Kirbie's Cravings

4 Ingredient Lemon Shortbread

These shortbread cookies are crispy, buttery and flavored with zesty lemon . The cookies are easy to make and need just four ingredients. The cookies store well and are good for gifting or bringing to an event.
a stack of lemon shortbread cookies.

Shortbread is probably my favorite type of cookie. This lemon version has just the right amount of zesty lemon flavor. I like to bake a big batch and freeze some for whenever I’m in the mood for a cookie.


  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Lemon

Flour: These cookies are made with regular all purpose flour. Make sure to use all purpose flour and not self-rising flour.

Butter: The cookies use unsalted butter to give them their buttery flavor and tender crumb. The butter needs to be softened to room temperature before being used in the recipe.

Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar provides sweetness for the cookies and helps create a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Lemon: The cookies contain both fresh lemon juice and zest to give them their lemon flavor.
a stack of cookies.

How to Make Lemon Shortbread Cookies

The butter and sugar are first creamed together until light and fluffy. The flour and lemon are then added in and gradually mixed in until a dough forms. The dough is rolled out between sheets of parchment paper and then placed into the fridge to set. Once firm, the dough can be cut into shapes or you can also just cut the dough into simple squares or rectangles. I actually prefer just making them a classic rectangle shape most of the time. It takes longer to cut the dough with a cookie cutter, but I will use one when I plan on gifting the cookies.

The cookies are then baked until golden around the edges. Once cooled, the cookies are ready to be enjoyed. You can also dust them with powdered sugar and additional lemon zest before serving.
a plate of lemon shortbread cookies.

More Cookie Recipes

4 Ingredient Lemon Shortbread

Servings: 18 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
These shortbread cookies are crispy, buttery and packed with lemon flavor.
5 from 4 votes


  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (49 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp (142 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice + 1 tbsp lemon zest


  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using the flat paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together on medium high speed for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is very creamy and light. Scrape sides of bowl as needed so that all the butter gets beaten.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, lemon juice and zest, mixing until a dough forms.
  • Put the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out into a large rectangle that is ¼ inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or until dough is firm. You know the dough is ready when you can peel off the top layer of parchment paper without the dough sticking to it and the dough should feel firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Working quickly, use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut dough. Alternatively you can cut dough into 1.5 inch by 2 inch rectangles. The latter will be much faster. Place cut out cookies onto prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Re-roll remaining dough and cut into more shapes until all the dough is used up. You do want to do this quickly because you don't want the dough to get soft. The dough should still be fairly firm when you are done.
  • Bake cookies for about 20 minutes or until they turn a light golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool before removing them from the baking sheet. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.


  • This recipe uses packaged powdered sugar that contains cornstarch. You want to use a powdered sugar with cornstarch. 
  • These cookies have a slight tart lemon flavor and a lot of lemon zest flavor. Don't add more than 1 tbsp of lemon juice because the cookie dough will be too soft and will spread too much if you add more lemon juice.


Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 82kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 0.01mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 3g, NET CARBS: 9

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

18 comments on “4 Ingredient Lemon Shortbread”

  1. Love this cookie, velvety lemony yummy. Made one batch to test. I ate half the cookies this morning just to be sure I loved them. Making a double batch for gifts.

  2. This was anawsome cookie receipe lovedit
    Thank youso much.

  3. Where do you get all purpose flour from and is the powdere

    • Are you located outside the US? In the US, AP flour is found in the baking aisle at grocery stores – if you are outside the US, it might be called something else like plain flour. Powdered sugar is the same as icing sugar and confectioner’s sugar. Hope that helps!

  4. Can you use a food processor to make these?

    • It’s important to cream the butter and sugar first – an electric mixer works best, but you could try a food processor. We’re just not sure how it will work.

  5. Great recipes thank you

  6. Hi i was thinking of making christmas cookies my partner love lemon taste thanks for your recipe have a great day

  7. My cookies came out perfect and delicious!
    I had all of the ingredients except for the lemon.. so I substituted it with an orange from my tree in the backyard… I will be making these again with both lemon and orange.. 

  8. I live in Ireland and haven’t come across powdered sugar(icing sugar here) with cornstarch. Any suggestions? The recipe sounds delicious.

    • You can try making your own. Just search for homemade powdered sugar recipes and choose one that is only using sugar and cornstarch.

  9. It came out so good and scrumptious and lemonie. The family love ?? it with cream.