These Lemon Curd Cookies taste absolutely amazing! The tangy filling combined with the tender buttery cookie creates a delicious mini dessert that can be enjoyed any time you need a little pick-me-up!
If you’re like me, a big fan of lemon flavors, then you are going to want to make these Lemon Curd Cookies as soon as possible! This recipe uses my homemade lemon curd which is extra tangy but for an easy variation, use store bought lemon curd.
These are also known as lemon curd thumbprint cookies. If you’ve never heard of thumbprint cookies, they are simply cookies that are pressed with your thumb or some other device to make an indentation. The indentation is filled with curd or some other type of filling and then baked.
What you’ll love about this recipe is that the filling is baked along with the shortbread cookies. Many recipes fill the cookies after baking which is fine if you eat them all at once which you may and I won’t judge you for it! But storing lemon curd cookies with an unbaked filling gets tricky because the filling can spill out and the cookies don’t stack to pack into a container.
If you want the best Lemon Curd Cookies ever, then don’t look any further. These were given the highest votes at a recent family gathering. And you know your family will always tell the truth!
Another favorite delicious treat in my house is my Italian macarons and Italian butter cookies, my whole family loves them. Plus these gluten free Almond Flour Cookies as well as the almond flour peanut butter cookie variation are all popular at Christmas time!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Table of Contents
- Salted butter - For these cookies, salted butter has the perfect amount of salt to bring out the butteriness of the dough. The dough is the one I use for my Christmas shortbread cookies and all types of thumbprint cookies.
- White sugar - I like to use superfine white sugar because it dissolves more easily.
- Lemon zest - Just the yellow part and finely grated. All the wonderful lemon oils are in the yellow skin and the flavor is different to the juice. Adding lemon zest to the dough is a good way of layering and accenting the lemon flavor.
- All purpose flour - Regular plain flour with no raising agent in it is perfect.
- Lemon curd - Use my lemon curd recipe which uses freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best taste and tang in your lemon curd cookies. But don’t worry if you don’t have time to make your own.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Before you begin, preheat the oven to 340ºF (170º C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest with an electric or stand mixer. Then mix in half of the flour.
- Add the remaining flour and combine until the dough comes together.
- Roll smooth balls, place on prepared baking sheets and make an indentation in each ball.
- Use a measuring spoon to place a little of the lemon curd filling in the indentation. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes then bake until lightly colored.
Hint: Be sure to let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely
- Butter - If you only have unsalted butter, add about ¼ teaspoon of standard fine table salt.
- White sugar - use powdered sugar instead if that’s all you have.
- Lemon curd - Buy a good quality, store bought lemon curd and these lemon curd cookies with still be amazing!
Basically, these are lemon curd thumbprint cookies and as with most thumbprint cookies, the fillings can vary.
- Orange, passion fruit or lime curd also works well as a filling.
- Use raspberry, strawberry or plum jam instead of lemon curd.
- Fill the indentation with chocolate hazelnut spread like Nutella!
You can also substitute two teaspoons of vanilla extract in the dough for the lemon zest for a mellow vanilla flavor.
Whenever you’re baking cookies, be sure to use baking sheets that have low sides for proper heat and air flow around the cookies. Baking sheets with high sides are often the culprit of cookie baking failures.
These lemon curd cookies can be left at cool room temperature for a day or so. For longer storage especially on warm days, keep refrigerated in an airtight container with a layer of parchment paper between the cookies. I like to bring them back to room temperature before serving but if you’re just snatching one on the run, that’s not completely necessary!
Tips for Success and FAQ’s
As with most baking recipes, having the ingredients for the cookie dough at room temperature is important. This means that the butter and sugar will be well mixed and incorporate lots of air to make the cookies lighter and bake evenly.
I’m a bit pedantic about the size of the cookies so I’ll end up weighing the dough to get the cookies evenly sized. You don’t have to do this but pay attention to the size of the cookies when you are shaping them and follow my instruction in the recipe card below. These shouldn’t be huge. You want a good proportion of cookies to filling.
When shaping the cookies, roll the dough into a smooth ball and make the indentation carefully. Push straight down but only halfway. Make the indentation wide and shallow rather than narrow and deep. Cracks will cause the filling to ooze out of the indentation.
While we need room temperature ingredients to make the cookie dough, don’t skip the freezing step. Once the cookies are shaped and filled, be sure to pop the cookies into the freezer for just 15 minutes. This truly makes all the difference. The cookies keep their shape and bake perfectly.
Baking with lemon curd is a great way to enjoy it! I’ve seen a lot of recipes for Lemon Curd Cookies that add the lemon curd after the cookies are baked. This is fine if you plan to eat the cookies immediately but unnecessary. Baking lemon curd with the cookies means that the curd thickens a little and sticks to the cookie making storage so much easier.
Yes, I do refrigerate these cookies because lemon curd is highly perishable due to the egg content. If you choose not to refrigerate them, keeping time will be reduced to a day at cool room temperature. If the weather is hot and humid, refrigerate if not consuming immediately.
Yes! Layer the cookies in a container with parchment paper in between each layer. Seal with a lid and freeze for up to 3 months.
These Lemon Curd Cookies are best served at room temperature so you’ll want to take them out of the refrigerator beforehand. Honestly though, on hot days I don’t mind snatching a cold cookie to pop into my mouth as I’m passing by the kitchen!
I love to serve these as a simple dessert after sumptuous Italian meal of my delicious homemade cavatelli pasta and chicken sorrentino.
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Lemon Curd Cookies Recipe
- 8 oz salted butter (225 grams) at room temperature
- ⅔ cup white sugar (130 grams) I like to use superfine
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose plain flour (280 grams)
- ½ cup lemon curd you may not need all of it
- Preheat the oven to 340ºF (170º C) and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add half the flour and combine until just incorporated.
- Add the remaining flour and again mix until just combined.
- Shape into 1 inch smooth balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Make an indentation with your thumb, the end of a wooden spoon or as I did, then end of a honey dipper which was the perfect size.
- Fill each indentation with a ½ teaspoon of lemon curd.
- Place the baking sheets with prepared cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Bake in the preheated over for 13-16 minutes until very lightly colored.
- Cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool
The secret is a wide but not so deep hole which means the lemon curd doesn’t bubble up and over the cookies. See above for more information under the "Tips for Success and FAQ's" section.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.