Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Total Time

Prep: 25 min. Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling


2 dozen

Updated: May. 19, 2022
I received this recipe for lemon shortbread cookies from my cousin who tried to duplicate cookies she loved from a restaurant. It was in a cookbook she made for the family for Christmas! —Lorie Miner, Kamas, Utah
Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. Combine the flour, cornstarch, nutmeg, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. (Dough will be crumbly.) Shape into a ball.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, press dough to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 1-in. fluted cookie cutter; place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick cookies with a fork. Reroll scraps if desired.
  3. Bake until firm, 12-15 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before carefully removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Combine confectioners' sugar and lemon juice; drizzle over cookies. Store in an airtight container.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies Tips

Why is my shortbread cookie dough so crumbly?

A crumbly dough gives shortbread cookies their signature tenderness. When forming the dough, you don’t want to compress it too tightly and risk a dense, tough cookie. However, if you find your dough is too crumbly to manage, try adding up to a teaspoon of ice water, a few drops at a time, until the dough starts coming together. Slightly chilling the dough in the refrigerator can also help the dough stay hydrated. Read more secrets for successful shortbread from our Test Kitchen.

How do you store lemon shortbread cookies?

To keep your cookies fresh, store them in an airtight container between sheets of waxed or parchment paper. Stored this way, they should be good for 3-4 days. However, shortbread cookies are terrific in that they often last longer and still taste wonderful!

What can you serve with lemon shortbread cookies?

Lemon shortbread cookies pair beautifully with coffee, tea, or even iced tea. For a little variation, add some chopped, dried lavender buds to your shortbread dough for lemon-lavender shortbread cookies!

Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

1 cookie: 77 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 39mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.