These frosted lemon shortbread cookies are so light and buttery, and the lemon frosting on top is the finishing touch! This is an easy gluten free and vegan cookie recipe that’s perfect for spring.
When springtime arrives, lighter flavors like lemon make an appearance on our menu. We love lemon on zucchini noodles, with chicken and rice, and especially in easy desserts like these frosted lemon shortbread cookies.
These cookies are buttery and crisp, and you would never guess that they’re gluten free and vegan! With the right gluten free flour blend and a good vegan buttery spread, you can make shortbread cookies that have a great texture and flavor.
If you’re new to baking without gluten, eggs, or dairy, you may be surprised at how easy it is to make these allergy friendly cookies. These don’t need to be cut out, so once you chill the dough, you can simply roll them into balls, and then use your thumb to flatten each dough ball slightly.
Be sure to allow the cookies to cool fully before frosting them.
- Vegan Buttery Spread – I like Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Buttery Spread. This brand works really well for baking cookies, muffins, cakes, and making dairy free frosting.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend – Namaste Perfect Flour Blend works well in this recipe. I think other store bought blends would also be fine. Shortbread cookies are traditionally very light and crisp, so I don’t recommend the use of grain free flours in this recipe. Grain free flour is usually dense and heavy, so it’s the wrong choice for shortbread.
- Lemon Juice and Zest – Fresh lemon juice is the best choice for flavor in this recipe. You could use bottled juice if you need to. You could also change the flavor to orange, lime, or grapefruit by using those fruits for the zest and juice instead.
Tips for Success
- Be sure to chill the dough – it makes it easier to work with, and keeps the dough from spreading.
- Use parchment paper so the cookies don’t stick to the pan.
- I kept these cookies simple but just rolling the dough into balls, but if you want specific shapes, you can roll the dough with a rolling pin after chilling, and then cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter. Some fun shapes for spring might be flowers, bunnies, or chicks.
Yes, feel free to use all-purpose flour instead! Just use an equal amount. Same for the butter – if you are not dairy free, you can use regular butter instead of vegan buttery spread.
No, oil will not be a good choice for these cookies. You could try palm shortening, but I have not tried this, so I can’t guarantee how it would work out.
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Frosted Lemon Shortbread Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan).
For the cookies:
For the frosting:
- 3 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice from approximately one lemon
Make the cookies:
- Place the vegan buttery spread and confectioner's sugar in a mixing bowl, and beat until smooth.
- Add the gluten free flour blend, salt, and lemon zest, then mix on low speed until the dough comes together.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill the dough in the refrigerator for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Use a spoon to scoop out a tablespoon of dough at a time. Roll it into balls, and place on the cookie sheets. Use your thumb or the back of a spoon to press the balls down.
- Repeat with remaining dough. You can probably fit about 12 cookies on a cookie sheet Keep the leftover dough chilled in between baking.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely before moving.
Make the frosting:
- Place the confectioner's sugar, the vegan buttery spread, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed. If the dough seems too thin, add a little more confectioner's sugar. If it's too thick, add a little more lemon juice.
- Once the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency, turn off the mixer.
- Frost the cooled shortbread cookies. Sprinkle a little more lemon zest on top.