Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe

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These lemon shortbread cookies use lemon, thyme, and granulated sugar for a crisp, buttery cookie. It is topped with a touch of lemon frosting and sea salt to give it a bright lemon flavor. These cookies are a melt-in-your-mouth dessert! 

Lemon shortbread cookies with frosting and zest.

These shortbread cookies are buttery and soft but still have a little crispness to them. They’re perfect for tea and can’t be sweeter if you want a cookie. They can be made all year long with different variations. Dipping them in chocolate, adding a frosting, and other citrus extracts. 

Also, try my amazing Rosemary Shortbread Cookies with Brown Sugar. They’re so good! Check out my ricotta lemon cookie recipe and all my best lemon recipes!

Shortbread Cookie with a little lemon frosting and a sprig of thyme.

These lemon cookies are great for summer gatherings, baby showerstea parties, or garden parties. They are the perfect summery cookie recipe filled with lemon flavor. 

Lemon cookies with lemon frosting and lemon zest.

Unsalted butter – The recipe calls for salt, so unsalted butter is best.

Granulated sugar – I love the texture this sugar gives the cookie.

Vanilla Extract & lemon extract – Both extracts add a lot of flavor.

Fresh lemon zest – Gives the cookies flavor and a fantastic fragrance. 

All-purpose flour works as a stabilizer to hold the cookies together and helps them rise.

Fresh thyme – Creates an earthy and natural flavor and pairs well with lemon.

I added a little lemon frosting with thyme and pink sea salt to the top of our cookies. 

The frosting is simple and can be made while the cookies are baked. It adds so much flavor and beauty to the cookie!

Bit taken out of a shortbread cookie with lemon.

Cookie cutters: Use cookie cutters in fun shapes like flowers, hearts, or stars to create a unique cookie.

Chill the dough: After mixing all the ingredients, chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out and cutting it into cookies. This will help the cookies keep their shape while baking.

Adjust baking time: Watch your cookies while baking and adjust the time accordingly. Thinner cookies may need less time to bake.

Experiment with different citrus flavors: Instead of lemon, use lime or orange extract for a different twist on this classic shortbread.

Lemon shortbread cookie with lemon frosting.

How to Store 

Once cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. For more extended storage, you can also freeze them. Just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container before freezing.

Two shortbread cookies on a white plate with frosting.

To garnish these cookies, I added lemon frosting, thyme, lemon zest, and pink sea salt to the cookie. Aren’t they so pretty?!

Lemon shortbread cookies with lemon frosting and a sprig of thyme.

Let me know if you make these easy lemon shortbread cookies by leaving a comment and review below or tag us on social media (@sugarandcharm). I love seeing what you make!

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Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Classic Shortbread Cookies made with lemon and thyme and granulated sugar for a crisp, buttery cookie! Add a little lemon frosting and sea salt to the cookie for a melt in your mouth dessert! 
4.58 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16 Cookies
Calories: 454kcal
Author: Eden


Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, must be room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

Lemon Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice



  • Using your fingers, rub the thyme and lemon zest in the sugar in a bowl, relaxing the oils from the thyme to fragrance the sugar. This process will infuse the sugar with the thyme scent and a little flavor.
  • Using an electric mixer and the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined.
  • Add the extracts, flour, and salt and slowly mix until they all come together.
  • Flatten the dough into a 1” disk and refrigerate the shortbread dough for about 30 minutes until the dough is cold.
  • Roll the dough about 1/2" thick on a lightly floured surface and use a 1 1/2" to 2" cookie cutter. I used a round cookie cutter for these. 
  • Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  • Let them cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes while you whip up the icing.

Lemon Frosting

  • While the cookies bake, make the frosting! Beat the butter and powdered sugar on high.
  • Add in the lemon juice and zest and beat until smooth.
  • Set aside until the cookies are ready to frost.
  • Add a tiny thyme spring on top!


The cookies are usually done baking once they turn a light golden brown. I like to take mine out a few seconds before this happens or when I see the edge of the cookie turn light brown.
You can also freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Just remember to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before you roll it out.
You can use any shape for the cutout cookies.
Add a dash of sea salt on the top for even more yumminess!
Make sure the butter is always room temperature and soft.


Calories: 454kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 896IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
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4.58 from 26 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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