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7 lemon and cardamom shortbread cookies on a baking tray, with slices of lemon around the cookies. On top of the shortbread cookies is a lemon glaze.

Lemon and Cardamom Shortbread

These buttery lemon and cardamom shortbread cookies are flavored with cardamom and lemon zest, and topped with a lovely fragrant lemon glaze.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 22 biscuits
Calories 160 kcal


For the shortbread:

  • 250 g / 8 oz salted butter softened
  • ¾ cup 90g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 cups 300g plain / all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder see note 1

For the lemon glaze:

  • 1 ½ cup icing sugar powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F or 140°C (fan forced / convection).

  2. Grease and line a 31.5 x 23.5 cm / 9 x 13" baking tray with baking paper on the bottom and overhang from the sides. The overhang will help in easily taking out the shortbread cookies later.

  3. Place the softened butter in a medium sized bowl. Beat butter until pale and creamy. Sift over the icing sugar (powdered sugar) and combine together.

  4. Add the cardamom powder and lemon zest and stir together.
  5. Add the flour in two portions. First mix one cup of flour, and then add the other. Beat until the dough comes together. Use your hands to turn the dough into a smooth ball of dough. Don't knead.

  6. Roughly shape the dough into a rectangle shape, and place it into the prepared tray. Use a rolling pan, along with your fingers to press the dough into the pan. Be very light in rolling as well as pressing the dough, as that can make the biscuits firm.
  7. Use a large sharp knife to score the shortbread into the shape of bars – don’t cut all the way through. Prick with a fork (2 to 3 times per bar).
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, turning the tray halfway through the baking process, until the shortbread is light golden. Place the baking tray on a cooling rack to cool completely. This recipe makes about 22 - 24 cookies. Nutrition yield is for a serving of 1 cookie per person.

  9. For the lemon glaze:
  10. Place the icing sugar (powdered sugar) in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Mix together till a liquid glaze is formed. In case the glaze is too liquid, add more icing sugar (powdered sugar) and if it is too thick add a drop of lemon juice (or water). Drizzle the lemon glaze over the cooled shortbread biscuits.

Recipe Notes

  1. It is possible to substitute the cardamom powder with cardamom seeds. Take about 2 - 3 cardamom pods, and take out the seeds. Lightly crush them in a mortar and pestle, then use in the recipe. 

Note: The shortbread recipe is based on the recipe for shortbread cookies on Recipe Tin Eats