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Lemon Curd Cookies

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Perfect for gifting, these easy lemon curd cookies are made with a lemon curd thumbprint and a buttery shortbread base. Use homemade microwave lemon curd or store-bought for these cute cookies!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 43 minutes
Close up of lemon curd-filled thumbprint cookies, top down in hard light.

The cutest and easiest cookies you’ll ever make, lemon curd cookies are one of my favorite ways to use lemon curd. These cookies are ready in under an hour, and the recipe makes approximately 60 (!) little cookies. You can use homemade microwave lemon curd or a jar of store-bought.

With no chilling time, this is a simple shortbread base with plenty of lemony filling. And if you love lemon, try my lemon poppy seed shortbread cookies, these 7-ingredient condensed milk lemon slices, or these classic lemon bars (they’re like sunshine in a dessert).

If you do decide to make homemade lemon curd (which takes less than 10 minutes to make), remember that it needs time to set in the fridge, so be sure to plan. You can also use other fruit curds like this orange curd or this spectacular spring rhubarb curd, marmalade, jam, or even American buttercream after the cookies have cooled.

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💞 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

✔️ Lemon curd cookies take less than an hour to make!
✔️ They’re a delicious combination of sweet, buttery, and tart.
✔️ This recipe makes 60 lemon curd cookies, so you’ll have lots of cute cookies for yourself or gifting.

📋 Ingredients For Lemon Curd Cookies

Lemon curd cookie ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes

  • Powdered Sugar: Also called icing or confectioner’s sugar. Powdered sugar softens the protein in flour, leading to a more tender and delicate crumb in shortbread. This results in a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
  • Cornstarch: Adding some starch makes the cookies lighter and gives a better overall texture.
  • Butter: I use salted butter for all of my recipes.
  • Sanding sugar (not pictured): This is a special sugar that keeps its sparkle and shine even after baking. Using it is optional; however, I do recommend it as it helps prevent the dough from sticking when you make the thumbprint indents.
  • Lemon curd: Pictured is my super simple microwave lemon curd, but you can use any kind, even jarred.

It’s important to note when making substitutions in recipes, the texture and flavor may be slightly different. However, these substitutes are the best options to change the original recipe.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • All-Purpose Flour: Cake & pastry flour is a good substitute for all-purpose.
  • Cornstarch: You can substitute the cornstarch with rice, arrowroot, or tapioca flour.
  • Butter: Margarine or shortening can be used instead of butter, but the cookies’ flavor and texture will probably change.
  • Vanilla Extract: You can replace the vanilla with almond or lemon extract.
  • Sanding sugar (not pictured): Use white granulated sugar if you don’t have sanding sugar.
  • Lemon curd: Any fruit curd can be used in place of lemon. You can also use marmalade or jam.

Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of this post, or scroll to the bottom to see the PRINTABLE recipe card with ingredient measurements and complete instructions.

👩‍🍳 How To Make Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

STEP 1: Whisk the flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl.

STEP 2: In a second larger bowl, beat the butter and vanilla until pale and fluffy.

Shortbread steps 1 to 4, mixing dry ingredients, creaming butter, adding dry, and final dough.

STEP 3: Add the flour mixture to the bowl.

STEP 4: Mix on low speed until a soft dough forms that clears the bowl.

STEP 5: Divide the dough into approximately 60 pieces, approximately 15 grams each. Roll all of the dough balls in sanding sugar.

STEP 6: Place the balls onto a lined baking sheet and make indentations with the back of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon.

Cookies steps 5 to 8, dough balls in sugar, making imprints, filling with curd, and before baking.

STEP 7: Fill each indent with lemon curd.

STEP 8: Bake the lemon curd cookies for 16 to 18 minutes or until the curd is set and the cookies are light gold on the bottoms.

🗣 Expert Tips

1. I use a scale to measure my cookie dough into 15-gram portions. You don’t have to do this, but it helps ensure the cookies are consistent in size and shape.
2. For an extra lemony kick, make a simple icing with powdered sugar and lemon juice to drizzle over the cookies once cool.
3. Using a measuring spoon is an excellent way to get perfect thumbprints, and a half teaspoon is just the right size for the ideal amount of lemon curd filling.

