Lemon-Filled Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Filled Shortbread Cookies


A deliciously-sweet, lemon-butter filling is sandwiched between lemon shortbread.
  • Serves: 36
  • Active Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Total Time: 4 hrs
  • Views: 21,623
  • Success Rating: 95% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Filling

• 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest*
• 1/8 tsp gray salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
• 2 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)


  • Note: Depending on how large the lemons are, you may need 2 to 4 to obtain enough zest and juice for Steps 1 and 2.

To make the filling, first zest the lemon(s) and finely chop the zest even further. Add the lemon zest, salt and butter to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Next, slowly incorporate the icing sugar in several additions until everything is well blended. Add the salt and mix to evenly combine. The gray salt gives the filling a sweet/savory combo that is fantastic.

The filling can be made a day in advance. Just make sure it is at room temperature before you fill the cookies.

Step 2: Beginning the Cookie Dough

• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 tbsp lemon zest


To begin the cookie dough, first zest the lemon(s) and finely chop the zest even further and set aside. In a small pot, add the fresh lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Let this reduce to about 2 tablespoons. Once done, pour the mixture into a small bowl and let cool. Continue on to measure out the dry ingredients.

Step 3: Measuring the Dry Ingredients

• 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp baking soda


Measure out the dry ingredients. Sift together and then set aside.

Step 4: Making the Cooking Dough

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 large egg yolks


Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Next, beat in the whole eggs, one at a time. Then add the egg yolks, reserved lemon juice and zest, and beat again.

Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until everything is just blended together (you may need to switch to a wooden spoon at this point).

Cover the dough and let chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 5: Cutting Out and Baking the Cookies


Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

On a lightly floured counter, roll out one-third of the dough to about 1/4" -inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2" to 2" -inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds (the size is really up to you). In between a few cuts, dip the cutter into a bit of flour to prevent sticking.

Place the rounds onto the baking sheets and bake for about 8 to 12 minutes or until the cookies just start to turn light golden around the edges. For the best results, bake the cookies one tray at a time, as this allows them to cook more evenly. Store the cut, uncooked cookies on the tray in the refrigerator while the others are baking.

Once baked, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Continue with the remaining dough until all of the cookies are baked.

Step 6: Filling the Cookies


Spread about 1-2 teaspoons of the lemon filling onto the flat side of half of the cookies. Spoon the filling in the middle of the cookie or pipe it into the center. Piping will help the filling to spread out more evenly when the cookies are pressed together. It is also faster.

Step 7: Assembling the Cookies


To assemble the cookies, place the flat side of a second cookie onto the filling. Gently press the two cookies together. That’s it!

Chef's Notes

These cookies make a nice treat for a brunch or afternoon tea. They also make a very nice gift.

Adjust the baking time depending on your preference for caramelization and crispiness of the cookies.


  • Ted B
    Ted B
    I purchased a bag of limes for the ahi tuna recipe on this site so i had to use them for something. I think they came out well moist and yummy.
  • Ted B
    Ted B
    I found that 10 minutes was way too long of a cooking time. 6 minutes might be better.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Glad you liked the cookies Ted, lime is a good idea. As for the baking time, I guess this will be slightly different for everyone, depending on their oven etc. I will make a note in the recipe...thanks :-)
  • Liam P
    Liam P
    What is the difference between grey salt and table salt? would table salt be a good substitute?
  • Kirk B Rouxbe Staff
    Kirk B
    Hi Liam and thanks for your comments. So Grey salt is an unrefined sea salt, typically from the Brittany region of France. Its very moist and it's light-grey color comes from the minerals absorbed from the clay lining the salt ponds. So it's very natural. Table salt is a refined salt which contains sodium chloride. Other agents like magnesium carbonate are also added to table salt so that it flows freely. You can certainly use table salt for this recipe. Thanks so much for learning with Rouxbe. Chef Kirk
  • Srirat P
    Srirat P
    Hi:) This is my first attempt and I ran into several problems. Based on other comments I reduced the cooking time to 8 min, the finished cookies were extremely dry although I followed every step. I also found the filling to be way too sweet even though I reduced the amount of sugar. The end result was not nice at all:( please advise especially on why the cookies were so dry( I refrigerated the dough overnight as the recipe called for) Thank you and really appreciate your advise Tum
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Srirat, thank you for your message. I just tested the recipe and found the results to be as expected. Shortbread recipes don't typically don't take much extra liquid if any, and this one is no exception with the addition of approximately 2 tbsp reduced lemon juice. Also, this recipe has a little less butter than some other shortbread recipes, so one must be careful to not over-bake them. I did tests from 8 to 12 minutes in 1-minute increments and found the results to be quite acceptable. Also, the filling, which is sometimes called "American buttercream" is based on powdered sugar, so it is sweet. Consider using a smaller amount of filling or a different filling that better suits your palate. As for troubleshooting the cookies, try them again and see how they turn out. Also, consider placing an oven thermometer in the oven to verify the temperature versus the oven setting. It's not uncommon for these numbers to be off by a significant amount. Also, consider lowering the temperature for baking. It's not uncommon to bake shortbread cookies at 325 or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Srirat P
    Srirat P
    Thank you so much Eric. Will try again:)

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