Light, refreshing Lemon Shortbread Cookies are a burst of sunshine! Buttery shortbread cookies with bright lemon flavor are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. They’re incredibly easy to make, requiring only a handful of ingredients and a few simple steps.

lemon shortbread cookies stamped with flowers, bees and beehives on a white plate
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Welcome, lemon lovers! This tangy twist on the classic shortbread cookie recipe is perfect for spring and summer! They taste just as heavenly as they look.

These buttery lemon shortbread cookies are perfect for any occasion, whether you’re looking for a sweet snack or a dessert to impress your guests. This easy recipe combines tangy lemon extract with buttery shortbread dough to create the perfect blend of savory and bright!

Why You’ll Love Them

  • Refreshing – Full of bright lemon flavor.
  • Crisp and Buttery – This sweet treat is a fun twist on classic shortbread cookies, producing tangy buttery cookies!
  • Simple – This easy recipe only uses 5 simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen!
honeycomb stamped lemon shortbread cookies on white plate

Ingredients and Substitutions

See the printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  • Salted Butter – Butter is the star ingredient in shortbread that gives them that melt-in-your-mouth quality. If you prefer, you can use unsalted butter as well. Either way, bring butter to room temperature for best results.
  • Brown Sugar – Brown sugar gives these cookies a deeper flavor and a hint of color.
  • Flour – All purpose flour.
  • Lemon Extract – A little hint of lemon extract makes these cookies stand out. If you’re really in a pinch, you can substitute lemon juice; however, you get more flavor from extract.
  • Lemon Zest – Fresh lemon zest offers more flavor than extract and adds the perfect amount of color to these cookies. Meyer lemons are my favorite, but the zest of any lemon will work!

How to Make Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  1. Make Dough – Using an electric mixer, cream butter on medium speed, then mix in brown sugar. Add lemon extract and zest. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Chill Dough – Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Slice and Stamp – Roll dough on a floured work surface to 1/2″ thick and use cookie cutters and stamps to make shapes. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  4. Bake – Bake cookies as directed for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Shortcuts

lemon shortbread cookies stamped with flowers, bees and beehives on a white plate

Tip

  • Use softened butter, not melted butter. Learn How to Soften Butter Quickly.
  • If you’re not using cookie stamps, roll chilled dough into a log shape on a lightly floured surface and slice.

Serving Suggestions

  • Use cookie stamps to make the cookies adorable!
  • Drizzle with Lemon Glaze to take these over the top!

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – Allow cookies to cool. Store in an airtight container, layered with parchment paper or a sealable bag up to 1 week.
  • Refrigerate – Allow cookies to cool. Store in an airtight container, layered with parchment paper or sealable bag, up to 2 weeks.
  • Freeze – To freeze shortbread cookies in an airtight container, wrap container with plastic wrap or place in a freezer bag to prevent freezer odor from seeping in. Freeze up to 1 month.

Reheat

  1. Reheat in the microwave for 10 seconds or until warm.
honeycomb stamped lemon shortbread cookies on white plate

Leftover Ideas

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make these cookies ahead of time?

Yes! Zest a bunch of lemons and freeze the zest to use whenever you want.
Then, make the dough, roll it into a log, and freeze in plastic wrap. When ready to bake, let the dough thaw and then slice and bake.

How do I know when the Lemon Shortbread Cookies are done?

Bake at a low temperature until the edges are just barely golden, and the tops of the cookie are dry.

Can I use lemon juice instead of lemon extract?

You can use lemon juice instead of extract, which has a stronger, smoother flavor.

Can I add a simple lemon glaze to these delicious cookies!

Absolutely! Click here for this bright lemon glaze recipe!

Tips

  • Don’t chill the dough for more than 30 minutes. The dough won’t stick together if it’s chilled for too long.
  • Shortbread cookies are a pale color with very little browning. They require a low and slow bake for a delicate crumb.
Tiny frosted lemon shortbread cookies on a white platter.

PS If you love all things lemon, you have to check out these adorable frosted lemon cookies!

More Lemon Recipes

lemon shortbread cookies stamped with flowers, bees and beehives on a white plate
4.92 from 24 votes

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Easy, light and refreshing Lemon Shortbread Cookies recipe that offers a little crunch, hint of lemon and that buttery flavor we all love! A perfect spring and summer recipe that taste as heavenly as they look.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 36
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Ingredients  

  • 2 cups salted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • cups all-purpose flour + up to ½ cup more flour, if needed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 lemon

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and light in color. (about 3 minutes). Add brown sugar and beat until well combined. 
  • Mix in lemon extract and lemon zest.
  • Gradually add in flour a half cup at a time until dough begins to form. Add up to an additional ½ cup flour if needed so that the dough forms and ball and isn't sticky.
  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Make a dough ball and press into a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • On a floured surface, roll dough to ½" thick. Cut with cookie cutter and gently stamp. Place 12 on a large cookie sheet spaced equally.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes (depending on size of your cutters), watching carefully as to not over-bake. Cookies are done when they're just set.

Tips

Tips:
  • If you’re not using cookie stamps, roll chilled dough into a log shape on a lightly floured surface and slice.
  • Don’t chill the dough for more than 30 minutes. The dough won’t stick together if it’s chilled for too long.
  • Use softened butter, not melted butter.
Optional:
Drizzle with lemon glaze
You can pair these with this easy 3 Ingredient Lemon Glaze
Serving: 1g | Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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

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37 Comments

      1. Hi Gayle,
        That often works if you use a gluten free flour intended for baking, but we haven’t tested it on this particular recipe. If you do, please report back so other readers can see your results!
        Enjoy,
        Julie

  1. Where did you find your adorable cookie molds? As always, a great post. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. This looks so yummy! Shortbread is my husband’s favorite cookie but I’ve never tried a lemon one.

    I am confused about the nutrition facts? We read those closely since my husband is a type I diabetic. I do know that one Walker shortbread cookie is 11g of carbs. So I assume the 300g listed here is for the whole recipe? Not just one cookie? The right side of the nutrition chart is cut off on my page – maybe it’s my browser? So I can’t read it clearly.

    Thanks!

    1. No, that’s the daily recommendation. I’m sorry, nutrition isn’t configured for all of my recipes yet, but I’m working on it.