Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles (Small Batch)

by Dorothy Reinhold on March 23, 2021

Print This Post Print This Post Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles might be the perfect cookie -- sandy, lightly sweet, lemon-scented and impossibly cute with seasonal sprinkles.

Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles might be the perfect cookie — sandy, lightly sweet, lemon-scented and impossibly cute with seasonal sprinkles.

If you only learn to make one cookie, I think it should be shortbread. It’s simple to make, few ingredients, yet pays off with big flavor and delivers ultimate sweet satisfaction. I’ve never seen someone turn down a shortbread cookie.

First, it’s easy to see that there aren’t many ingredients. Second, they’re usually cut in small squares, so if you like them, you can reach for another. And if someone needs a teacher gift, or has a baby, or a birthday, or gets some good news, they’re easy to bake up and bring later that afternoon or the next day as a gift. When I send them to work with my husband, the container comes back with only crumbs.

I’ve made this as a small-batch recipe, because shortbread is basically a butter-and-sugar delivery system. You know? And there can be too much of a good thing, especially when it is delicious, so if we make a small-ish batch, we won’t feel we have to finish the whole thing off ourselves. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Hand holding Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles on ShockinglyDelicious.com

How to make Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles

Ingredients for Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Sprinkles on ShockinglyDelicious.com

Gather your ingredients (oops, I am missing the butter from the photo above. Sigh.). This only has 5 ingredients, plus sprinkles if you are using them. (If you leave them off, that’s your business. I am not the boss of you.)  And since they have so few ingredients, use the best quality you can find or afford, because you’ll be able to taste the difference! 

Line the loaf pan with parchment paperFirst you’ll line your loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving the 2 long sides overhanging a bit. These will become handles later on, to lift the shortbread easily out of the pan after baking. I now use this technique nearly every time I bake something. With a nonstick pan, you don’t have to grease the pan that way; it just pops out!

Lemon Shortbread dough is thick on the mixer paddleMix the ingredients (except sprinkles) using an electric mixer, or you could stir it together by hand if you like. I’m lazy and I like my mixer, so I always use it. It will come together quickly into a thick dough.

Put dough into the loaf pan

Put the dough into the prepared loaf pan. I’m using a metal pan, but use a glass or ceramic loaf pan if that’s all you have. Use what you have!

Use your hand to press the shortbread dough into the pan

Use your hand to press the dough down. It is quite malleable.

Sprinkles make shortbread fun

Apply sprinkles as liberally as you like! You’re in charge. Tamp them down lightly so they adhere.

Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles looks very springy

You can vary the look of it with different colored sprinkles. This batch looks particularly springy, doesn’t it?

Parchment paper handles help to lift shortbread from pan

After it’s baked, use the parchment to lift the whole thing out of the pan in one piece.

Cut the shortbread in small squares

Cut it into 18 squares. Or hey, make it 12 pieces if you want to be a rebel. You do you.

White plate with Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles on ShockinglyDelicious.com

All right, let’s GO!

Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 15 cookies

Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles

Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles might be the perfect cookie -- sandy, lightly sweet, lemon-scented and impossibly cute with seasonal sprinkles. I use a mixer, but feel free to stir them together by hand. And since they have so few ingredients, use the best quality you can find or afford, because you'll be able to taste the difference!


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract paste (or use 3/4-1 tsp. lemon extract)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)
  • Sprinkles or coarse sugar crystals for topping


  1. Heat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment, allowing the parchment to protrude an inch or so up and out of the 2 long sides. These 2 long sides will be used later as handles to remove the shortbread as a single sheet, after baking. Set the pan aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter, flour, sugar, extract and salt. Mix on low until combined, 30-60 seconds. The mixture will come together as a ball of dough.
  3. Take the dough out of the bowl and put it in the prepared loaf pan, pressing down with your fingers to spread it out evenly. You can also make a fist and press it down with the flat backside of your fist/fingers. Add sprinkles of your choice or coarse sugar to the top, lightly, and press down lightly so they adhere. They will bake into the top.
  4. Bake 30 minutes. The top will be just slightly beginning to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Using the parchment handles, lift the shortbread in one piece out of the pan, and set it on a cooling rack to cool further.
  5. When cool, use a sharp knife to slice 2 cuts lengthwise, and 5 horizontal cuts, so you'll have 15 pieces total. Alternately, you could make diagonal widthwise cuts to make slim wedges of shortbread, for an entirely different look.
  6. Makes 15 pieces.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

