Lemon curd cookies are tangy, mouthwatering, and absolutely irresistible! With an easy shortbread cookie recipe and a batch of zesty lemon curd, you can enjoy this fantastic, simple dessert year-round.
Simple shortbread sugar cookies are so easy to make, but so versatile in the ways that you can serve them!
These slightly dry sweets could use a little moisture. Lemon curd thumbprint cookies are the best way to enjoy the best of both worlds!
Making lemon curd cookies is so easy – the hardest part is waiting for everything to cool before you can take that first bite!
And if you’re wondering what to do with lemon curd you have leftover, we have you covered with plenty of recommendations to be served from breakfast (lemon biscuits!) to dessert (bars, pies, and cookies galore).
Preparing the Lemon Curd
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Add egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice to a small saucepan and whisk together. Heat on medium-low and warm for a couple of minutes until the curd begins to bubble at the edges of the pan.
STEP TWO: Lower the heat and cook for 2 minutes while continuously whisking as the curd thickens. Cook just until thick enough to cover the back of the spoon – don’t overcook!
STEP THREE: Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. If lumpy, run the mixture through a sieve. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill for 2 hours. Make sure the lid or plastic wrap isn’t touching the curd!
How to Make Lemon Curd Cookies
STEP ONE: Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
STEP TWO: Place the butter, powdered sugar, and lemon zest in the stand mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes until totally mixed.
STEP THREE: Add the flour and salt to the mixture. Continue mixing on low until the dough forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. It will be crumbly dough.
STEP FOUR: Cover and chill the dough for 20 minutes. Just before they’ve finished chilling, preheat the oven to 350F.
STEP FIVE: When ready to bake, begin scooping 1.5 tablespoon-sized cookies and roll them into balls. Place them on the parchment paper and flatten into discs ½“ thick. Indent the center of each with your finger.
STEP SIX: Bake until just golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes, and remove from the oven. If they’ve puffed too much, press the indents again to make room for the curd.
STEP SEVEN: Once completely cooled, spoon 1-2 teaspoons of curd into each cookie. Top the finished lemon curd cookies with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve!
Tips For Making Cookies With Lemon Curd
- Avoid dry, crumbly dough by measuring your flour carefully. Don’t pack it down and be sure to carefully level it off.
- You can also use a spoon, not your thumb, to indent the cookies for the filling for very even, uniform cookies.
- Be careful with the temperature! If it’s too high, then the egg will curdle, making the curd grainy. If it’s too low, then the curd won’t thicken!
- Remember to soften the butter – particularly when making the shortbread – so that all the flavors can be smoothly, and easily incorporated.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the curd. It makes all the difference in the world! And don’t skip the zest – it really enhances the acidic citrus flavor throughout the lemon curd shortbread cookies topping.
Do Lemon Curd Cookies Need to Be Refrigerated?
You don’t need to refrigerate store-bought lemon curd, but you do need to refrigerate these homemade lemon curd shortbread cookies.
Layer the leftover lemon curd thumbprint cookies in an airtight container, with a sheet of parchment paper between them if you’re stacking them, and refrigerate for up to four days.
How Long Does Lemon Curd Keep?
It can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container, ideally one with a large opening so that the curd can be easily scooped out and used at a later date.
It also freezes well for up to a year. To thaw, place it in the fridge overnight and then eat within 4 days.
What Can Be Made From Lemon Curd?
Rather than ask what to do with lemon curd, you should ask what you can’t do with lemon curd!
- You can start your day with lemon curd and biscuits or in a fresh fruit tart (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are the best fruits to pair with lemon).
- For something lighter, you could have a crumbly lemon biscotti with some curd on the side as well – especially if you’re having tea.
- For dessert, you can enjoy sugar cookies with lemon curd or pile them into a pie crust and bake for a mouthwatering, tangy lemon pie.
- You could even use the recipe here to make a shortbread crust, slather the curd on top, and make some lemon bars.
Is Lemon Curd the Same As Lemon Custard?
No. The biggest difference between the two is that lemon custard uses condensed milk while lemon curd does not.
Custard is thicker and closer to a pudding, while the curd is stickier and has a stronger lemon flavor.
Other Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- No Spread Sugar Cookies
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
- Jello Lemon Meringue Pie
- Easy Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
- 3 Ingredient Pie Crust
- Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
For the Lemon Curd
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
For the Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Lemon Curd
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and lemon juice.
- Place the saucepan over medium low heat and warm the curd just until you begin to see bubbles around the edges of the pan– about 2 minutes.
- Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, or until the curd has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Make sure to keep an eye on it– we don’t want to scramble the eggs!
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Whisk to combine. If the curd has any lumps, you can always strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove them.
- Place the curd into a small bowl and cover it with plastic wrap so that the plastic is touching the surface of the curd– we don’t want it to form a skin.
- Place the curd in the fridge until completely chilled– about 2 hours.
For the Shortbread Cookies
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- Add the softened butter, powdered sugar, and lemon zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined– about 1-2 minutes.
- Next, add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until a crumbly dough forms. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Place the cookie dough in the fridge to chill for 20 minutes. While the cookies chill, preheat the oven to 350F.
- When the oven is ready, scoop out 1.5 tablespoon sized portions and roll them into smooth balls. Flatten them into ½” discs and then use your finger (or the back of a spoon) to create a small dent in the center.
- Bake the chilled cookies for 13-15 minutes, or just until they are golden brown on the bottoms. The cookies will puff slightly as they bake– if needed, press the centers of the cookies in slightly when they come out of the oven to create a deeper hole.
- Allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet and then fill the center of each cookie with 1-2 teaspoons of homemade lemon curd. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 3g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.