Shortbread seeds

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies

These crunchy Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies are quick and easy to make. Buttery and lemony, they are the perfect cookie to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

If you love Lemon Poppyseed Muffins or Lemon Loaf, then these cookies are for you!

I made the batch of cookies that you see photographed in our new oven. The old one decided it was time to retire and quit on me in the middle of baking the first batch of these cookies. Yes, you heard that right. My oven died.

They bake up beautifully! If you cut them into 2-inch sizes, there is no need to prick holes in them. Any larger and you will want to poke a few holes in them for even baking.


  • six simple ingredients
  • delicious cookies to enjoy any time of year and they are the perfect cookie to package up and give as a gift.
  • no fancy equipment needed. You can use a stand mixer, hand mixer or even mix the cookie dough by using a wooden spoon.


  • Butter – softened at room temperature.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Poppy seeds
  • Lemon zest
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated Sugar for sprinkle on top of the cookies before baking


This recipe comes together very quickly and easily. I recommend using a stand mixer, however you can easily cream the first two ingredients with a wooden spoon. Just be aware you will need to mix it vigorously by hand for about 4 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down sides often.

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On low speed, stir in poppy seeds and lemon zest stirring just until combined.

Gradually stir in the flour, adding ⅓ cup at a time and mixing over low speed.

Gather dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness.

Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or other desired shape) to cut the dough into rounds and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of granulated sugar. Using clean hands, pinch the sugar between two fingers and gently rub them together over top of the cookie, allowing the sugar to sprinkle onto the cookie.

Bake in 300°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned.

Immediately move cookies to a cooling rack. Cool then store in airtight container for up to five days.


Divide the dough in half when you begin to roll out the cookies

Re-roll the scraps only once or twice and try to handle the dough as little as possible.


Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Store cooled cookies in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies

These lemon poppy seed shortbread cookies with lemon icing have plenty of bright citrus flavor and a great buttery texture.

This recipe was originally created for Go Bold With Butter.

If you’re looking for a cookie that’s not only delicious and easy, but also a little more sophisticated, then these lemon poppy seed shortbread cookies are just the cookie for you!

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Plus, if you love lemon desserts (like I do), you have to try these cookies! They’re very lemony, with an additional subtle flavor and crunch from the poppy seeds. Lemon + poppy seeds is a classic combination for good reason.

What is a shortbread cookie?

Shortbread cookies are typically a combination of roughly 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3-4 parts flour. There are no eggs or leaveners like baking powder or baking soda. I’ve added lemon zest, vanilla, and poppy seeds for flavor.

The higher fat content from the butter makes these cookies very rich and tender. Shortbread cookies have a distinct delicious buttery taste you’re going to love and crave!

Ingredients you’ll need

Let’s get baking, shall we? Here’s what you’ll need to get started (full recipe below):

  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fresh lemons
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Poppy seeds
  • Powdered sugar

How to make lemon shortbread cookies

  1. Prepare the cookie dough. These cookies are made using the creaming method, where you beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy, then add vanilla, and finally the dry ingredients. Beating the butter and sugar with lemon zest helps intensify the lemon flavor in these cookies.
  2. Shape and chill. Shape the cookie dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour until firm.
  3. Slice and bake. Slice the cookie dough into ½-inch rounds, then bake on parchment lined sheet pans at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Drizzle with icing. Whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice together to make a thick but pourable icing, then drizzle small amounts over cooled cookies. Let the icing set up for at least 15 minutes before serving.
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Note: The icing will not completely harden so these cookies aren’t stackable. They’re still completely delicious without the icing though, if that works better for you!

Shortbread cookie tips

  • Butter is perhaps the most important ingredient in these cookies, because there’s so much of it. Using quality butter will yield better flavor in these cookies. This is a recipe to splurge on!
  • Start with butter that is slightly soft at room temperature but not at all melted. Pull butter out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before mixing this cookie dough.
  • Be sure to measure flour correctly! All of my recipes are tested using the spoon and level method (more info through that link).
  • Use plastic wrap to shape the cookie dough log as you’re wrapping it. Less mess!
  • Shortbread is the perfect make-ahead-cookie! Shortbread cookie dough can be stored in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer for a few months or more if wrapped well (I always double wrap when freezing). Baked cookies can also be stored at room temperature for a week or more, or frozen for about a month.

More lemon desserts

If you love these lemon poppy seed shortbread cookies, try one of these desserts next: