Lemon Curd Cookies

5 from 2 votes

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These Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are a buttery shortbread cookie baked until tender with crisp edges and filled with tangy lemon curd.

This easy-to-make cookie is a lemon lover’s dream! 

Lemon Curd Cookies on cooling rack
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Lemon Curd Cookies

This Lemon Curd Cookie is an easy spring or Easter time dessert. And if you love shortbread and you love lemon, then these delicious cookies just might be your new favorite dessert!

If you have a lemon lover or two in the house like me, they will likely be gone in a matter of minutes. Who can resist?

While these cookies are a tad bit more involved than some of our other easy cookie recipes – you need to make a homemade lemon curd recipe and the cookie dough – no element is overly difficult!

Because as you know, over here I’m all about making simple and easy food that tastes great! If you are all about lemons, try this lemon poke cake or our no bake lemon pie for more goodness.

Spoon Lemon Curd into cookies

Add these lemon drop cookies to your Easter brunch or whenever you crave a bright, refreshing, springtime cookie to curb that sweet tooth craving! 

Ingredient Shopping List

These easy lemon thumbprint cookies are so simple to make and use simple pantry ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen.

Lemon Curd Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand or to grab from the store when you’re ready to whip up springtime lemony cookies:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Sugar
  • Whole egg + yolks
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Lemon juice + zest

How To Make This Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

First, prepare the dough for the shortbread thumbprint cookies.

To start, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld electric mixer, on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

cream butter and sugar for cookies

Add in one whole egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

add egg and vanilla

Next, add in flour and salt. Mix until dough comes together. The cookie dough will have a crumbly texture at first.

mix in flour

Using a large cookie scoop, portion out a tablespoon of dough and roll into dough balls. Arrange on a baking sheet.

Using your thumb, press an indentation in the center of each cookie.

roll cookies and press down with thumprint

Bake cookies in the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms begin to brown.

Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to completely cool. Once cooled, using a spoon to fill each indentation with the homemade lemon custard and enjoy!

Let baked cookies cool

While the cookies are baking, prepare the creamy lemon curd.

lemon curd in a jar with a spoon dripping

To a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest whisking constantly to prevent the yolks from curdling until thickened.

beat eggs with a whisk over heat

Then, remove pan from heat and add butter and mix until smooth.

remove lemon curd from heat and add butter

Strain the tart lemon curd filling through a sieve to remove the lemon zest.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days until ready to use.

strain lemon curd into a bowl

How To Store Leftovers

Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.

Store any leftover lemon curd in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Can These Lemon Buttery Shortbread Cookies Be Frozen?

Baked cookies that are filled with the lemon curd do not freeze very well, so I recommend enjoying immediately.

The cookie dough; however, can be frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze, make the dough, form into thumbprint cookies, and freeze the dough balls – first placing on a cookie sheet to freeze then transferring to an airtight container.

When you’re ready to bake the Lemon Curd Cookies, remove dough from freezer and bake according to the recipe for a few extra minutes as the frozen dough will need a little more time to bake.

Once baked and cooled, add in the prepared homemade lemon curd and enjoy!

How Do I Know When The Cookies Are Done?

The baking time on these lemon cookies is very important because if the shortbread bakes too long they’ll be hard, crumbly, and flavorless.

The ideal texture for these cookies is soft, tender, with a slight chew which generally takes around 10-15 minutes.

Since every oven is different, be sure to closely watch these cookies near the end of the baking time. You’re looking for a cookie that has slightly golden-brown edges with a top that is no longer glossy

Lemon Curd Cookies on a wire rack

Can I Add Lemon Juice and Zest To The Shortbread?

While I find the shortbread base delicious as written, feel free to add the zest of one medium lemon when the flour and salt are added to really up the lemon flavor of this cookie! 

Can These Be Made Into Lemon Bars?

Sure! Simply place the shortbread cookie base into a 9×9 prepared baking dish and bake until the edges are slightly golden-brown, and the top is no longer glossy.

Once cooled, top with the lemon curd and refrigerate to allow curd to thicken and set. Once set, slice into bars and enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

  • Thoroughly beat the butter and sugar as this fluffs the dough with air and gives the cookies that iconic soft texture.
  • Be sure to zest the lemon before slicing and juicing
  • If you are unable to locate unsalted butter or you only have salted on hand, feel free to use but reduce the additional salt by 1/4 teaspoon otherwise the cookies will be overly salted
  • While the recipe calls for making the lemon curd while the cookies are baking, feel free to make at least one day in advance. This will allow the lemon curd to be fully thickened and well chilled before adding to the cooled cookies. 
  • Roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before placing an indentation in the middle for an additional added subtle sweetness
  • To make perfectly round cookies, after the dough is rolled into balls, press the dough balls with a flat-bottomed glass or the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten them evenly. Then, using the back of a 1-teaspoon-sized rounded measuring spoon, and press into the center of the dough to make the indentation. 
  • Add a simple lemon glaze to really take these lemon treats over the top!

Print the Recipe Card – Lemon Curd Cookie Recipe

When you’re looking for a simple, delicious, lemon-filled springtime cookie, make these tasty Lemon Curd Cookies!

They’re perfect for an Easter celebration, a spring get-together, or when that lemon craving strikes!

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

5 from 2 votes
If you love shortbread and you love lemon, then these delicious cookies just might be your new favorite dessert!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Yield: 18 Cookies (approximately)


Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 cup lemon curd

Lemon Curd Ingredients:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • cup white sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed


To make the cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350º, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined
  • Add in flour and salt, and mix until dough comes together (it will likely be crumbly at first)
  • Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball (roughly walnut-sized) and arrange on baking sheet with 1-2 inches of space between each ball
  • Use your thumb to to press an indentation into each cookie
  • Bake in center of oven for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms begin to brown
  • Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack until completely cool
  • Use a spoon to fill each indentation with lemon curd
  • Refrigerate until ready to eat

How to make lemon curd:

  • Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a sauce pan
  • Heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly to prevent egg yolk curdling until thickened
  • Remove from heat and add butter
  • Strain through a sieve to remove zest
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days until ready to use


Nutrition information is estimated. Please rely on your ingredients for the best calculations. 


Serving: 1 cookie, Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 35g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 178mg, Potassium: 39mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 494IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 16mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to andreaupdyke@gmail.com.

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  1. 5 stars
    Enjoy your receipts. My Gramma was born in England. She immigrated to America in 1930’s. She made the best scones and biscuits. She also made lemon curd at Christmas time. We would visit her every Sunday after church. She would have her dining room all set up for a “tea party”. She also made little individual mincemeat tarts. The pastry was so flaky and rich. She used lard in her pie crust. She was so much fun and I have wonderful memories of her.