These frosted lemon butter 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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I’m obsessed with everything lemony and good in the world, and I’ve got the lemon cookie addiction to prove it. Don’t skip my lemon shortbread cookies or these frosted lemon sugar cookies.

These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious! They are 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.

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

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 –
Frosted lemon cookies in a bird shape on a white platter.
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Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Enjoy with or without frosting – It adds the perfect hint of sweetness and makes these cookies melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
  • No decorating skills required! If I can do it, anyone can! Fake it ’til you make it, and an inexpensive frosting tip does the trick!
Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.

Ingredients

  • 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! You can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch, however.
  • Flour – All purpose.
  • 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.
Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.
Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.

Tools to Use

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Tips

  • Silpat or Parchment – Bake the cookies on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.
  • 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 Ziplock bag!) – Decorate without any special skills! To use a bag, simply cut the corner off at an angle, fill the bag, remove air and seal. Squeeze to frost.
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.
5 from 13 votes
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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
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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.
    ¾ cup salted butter, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup corn starch, ⅓ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 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.
    A ball of cookie dough on a marble surface
  • Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Roll ¼ of an inch thick or up to ½ an inch thick.
    Marble surface with cookie dough rolled out flat
  • Place on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet for no longer than 5 minutes, and then place on a wire cooling rack to fully cool before frosting.

Frosting

  • In a medium mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine butter, zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • Using a frosting bag and tip or even a ziploc bag with the corner cut, pipe frosting onto each cookie and enjoy! 
    Piping bag of lemon frosting for cookies, on a marble surface

Julie’s 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.

Decorating Suggestions

  • Add Sprinkles
  • Dust with Powdered Sugar
  • Add Fresh Lemon Zest
  • Add Edible Glitter (Luster Dust)

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.