You’ll enjoy the rich buttery goodness of honey lemon shortbread cookies. Honey and lemon are a match made in heaven.
Why you’ll love it: Make a batch of cookie dough and freeze it until needed. Simply slice off what you need and bake. It’s so convenient!
How long it takes: 10 minutes to make the dough and 10 minutes to bake a batch. Allow extra time for chilling the dough.
Equipment you’ll need: Stand mixer or sturdy hand mixer
Servings: makes 5 dozen
Don’t you love shortbread cookies? When you bite into a shortbread cookie, they seem to melt in your mouth. They are packed with buttery flavor and aren’t overly sweet. In fact, you may know them as a biscuit.
Shortbread has been around for centuries and originated in Scotland. The ingredients are simple: flour, butter, sugar. Today, there are many variations and shortbread cookies remain popular today.
Honey lemon shortbread cookies are a delicious twist on the original recipe. I love the combination of tart lemon and sweet honey in this buttery cookie. Give them a try today. They go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee!
Why You’ll Love Shortbread Cookies
- They’re easy to make: These lemon shortbread cookies are slice and bake cookies. The cookie dough is rolled into a simple log shape, wrapped, and frozen until you’re ready to bake cookies. You can bake all the cookie dough in one baking session or simply bake a portion of the dough, as needed.
- They’re freezable: Keep a log (or two) of shortbread cookie dough in your freezer and you’ll always be ready for that emergency occasion when you are called upon to bring a dozen cookies or when unexpected guests drop in. Of course, there’s also that other emergency occasion when you’re just craving something crisp, sweet, and buttery, and nothing but a freshly baked cookie will do.
If you’re loving the idea of cookies that you can slice and bake whenever you want, check out my list of 10+ Slice and Bake Cookies. You’re gonna want to try them all!
I’ll get you started on the recipe here. Be sure to refer to the recipe card below for specific measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- All-Purpose Flour: Measure the flour carefully; using too much flour will make your cookies hard and dry. When you measure the flour, lightly scoop the flour into a measuring cup, using a flat edge to level it off.
- Butter: Unsalted stick butter is the best choice for these buttery cookies. Allow the butter to soften at room temperature for at least an hour or two. If you only have salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
- Brown Sugar: The cookies are sweetened with brown sugar and honey. Pack the brown sugar firmly into the measuring cup.
- Honey: If your honey is too stiff or crystallized, warm it gently in the microwave at low power in 15 second intervals until it loosens up.
- Lemon: You’ll need one lemon. Zest it first, using a fine zester or microplane; then squeeze the lemon for the juice. The zest will be flavoring the cookie dough and the lemon juice goes into the puckery sweet/tart glaze.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder is a leavening agent often used in baked goods. It is not the same as baking soda.
- Salt: Finely textured table salt, as compared to coarse kosher salt, is preferable for baking cookies because it disperses more evenly into the dough.
- Powdered Sugar: Aka confectioner’s sugar, this fine sugar makes a smooth glaze that’s drizzled over the cookies.
How To Make These Slice & Bake Cookies
You’ll need a stand mixer or a heavy duty hand mixer to make the cookie dough. It can be also stirred by hand but it will take a little elbow grease.
Begin by measuring the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; mix well. Set the bowl aside for a moment.
In the bowl of your stand mixer or another large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Blend the two ingredients together until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. This step is important because it ensures that the cookies will be light and crisp.
Add the lemon zest and honey to the bowl. Beat until the honey is blended into the butter/sugar mixture.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl, beating at low speed, until it’s just incorporated into the butter mixture. The dough will be quite stiff.
Divide the cookie dough in half. On a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper, form each half into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. If you prefer shorter logs to fit into your freezer, it’s okay to divide the dough into 3 or 4 rolls. That’s totally up to you.
After wrapping the cookie dough logs securely, freeze the dough overnight or for at least a few hours, until it firms up.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350°F. It’s important that the oven is completely preheated before baking any type of cookie.
Remove a cookie dough log from the the freezer and slice it into quarter-inch slices. If it’s too difficult to slice, let it set out at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. Place the slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat.
Bake the cookies until they are golden brown. They’ll fill your house with the most tantalizing aroma!
The cookies are wonderful just as they are and I don’t blame you a bit for eating one warm out of the oven, but a drizzle of icing made with confectioner’s sugar, honey, and a squeeze of lemon juice really takes them to a new level.
The ingredients for both types of cookies are essentially the same but the ratio differs. A shortbread cookie contains more butter, but less sugar, and is very tender. A butter cookie has more sugar and less butter, and is a bit sturdier. Sugar cookies are similar but contain a higher proportion of flour and can be used for cutout designs.
Make Ahead Ideas
Freeze the dough. One of the features I love best about shortbread cookies is that you can make the dough ahead and freeze it to bake later. Wrap the dough logs in an airtight freezer safe container and it will keep for up to 3 months.
Cool completely. Make sure the glaze on the cookies has set before storing them. If the glaze is still sticky and soft, the cookies will stick together. It’s always a good idea to put a sheet of parchment or waxed paper between layers of cookies, especially frosted ones.
Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, put the cookies in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature (3 sticks)
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, more as needed
- 2 teaspoons honey
- In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar for 3 minutes, or until light in color and fluffy. Add honey and lemon zest; beat until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl as necessary.
- Add flour mixture gradually and continue to mix until just combined.
- Divide dough in half. Shape dough into logs (about 2 inches in diameter). Roll up in parchment or wax paper and freeze dough overnight.
- To Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Take dough out of the freezer and slice into ¼ -inch slices (see note). Place on parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheets.
- Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until just golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheets before removing to a cooling rack.
- When cookies are completely cool, prepare icing. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add honey; stir well. Thin with additional lemon juice, if necessary.
- Place baking sheet or parchment paper beneath cooling rack to catch drips. With a spoon, lightly drizzle icing on cookies. Let icing harden completely before storing cookies in an airtight container.
- Makes about 5 dozen. Bake as many cookies at a time as you wish. The dough keeps well in the freezer for up to 3 months until you’re ready to use it. They also freeze well after they’ve been baked.
- If you’d rather not ice the cookies, they are great without icing or you can brush the unbaked cookies with additional honey, and sprinkle them with granulated sugar, turbinado sugar, or colored sugar; bake as directed.
- Recipe updated after retesting 12/8/2022.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.