Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies made with a shortbread base, lemon juice and zest in a rich buttery crispy cookie that’s perfect for tea or your Christmas cookie exchange!

If you love lemon you’ll love these Blueberry Lemon Bread, Lemon Curd and Lemon Bars (just five ingredients and I promise you will keep this recipe in your recipe box forever!).

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies in a stackLEMON COOKIES

These Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are the best shortbread cookies I’ve ever had. Shortbread cookies are different than your average cookie because they don’t rely on a leavening agent like baking soda or baking powder to make them rise and make them soft and cakey. These are buttery, flaky rich cookies that are deliciously crumbly and perfectly lemony.

We add both lemon juice and lemon zest to this recipe to get as much lemon flavor as possible but you can just as easily swap out the lemon for lime or orange too. In fact in the winter I often make this recipe with oranges and shave white chocolate into the cookies too.

Since we start with softened butter and have a very soft cookie dough be sure you follow the directions closely about cooling your dough.


Refrigerate this dough for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight, to make sure it’s as cold as possible.

If you don’t refrigerate this dough it is going to melt into a pancake and burn. The butter needs to have a chance to firm back up again to give the cookie stability to be shaped and formed.


This cookie recipe will keep on the counter in an airtight container for 8-10 days.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Poppy Seeds


Shortbread cookies can be frozen with no issues, but if you decide to ice these cookies the icing may suffer in the freezing process.

Glaze for Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Whisk the ingredients together, then drizzle the icing over the cookies or dip the cookies upside down into the icing and allow to set.

Tips for Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies:

  • Bake these cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat to prevent sticking.
  • You want the cookies to turn a nice browned color in the oven because the buttery flavor will be more pronounced.
  • Make sure not to add any frosting or glaze to these cookies until after they have completely cooled.
  • Use room temperature butter to be sure you get the mixture light and fluffy before refrigerating your dough.
  • Make sure you let the dough chill for at least 2 hours, if you rush it the cookies will suffer.
  • If you want a softer poppy seed cookie you can add 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds to my Classic Lemon Cookie recipe.

Lemon Poppy Shortbread Cookies on Baking Sheet

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies made with a shortbread base, lemon juice and zest in a rich buttery crispy cookie that's perfect for tea or your Christmas cookie exchange!
Yield 18 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • To your stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes then add in the egg and egg yolk until fully combined.
  • Add in the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest and poppy seeds then lower the speed and add in the flour and salt until just combined.
  • Put the dough into plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before rolling out onto a floured surface 1/4" thick.
  • Press out with a cookie cutter and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.


Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Keyword: Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Lemon Shortbread Poppy Cookies

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Can I use Splenda or Monk Fruit sugar in place of the powdered sugar? My son is a diabetic.
    Thank you,

    1. I’ve not tested it using those so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. If you decide to try, I’d love to know what ends up working. Good luck!

  2. A time saving hint if you have room in your fridge. I roll my dough while it is soft between 2 layers of plastic wrap and then put on a cookie sheet in the fridge. I always have to let my dough soften just a bit before I can roll it and you save that step and the cookies cut better the colder they are.