3 key ingredients, some fresh lemon zest and juice along with some fresh thyme leaves is all it requires for this quick easy buttery Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies! The dough comes together easy and doesn’t even need a stand mixer. A bowl and a rubber spatula are enough. The dough rolls out easy and it’s fun to cut it out in your desired shapes.
Lemon Thyme Shortbread cookies are not overly sweet and has a refreshing flavor. I like the lemony taste it comes from the lemon zest.
I added some of the thyme leaves finely chopped in the dough and used few others on top because it looked so pretty.
Last weekend we did a Zoom virtual baking session with some of friend’s kids. It was fun stay-at-home kid activity. I
taught them to bake shortbread cookies and while I was hoping to make Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies myself, my son obviously wanted rainbow sprinkles.
So I had to bake another batch today just for me with refreshing lemon and perfumy thyme.
Ingredients for Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies:
- Room temperature butter (very important to have the butter in room temperature)
- White granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
I used fresh thyme, lemon zest and lemon juice
STEPS - Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies:
- In a bowl mix the room temperature butter with the sugar. It should look smooth creamy.
- Add lemon zest and lemon juice and give a mix
- Scatter the flour little by little and fold it to the butter mixer. Bring the mixture together but DO NOT KNEAD.
- Drop the whole thing in a parchment paper or clear wrap and wrap it tight. Leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.
- When ready to bake, roll the dough by dusting little flour. Then cut it out and bake at 325 F for 17 minutes. I used this donut cookie cutter
Can you make the dough in advance?
YES! You can make the dough in advance and you should keep the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before you roll it out.
Like most cookie dough, you can keep the shortbread cookie dough in the refrigerator for about 5 days and freeze it for couple months.
Other flavors to try:
Here are few ideas
- Orange zest and juice
- Fresh rosemary finely chopped with crushed fennel seeds
- Colorful sprinkles / funfetti
- Dried rose petals
- Cardamom powder
KEY NOTES that will make it easy:
- You absolutely need room temperature butter, NOT MELTED.
- Make sure to NOT KNEAD or else the cookies won’t turn out crumbly.
- Let the dough rest in the refrigerator before you roll it out. Cold dough will be easy to roll out without being sticky from the butter. You want to avoid sprinkling too much extra flour.
- Dip the cookie cutter in flour before pressing it to the rolled dough. This makes the cut cookie come out easy from the cutter.
The Lemon Thyme shortbread cookies are super simple and easy to bake with kids. My son loves rolling and cutting out the cookies.
For these cookies, he even helped me pick the thyme leaves to place it neatly on the cut-out cookies. Just because it looked so pretty.
Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies
- ½ cup room temperature butter
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- Zest of a lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves plus few more to add on top
- In a mixing bowl mash the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and mix once again. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix once again.
- Add the flour ¼ cup at a time and fold it to the butter mixer. Finely chop 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and add it the bowl. Bring everything together using the rubber spatula. Do not knead.
- Dump the whole thing into a clear wrap or a parchment paper and wrap it tight. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.
- When you are ready to prepare the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 F and place a parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
- Then roll the dough out by sprinkling little bit of flour. Roll it to ¼ inch thick. Scatter some more thyme leaves and roll one last time gently just to press the leaves. Cut out the cookies and place it on the parchment paper. I used a mini donut cutter.
- Gather the reaming dough, roll again , cut out and place in the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 17 minutes, then leave the baked cookies on the hot cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer it to a cooling wire rack to cool it down completely before storing it to an airtight jar.