Lemon Shortbread Cookies | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Monday, December 10, 2018

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

These Lemon Shortbread Cookies will be the star of your cookie tray! Lightly lemon flavored buttery cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with yellow sugar couldn't be prettier. They are OMG delicious!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies on a platter

Of all the things I like to bake, cookies makes the top of the list.

That's why this time of year, I'm so busy in the kitchen it's hard to catch my breath! I love to make all the classics and just give them a little twist. Like these Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Walnuts and these yummy Chipotle Peanut Butter Cookies. In fact, you can browse all of my twisted cookie creations in the FIND A RECIPE tab under Desserts above!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies on a platter on the table

But today it's all about these delightful Lemon Shortbread Cookies. I love a good shortbread cookie. Crisp, yet still tender, and oh so buttery. These Lemon Shortbread Cookies are just that. The lemon flavor is complimentary, not overpowering.

I think they are so festive dipped in white chocolate and then sprinkled with colored sugar, but they are fabulous without the extra garnish as well!

How do you make lemon shortbread cookies?

Traditional shortbread cookies do not have any eggs or leavening (baking soda or baking powder) in the batter. Their texture is crispy, yet tender and there is an overwhelming butteriness to them. To turn shortbread cookies into Lemon Shortbread Cookies, I've added lemon extract and the zest of one lemon to the dough of my favorite shortbread cookie recipe. 

I love this lemon shortbread cookie recipe because the dough is fabulous to work with. It comes together quickly in a stand mixer. It's not sticky and it rolls out beautifully. 

Lemon Shortbread Cookies dough in the mixer

Lemon Shortbread Cookie dough cut into circles and on the pan ready to bake

Tips for making the best Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • Make sure the UNSALTED butter is at room temperature. Softened butter will combine with the sugar and flour better. Using unsalted butter, let's you adjust the amount of salt in your cookies. Salt is an important ingredient in sweet recipes like cookies to help balance out the flavors. 
  • Make sure you use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to bake on. It will ensure your cookies don't stick to the pan. 
  • Always preheat your oven before attempting to bake your cookies. The right temperature will make sure each cookie is baked properly. 
  • Mix the wet ingredients well. A stand mixer or a hand mixer will help make easy work of this.
  • Measure the flour by the dip and sweep method (good) or by weight (better) for more accuracy. Baking is all about science and accuracy is everything. 1 cup of all purpose flour weighs approx. 120 grams.
  • Always allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to completely cool. This will allow them to "set" and not break apart when you remove them.

Three Lemon Shortbread Cookies on the table, one with a bite.

Lemon shortbread cookies, shortbread cookies lemon, lemon cookies, lemon shortbread cookie recipe
dessert, cookies
Yield: 48 servings
Author: Renee Paj
Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 25 Min
These Lemon Shortbread Cookies will be the star of your cookie tray! Lightly lemon flavored buttery cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with yellow sugar couldn't be prettier. They are OMG delicious!


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour + extra for rolling
  • 2 cups white chocolate melting discs, melted, optional
  • yellow sanding sugar, optional


  1. In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter until it's light and fluffy. (About 3 to 4 minutes).
  2. Add in the sugar and beat another 3 to 4 minutes to incorporate into the butter.
  3. Add in the salt, lemon extract, and the lemon zest. Mix to combine.
  4. Add in the flour and mix until the dough comes together and begins to pull from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball.
  5. Transfer dough to plastic wrap and form into a disc. Place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet(s) with silicone mat or parchment paper.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator. Working with half the dough at a time, on a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using 2" round cookie cutters, cut into discs and place on prepared baking sheets about 1 to 2" apart.
  8. Bake in oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are set and slightly golden on the sides.
  9. Allow baked cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to racks to cool completely.
  10. Cool completely. Dip one end of cookie into melted white chocolate and sprinkle with yellow sugar, if desired.
  11. Gather up scraps and add in fresh dough and continue rolling and cutting and baking until all dough is used up.


This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies

Measure by dip and sweep method.

Nutrition information is estimate and does not include values for cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

7.53 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

4.71 g

Cholesterol (grams)

16.41 mg

Carbs (grams)

7.45 g

Fiber (grams)

0.02 g

Sugar (grams)

7.41 g

Net carbs

7.42 g

Protein (grams)

0.38 g

Sodium (milligrams)

30 mg

Nutrition information is an estimate and only provided as a courtesy.

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  1. I made this cookie last week and froze them. My husband loves shortbread, this is the first time I made it with lemon. It has wonderful flavor and it will be in my cookie rotation from now on.

    1. Thank you for your lovely review Betty! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  2. Hi Renee,
    I refrigerated the dough over night and now it is too dry to work with. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Chantal! thanks for your question. I've never refrigerated this dough overnight, so I can't tell you from experience, but it would seem that if you allowed the dough to come to room temperature, you should be able to work with it. I hope this helps!

    2. Would it be possible to have all the ingredients in gramms...I live in Europe and we don't use cups for measuring...thx

    3. Hello and thanks for your comment. I don't provide measurements in grams for the most part since I live in the US. There are many online conversion apps and charts you can use to do this for yourself. Hope this helps!

  3. i have never heard of “yellow sanding sugar”. Can you tell me where I’d find it and if it has another name it goes by?

    1. Hello! Thanks for your question. It's just colored sugar you can purchase in the grocery store. Hope this helps!

  4. Can you just slice these ?

    1. Hi! I've never sliced this dough to make the cookies. I can tell you it rolls out nicely. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try by slicing rather than rolling.

  5. Is it possible to us fresh lemon juice vs the extract? If yes, then how much?

    1. Hi there! Thanks for your question. I don't think lemon juice in place of the extract would work.

    2. I used fresh lemon juice instead of extract and they were great. I used 1 TBSP of lemon juice to replace 1 tsp lemon extract. I did make a light lemon icing which really upped the lemon instead of the white chocolate dip.


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