Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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These Lemon Shortbread Cookies are an easy recipe that freezes well too! A buttery meltaway cookie recipe with a tart lemon frosting, these cookies will become a fast favorite!

a pile of lemon shortbread cookies with lemon zest frosting

I’m such a fan of anything tart and lemony, and these buttery cookies hit the spot. A tender cookie that melts in your mouth topped with a tart lemon icing and lemon zest… pretty much cookie perfection if you ask me!

Ingredients Needed for Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • Butter, softened
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Lemon zest
  • Powdered Sugar

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

In a small bowl, combine your flour, cornstarch and lemon zest. Stir it well to combine and then set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat your softened butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. I always make sure to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Then gradually add your flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat on medium low until it is mixed well.

This dough needs to chill in the fridge for an hour before you bake it to prevent the cookies from spreading out too much. I just take a piece of plastic wrap and lay it out on the counter. Transfer your cookie dough to the plastic wrap and then shape into a log that is about 1.5″ in diameter. Wrap it up well and then refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, remove the cookie roll from the fridge and slice into 1/4″ slices. Place on cookie sheets with about an inch or so between them.

a log of shortbread dough with a couple slices cut off

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely on the pans before you transfer them to a wire rack. These cookies are very tender and may break if you try to move them when they’re still warm.

To make the lemon frosting, beat the softened butter until it’s light and fluffy. Then add the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat it all together until it’s smooth.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, you can spread the frosting on. I sprinkled a little extra zest on top as garnish, but that’s completely optional!

Make sure you let the icing set, though, before you stack them otherwise they will all stick together!

a pile of lemon short bread cookies with lemon icing

Tips for Making Shortbread Cookies

  • Be sure to remove the shortbread cookies when the timer goes off.  You want to remove them before they start to brown, because once they’ve started to brown they are too well done. You want to keep them tender and flaky with no browning at all.
  • I use Silicone Mats to line my cookie sheets with. The cookies come right off when they’re done baking and you don’t need to worry at all about them sticking.
  • You can use bottled lemon juice if that is all you have on-hand, but it really is preferable to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. I promise, you’ll notice a difference!
  • I always zest my entire lemon before I cut it open and juice it. If you have more zest than what your recipe calls for, just freeze it for a later use! In fact, little secret here… even if I’m just eating an orange for a snack, I zest it first and freeze it for later! There is always a baggie in my freezer for zest!
  • These cookies really do need the lemon frosting to bring it all together. I’m a huge fan of shortbread, but even I don’t really eat these without the tart icing. It makes the whole cookie complete!

a hand holding a lemon shortbread cookie with lemon frosting and zest

Can I Freeze Shortbread Cookies!

YES!! Shortbread cookies freeze beautifully!

There are 2 ways you can freeze these cookies, but both are done before baking them which is what I recommend.

The first option is to roll your dough in a log, wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze the entire log. On the day you want to make them, remove the cookie log from the freezer and use a sharp knife to cut 1/4″ slices. Let the slices sit on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes and then bake following the recipe’s instructions.

The second option is to cut them in slices before you freeze them. Just lay the slices out on a cookie sheet and flash freeze them for about 30 minutes. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer the slices to a freezer bag to store. This method lets you just pull out 2 or 3 slices at a time if you don’t want to bake the whole batch at a time.

a cookie sheet with a pile of lemon shortbread cookies

a pile of lemon short bread cookies with lemon icing
Print Recipe
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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

These Lemon Shortbread Cookies are an easy recipe that freezes well too! A buttery meltaway cookie recipe with a tart lemon frosting, these cookies will become a fast favorite!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cookie, lemon shortbread cookie
Servings: 36
Calories: 85kcal
Author: Natalie Dixon

Ingredients

Cookie Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Butter softened
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Zest

Lemon Frosting

  • 1/4 cup Butter softened
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Zest

Instructions

Cookie Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add flour, cornstarch and lemon zest. Stir well to combine and then set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon juice and combine well.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients into butter mixture and mix until it is well blended.
  • Shape dough into a 1.5" log and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in fridge for a minimum of one hour.
  • Remove from fridge and slice log into 1/4" slices. Place on cookie sheets with about 1" between.
  • Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Do not let cookies start browning. You want to remove them before they begin to brown. Let cool on cookie sheets on wire racks and then transfer to wire racks.

Frosting Instructions

  • In a small bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until completely smooth
  • Once cookies are completely cool, spread with frosting. 

Nutrition

Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 5mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3.2% | Vitamin C: 0.7% | Calcium: 0.2% | Iron: 1.2%

lemon shortbread cookies with lemon frosting

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