Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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This small batch of soft and buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies are highlighted with fresh lemon juice, plus zest!  The cookies are light, bright, and easy to make – and they are perfect with a hot cup of tea!

Lemon shortbread cookies stacked

Small Batch of Lemon Cookies

Lemon cookies just scream spring, don’t they?  Or maybe summer?  Or, does it matter?  Because these Lemon Shortbread Cookies are good at any time of the year.  

You may be asking are these cookies actually a small batch if the recipe makes 10 cookies?  And I say yes.  The cookies are dainty, and at about 2-inches in diameter, they are far from monster-sized.  

If you have read my other recipes (or just the tagline of my blog), you know small batch is my thing.  And for cookies, I think the small batch is awesome.  Why, you ask?  You can bake all of the cookies at the same time.  I love this for two reasons:  1.  you portion all of the dough at once, making it easier to manage the portions, and 2.  all of the cookies are baked evenly and identical.   

So there you have it – the main reason(s) why I like small batch desserts (specifically, cookies).

Lemon shortbread cookies with powdered sugar

Easy Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies may be the easiest cookies to make.  There are no eggs, leavening agents, and just a handful of ingredients.  They have a soft texture that almost melts in your mouth.  Plus, they are highly versatile and can be flavored in a variety of ways. 

How to get the right texture in these Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • Butter is the key – butter gives them their soft texture and we help the texture a little with the next ingredient.
  • Cornstarch – I’ve added this to absorb any excess water that may come from the butter.  This keeps the cookies intact and not as crumbly.
  • Powdered sugar – the powdered sugar makes the cookies even softer, and less sandy. 

To cover flavor varieties – the possibilities may be endless.  You just want to make sure you watch the amount of moisture that is added – too much and the cookies may be too crumbly.  

A few flavor ideas to add to shortbread cookies:

  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Candied Ginger
  • Chopped Rosemary
  • Orange Zest
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Sprinkles
Stack of lemon shortbread cookies on a plate

Tips to make Shortbread Cookies

Bring the butter to room temperature – Like other cookie recipes, we are going to cream the butter and sugar together.

Sift the dry ingredients – I need to go back to every other recipe I have written and add this.  Sifting ensures there are no lumps or bumps in your flour or powdered sugar.

Add a little cornstarchTechnically you can omit this ingredient.  I like to add it to keep the cookie texture smooth.

Chill the dough – This may just be a personal preference.  However, chilling the dough sets the butter, and alleviates too much spread.  Which is especially important in a cookie. 

More Small Batch Cookie Recipes

Shortbread cookies on top of a plate
Lemon shortbread cookies stacked
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4.80 from 10 reviews

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Yield: 10 Cookies (see Notes)
This small batch of soft and buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies are highlighted with fresh lemon juice, plus zest!  The cookies are light, bright, and easy to make – and they are perfect with a hot cup of tea!
Prep15 minutes
Cook11 minutes
Chill Time30 minutes
Total56 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons + more for dusting powdered sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 small lemon
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • pinch salt


  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Use a handheld mixer on medium-high speed to beat until creamy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt over the top of the wet ingredients, and beat until combined.
  • Pour the dough onto a piece of wax paper or parchment paper. Roll into a 3-4 inch log, for approx. 2-inch diameter cookies. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350o degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchmet paper.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and evenly slice the dough log into 10 cookies. I usually slice my cookies a little larger than 1/4 inch. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 11 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are slightly golden.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the cookies with the remaining powdered sugar prior to serving.
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  • Serving Size – The number of cookies you yield from this recipes depends on how large/small you roll your dough into a log.  And how thick/thin you slice the cookie dough.  I slice my cookies just a tad bigger than 1/4 inch.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
About the author photo.

about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!

comments & reviews

8 thoughts on “Lemon Shortbread Cookies”

  1. 5 stars
    Soo delicious and easy breezy to make. I’m done baking dozens of cookies. Your recipe was just what I needed. Will definitely make them again.

  2. 5 stars
    I made these for a baby shower and I used a GF measure for measure flour otherwise following recipe exactly. They were tangy and tender—perfect for our High Tea theme. I chose to do a drizzle of lemon glaze as opposed to powdered sugar. So good!

  3. 5 stars
    My go-to shortbread recipe, I always double the amount because I eat them so quickly, and I love adding dried lavender to them. These cookies just melt in your mouth, so delicious and simple 😊😊

  4. My cookies didn’t spread to 2”. They pretty much stayed at the 1” size. Any idea why? Is it a good idea to flatten the dough a little before baking?
    Thank you.


    1. Erin | Butter and Bliss

      Hi Kathy – My apologies – I had an error in the instructions. The log should only be about 3-4 inches long for (approx.) 2 inch round cookies. Since these are shortbread, they shouldn’t spread too much when baked. So it sounds like yours baked correctly – they were just smaller than what is in the photos. Sorry about that! Thank you for trying the recipe though!

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