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+ servings

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Buttery and lightly sweet, these easy slice and bake cookies disappear in a flash!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chilling1 hr
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies, dessert, lemon, shortbread cookies
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 126kcal
Author: Tricia


For the cookie dough:

  • zest from 2 lemons, no white pith
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (5oz)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar (57g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (226g)

For the lemon icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (115g)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, more or less for desired consistency

Optional coarse sugar coating:

  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup turbinado, or other coarse sugar for rolling


To prepare the cookie dough:

  • In a small food processor combine the lemon zest and granulated sugar. Pulse until the sugar is bright yellow and the zest is broken down into tiny pieces.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the softened butter with an electric mixer for 1 minutes or until creamy and smooth. Add the lemon sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Blend on medium until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and blend again.
  • Add half the flour to the butter mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the remaining flour and blend on low until the dough is crumbly and the flour is all incorporated. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when pinched.
  • Turn the crumbled dough out onto a large piece of wax paper. Pat and squeeze the crumbs into a log 12-inches long. Wrap the dough tightly in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  • To bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (See instruction below if adding coarse sugar coating) Lay a 12-inch ruler next to the dough log. Make hashmarks with a knife at 1/2-inch intervals. Using a large thin, sharp knife, slice the log into 24 (1/2-inch) rounds. Divide the cookies between the prepared baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until the bottoms are very light brown and the tops are just set. Don't over bake. Cool completely on a wire rack before adding the lemon glaze.
  • OPTIONAL coarse sugar coating: When ready to slice and bake, brush a beaten egg white over the well chilled dough log. Roll the dough log in coarse sugar, pressing firmly to adhere. Slice and bake as directed above.

To prepare the lemon glaze:

  • Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Add a little fresh lemon juice or powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Drizzle, dollop or spread the glaze over the cooled cookies. Top with additional lemon zest or sprinkles, if desired.
  • Allow the icing to set before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.


  • Cookies will keep well for up to 5 days at room temperature.
  • The butter must be very soft or the dough won’t mix well and may seem dry.
  • Make sure you don’t over-measure the flour. Stir the flour in the bag, then lightly spoon into a measuring cup. Level off the top with the dull side of a table knife. Or, use weight measurements as indicated.
  • If the cookie dough splits or breaks apart when slicing, simply piece it back together into a round and bake.
  • The cookie dough can be made ahead and stored tightly wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap for up to 4 days before baking.
  • The dough can also be frozen for up to a month. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator for about 4 hours before slicing.
  • Baked and iced cookies also freeze well sealed in an airtight container.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 146IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg