These light and zesty lemon shortbread cookies with lemon icing are ready in 20 minutes, and are a fun, easy recipe for the kids to make too! Tender, melt in the mouth cookies with crispy edges, they are biscuits for every day as well as special occasions.
Why we love this recipe
- One bowl recipe.
- Just 5 ingredients.
- Egg free – this cookie recipe doesn’t contain any eggs, making it a great recipe for those with allergies, or if you want to bake and have no eggs.
- Fun to make – get the kids involved and cut out fun shapes with the dough (see bottom of post for an Easter bunny idea!)
- A delicious edible gift.
- Go so well with ice cream to make a special dessert, such as this Passionfruit Ice Cream
- Sugar – I use granulated sugar in these shortbread biscuits: not only does it add a nice crunchy, but it’s cheaper than caster sugar.
- Butter – I often use unsalted butter for these biscuits, but I have also made them with margarine, and both turn out well. Use soft, room temperature butter to make it easier to beat with the sugar.
- Wholemeal plain flour – Add a slightly nutty flavour to the biscuit, and it contains more fibre than just using white flour, but you can make these biscuits using just white flour.
- White plain flour – If in America, use all-purpose flour.
- Lemon Zest – I mix this in with the butter and sugar to release as much flavour into the biscuits. Mix the lemon juice with icing sugar/confectioners sugar to make the delicious tangy icing!
How to make these lemon biscuits
(For full recipe with detailed instructions see recipe card at bottom of the post)
- In a mixing bowl combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest.
- Beat together until soft and fluffy.
- Stir in the wholemeal and plain flour.
- Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a dough.
- Place between 2 sheets of baking parchment/paper.
- Roll out.
- Cut out with cutters – take care with intricate designs as the dough can be a little fragile.
- Place on a lined baking sheet.
You can use either granulated or caster sugar in shortbread. Granulated sugar adds a lovely crunch to the cookies – and it’s cheaper.
Store un-iced biscuits in an airtight tin for up to 1 week. They will keep for up to 3 days when iced, and will soften over time.
My Tips for Success
- If the dough is a little crumbly when you roll it out, knead it a little more.
- The wholemeal flour makes them brown slightly more than just using white flour. It also gives them slightly rougher edge when cutting out.
- Don’t overcook the biscuits as they will lose that crumbly melt in the mouth texture – they should only have the slightest tinge of golden brown around the edges. They will firm up as they cool.
Kid friendly Easter Bunnies
To make these cute Easter bunny biscuits, cut Easter bunnies from the dough and bake (they may take 1-2 minutes less time to bake, depending on the size of your cookie cutter). Once cool, dip the end of a white mini marshmallow in the lemon icing then dip it in desiccated coconut. Put a blob of icing on the other end of the marshmallow and place on the cookie. Leave to set.
Storing your cookies
- Un-iced – in an airtight tin for up to 1 week.
- Iced – in an airtight tin for 3 days, they will become soft over time.
This post was originally published in April 2019. It has been updated with more information and new photos. The recipe remains the same.
More easy baking recipes
These simple sweet treats are some of our favourites!
Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- 55g (¼c) granulated sugar
- 125g (½c + 2 tsp) butter or margarine
- 1 Lemon Zested
- 90g (⅔c) wholemeal plain flour
- 90g (⅔c) white plain flour (or all purpose flour)
- 140g (⅔c+½c) icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
- ½-1 lemon juice
- Edible flour petals to decorate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F
- Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Cream (beat vigorously with a spoon) the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until pale.
- Stir in the wholemeal and white flours: first with a spoon and then lightly with your hands until it comes together to a dough.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper, to a thickness of ½ cm/0.2”, then cut out your shapes.
- Place the shapes onto your lined baking sheet.
- Gently reroll any scraps and repeat the process until all the dough is used up.
- The last scraps of the shortbread dough may just have to be an odd shape, but that is a cooks perk!
- Bake the shortbread on lined baking sheets for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
- Leave on tin for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, you can ice them if you wish.
- Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl then add the lemon juice a little at a time, beating to remove any lumps, until it is a drizzling consistency.
- Drizzle the icing over the cooled lemon shortbread biscuits.
- The iced biscuits will keep in an airtight tin for a couple of days. If you want them to last longer, store them un-iced then decorate before serving.