Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe (6 Ingredients) by Ann Marie Patitucci

Buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies Recipe (6 Ingredients)

If you love lemon and you love shortbread, then this may be the perfect cookie recipe for you. I know this dessert recipe may just be the perfect one for me, and here's why. First, I love all things U.K. I studied abroad in England twice, visited Ireland twice and traveled to Scotland twice. While abroad, I fell in love with several different foods, mostly desserts, including shortbread. This buttery lemon shortbread cookies recipe gives you the authentic taste of a Scottish bakery. What's not to love about that?

Secondly, I love all the lemon desserts, such as lemon mousse, lemon poppy seed bread, lemon cheesecake, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, lemon pudding and lemon shortbread, just to name a few. The lemon zest really makes this shortbread recipe. The best news for amateur bakers like myself is that this recipe is hard to mess up!

This tender shortbread cookies recipe is buttery, lemony and easy to prepare. You can have a delicious plateful of Scottish shortbread cookies ready to be enjoyed with less effort than you may think. These easy shortbread treats are made with just six ingredients: butter, all-purpose flour, pinch of salt, lemon zest, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. The granulated sugar to sprinkle on top is optional. 

Serve these low-sodium cookies for dessert or as a sweet snack anytime. I hope you will be transported to the U.K. when you eat them, as I am!

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Cuisine: Scottish 
Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 1 hour to cool
Cook Time: 40 minutes (approximately)
Total Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Servings: 12


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Recipe Notes

  • The number of cookies will depend on the size of the bars or squares you cut.
  • You can make "dots" on the shortbread by pricking the top of the dough with a toothpick or fork.
  • The sugar sprinkle on top is optional, but a nice addition to add a bit more sweetness.
  • You can make the dough a day ahead of time, pat it in the pan, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
  • Store the leftover shortbread in an airtight container to keep it fresh.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, about 8 inches, almost as wide as the pan. Cover the bottom and two sides of the pan with the parchment paper. The other two sides will remain greased with the spray but not lined with paper. This will help you remove the shortbread after it's baked.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter with the lemon zest and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and incorporate well so there are no lumps. If sifting the sugar, sift it directly over the butter mixture.
  3. Add the flour and salt in two parts, mixing with a spatula until it is smooth and well combined, with no dry spots remaining. Transfer the dough to the pan, scattering small amounts on the bottom.
  4. Lightly pat the dough with your hand until it covers the whole surface. Make sure the edges are covered. Make it as even as possible. (It will not be very smooth, but that's OK.)
  5. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. This helps prevent the butter from melting before the shortbread is baked.
  6. If using the granulated sugar, sprinkle it over the top of the dough before baking. Bake the dough for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven, until the top is dry, it has puffed a little and is beginning to color. If you prefer a more golden shortbread, keep an eye on it as you watch for the color to darken. Just be careful not to let it get too dark or dry out.
  7. Let shortbread cool 10 minutes on a wire rack and carefully "cut" into sticks or squares with a smooth bladed knife. (If you want "dots" on the shortbread, prick the top with a toothpick or fork.) Let cool on the cooling rack completely, lift the whole square of the pan with the aid of the parchment paper and carefully break apart each piece. Store shortbread in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 104

Total Fat: 5.1g

Saturated Fat: 3.2g

Cholesterol: 13mg

Sodium: 3mg

Total Carbohydrate: 14.1g

Dietary Fiber: 0.8g

Total Sugars: 5g

Protein: 1.7g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 6mg

Iron: 1mg

Potassium: 34mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
Wow, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead , I'm with you on this being the perfect dessert! Love shortbread and love lemon. And, it's simple. YES! I'm trying it with gluten-free flour. Thank you for the YUM!
Ann Marie Patitucci
I hope it works well with the GF flour!
This looks so amazing...
Ann Marie Patitucci
One of my fav's. Enjoy!
I'm going to make this for mother's day!

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