Shortbread Cookies are a must and these Lemon Shortbread are the perfect Lemon Lovers melt in your mouth Cookie. Delicious not just at Holiday Time!
I am a huge shortbread cookie lover! Never fail, every holiday season my Mom’s Shortbread Cookies would be front and centre.
And for good reason they are amazing.It was always hard to decide what were your favourite, because when you took a bite of one it instantly became your favourite until the next one came along.
- Powdered Sugar – also known as confectioners or icing sugar
- Lemon zest
- Flour – all purpose at least 11.5% protein or higher
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon juice
- Cream or milk
Why use powdered/icing sugar?
Powdered sugar will help keep the cookies soft for longer and it helps to keep the cookies from spreading while baking.
How to make Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Sift together the flour and salt.
In a large bowl with a wooden spoon mix together the butter, sugar and zest. Add the sifted flour mixture a little at a time, stirring between additions. Once the dough starts to come together move to a flat surface and knead into a compact ball.
Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours. You can also shape the dough into a log or two, refrigerate then slice and bake.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookies. Place cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for about 15 minutes while the oven is pre-heating. Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
Bake cookies for approximately 12 minutes. Let cool completely before drizzling with glaze.
In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and cream, if too thin add more sugar too thick add either more lemon juice or cream.
How to Measure Flour
The correct way to measure flour is to spoon the flour into the cup measurement and level it off with the blade of a knife. The best flour to use for cut out cookies is a high protein all purpose flour, 12-14 % protein is what you are looking for.
How to make Shortbread Cookies without a cookie cutter:
With this Shortbread dough you can actually just roll the dough into a log shape, then slice it and bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I would probably refrigerate the log (before cutting) for about 30 minutes. Or you can roll it out and cut with your favorite cookie cutters.
Can this Shortbread Recipe be made with a stand mixer?
If you can’t or don’t want to knead the dough by hand, then yes a stand up mixer using the paddle attachment will work just fine.
I would only knead up to a point, when the dough just starts to come together (or even better, very coarse crumb mixture) and then knead the dough by hand.
How to keep cookies from spreading
To keep the cookies from spreading it is best to beat the butter and sugar just until combined and not creamed (of course this also depends on the type of cookie), for some cookies including some icing sugar in the mixture also keeps the cookies from spreading.
And probably most important of all, is to use a higher protein flour with at least 11.5- 12% protein count.
And don’t forget to chill the dough for at least 1 hour and again the cut out cookies before baking while the oven is pre-heating. The main reason for chilling the cookie dough before baking is to solidify the fat in the cookies.
As the cookies are baking, the chilled fat in the dough will take longer to melt then room temperature dough fat. Therefore the cookies will spread less.
How to Store Shortbread Cookies
The baked cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. I sometimes store mine in the fridge because I like cold cookies. They will last up to 10 days by storing them in the fridge.
How to Freeze Shortbread Cookies
To freeze the shortbread cookies, place parchment paper in between the layers of the completely cooled cookies this prevents them from sticking together when they are in the containers for freezing, or you can also place the baked cooled cookies on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then move the frozen cookies to either airtight bags or containers. Baked Shortbread Cookies will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
How to make the Perfect Shortbread Base for Bar Cookies
There are some delicious Bar Cookies that call for a simple Shortbread Base such as Lemon Cheese Cake Bars or my personal favourites Coconut Jam Squares. All you need are three ingredients, butter, sugar and flour to make the perfect Shortbread base for a Bar Cookie.
5 Must Bake Shortbread Cookies
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without shortbread so here are another five recipes that should definitely be on your baking list! Fast, easy and melt in your mouth perfection!
- Almond Crescent Cookies
- The Best Simple Two Way Shortbread Cookies
- Easy Chocolate Chip Whipped Shortbread
- Shortbread Cookies One Dough Two Ways
- Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies
- Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
So if Shortbread Cookies are a must on your Holiday Baking List, then I hope you give one or even all of these a try, and let me know how you like them. Enjoy!
Lemon Shortbread Cookies + 5 More Must Bake Shortbread Recipes
FOR THE SHORTBREAD
- 1 1/4 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour (180 grams total)
- 1 pinch salt*
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons butter (softened)* (155 grams total)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered / icing sugar (75 grams total)
- zest 1 lemon
*If you use unsalted butter then add ¼ teaspoon of salt. Be sure to use a good quality butter, apparently this year 2022, store brand butter quality is not what it used to be. Less fat could mean a dry not so tasty cookie.
