These lemon shortbread cookies, filled with tangy lemon curd, are buttery, flaky and melt in your mouth delicious. A classic holiday cookie that is always a favourite.
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Shortbread is a holiday classic and is one of the simplest cookies to make. There has rarely been a holiday table where I haven’t seen shortbread.
Traditionally, shortbread is nothing more than flour, butter and sugar, making it a simple and fairly inexpensive cookie to make. You can also whip up a large batch in a short amount of time.
While plain shortbread is just fine, it it also fun to dress this cookie up. And there are so many ways to transform shortbread.
One of my favourite ways is by turning them into delicious, lemon filled sandwich cookies.
The tangy flavour of the lemon pairs perfectly with the buttery shortbread and the custard-like filling is perfect with the flaky cookie.
I always use my homemade lemon curd, because is is simple to make and is super tangy, but you can use store-bought if you prefer.
If lemon isn’t your favourite flavour, then raspberry or strawberry jam are excellent alternatives.
Why this recipe works
Classic shortbread cookies require just a few simple ingredients and come together quickly an easily.
They bake quickly and it’s easy to make a large batch in a relatively short amount of time.
These shortbread cookies have the addition of lemon zest and by cutting holes in half of the cookies we can turn these into delicious, lemon filled sandwich cookies with little effort.
Step by Step Instructions
Begin by placing all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until it starts forming a ball. If it seems really dry and won’t come together, add 2-3 teaspoons of water and pulse a few more times.
Next we need to roll and cut the cookies.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface or pastry mat and roll to about ¼ inch thick.
Cut into rounds with a cookie cutter, or use any shape you like. To make them into sandwich cookies cut a hole in the middle of half of the cookies. I don’t have any tiny cookie cutters, so I use the end of a piping tip.
Place the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 18 minutes.
Once the cookies are baked, remove from the baking sheet onto a cooling rack. If you are making them into sandwich cookies, make sure they are completely cooled before starting.
To fill them with lemon curd, place a spoonful of curd on one whole cookie and place a cutout cookie on top.
To finish, dust cookies with powdered sugar.
I always leave a few without filling, but you can fill them all or leave them all plain. Whatever you like.
Top Tips & FAQS
To freeze these cookies all you need to do is store them in an airtight container once they have fully cooled. I recommend placing a piece of parchment or wax paper between each layer to prevent the lemon curd from sticking.
You can store unfilled shortbread cookies for a couple of weeks at room temperature in an airtight container.
Filled cookies should be stored in the fridge and will keep a couple of weeks. They will keep several months in the freezer.
Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- 1 Cup Salted butter softened, cubed (but not melted)
- ½ Cup Powdered sugar plus extra for dusting
- 2 teaspoon Lemon zest
- 1 ¾ Cup All-purpose flour
- ½ Cup Lemon curd
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place butter, flour, powdered sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it begins to form a ball. If it is really dry and won't come together you can add 2-3 teaspoon of water until it just begins to form a ball.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form it into a ball with your hands.
- Lightly dust the top of the ball with flour and then roll it out to about ¼ inch thick.
- Using a 2 inch cookie cutter, cut the dough into cookies. Cut a hole in half of the cookies using the end of a piping tip or a small cookie cutter. Gather scraps and continue rolling and cutting until you have used all the dough.
- Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes until bottoms are lightly brown. You can place these very close together as they should not spread.
- Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completly before filling.
- To fill, add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon curd the the middle of a whole cookie, then place a cut-out cookie on top. Repeat for all cookies.
- Lightly dust the tops with powdered sugar and move to an air-tight container for storage.
- Makes 20 Sandwich cookies or 40 plain cookies.
- If you do not have a food processor you can place the ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand mixer. Mix until ingredients begin to come together to form a ball.
- If the dough is soft or sticky after mixing, or your house is warm, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30-40 minutes before rolling. This will help keep it from sticking to the rolling pin and make it easier to manage.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
Saturday 1st of January 2022
These were so good! I loved it and not too sweet! I would dust the powdered sugar on the top cookie half before assembling cookies, so you can see the lemon curd in the middle! Otherwise it's perfect!
Saturday 11th of September 2021
I really wanted this to work, but the dough was unmanageable, too soft even after chilling... I ended up just rolling it by hand and they were delicious!
Tuesday 1st of December 2020
These are stunning! Cannot wait to put them on my cookie platter this year!
Tuesday 17th of November 2020
I have made these twice now, and these are an absolute favourite! We will be making them on repeat for the festive season.
Monday 9th of November 2020
These lemon shortbread cookies were amazing! I love lemon, and these lemon shortbread cookies had the perfect amount of lemon flavor! I gave your recipe link to several friends and family members that loved them when I made them. The directions were perfect too! Great recipe for year-round!
Wednesday 11th of November 2020
So glad you enjoyed them and thank you for passing the recipe along. I agree that these cookies are perfect all year long. I could eat them anytime!