FOR OTHER FLAVORS: --Use 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste --Use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract --Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (an intoxicating floral-vanilla extract)


pin this please!Pin the image below for Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles to your Pinterest board to save it

Photo collage of Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles on ShockinglyDelicious.com

Products used in this recipe for Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles

In this recipe, I’ve used Lemon Extract Paste from Taylor & Colledge, {affiliate link} an Australian company that makes premium flavorings for baking. It’s gluten-free, Kosher, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, GMO-free and comes in an easy-to-use tube. I have also used Dixie Crystals sugar, a high-quality pure cane sugar.

Want to see other recipes for spring sweets?

Vegan Chocolate Loaf Cake slice with berries on top on ShockinglyDelicious.comVegan Chocolate Loaf Cake (Small Batch)

No-Cook Candied Kumquats slices in a white dish on a white marble counter on ShockinglyDelicious.comNo-Cook Candied Kumquats (Small Batch)

Easy Pineapple Coconut Quick Bread loaf cut in half showing interior, on a white marble counter, on ShockinglyDelicious.comPineapple Coconut Quick Bread

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra March 30, 2021 at 1:02 pm

This was so fun to make and eat! My kids really enjoyed it!


Inger @ Art of Natural Liivng March 26, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Sprinkles on shortbread really makes it cute and love the lemon flavorr!


Catalina March 26, 2021 at 7:00 am

I only can immagine how good this shortbread is! I love the lemon flavor!


Beth March 25, 2021 at 11:23 pm

Yum! This looks so delicious and scrumptious! Can’t wait to give this a try! My family is going to love this!


Allyson Zea March 25, 2021 at 10:37 am

My kids absolutely love these! They loved putting the sprinkles on too!


Dorothy Reinhold March 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm

I do think it is an easy enough recipe for older kids to make themselves. And of course the younger once MUST help decorate with sprinkles!


Lisa Kerhin March 25, 2021 at 7:42 am

Who would leave out the sprinkles?!?! This lemon shortbread looks so good, Dorothy! I love that it is a small batch too.


Jennifer March 25, 2021 at 6:01 am

I love shortbread. This looks fantastic. the addition of the sprinkles really brightens the color.


Cindy March 25, 2021 at 5:34 am

I never tried shortbread as a bar. Great idea!


Amanda Livesay March 25, 2021 at 4:48 am

This shortbread looks perfect! I can’t wait to give it a try!


Kathryn March 25, 2021 at 4:03 am

My daughter and I made this shortbread – she loves all things lemon and all things with sprinkles – and it was a huge hit!


Dorothy Reinhold March 25, 2021 at 8:27 am

YAY! I am so glad you two liked it!


Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert March 24, 2021 at 10:56 pm

These scrumptious Lemon Shortbread with Sprinkles sound delicious right about now!


Jill Baird March 24, 2021 at 8:15 pm

Oh I love a good lemon dessert and these cookie bars sound incredible! Thanks so much for the great recipe!


Hezzi-D March 24, 2021 at 5:49 pm

These look delicious and I love the sprinkles!


Wendy Klik March 24, 2021 at 3:55 pm

Of all the cookies that I love, I love shortbread the best…..and these are adorable with all the sprinkles.


Jane March 24, 2021 at 5:03 am

What a wonderful shortbread Dorothy! Perfect for spring!!


Dorothy Reinhold March 24, 2021 at 9:34 pm

And you can vary the spring, summer, fall or holiday feeling with the sprinkles you use!


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