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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

lemon shortbread cookies

So…I have this friend. Her name is Amy, and she’s incredibly funny and sweet and giving and totally awesome. She’s pretty much one of my most favorite people on the planet. She always makes me laugh and she’s someone whose opinion I truly value. The weird thing is that I’ve never met her.

She’s the blogger behind Very Culinary, one of my most favorite food blogs. Amy always “keeps it real” and she never pulls punches. She’s funny and honest and always sincere, and I love and admire her for that.

I mention her because she’s my inspiration for this post. Never one to turn down an opportunity to help someone, Amy has been involved with Cookies for Kids Cancer for the past couple of years. Every time I read her words and see the delicious cookies she bakes, I always think “I should do that, too”. But by the time the holidays roll around again, I’ve forgotten about my plans. Thankfully, GLAD reminded me this year! GLAD reached out to bloggers (through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program) asking us to participate. They covered the cost of all the cookie ingredients and sent bags, aprons, stickers and other things we needed to host our own bake sale. All we had to do was donate our time. Who could possibly say no to such a proposition? Especially when the beneficiaries are sweet children who are terribly ill?

shortbread cookies

We made about twenty dozen of these Lemon Shortbread Cookies as well as another 8 dozen of these Fresh Cranberry, Chocolate & Oatmeal cookies. We asked friends and family to buy some of our goodies and we were sold out in no time! One bachelor friend bought half of them himself to give to co-workers (isn’t that a great idea?!). But we’re not quite finished: we’ve gotten a few more orders as word spread so we’ll be fulfilling those in the next couple of weeks (and you can be sure that I’ll post the delicious results of our work ;)

You can help, too, and there’s no baking or buying required. All you have to do is exchange a virtual cookie with a friend and GLAD will donate up to $1.00 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each cookie sold, exchanged or given through the end of December – up to $100,000! C’mon – be a good cookie and help!

And if all you want to do is just make these yummy cookies, that’s fine, too. These lemony, buttery cookies are perfect for the holidays! They mix together in a snap, then all you have to do is form two cylinders from the dough and refrigerate. Once the dough is nice and firm, just slice them up and bake. Drizzle on a glaze made from lemon juice and powdered sugar and you’ll be in shortbread heaven!

lemon cookies


lemon shortbread

lemon shortbread

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Yield: about 24 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

A delightful cookie that's perfect for Christmas.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest from two lemons
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice


  1. Beat butter, sugar, zest and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and stir just until blended.
  2. Mix together flour and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix just until blended.
  3. Divide dough in half and roll into cylinders (about a foot long). Place in refrigerator for two hours or up to two days.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and unwrap. Slice into circles about 1/4 inch thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until just starting to turn golden brown around the edges. Remove immediately to wire racks and let cool completely.
  6. Once cookies are completely cooled, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle or spread over cookies.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 122mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)


Monday 4th of July 2022

This recipe turned out great for me. I think in the past with shortbread I've been an impatient baker. But thanks to unseasonably warm weather, I wasn't required to wait long for all the ingredients came to room temp. I added chopped fresh rosemary to the cookies and the frosting which was a nice addition (I've been rosemary obsessed lately due to an abundance of rosemary shrubs). Now here it is the 4th of July and I'm toying with 'what is for dessert?' I was originally thinking shortcake with strawberries but have decided that lemon shortbread cookies will be much better! Thanks!!!

Betsy King

Friday 15th of April 2022

I made the lemon cookies and I cut them a quarter of an inch thick they are very thin they’re not fat like the pictures you show but they’re just really yummy. I like the crispiness of the thin ones I don’t know if I made them thicker if they would still be crispy or not


Saturday 19th of March 2022

Search "lemon shortbread" and you'll get a ton of recipes. I'm so glad I picked yours because they are exactly what I was looking for. The cookies are so good "naked" that we decided to forego the sweet/tart drizzle. I used two extremely large lemons which yielded more zest, but the resulting lemon flavor was exactly right.

One comment about the amount: the recipe says about 24 cookies. One twelve-inch log cut into rounds as described will make 40-48, which means lots more cookies - but I'm certainly not complaining.

Thanks for a great recipe!


Sunday 27th of February 2022

These are absolutely yum. Perfect shortbread biscuits! They are my goto recipe now for shortbread. I love the idea of egg yolk in the dough so much. This makes them melt in your mouth. You could sell these in a shop for sure. Thanks so much for this recipe.

Kristy Bernardo

Monday 7th of March 2022

Oh man, this is such a great comment, thank you! Shortbread is my weakness and these are definitely a favorite of ours. Thanks so much, Layla!

Vi Tamargo

Sunday 17th of December 2017

Thanks for sharing! Teaspoon or tablespoon when you say "t" in the recipe?

Kristy Bernardo

Monday 18th of December 2017

Hi Vi! A small "t" is teaspoon and a large "T" is a tablespoon.

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