Lemon Shortbread Cookies With Lemon Glaze

Fig Jar
by Fig Jar
18 cookies
33 min

If sunshine were a flavor, it would taste like these lemon shortbread cookies! They are sweet, lemony and just so cute!

It’s been a while since I shared a shortbread cookie recipe and it’s the perfect time for one of my favorites: lemon shortbread cookies! It’s officially lemon season and my mom’s tree is overflowing with tons of beautiful lemons. Every time I go over I take a few… or five.

I love the simplicity of shortbread. Just butter, sugar and some flour is all you really need but things are a little better with some vanilla and a little salt. And while I do love basic shortbread cookies, plain shortbread dough always feels like a blank canvas to me, just waiting for some fun flavor additions.

January is the perfect time for that shortbread add-in to be lemon zest! Especially lemon zest from literally the best lemons in the world. My mom’s tree has the best lemons. They are SO juicy and their flavor cannot even be compared to store-bought lemons. As most homegrown produce cannot!

Lemon shortbread cookie ingredients

  • Butter
  • Sugar (regular granulated sugar and powdered sugar)
  • Flour (All-purpose and coconut, the coconut is optional, see notes)
  • Lemon zest & juice
  • Vanilla
  • Salt

That’s it!

Why the coconut flour?

It’s optional. If you don’t have or don’t want to use coconut flour, you can just replace the 1/2 cup with all-purpose. I used it for flavor and texture purposes but these will still be delicious if you use all regular flour.

Options for shortbread making method

Pastry blender/cold butter method

I like to make my shortbread using a pastry blender so that’s how this recipe is written. Using the pastry blender means I can start with cold butter, which means the dough will stay cold enough throughout the mixing so that I can start working with it as soon as it’s mixed— no chilling necessary! And since I wanted to use cookie cutters, this was the way to go. These are the cutters I used! I bought them planning to make wreath cookies for Christmas but that didn’t happen so I had to find a new use 🙂

Softened butter/electric mixer method

If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can start with softened butter and follow the recipe as written, using an electric mixer or stand mixer to combine the ingredients, but you will need to chill the dough for about 30 minutes before rolling it out and cutting shapes.

OR if you don’t want to roll out the dough and cut shapes, you can follow the softened butter method and roll about 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls of dough and bake away. Your cookies will be dome-shaped if you make them this way.

If you make these cookies, let me know! Please leave a comment/rating below and tag me on instagram @thefigjar!

More shortbread cookie recipes!

Earl Grey Shortbread with Vanilla Bean Icing

Match Shortbread with Strawberry Icing

Chai Shortbread Snowballs

Lemon Shortbread Cookies With Lemon Glaze
Recipe details
  • 18  cookies
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 18 Minutes Total time: 33 min
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  • 1 cup unsalted butter cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest plus more for topping
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour optional, see notes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Optional lemon glaze
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325.
Place butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender combine butter and sugar until no large chunks of butter remain.
Add lemon zest, salt, coconut and all-purpose flour and continue using the pastry blender to combine until the mixture begins to form a dough that you can press together easily with your hands.
Divide the dough mixture in half. Take one half and use your hands to form a ball. Then place it on a lightly floured work surface and roll to 1/4 inch thick if using cookie cutters.
Use cutters to create shapes and use the excess dough to form a ball again and repeat the process. Then repeat with remaining 1/2 of the dough.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool completely before adding the glaze.
In a small bowl, use a fork to combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and pinch of salt until smooth. It should be a consistency similar to elmers glue.
Place cookie, top-side down in the bowl of icing then gently lift it out, let excess glaze drip back into the bowl then place it on a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath (there will be some drippage).
Continue the process with the rest of the cookies. Top with extra lemon zest if desired.
  • *About using coconut flour – using coconut flour is optional! If you don’t have or want to use it, just use 2 cups of all-purpose flour (total) in the recipe. I like coconut flour for the flavor and texture that it adds but they are great without it too!
  • *About using cold butter vs. room temperature butter – I start with cold butter because I use a pastry blender to combine my ingredients. And starting with it cold means the dough will be cold enough for me to start working with it as soon as its mixed. You can start with room temperature butter, use an electric mixer and then chill the dough for about 30 minutes before rolling it out.
Fig Jar
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