These lemon curd cookies are buttery shortbread cookies with a thick, tangy, perfectly sweet homemade lemon curd filling. They are easy to make and perfect for adding some brightness and acidity to your cookie platter!
There is almost nothing I love quite as much as a delicious, bright, tangy homemade lemon curd. I'm always looking for ways to incorporate it into desserts like cakes or cheesecake, and it makes a beyond delicious filling for these buttery lemon cookies!
You will love how easy these are to make! The cookie dough and the lemon curd filling both come together quickly with minimal ingredients, and the dough doesn't need to be chilled before rolling and baking.
INGREDIENTS FOR LEMON CURD COOKIES
FOR THE LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES
- All-purpose flour: Use a kitchen scale, or measure the flour by lightly spooning it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off with the flat side of a knife.
- Baking powder: Makes the cookies extra soft and puffy. Without it they would be thin and crispy.
- Salt: Leave it out if your butter is salted.
- Butter: Unsalted and softened to room temperature.
- Sugar: Granulated
- Egg: One large egg binds the dough.
- Lemon juice: Fresh-squeezed lemon juice adds a slight tang to the cookies that I love. You can also use vanilla extract in place of the lemon juice.
- More granulated sugar: For rolling the cookie dough balls.
- Lemon juice: Fresh-squeezed. You will need about 2-4 large lemons depending on how juicy they are.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted is fine.
- Egg yolks: Egg yolks thicken the lemon curd and are what cause it to set.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar makes the lemon curd sweet and balances the tartness of the lemon juice.
- Vanilla extract: Optional, but recommended!
HOW TO MAKE LEMON CURD COOKIES
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter until smooth with no lumps. Add the granulated sugar and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy.
Add the egg and fresh-squeezed lemon juice (or vanilla extract) and mix until well combined. Wipe down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
In 2-3 additions, add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.
Don't worry if the cookie dough looks slightly underbaked, it will finish cooking as it cools.
MAKE THE LEMON CURD
Add the fresh-squeezed lemon juice and butter to a medium saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and cook until the butter is melted. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined and pale yellow in color.
Slowly pour the warm lemon juice mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking the yolk mixture constantly as you do.
Pour everything back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Keep whisking occasionally and bring the lemon curd to a gentle boil. Then lower the heat and whisk constantly until the curd is thick and smooth.
Take the pan off of the heat and strain the lemon curd through a sieve and into a bowl. Allow to cool slightly before filling the cookies.
How to Store and Freeze Cookies and Cookie Dough
Once filled and the lemon curd has set and cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container and keep at room temperature for 4-5 days. If you want to refrigerate them make sure they are in a completely sealed container or the cold air will turn them hard faster.
To freeze baked cookies: Once cooled, arrange the cookies (without the lemon curd filling) on a baking sheet in a single layer and set the sheet flat in the freezer until they are mostly solid. Transfer them to a large plastic bag or an airtight container with sheets of parchment paper between layers. Keep frozen for up to 2 months. To recapture that fresh-baked cookie taste and texture, reheat the frozen cookies in a 275°F oven for 10-15 minutes, then add the lemon curd and serve.
To freeze cookie dough: Roll the dough into balls and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Set the sheet flat in the freezer until the dough is solid, then transfer the frozen cookie dough to a large plastic bag or an airtight container and keep frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, arrange the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about an inch or two apart, and bake in a 350°F oven, straight from frozen and a few minutes longer than the normal bake time. Make an indent in the center after baking, fill with the lemon curd, and serve.
More Fruit Curd Recipes:
Lemon Curd Cookies
Lemon Shortbread Cookies:
- 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or vanilla extract
- granulated sugar, for rolling the cookie dough balls
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted is fine
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Arrange your oven rack to the center position and preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Add some granulated sugar to a small bowl for rolling the cookie dough balls.
Make the Lemon Cookies:
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, use an electric mixer or the paddle attachment to beat the butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy.
- Add the room temperature egg and the lemon juice and mix until well combined. (The dough may look a little lumpy if your egg was not brought to room temperature, but it will be fine once you add the dry ingredients.)
- In 2-3 additions, add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough comes together.
- Take 1 and ½ tablespoons (about 28 grams) of dough and roll it into a ball with the palms of your hands. Toss the dough balls in the bowl of granulated sugar and arrange them on your lined baking sheet, spaced about 1-2 inches apart.
- Bake, one baking sheet at a time, for 10-12 minutes. Take the cookies out of the oven and immediately make an indent in the center of each with a round teaspoon or the handle of a wooden spoon. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet before removing.
Make the Lemon Curd:
- Add the fresh-squeezed lemon juice and butter to a medium saucepan and place the pan over medium-low heat to melt the butter.
- In a large bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Slowly pour the warm lemon mixture into the bowl of the egg yolks, whisking the yolks constantly as you do. Add everything back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. Whisk occasionally and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Once boiling, whisk constantly until the lemon curd is thick.
- Strain the warm lemon curd through a sieve and into a bowl. Allow to cool slightly and then pipe or spoon the lemon curd into the indent of the cookies.
- Let cool so the lemon curd can set. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- The cookie dough can be made 3 days ahead of time and kept in the fridge, covered tightly.
- Homemade lemon curd can be made 1-2 weeks in advance. Cover the curd with plastic wrap and press the top down onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming.