Homemade buttery lemon shortbread is a billion times better than the dry offerings in tartan tins at Christmas. This version with its citrus zing is perfect for afternoon tea on this beautiful spring day or for a summery picnic on a blanket under the apple tree.

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Lemon Shortbread Biscuits with a nice cup of Afternoon Tea.

I think I need a gingham table cloth, a little table and chairs, maybe a big straw hat and a floaty dress – oh and possibly a handsome gentleman to serve me my tea and shortbread this afternoon, don’t you?

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Lemon shortbread served on the saucer of a cup of earl grey tea.

Lemon Shortbread for Afternoon Tea

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Course: Baked Goods, Biscuits and Cookies, Treats
Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10
Calories: 73kcal


  • Lightly greased baking tray
  • Baking parchment


  • 125 g butter chopped
  • Finely grated rind of one small lemon
  • 25 g sifted icing sugar
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 50 g cornflour
  • Golden caster sugar or yellow sugar crystals to decorate


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F
  • Beat chopped butter and icing sugar together until golden and well combined
  • Add the grated lemon rind and mix to combine
  • Sift the flours together and stir into the butter mixture until you have a soft dough
  • Roll into a log shape, wrap in baking parchment and refrigerate for half an hour
  • Slice 1cm thick biscuit shapes off the log, lay on a lightly greased baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes until lightly browned
  • Cool on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (or scoff while warm)
  • Decorate with a sprinkle of sugar and serve with your favourite tea


Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.


Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 28mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 21IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
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I decorated my lemon shortbread with a sprinkle of gloriously delicious sugar scented with yellow mirabelle plums – my daughter brought it back for me from a school trip to France, she knows me very well! I haven’t managed to track it down here in the UK but a scattering of golden caster sugar on top of your lemon shortbread biscuits is a good substitute.

Homemade Lemon Shortbread Biscuits, served on the saucer with earl grey tea.

You can ring the changes by replacing the lemon rind with orange, with rosewater and rose petals or with a teaspoonful of chopped lavender for easy lavender shortbread – oh the afternoon tea possibilities!

If you’re feeling very biscuity after all that have a look at my

Homemade Jam Sandwich Biscuits

Homemade jam sandwich biscuits.

Or my Gingery Cornish Fairings

Cornish Farings in a tin.

Or why not try….

Sweet Potato and Ginger Cookies from Rough Measures

Tin and Thyme’s Chinese Walnut Cookies

What is your favourite Afternoon Tea biscuit and are you a dunker or a dry nibbler?

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