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Embossed lemon shortbread cookies - featured image
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5 from 11 votes

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Lemon shortbread cookies are easy to make in a food processor and very versatile: emboss them or leave them plain-cut. This recipe can easily be adapted to make Christmas shortbread cookies with sprinkles in the dough too.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Chilling2 hrs
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Worldwide
Servings: 50 Cookies
Calories: 71kcal


Base Shortbread Cookie

  • 350 g Plain flour all-purpose
  • 200 g Butter
  • 50 g Cornflour cornstarch
  • 120 g Icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg medium, free range

Additions for Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • Zest 1 lemon
  • teaspoon Lemon juice

Additions for Christmas Shortbread Cookie


Lemon Shortbread Cookies

  • Put the flours, sugar, lemon zest, salt and icing sugar into the base of a food processor. Pulse briefly 10-12 times to break up the zest and ensure all ingredients are smooth and lump-free. Add the cubed butter then continue to pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the egg and lemon juice and give a few short pulses to combine the ingredients until it has a slightly lumpier consistency, similar to crumble mix
  • Tip onto a worktop and use your hands to press the dough together. Split into 2 and flatten into discs. Wrap in clingfilm, then chill for 1 hour
  • Use a normal rolling pin to roll one disc of dough out on a lightly floured worktop to around 3mm thickness (approx the depth of a £1 coin). If using an embossing rolling pin lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and spread it out with your hands. Roll the embossing pin across the dough, pressing down firmly and evenly as you go. Repeat with the other disc of dough
  • Cut out the cookies using cookie cutters – mine were approx 6cm and 3½cm in diameter. Scrape up leftovers and press them together firmly to expel any trapped air and re-roll and cut more (the dough can be rolled 3 times in total)
  • Lay the cookies on lined baking sheets 1cm apart and chill for 1 hour before baking for 12-14 minutes in a preheated oven (160C/ 320F/ GM 2½) until golden
  • Let cool on the baking sheet then wrap in foil and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days

Christmas Shortbread Cookies Adaptation

  • Follow the instructions above for step 1-2 but omit the lemon zest from step 1 and the lemon juice from step 2. Instead add the vanilla extract with the egg in step 2
  • Before tipping onto a worktop, stir through the sprinkles at the end of step 2
  • Continue with the remainder of the steps listed above


  • Do not over-process the ingredients otherwise the cookies will end up tough. Use the pulse function and process until just resembling breadcrumbs (step 1) and then, when mixing in the egg, processing until the mix resembles uncooked crumble – slightly clumpy, but not overly so
  • Chilling of the cookie dough twice is non-negotiable for this recipe. It needs to be chilled once freshly made to ensure that it is firm enough to roll and emboss easily. Then, once rolled and cut, the dough must be chilled again to ensure the embossed print is preserved during the bake
  • When rolling out, keep the worktop lightly floured and keep the dough moving – turn it slightly after each roll
  • Do not make these cookies too thick – roll to the depth of a £1 coin (approx 3mm)
  • If using an embossing rolling pin, then give the dough a very light dusting of flour once rolled out and use your hand to delicately spread it out. This will reduce the risk of the pin sticking
  • When ready to emboss, start at one end and press & roll the pin down firmly and evenly right along the length of the rolled out dough. If this is your first time using an embossing pin, you may be surprised how firmly you need to press to get a good print
  • When cutting out, use a variety of shapes and sizes of cutters to maximise the number of cookies obtained. Think carefully about which part of the embossing you want to include in certain cookies and cut the rest in accordance with this
  • If you need to reroll the dough, ensure you give a few firm presses with the back of your hand once the scraps of dough have been scooped together. This dispels any trapped air that may otherwise lead to an uneven surface once baked


Calories: 71kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg