rosemary lemon shortbred cookies arranged on a marble counter with lemon slices and rosemary scattered around

Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies

This recipe for rosemary lemon shortbread cookies is rich and buttery, with citrus notes from lemon and herby-ness from aromatic rosemary. Perfect for afternoon tea!

I love rosemary; it’s my favorite herb. I have yet to pair it with something that doesn’t taste incredible (have you tried my Sourdough Rosemary Focaccia?). Adding herbs to baked goods is a fun way to change it up and add aromatics to desserts. I bought a lemon rosemary sugar cookie at a local bakery a few months ago that was so good it inspired me to create a similar recipe for my blog. 

I think shortbread is the perfect foil for almost any flavor due the buttery richness of the cookie. And herbs in particular can cut through that buttery richness and add beautiful aromatics to baked goods. In this recipe for rosemary lemon shortbread cookies, the lemon brightens up the richness of the cookie while the rosemary gives it that earthy, herb-forward flavor that rounds out the overall flavor. They are the perfect summer cookie to pair with your afternoon coffee or tea. And your kitchen will smell incredible when they are baking in the oven.

flour, sugar, lemon, rosemary, and salt in a food processor

Expert Tips For Success

Make sure your butter is cold. Room temperature butter will cause your cookies to spread and flatten out when baking.

When zesting your lemons, be sure to avoid the white pith. You only want the yellow zest. The pith tastes bitter and will add bitterness to your cookies.

After rolling dough into a log, you can place in freezer for up to one month. When ready to bake, thaw dough and slice and bake according to recipe instructions below.

shortbread cookies on a baking sheet with a pastry brush brushing egg white on top
white hand sprinkling sugar onto shortbread cookies on a baking sheet

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Combine first 5 ingredients in food processor. Add butter; pulse until moist clumps form.
  • Transfer dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a log. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut 1/4″-sized discs from log and place on baking sheet. Using a pastry brush or back of a spoon, lightly brush each cookie with a slightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  • Bake cookies until light golden, about 17-20 minutes. Cool pan on rack for 5 minutes. Carefully remove cookies onto rack with a spatula. Cool completely.
rosemary lemon shortbread cookies arranged on a cooling rack
lemon rosemary shortbread cookies stacked on a marble counter with rosemary scattered around

Enjoy your week, and feel free to drop me a line in the comments – I would love to hear if you try this recipe! Or tag me on Instagram @maryannehoekstra to let me know how it turned out! Also, if you are enjoying my blog, please consider recommending it to your friends. They can subscribe here.

More Cookie Recipe Ideas!

Rosemary Lemon Shortbread Cookies

A rich and bright lemon shortbread cookie with the subtle flavor of rosemary. The perfect summertime treat!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 24 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • sugar

Instructions
 

  • Combine first 5 ingredients in food processor. Add butter; pulse until moist clumps form.
  • Transfer dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a log. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut 1/4"-sized discs from log and place on baking sheet. Using a pastry brush or back of a spoon, lightly brush each cookie with a slightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  • Bake cookies until light golden, about 17-20 minutes. Cool pan on rack for 5 minutes.  Carefully remove cookies onto rack with a spatula. Cool completely.
Keyword cookies, lemons, rosemary, shortbread

8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The rosemary adds a little “something” to the lemon flavor. Loved it.

  2. 5 stars
    These were delicious. The rosemary really added a nice touch!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow, rosemary and lemon are a perfect combination of flavors for shortbread cookies. Yummy!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow! I love rosemary and lemon combination, but never used them in cookies. Your cookies sound amazing.

  5. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe! The cookies turned out perfect! Thank you.

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