Lemon Tea Cookie Recipes

Lemon Tea Cookie Recipes

Lemons are sunshine in fruit form. They’re bright, cheery, and add a pep to your step no matter what the weather is doing outside. To bring all that cheer and brightness to your tea table, try these lemon tea cookie recipes! The ultimate in teatime happiness.

These lemon tea cookie recipes make bright, cheery lemon cookies with a little bit of zing and an uplifting fragrance!

Shortbread seems as though it was made to be paired with tea. Light, buttery, simple, delicious. What’s not to love?

Shortbread comes together in almost no time—it’s genuinely one of the easiest cookies I’ve ever come across. Minimal ingredients, low fuss, consistent results…as long as you’ve got softened butter on hand, you are ready to roll! (Quite literally, if you’re a fan of the cookie-cutter method…)

Shortbread makes a wonderful pie crust, a delightful cookie, or a savory treat. The straightforward, no-frills flavor makes it an ideal base for a whole host of teatime snacks.

Herbaceous and delicately sweet Rosemary Honeyed Shortbread.

Rich and decadent Chocolate Orange Tart with a shortbread crust.

Subtle and grounding Lemon Thyme Shortbread Squares.

Or in this case, zippy lemon tea cookies with elderflower, crunchy thumbprint cookies with lemon curd filling, and vibrant lemon cookie sandwiches with cream cheese filling.

Yes, please.

A platter of assorted lemon cookies sit on a lacy tablecloth—heart-shaped shortbread cookies with bright yellow icing, lemon cookies rolled in oats, with dollops of yellow icing, and sugar cookies with yellow icing and gold, white, and silver sprinkles. Around the platter are three lemons, a pot of tea, and a bag of Good Morning Moringa herbal tea.

Love and Lemons

Each of these cookie recipes is highly customizable, and they have one thing in common: lemons. Luscious, lovely lemons with their invigorating juice and zesty peels. A generous squeeze of lemon juice and a hearty smattering of zest give each of these cookies vibrant flavor and the perfect amount of zing!

We love lemon in scones.

Lemon in pancakes, poppyseed bread, and glaze .

And here, we love it in a tea cookie.

These lemon tea cookie recipes are just a glimpse of the myriad ways you can introduce a vivacious burst of citrus into your tea desserts. They all use the same classic shortbread recipe as a base, and you can introduce add-ins, toppings, and flavors to your heart’s content.

I leaned into the lemon flavors here, but you can let your imagination run wild!

Perhaps try a lemon-shortbread thumbprint cookie topped with blueberry preserves…

Infuse your lemon shortbread with earl grey and drizzle it with lavender icing…

Sprinkle powdered or crystalized ginger into your shortbread, form it into balls, and roll them in powdered sugar fresh from the oven…

Use a spice grinder or food processor to incorporate your favorite teas right into your dough for an extra pop of flavor. (And an extra hint of nutrition!) Good Morning Moringa, Raspberry Revitalizer Lemon Mate, and Mindful Morning Earl Grey would all be excellent choices. Or take our tea quiz to discover a new favorite!

When life hands you lemons, make lemon tea cookies, and make them any way you’d like!

Three plates of lemon cookies it on a lacy tablecloth—one plate of sugar cookies with yellow icing and gold, yellow, and white sprinkles, one plate of shortbread cookies rolled in oats with dollops of icing on top, and a third plate of two heart-shaped lemon cookies. Next to them are a pot and cup of tea, with a bowl of lemons in the background.

What to Pair with Lemon Cookies

If you’re looking for the perfect tea to pair with these lemon tea cookie recipes, you have no shortage of options!

A hearty Earl Grey is a classic accompaniment to a tangy lemon dessert. The depth of the black tea with its subtle twist of bergamot citrus is a beautiful balance to the bright acidity of the lemon.

A gentle herbal tea with a hint of lemon is a lovely way to compliment the more robust flavors in the cookie. Try Welsh Dreams, with its sprinkling of lemon peel, pop of peppermint, and whisper of vanilla essence. Or consider Wise Council, a complex blend of licorice root, peppermint, lemongrass, and ginger root.

If you’re in the mood for a sturdy black tea to cut through the tartness of the lemon, Fog Cutter is a perfect choice! It's a stout Irish breakfast blend boasting, not two, not three, but four different black teas flavored simply with a hint of lemon peel—strong and bold and ever so slightly citrusy. Just the thing to counterbalance the sweetness of the shortbread and the zestiness of the lemon.

Or check out this post for some of the best tea and lemon pairings!

Three plates of lemon cookies it on a lacy tablecloth—one plate of sugar cookies with yellow icing and gold, yellow, and white sprinkles, one plate of shortbread cookies rolled in oats with dollops of icing on top, and a third plate of two heart-shaped lemon cookies. Next to them are a pot and cup of tea, with a bowl of lemons in the background.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Cookies!

Try any of these lemon tea cookie recipes for a zesty teatime treat! Make them just as the recipe says, or use this as a springboard to create your own lemon tea cookies. Tag us on social media with your creations: @plumdeluxe. We always love to see what you’re baking!

