Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Frankie Frankeny


  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

On a recent trip to Scotland, I ate my body weight in shortbread. The Scots are known as the originators of shortbread and I was seeking out any new bits of knowledge that could perfect the Miette version. The perfection of this cookie lies not in a secret ingredient, but in quality ingredients.

This lemon shortbread recipe takes the tart, fresh flavor of lemons and contrasts it beautifully with the richness of butter. In the walnut variation, the nuts add a wonderful earthy taste that we accentuate with sea salt.

It is important to stop mixing just at the point when the dough clumps together. This prevents the cookies from becoming tough. Freezing the dough makes the cookies more crumbly and helps them maintain their shape while baking. Don’t under bake these cookies. They should be golden brown.


Using a mortar and pestle or clean spice grinder, grind together the sugar and zest.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, butter, salt, and baking soda and beat on low speed until it resembles cornmeal. Add the lemon sugar, cream, and vanilla and beat until just clumped together.

If the dough is soft, wrap it tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Otherwise, roll out the dough ½-inch thick on a lightly floured surface into a 6-by-4-inch rectangle. Using a ruler, square the edges as much as possible. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1-inch squares. Place them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies straight from the freezer until they are golden brown, about 10–12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.


Calories per serving:

141 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Low Sodium Low Potassium, Kidney Friendly, Vegetarian, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Oil Added

Daily value:



  • Fat 220g 338%
  • Carbs 329g 110%
  • Saturated 138g 689%
  • Fiber 8g 32%
  • Trans 7g
  • Sugars 137g
  • Monounsaturated 58g
  • Polyunsaturated 9g
  • Protein 30g 60%
  • Cholesterol 611mg 204%
  • Sodium 1,544mg 64%
  • Calcium 169mg 17%
  • Magnesium 68mg 17%
  • Potassium 418mg 12%
  • Iron 12mg 66%
  • Zinc 2mg 15%
  • Phosphorus 382mg 55%
  • Vitamin A 1,923µg 214%
  • Vitamin C 16mg 27%
  • Thiamin (B1) 2mg 133%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 1mg 85%
  • Niacin (B3) 15mg 75%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 8%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 469µg 117%
  • Vitamin B12 1µg 9%
  • Vitamin D 4µg 1%
  • Vitamin E 7mg 34%
  • Vitamin K 20µg 24%
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