- 1 1/4 cups powdered / icing sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon whole / whipping cream or milk
- Sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a wooden spoon mix together the butter, sugar and zest. Add the sifted flour mixture a little at a time, stirring between additions. Once the dough starts to come together (even if you haven't added all the flour), move to a flat surface and knead into a compact ball. (If you need extra flour add one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too crumbly add more butter, a little at a time).
- Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours. You can also shape the dough into a log or two, refrigerate then slice and bake.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookies. Place cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for about 15 – 20 minutes while the oven is pre-heating.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
- Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes. Let cool completely before drizzling with glaze. Enjoy.
- In a small bowl combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and cream, if too thin add more sugar too thick add either more lemon juice or cream.
After I mixed my dough and put it in a ball for the refrig, my hands were a mess with dough. Did I need to add more flour or butter? As you can tell, I am a baking novice.
Hi Janette, no your hands should’t be a mess with dough, see how it is when it comes out of the fridge, if it is still really sticky add a some flour, a tablespoon at a time. Take a look at the video to get an idea of how the dough should be. Let me know :).
Joan S Smith says
absolutely delicious! i made rolls and cut them in slices…..makes about 2 dozen.
Hi Joan, thanks so much, so glad you liked the cookies. Have a great Sunday!
Would you be okay if I used your recipe in a video? These cookies look so awesome and I want to try making them in a video!
Hi Sydney, sure but I would really appreciate it if you linked up to the recipe post. Thanks
I just took these out of the oven!! Couldn’t wait till they were cooled, just dunked one in the glaze and popped it into my mouth!
These are so good!! They just melt in your mouth!!!
I did roll these in a log, put in the freezer and they were ready to cut and bake in 30-45 minutes!
Hi Kristy, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed them. They are my husband’s favourite too. Take care.
im a bit confused when it comes to the cal on some of thse recipes, i see 93k cal. what does that mean? is 93k cal mean 93 calories in total?
Hi Michelle, it’s 93 calories per cookie (24 cookies).
Susan Gates says
Have not made these cookies yet. But I saved the recipe as Easter Cookies. I plan to make them with my grandsons in the spring in shapes such as eggs, flowers, leaves, bunnies, chicks, with pastel drizzles or royal icing.
Would lemon extract be an acceptable substitute for lemon zest?
Hi Casey, yes you can substitute lemon extract, use about 1 1/2 teaspoons. Let me know how it goes. Have a great weekend.
I plan on making the dough in advance and cutting out the shape before I freeze them. How long should they sit out on the counter before I put them in the oven?
Thanks! So excited to try these!
Hi Mallory you could probably even bake them frozen just give them a couple of minutes extra baking time. Let me know how you it goes.
Thanks for sharing! How far ahead of time can I make them?
Thanks Vanessa, you can make them 4-5 days in advance and keep them in an airtight container, or freeze them for up to a month. I think freezing is the best.
These look so good! They would be so yummy to make Easter sugar cookies with too!
Hi Suzanne, thanks so much and I think so too.
Your cookies sound great. I will have to give them a try since my grandson loves lemon cookies. I noticed someone mentioned cornstarch. I made cookies for Christmas with cornstarch in them and I did not like them. The cornstarch left a funny coating in my mouth. I had read that it helps the cookie from spreading. I won’t be trying them again. I look forward to trying your recipe.
Hi Donna, let me know how the cookies turned out. Happy New Year.
This was a great recipe. The cookies came beautiful and delicious. I added it too my list of Christmas cookies from now on.
Thanks Cathy, so glad you enjoyed them. Happy New Year!
hi, I am researching shortbread cookies recipes. this sounds delicious. is high protein flour the same as bread flour? thanks.
Hi Carol, I don’t know if bread flour has a 13% protein content or not, it’s usually listed on the side of the bag.
Has anyone tried making the cookie dough green with food coloring?
Interesting that you like cold cookies!!! I love cookies FROZEN. Yup, everyone thinks I’m nuts. These lemon ones combine 2 of my favorite things…shortbread and lemon. I WILL make 🙂
Hi Jackie, haha cold cookies are the best, and yeah frozen I like too. Thanks let me know what you think. Happy Holidays.