📝 Recipe Notes

  • You can make the cookies any size; however, the baking time will change.
  • The dough for these cookies doesn’t spread very much, although it does spread slightly around the 10-minute baking mark. I bake all 60 lemon curd cookies on one sheet, and sometimes a couple will stick together, but not too badly. If you’re worried about them sticking together, bake 30 cookies per baking sheet.
  • Rolling the cookie dough balls in sanding sugar is optional, but I recommend it as it prevents the ½ teaspoon from sticking when making the indents to fill.
  • Depending on how small or large your cookie indents are, you may need a bit less or a bit more lemon curd than called for in the recipe.
  • Storage: Keep cooled cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to five days. You can also store them sandwiched between parchment paper in a container in the freezer for up to one month.
Overhead image of lemon curd cookies sprinkled with powdered sugar.

🙋‍♀️ Recipe FAQ

What happens when you heat lemon curd?

Baked lemon curd will set in the oven, a little bit like a baked pudding, due to the eggs and sugar content.

Can I substitute lemon pie filling for lemon curd?

While the two are similar, lemon pie filling usually contains cornstarch and no butter. The results would be unpredictable and you might not like how your cookies turn out if you try pie filling.

Why did my lemon curd turn green?

If your homemade lemon curd is green, it’s likely down to using a pan or pot that was made out of an alternative metal, like copper. Stick to stainless steel and you shouldn’t have any discoloration.

Did you make these lemon curd thumbprint cookies? Please rate the recipe and tell me how it went in the comments below. Also, stay in touch with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to see more delicious food and recipes!

Printable Recipe Card

Close up of lemon curd-filled thumbprint cookies, top down in hard light.

Lemon Curd Cookies

Author: Kelly Neil
Perfect for gifting, these easy lemon curd cookies are made with a lemon curd thumbprint and a buttery shortbread base. Use homemade microwave lemon curd or store-bought for these cute cookies!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Course Cookies & Bars
Cuisine American / Canadian
Servings 60 cookies
Calories 54 kcal

Special Equipment

  • Baking sheet(s)
  • Parchment paper
  • Digital kitchen scale optional but highly recommended
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Hand or stand mixer
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams.

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, also called icing sugar or confectioner's sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons white sanding sugar, optional
  • ½ cup lemon curd, approximately

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir the flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch until well combined. Set aside.
  • Place the butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Cream together on high speed until pale and light, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour to the butter and stir together on low speed until a dough foormsthat clears the bowl.
  • Divide the cookie dough into about 60 15-gram portions. Roll each piece between your hands to form a smooth ball. Place the sanding sugar in a bowl and roll the dough ball in sugar to coat. Place the balls on the parchment lined baking sheet(s).
  • Use the back of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon to press a round indent into the top of each ball. Don't push the measuring spoon to the cookie sheet, but close to it. You want a neat half-circle shape to fill with lemon curd.
  • Spoon the lemon curd evenly between all of the cookies. Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the lemon curd is set and the bottoms are light gold. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

  • You can make lemon curd cookies any size you want, however, the baking time will change.
  • The dough for these cookies doesn’t spread very much, although it does spread slightly around the 10-minute baking mark. I bake all 60 of my cookies on one sheet. However, if you’re worried about them sticking together, bake 30 cookies per baking sheet.
  • Rolling the cookie dough balls in sanding sugar is optional, but I recommend it as it prevents the ½ teaspoon from sticking when making the indents to fill.
  • Depending on how small or large your cookie indents are, you may need a bit less or a bit more lemon curd than called for in the recipe.
  • Storage: Keep cooled cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to five days. You can also store them, sandwiched between parchment paper in a container in the freezer for up to one month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 54kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 0.5gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 32mgPotassium: 5mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 100IUCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.2mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know on Instagram @kellyneildotcom or tag #kellyneil!

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