A stack of lemon shortbread cookies tied with a piece of string and lemon slices on a plate.
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5 from 1 vote

Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Every bite of these easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies is sweet lemony bliss! And, they couldn't be easier to make thanks to my genius cookie hack and a secret ingredient. Perfect with a cup of coffee or milk, these buttery, tender, classic lemon shortbread bars will quickly become a family favorite. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Chill2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: shortbread cookies, shortbread biscuits, lemon shortbread cookies, lemon shortbread bars
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 65kcal
Author: Sharon Rigsby

Ingredients

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter 12 ounces, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon paste
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Optional Lemon Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest optional

Instructions

Lemon Shortbread Cookies Directions:

  • Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix until they are well combined.
  • Add the lemon paste and mix well.
  • Sift the flour and salt together and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low until everything is well combined and the dough starts coming together in a ball.
  • Pat the dough into a flat disk and sprinkle just a little flour on the top and bottom.
  • Place the dough disk in a gallon-size plastic storage bag and leave the top open.
  • Use a rolling pin and gently roll out the dough until it completely fills the bag and is an even thickness. If any dough oozes out the top of the bag, cut it off and place back in the bag and roll it in.
  • Place the bag of dough on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours or up to 36 hours.
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator.
  • Use scissors and carefully cut the bag down the middle and up the sides. Turn the dough out on a Silpat mat or sprinkle a small amount of flour on your countertop to keep it from sticking and put it on the counter.
  • I used a ruler as a guide and cut my dough lengthwise into one-inch long strips using a fluted pastry cutter. Then I cut it horizontally into 2-1/2-inch bars. Use a fork and pierce each cookie a few times.
  • Place the cookies on a Silpat baking mat on a baking sheet or an ungreased baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart; bake for 15-20 minutes. Watch the cookies carefully and do not let them brown. They should just be starting to turn a light golden brown on the edges but still be pale in the center.

Optional Lemon Glaze Directions:

  • Add sifted confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and optional lemon zest to a small bowl and mix with a spoon until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, add additional sugar. If it's too thick, add a few drops more of lemon juice.
  • Use a small spoon and drizzle the glaze over the cookies.

Notes

Sharon's Expert Tips:
You can substitute lemon extract for the lemon paste in this recipe. If you want to add even more lemony flavor add one tablespoon of lemon zest to the dough.
You can purchase lemon paste where lemon extract is sold, order it online, or you can make your own by puréeing preserved lemons in your food processor and adding a tiny bit of olive oil.
Both the baked lemon shortbread cookies and the dough freeze well. Be sure to use an airtight container. If you are freezing the baked cookies, place a layer of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
Lemon shortbread cookies are very versatile. You can cut them out with a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, cookie-cutter, or biscuit cutter. Or, you can shape them into a log, chill, and slice and bake.
I used a Ziploc flat plastic gallon storage bag to hold and roll out the dough. I have seen some storage bags which have an accordion pleat at the bottom and these bags won't work.
The lemon glaze is optional. Lemon shortbread cookies are delicious with or without the glaze. If you are storing glazed cookies, be sure to let the glaze dry completely so they don't stick together.
Lemon shortbread cookies are sturdy and travel well. This makes them perfect for including in a care package for a college student or sick friend.
Shortbread cookies, like sugar cookies, are also perfect for decorating with royal icing for holidays like Christmas or Easter.

Nutrition

Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg