These homemade gluten-free lemon shortbread cookies with lemon icing are a tasty treat bursting with lemon flavor. These cookies are simple to make and use simple ingredients. Their tangy lemon icing is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth or sharing with friends and family. Whether you’re an experienced baker or new to the kitchen, these cookies will surely be a hit at any gathering.

A gluten free lemon shortbread cookie topped with lemonade icing and lemon zest.

If you are looking for a simple cookie recipe, these gluten-free lemon shortbread cookies are absolutely delicious. Each bite is filled with a burst of tangy lemon zest. They are the perfect butter cookie. No fancy tools are needed; use your favorite cookie cutters or make these in a slice-and-bake roll of cookie dough.

If you love shortbread, this recipe is based on my classic Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie recipe.

Allergen Information:

This lemon cookie recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free. I have not tested this recipe with dairy-free butter. (If you try it, please drop a comment so other readers know if it works!)

I have 100s of easy, homemade gluten-free cookie recipes to try.

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Photos of the lemon shortbread cookies ingredients.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten-Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe with only one flour blend. Others should work as well, but you may need to tweak the moisture levels depending on the starch-to-grain ratio. To help you, I wrote an article about why gluten-free flour blends vary so much. See the Tips for Success section below for specific advice depending on your dough consistency.
  • Xanthan Gum – If your flour blend doesn’t contain a binder, you will need to add either xanthan gum or guar gum.
  • Sugar – Use cane sugar and not turbinado.
  • Salt
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice and Zest – Fresh is always best, but jarred lemon juice will work.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract.
  • Powdered Sugar – The perfect icing sugar.

Substitutions:

  • If you are dairy-free, swap vegan butter for the regular butter.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh lemons, you can use 1 teaspoon of lemon extract in place of vanilla extract.
  • To make this recipe gum-free, use my DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend. It uses psyllium husk instead of xanthan or guar gum.
Lemon shortbread cookies on a rack. They have an icing drizzle and lemon zest on top.

Tips For Sucess

1. Chill the dough for 30-45 minutes if you have the time. It will prevent their spreading during baking.
2. Use any shape cookie cutter. These make darling cookies for any holiday.
3. Don’t let the cookies sit on the pan too long. After they have baked, only let them sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes. The pan will still be hot and continue baking them otherwise.

Step-By-Step Directions:

Photos of the dry ingredients and the wet and dry ingredients combined.

Step 1: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk.

Step 2: Partially melt the butter in the microwave for 35 seconds. Combine the softened butter and lemon juice and whisk.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a large wooden spoon to mix them into your shortbread cookie dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

🔑 Sandi says: You can also mix your dough in a stand mixer if you prefer. Use a paddle attachment.

Photos of the dough rolled out on a silicone mat.

Step 4: Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Place the dough onto a silicone mat and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. If your dough is sticky, it is a good idea to dust the mat with a little flour.

Step 5: Take your favorite cookie cutter and cut out shapes from the cookie dough. Remove the cookies and place them onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Take the dough scraps and repeat step 4, rolling the dough again and using cookie cutters. Repeat until you have no more cookie dough.

Shortbread cookie dough circles ready to bake.

Step 6: Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. The actual baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookies and how thick the dough is. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. For best results, slide the parchment paper gently off the baking sheet onto a wire cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool.

Important Cookie Tip:

If you have to use your cookie sheet for another batch, let the cookie sheet cool before putting cookie dough onto it. If you put your cookie dough on a hot baking sheet, it starts to cook the cookies, and it can lead to the cookies spreading.

Icing the cookies:

While the cookies are cooling, prepare the lemonade glaze. Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Use a whisk to whip it. You can make the icing as thick as you like. When the cookies are cooled, drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies. Top with lemon zest.

If you love shortbread, be sure to try my Gluten-Free Maple Shortbread Cookies and my Gluten-Free Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookie recipes.

Recipe FAQ:

Can you freeze the lemon shortbread cookie dough?

Yes! This cookie dough is easy to freeze. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Place the dough into a freezer-safe zip bag. (If you roll it in a tube shape, it makes great slice-and-bake cookies!)

How long do gluten-free lemon shortbread cookies keep fresh?

These lemon cookies will keep fresh for up to four days in an airtight container.

How do you store shortbread cookies?

I always recommend freezing the cookies if you don’t eat them within two days. Freeze in a freezer-safe zipper bag.

A stack of four lemon shortbread cookies on a white plate.

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

A gluten free lemon shortbread cookie topped with lemonade icing and lemon zest.

Buttery Gluten-Free Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Sandi Gaertner
These homemade gluten-free lemon shortbread cookies are full of buttery lemon flavors. They melt in your mouth!
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gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Dough Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cookies and Bar Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 133 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend * see notes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Lemonade Icing

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Optional lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and sugar to a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk.
  • Partially melt the butter in the microwave for 35 seconds. Combine the softened butter and lemon juice and whisk.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a large wooden spoon to mix them into your shortbread cookie dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Place the dough onto a silicone mat and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to ½ inch thickness. If your dough is sticky, it is a good idea to dust the mat with a little flour.
  • Take your favorite cookie cutter and cut out shapes from the cookie dough. Remove the cookies and place them onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Take the dough scraps and repeat step 4, rolling the dough again and using cookie cutters. Repeat until you have no more cookie dough.
  • Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. The actual baking time will vary depending on the size of your cookies and how thick the dough is. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. For best results, slide the parchment paper gently off the baking sheet onto a wire cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool.
  • While the cookies are cooling, prepare the lemonade glaze. Add the powdered sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Use a whisk to whip it. You can make the icing as thick as you like. When the cookies are cooled, drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies. Top with lemon zest. 

Notes

  1. I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure. Other blends should also work, but you may need to tweak the liquid and dry ingredient ratios. Every flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio and varies slightly.
  2. If your flour blend doesn’t contain a binder, add 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
  3. If you want your icing to be thicker, use less lemon juice.
  4. Store in an airtight container. They will keep fresh for up to 4 days. Freeze the cooled cookies in a freezer-safe zipper bag.
Substitutions:
  • If you are dairy-free, swap vegan butter for the regular butter.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh lemons, you can use 1 teaspoon of lemon extract in place of vanilla extract.
  • To make this recipe gum-free, use my DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend. It uses psyllium husk instead of xanthan or guar gum.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 133kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 25mgPotassium: 7mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 237IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.4mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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