Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Honey

Bursting with lemon flavor, Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Honey are the perfect accompaniment to a mug of tea or a cup of coffee. This twist on a classic makes for buttery cookies for a lemon lover. Makes 24 cookies.

Stack of shortbread cookies in front of cup of tea and tea package

I love baked goods with simple ingredients and am a lemon dessert lover.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say these easy shortbread cookies have the perfect amount of lemon flavor in them.

These buttery Lemon Shortbread Cookies make for a lovely treat for any day or the holiday season.

Why I love this recipe:

While I’ve never been to England, I’ve heard a lot about tea and biscuits. And in my opinion, this Lemon Honey Shortbread is everything you want in a tea time cookie.

The cookies are crunchy and perfect for dipping into your tea of choice.

They taste fresh with subtle lemon flavor. Truly, the hint of citrus adds something special to this classic shortbread cookie recipe.

They’re not too sweet, either.

And while the flavor is light with a hint of lemon, the cookies are dense enough to prevent you from eating them all in one sitting. (You know, in case that’s a concern of yours.)

These are slice and bake cookies, so we form them into a log before slicing. You will not need a cookie cutter.

More shortbread cookies recipes to try: Shortbread Brown Butter Cookies | Orange Raspberry Shortbread Cookies | Ginger Rosemary Shortbread Cookies | Toasted Pecan Shortbread Cookies | Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies with Raspberry-Orange Glaze | Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies

Love dessert? Swing on by my Dessert Recipe Index for more ideas.

A cup of Tea on a saucer

What you need to make this recipe:

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Let’s talk ingredients!

In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter— we’re using two sticks. Set it out the butter 30-45 minutes before you plan to make the batter so it blends easily.
  • Honey—this is going to add a nice natural sweetness and flavor to the cookies, as well as the coating.
  • Powdered sugar—also known as confectioners’ sugar. We’ll need this for the cookie dough. You may sift yours if there are chunks in it.
  • Lemon zest—this adds the lemon flavor. Don’t skimp on it and zest it yourself from fresh lemons.
  • Allpurpose flour—we keep unbleached all purpose flour at our house, but you can use the regular kind, too.
  • Kosher salt—I like to use a fine grain sea salt here.

Please note that we are not using lemon juice or lemon extract to give these cookies their flavor.

Close up of stacked lemon honey shortbread on wood table

How to make Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Make the shortbread dough

Cream the softened butter and sugar with the honey and fresh lemon zest until light and fluffy in a large bowl. This will take a few minutes.

Sift the flour and salt on top of the butter mixture. Stir until the batter comes together.

Lie a piece of plastic wrap onto the counter. Dollop the batter into the center of the wrap. Seal, then roll into a log.

Transfer the log to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.

How to form and bake the cookies

Once the dough chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator.

Brush the outsides of the dough with the honey/water mixture until just barely wet, then sprinkle with raw sugar. You may also roll it on a plate if that is easier to coat the exterior.

Slice the dough into cookies.

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2″ around each cookie.

Once all the cookies have been sliced and placed on their baking sheet(s), transfer them to the freezer for a 10 minute chill.

Once chilled, bake for 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven. Keep an eye on them, as you’ll want to pull them when the tops are golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack before enjoying!

Overhead view of a cup of tea with lemon honey shortbread on rim

Frequently Asked Questions

Should shortbread be crunchy or soft?

That depends on your tastebuds, as well as the shortbread recipe! These Lemon Shortbread Cookies are crunchy.

Should I refrigerate shortbread dough before baking?

YES! Definitely refrigerate the dough before baking the cookies.

What’s the ingredients for shortbread?

Shortbread is a very basic recipe and oftentimes calls for a lot of butter, powdered sugar and flour. We’re adding a few more ingredients to this lemon shortbread recipe because we want more lemon flavor!

Stacked lemon honey shortbread in front of cup of tea

Quick tips and tricks for the best shortbread cookies:

  • Have your ingredients at room temperature before making the dough. It’ll come together easier!
  • Chill the dough! This is super important so that the shortbread doesn’t lose its shape.
  • Scoot the cookies when you’ve removed them from the oven to help them have the perfect shape.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge!

More lemon cookies to try:

Here’s how you can make these cookies:

Stacked lemon honey shortbread in front of cup of tea
Yield: 24 cookies

Lemon Honey Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Bursting with lemon flavor, Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Honey are the perfect accompaniment to a mug of tea or a cup of coffee. This twist on a classic makes for buttery cookies for a lemon lover.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Raw sugar and honey/water mixture, for decoration

Instructions

Make the cookie dough

  1. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter, honey, powdered sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
  2. Sift together the flour and salt, then add to the wet ingredients, stirring until the batter just comes together.
  3. Lie out a piece of plastic wrap on the counter.
  4. Dollop the batter into the center of the wrap. Seal, then roll into a cookie log.
  5. Transfer the log to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Bake the cookies

  1. Once your dough has finished chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Remove the cookie dough log from the refrigerator.
  3. Brush the outsides of the dough lightly with the honey/water mixture (until just barely wet), then sprinkle with raw sugar.
  4. Slice the dough into 1/2" cookies.
  5. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2" around each cookie.
  6. Once all the cookies have been sliced and placed on their baking sheet(s), transfer them to the freezer for a 10 minute chill.
  7. Once chilled, transfer the baking sheet(s) to the preheated oven.
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden.
  9. Let cool on a wire rack, then enjoy with a favorite cup of tea.

Notes

Please note that the total time does not include the chill time.

Recipe adapted from my Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24 cookies

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 126Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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8 Comments

  1. I adore shortbread! This sounds fantastic with the honey and lemon! And with a good cup of tea? Yes please!

    we’re trying to work on waking up at the same time on the weekends (or at least close). The husband has to get up super early during the week (which means I end up getting up) and when we sleep in on the weekends it throws us off so bad on Sunday night!

  2. I’m a uuuuuuge tea drinker and love the idea of relaxing with a steamy mug AND delish shortbread. This lemon-honey idea you’ve got going on it bonkers amazing! I must try that shortbread!

  3. Routines? When my kids were small, my routine was whatever routine they were on. Maybe though–just maybe you can pull it off. I’d need a lot of tea and some cookies to do though! This recipe is so cute. Love it!!

  4. I love a crispy, sandy shortbread biscuit to eat alongside a cup of tea. It’s important to give yourself those moments to gather and refresh and think about how amazing life is and what you want to achieve in the next twelve months. I can’t wait to make these and nibble them while enjoying tea time with my Mum (spending time with her is something I’m prioritising this year).

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