking the cookies. This will help to prevent spread and the dough will be easier to roll out.
  • Use a Frosting Tip (or even a ziploc bag!) – This makes them oh so adorable, without any special skills! To use a ziploc bag, simply cut the corner off at an angle, fill the bag, remove air and seal. Squeeze to frost.

To Store

You can make the cookies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days at room temperature. The frosting will keep covered in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
Unfrosted Lemon Cookies keep well frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. I like to place them in a freezer bag, followed by an airtight container so freezer odors don’t seep in.
Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 197IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yum! These are the most adorable and delicious cookies!! The frosting on the top is my fave!! Can’t wait to make them again!

  2. 5 stars
    Yummy! This is so delicious. I love lemon flavored desserts and these cookies are just perfect. The texture is so light and melts in your mouth. Love it. Thanks.