Shortbread Base for Lemon Cookie Recipes

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar**
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice***
  • Zest of one large lemon (about 1 tablespoon, more or less to taste)
Optional Add-ins:
  • 1-2 teaspoon ground tea leaves of choice such as Earl Grey, Lemon Ginger, Lemon Elderflower
  • 1-2 teaspoon add-in of choice such as powdered or crystalized ginger, culinary lavender, fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme
Note: For a classic shortbread dough, leave out lemon juice, zest, and any additional add-ins.
Directions:
Combine all ingredients, either by hand or in a food processor, until dough forms a ball.
Form into cookies and bake according to size and shape. See below recipes for baking instructions, based on which cookies you'd like to make.
*A great way to do this is to leave your butter on the counter overnight. If you’re short on time, try setting your butter in the oven with the heat off and the oven light on for an hour or so. Or microwave in 5-second bursts, making sure the butter rotates as it microwaves. Just be mindful that if your butter is melty instead of softened, it can affect the texture of your cookie.
**You can customize your sugar by using less or more of each variety, or using only one kind, as long as the total comes to 1/2 cup. Granulated sugar results in a crispier shortbread. Powdered sugar results in a softer shortbread.
***You can swap this out for 1/2 - 1 teaspoon lemon extract, depending on what you have on hand. Be sure to taste the dough to check for flavor before you bake it. (I know; eating raw cookie dough is bad for you! I’m not saying eat three cookies’ worth. Just a tiny sample to give you an idea of the final flavor, and add more lemon juice or extract if necessary.)

Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Elderflower Tea Glaze*

Ingredients for Cookies:
  • 1 batch Lemon Shortbread Base
  • 2-3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Ingredients for Glaze:**
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoon Lemon Elderflower tea (Royal Wedding black tea and Evening in the Garden herbal tea are both lovely choices.)
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Small pinch of salt
  • Directions for Cookies:
    Assemble your shortbread dough. (See Shortbread Base recipe above.)
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Dough should be easy to handle, but if you find it’s too sticky, feel free to refrigerate for about 30 minutes. (Refrigeration is not necessary, but it is possible to keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days.)
    Roll with a lightly floured rolling pin until dough is 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick, depending on desired thickness of cookie.
    Cut with cookie cutters or use a knife to cut into even squares.
    Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 9-12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
    Cool for 2-5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
    Directions for Glaze:
    In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth.
    Once cookies are cool, drizzle or spread glaze over your cookies.
    Enjoy with your favorite tea!
    Yield will depend on the size and shape of your cookie cutters.
    *For a simpler option, you can also make classic shortbread (leave out the lemon juice and zest, plus any add-ins in the recipe above) and top with a lemon glaze, using lemon juice instead of elderflower tea.
    **This makes a tasty glaze, but be aware that it is a glaze, not an icing. Depending on how much liquid you add in, it may hold its shape enough to frost, or it may drizzle. If it’s thicker than you’d like, you can add more liquid. If it’s runnier than you like, you can add more powdered sugar. For the photos in this article, I used a classic icing recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, but I swapped out most of the water for lemon juice to get a nice zing.

    Shortbread Thumbprint Cookie with Lemon Curd Filling

    Ingredients:
    • 1 batch Lemon Shortbread Base*
    • 1 cup rolled oats, granola, or slivered almonds (optional)
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 cup lemon curd** for filling
    Directions:
    Assemble shortbread dough. (See Lemon Shortbread Base recipe above.)
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Form dough into one-inch balls.
    Optional step: Separate egg white in small bowl. Dip each dough ball into egg white, then roll the ball in oats, granola, or slivered almonds to coat.
    Line doughballs 2-3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Gently press your thumb deep into the dough ball to form an indentation. Reshape the edges of the cookie as necessary. Note: the indentations will decrease as the cookies bake and the dough puffs up.
    Bake 9-10 minutes, or until set.
    Let cookies cool slightly. While they are still warm, gently use your thumb to reform the indentations as necessary.
    Remove cookies to wire rack to cook completely.
    Spoon about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd (or topping of choice) into indentation.
    Enjoy with your favorite tea!
    Yield: 36 to 48 cookies
    *For a more classic thumbprint cookie dough, substitute the granulated and powdered sugars for brown sugar, and add an egg yolk to the dough. You can also leave out the lemon juice and zest for a standard cookie dough rather than a lemon dough.
    **Can substitute with any other jam, jelly, preserve, or frosting of choice.

    Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

    Ingredients for Cookies:
    • 1 batch Lemon Shortbread Base*
    Ingredients for Filling
    • 2-4 ounces cream cheese, (depending on how strong of a cream cheese flavor you like) at room temperature
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice (according to taste)
    • zest of medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • Pinch of salt
    • 2-3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
    Directions for Cookies:
    Assemble shortbread dough. (See Lemon Shortbread Base recipe above.)
    Turn onto lightly floured surface. Dough should be easy to handle, but if you find it is too sticky, feel free to refrigerate for about 30 minutes. (Refrigeration is not necessary, but it is possible to keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to a couple of days.)
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Roll out dough with a lightly floured rolling pin until it is 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick, depending on desired thickness of cookie.
    Cut with cookie cutters or use a knife to cut into even squares.
    Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 9-12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
    Cool for 2-5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
    Directions for Filling:
    In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth, either by hand or with an electric mixer.
    Once cookies are cooled completely, spread the flat edge of one cookie with cream cheese filling. Top with a second cookie (flat side-down) to form a sandwich.
    Repeat with remaining cookies.
    Enjoy with your favorite tea!
    Yield will depend on the size and shape of your cookie cutters.

    Erica Jolly

    Erica Jolly is a born and raised Pacific North Westerner. Rainwater flows through her veins. She is a tea drinker by day, wine drinker by night, and lover of food, yoga, and rambling conversations.
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