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Lemon Butter Biscuits

Lemon butter biscuits, delicious melt in the mouth lemon shortbread cookies fragrant with lemon. A simple bake, that’s ready in minutes, making them a perfect afternoon tea treat.

A tower of simple lemon butter cookies sat on top of a wire cooling rack, topped with powdered sugar and a snip of lemon thyme with a lemon to the back.

Lemon butter biscuits are one of my favourite quick and simple bakes. This easy biscuit recipe is so easy to follow and the biscuit bakes in no time, making it ideal for a mid afternoon treat, along with a cup of tea.

These lemon shortbread biscuits are one of those recipes we should all have in our repertiore. A simple bake that takes minutes to prepare but packs a real punch of zesty lemon flavour.

When it comes to baking these lemon shortbread cookies are a must and a bake everyone should try.

Delicious and simple lemon butter cookies topped with icing sugar and a sprig of lemon thyme on a wire cooling rack, some lemons to the back and the icing sugar shaker to the side

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • The perfect balance of sweet and sour flavours make these lemon shortbread cookies a delicious afternoon treat.
  • Make the dough ahead of time and leave in the fridge until you are ready to bake fresh when you have friend round.
  • Little hands on preparation and only 10 minutes to bake the longest part of this recipe is the time to chill the dough.
  • A simple recipe that is ideal for kids who enjoy baking.

How to make lemon cookies

Ingredients for lemon butter biscuits.
  • This is a quick bake so look out all your ingredients, ready to start.
  • Take the butter out of the fridge an hour before you start so it has time to soften.
Butter and sugar in a bowl and adding in lemon zest to prepare lemon butter biscuits.
  • Start by placing the sugar, butter and lemon zest in a bowl and cream together.
Butter and sugar mixed and ready to add flour to a stand mixer.
  • Add the flour and mix to form a stiff cookie dough.
Lemon butter biscuit dough ready to roll and chill
  • Form the dough into an oblong roll roughly 5cm in diameter.
  • Use the baking parchment to help you as the dough will be a little sticky.
  • Now place the roll of cookie dough into the fridge for 1-2 hours to firm up.
Lemon butter biscuit dough
  • Once properly chilled the dough will feel firm.
  • When ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and remove the baking paper.
  • Work quickly so that the dough doesn’t soften.
lemon butter biscuits cut and ready for the oven on a lined baking tray.
  • Slice the dough and place onto a lined baking sheet.
  • Place the sheet into the hot oven and bake the biscuits for 10 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Once baked place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool.

Why chill cookie dough?

Do not be tempted to bake lemon shortbread biscuits without first chilling the dough. Chilling the cookie dough means these biscuits don’t melt too quickly once in the hot oven and they keep their shape.

Recipe ingredients & substitutions:

  • Caster Sugar is a fine sugar which creams really well with the butter to give a lemon shortbread biscuit.
  • Unsalted Butter is creamed with the sugar to form the base of the cookie. Use butter that’s at room temperature to make it easier to cream with the sugar. You can also use salted butter, but don’t be tempted to use margarine or butter substitutes as the cookie dough simply won’t set.
  • Lemon Zest is finely grated and added the the dough to add that burst of fresh lemon flavour to these lemon cookies.
  • Large Egg is added to the cookie dough to help it mind together.
  • Plain Flour (All-purpose) is used in these cookies as you don’t want the cookies to rise in the oven.

What to do with leftover lemon juice?

TOP TIP: This recipe requires the zest of 3 lemons. Once the zest has been removed from the lemons they can dry out. I hate to see anything go to waste, so instead juice the lemons and pour the lemon juice into an ice-cube tray and pop in the freezer. Once frozen, remove from the trays, pop the lemon ice cubes into a bag, label and return to the freezer. One cube is roughly the juice of 1/2 a lemon. I use these frozen lemon cubes in cooking, for marinades, or in a cheeky G&T!

Lemon butter cookies in a tower on a wire cooling rack and a dusting of icing sugar being sprinkled over the top, a pale blue napkin to the back with a lemon as well.

Different flavour combinations:

There is no complexity to this biscuit, using this easy butter biscuit recipe as a base, you can mix up the flavours to swap the flavours as you see fit. Here are some ideas:

  • Citrus – the lemon can be easily substituted with other citrus flavours. Orange, grapefruit or lime zest are great alternatives.
  • Chocolate – replace the zest and instead add chocolate chips or a tablespoon of cocoa powder, for a chocolate butter biscuit.
  • Nuts – add great crunch, try adding some chopped hazelnuts or almonds.
  • Sandwich – take 2 biscuits and sandwich them together with some butter cream flavoured with lemon zest.
  • Dip – once baked and cooled, how about dipping these lemon butter biscuits in some melted chocolate? Then set aside and allow the chocolate to set. Dark, milk or white chocolate would work a treat.
A tower of simple lemon butter cookies sat on top of a wire cooling rack, topped with powdered sugar and a snip of lemon thyme with a lemon and pale blue napkin to the back.

Serving suggestions

These lemon shortbread biscuits are the perfect sweet treat with your afternoon cuppa.

We also like to pair these lemon shortbread cookies with our Lemon Posset, a simple but refreshing dessert. The sweet lemon biscuit adds crunch and works well with the slightly sour posset. This dessert is ideal for warm Summer evenings.

Recipe hints and tips:

  1. Once the cookie dough comes out of the fridge work quickly to cut into shape and get the biscuits into the oven. The colder the dough, the less risk there is of the cookies spreading in the oven.
  2. Double the recipe and use one half of the dough to bake biscuits to enjoy now and freeze the second half of the dough to enjoy later.
  3. Allergy advice: soya free and nut free. For comprehensive and detailed allergy advice go to Allergy UK.


How to prepare lemon butter biscuits ahead of time?

These biscuits are great to make up in advance. Prepare the dough, roll it into a log, wrap it in baking parchment and place it in the fridge overnight. When you are ready to bake, simply remove them from the fridge, cut and bake as per the recipe card. Once baked, these biscuits can be stored in an airtight container on the counter top for up to 5 days.

Can you freeze lemon cookies?

Once baked, the biscuits can be placed in a container and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just make sure you put a layer of baking paper between the biscuits to stop them from sticking together. Then remove from the freezer and defrost the next time you fancy a sweet treat.

Can you freeze cookie dough?

Yes, this cookie dough also freezes really well so I very often make a double batch of dough. One to enjoy now, one to put away and enjoy at a later date. Once you have made the dough, roll and shape into an oblong then pop into the fridge for an hour to set. Once it is set, you can easily cut the dough into 1cm slices.

Place the slices of dough in a single layer in a suitable lidded box, ready for freezing. If freezing multiple layers, place a sheet of baking parchment between each layer of lemon biscuit. This will stop them sticking together and will make baking far easier at a later date.

How to bake cookie dough from frozen?

When ready to bake simply remove from the freezer and cook directly from frozen. Simply increase the cooking time by 2-4 minutes when cooking from frozen.

Pin the recipe

Lemon butter biscuits, delicious melt in the mouth biscuits fragrant with lemon. A simple bake making them a perfect afternoon tea treat. #simple #easy #lemonbutter

Additional recipe suggestions

For other simple biscuit bakes try some these recipes:

These delicious biscuits are all simple to make, and a great place to start of you are baking with kids. If you enjoyed this bake have a look at our Ultimate Guide to Baking with Kids, full of great recipe suggestions, hints and tips for baking with children.

A tower of simple lemon butter cookies sat on top of a wire cooling rack, topped with powdered sugar and a snip of lemon thyme with a lemon to the back.

Lemon Butter Biscuits

Lemon butter biscuits, delicious melt in the mouth lemon cookies fragrant with lemon. A simple bake and the perfect afternoon tea treat.
4.59 from 36 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 20 biscuits
Calories: 110kcal


  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 130 g unsalted butter (block of butter only – at room temperature)
  • 3 zest of lemons (finely grated)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 200 g plain flour


  • Place the sugar, butter, lemon zest and salt in a large mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.
  • Add in a beaten egg and stir well to combine, before adding the flour and mixing to a stiff dough.
  • Place the dough on a sheet of baking paper, it will be a little sticky. Use the baking paper to help you to form the shape of a log. Roll into a biscuit sized oblong shape, approximately 5cm in diameter and wrap up in the baking paper.
  • Place the dough in the fridge for 1-2 hours, until it has formed a solid block that you can slice. Or store in fridge overnight if preparing in advance.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180CFan/200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Once the oven is up to temperature, remove the dough from the fridge, discard the baking paper and cut the dough into 1cm slices. Place the biscuits onto the lined baking tray.
  • Place the tray into the hot oven and bake the biscuits for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Once baked place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool.


DO NOT use margarine or spreadable butter in this recipe as it will not set the dough. You need to use a block of butter if you want to achieve a stiff dough that you can roll into a log.
DO NOT take the dough out of the fridge until the oven is up to temperature. You want the dough to be cold so that the biscuits hold their shape and don’t spread too much when baking in the oven.
These simple biscuits are easily adapted to incorporate other flavours. Replace the lemon zest with orange for an orange flavoured biscuit. Add chocolate drops to the butter mixture and created chocolate chip biscuits.
The dough also freezes really well. Once you have made the dough, roll into an oblong and cut into 1cm slices. Place the slices in a single layer in a box, place a sheet of baking parchment between biscuits if freezing more than one layer. Take out and cook from frozen, simply increase the cooking time by 2-4 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Butter Biscuits
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 36mg1%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 178IU4%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Afternoon Tea, Baking, Dessert
Cuisine : British
Keyword : easy lemon biscuits, lemon cookies, lemon shortbread biscuits, lemon shortbread cookies
Tried this recipe? We’d love to see your photos!Mention @lostinf00d or tag #lostinfood!
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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 4th of October 2023

I tried this cookie dough today, but when I added the egg, it all curdled. I did a second batch and it happened again. Also the dough was super sticky, do I need to add more flour? Hope you can help.


Friday 6th of October 2023

Hi Joanne, sometimes eggs curdle if they are too cold when added to the butter and sugar. To fix this add a tablespoon or two of flour and stir until the butter emulsifies again. If the dough is really sticky it is often because the mixture has become too warm. You can add a couple of spoons of flour or allow it chill in the fridge or even give it a quick blast in the freezer to solidify it a bit, before you shape and chill the dough for cutting.


Sunday 17th of September 2023

Just made these with a couple of changes. I used Nielsen Massey Pure Lemon extract oil from Sainsbury to give a more intense lemon flavour. Don't bother with lemon extract it has very little flavour. When the biscuits were baked I dipped half the biscuit in melted white chocolate.


Monday 18th of September 2023

Hi Tony, it's absolutely fine to add lemon extract, I'm a huge fan of Nielsen Massey products as they have a lovely intense flavor. Dipping the biscuits in melted white chocolate is a great way to finish them too.


Friday 3rd of March 2023

Trying these this afternoon - but just a thought in these energy conscious times: if you are putting the dough in the fridge for at least an hour, surely the instruction to pre-heat the oven should come later in the recipe order?


Friday 3rd of March 2023

Excellent suggestion Sarah, I'll change the recipe card accordingly. Thank you.


Thursday 11th of August 2022

Wow - what a great recipe!! Very easy to make, and the flavour of the lemon zest is spot on. Can see it becoming one of my regular 'go to' recipes. Am going to try the choc chip version this week as you have suggested


Friday 26th of August 2022

Thank you Nick, I'm glad you enjoyed these. Using the base recipe it's really easy to adapt with other flavours.


Monday 12th of July 2021

Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.


Tuesday 20th of July 2021

Thank you Ashok, this is a favourite bake of ours too.