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+ servings
a stack of lemon cookies

Easy Lemon Shortbread Cookies

These tender lemon shortbreads are slightly sweet with a rich buttery taste with lots of lemon zest baked right into these melt in your mouth cookies.
Course Cookies
Cuisine American, Dessert
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
chill time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 34
Calories 132kcal


Colored Sanding Sugar

Shortbread Ingredients


Colored Sanding Sugar - Optional

  • Place the sanding sugar in a large bowl and add a few drops of yellow food coloring, mix well to incorporate the color throughout the sugar.
    You can also use regular white sugar for this.

Making the shortbread cookies

  • Place the sugar in a medium-sized bowl. With a citrus zester, zest the three lemons over the sugar, then mix the sugar and zest together.
  • Using a stand mixing or a hand-held mixer, add the softened butter to a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy on medium speed.
  • Gradually add the lemon-sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until incorporated.
  • With the mixer on medium-low speed mix in the cake flour ½ cup at a time, mixing well with each addition
  • Divide the dough in half and form into two logs ½" thick.
  • If you are using the sanding sugar, immediately roll the dough logs into the sugar to completely coat the dough. You want the dough to be a bit tacky from rolling into the logs for the sugar to stick.
  • Wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 300° F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Slice the dough into ¼" slices and place on the baking sheets.
  • Bake the shortbreads for 30 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then place on a cooling rack to completely cool.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week.


These cookies can be frozen before baking. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap then in foil. When ready to bake, defrost slightly and slice and bake as directed.
Tinting the sanding sugar is optional but it does add extra flavor to the cookies. Sanding sugar has bigger crystals than regular sugar and holds its shape in the heat. 
You can also tint regular sugar if you don't have the sanding sugar, it will not bake a pretty as the sanding sugar.
After zesting the lemons, cut the lemons in half and juice them. You can use the juice immediately or freeze for later.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Fat: 5.5g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 39mg