Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

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These Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are buttery, easy to make and filled with homemade lemon curd. They’re perfect for warm weather!

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies on a plate

These Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are such a refreshing cookie for warm weather! They have a vanilla shortbread cookie base and are filled with a super simple homemade lemon curd. They’re ultra buttery, easy to make and require zero chill time!

Looking for more thumbprint cookie recipes? Try my Pumpkin Thumbprint Cookies or Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies!

Ingredient Breakdown

Lemon Curd:

Granulated sugar – sweetens the curd.

Lemon zest – adds extra lemon flavor by rubbing zest and sugar together until it looks like wet sand. This releases lemon oil from the zest.

Egg – as the egg cooks it thickens the curd and gives it structure. This omits the need for any other thickeners such as flour or cornstarch!

Lemon juice – gives the curd its lemon flavor. Always use fresh lemon juice!

Unsalted butter – makes the curd rich and creamy.

Shortbread Dough:

All-purpose flour – this gives the cookies structure.

Butter – provides flavor and structure. I always recommend using unsalted butter but salted butter works if that’s all you have on hand, just be sure to omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Do not use cold or melted butter.

Granulated sugar – sweetens cookies.

Vanilla extract and salt – enhances flavor. Always use pure vanilla extract instead of imitation for best flavor.

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookie with a bite in it

How To Make Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

1. Make the Lemon Curd: In a small bowl rub together granulated sugar and lemon zest until it looks like wet sand. Add 1/2 of the lemon sugar to a small pot and set aside.

2. Whisk the egg into the small bowl with the sugar until well combined then set aside.

3. Combine the lemon juice with the sugar in the small pot then bring to a boil over medium low heat. Once boiling remove from heat and temper the egg by very slowly pouring 3/4 of the boiling liquid into the egg mixture while constantly and vigorously whisking.

4. Return all the liquid back to the small pot and whisk constantly over low heat until thickened. The curd will be done when it coats the back of a spoon and a line remains after running your finger through it. Remove from heat then mix in cubed butter until fully incorporated.

5. Strain curd into an airtight container then press a layer of plastic wrap to the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with lid then store Lemon Curd in the fridge for up to a week.

Lemon Curd in a jar

6. Make the Shortbread Dough: In a small bowl whisk all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside.

7. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to cream the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy then add the vanilla extract.

8. Add the dry ingredients all at once then mix on low speed until just combined.

9. Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls then place onto the lined baking sheets. Use the back of a 1/2 teaspoon to make an indent in each cookie dough ball then fill with lemon curd.

10. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Store Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Cookies on a baking sheet

Pro Tips For Lemon Curd

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate; baking is a science after all!
  • Do not use bottled lemon juice, it will not taste as good.
  • Do not stop whisking curd while on heat or it will burn/curdle.
  • Only use low heat to cook the curd once you add the egg mixture otherwise it may burn/curdle.
  • Strain curd after it finishes cooking to make it super smooth and silky.
  • Press plastic wrap to the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.

Pro Tips For Thumbprint Cookies

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate.
  • Don’t over mix the dough! Only mix until the dry ingredients are just combined. Over mixing = more gluten development which means tough cookies. We don’t want any tough cookies here!
  • Bake one tray at a time on the middle oven rack. This ensures that there is even heat circulation.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Make Shortbread Cookie Dough In Advance?

Yes! Once you make this shortbread cookie dough you can either refrigerate it for up to 3 days wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or freeze it for up to 3 months wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and placed in a zip-top bag.

Why Is Shortbread called Shortbread?

Shortbread gets its name from its crumbly texture which is a result of the dough’s high fat content. The traditional ratio for shortbread is 1:2:3 (one part sugar to two parts butter to three parts flour).

What’s the difference between sugar cookies And Shortbread?

Unlike sugar cookies, shortbread is made without eggs or any leavening agents. Shortbread also has a more crumbly texture as a result of the dough’s high fat content. If you’re looking for sugar cookie recipes try my Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookies or Sugar Cookies with Hershey Kisses.

Do Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies Need To Be Refrigerated?

Yes, these lemon thumbprint cookies need to be refrigerated because of the lemon curd. You should refrigerate these thumbprint cookies as soon as they cool down to room temperature. You can serve them cold or at room temperature (just be sure to not leave them out for longer than a few hours).

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

If you try this recipe then please leave a rating/comment below to let me know how you liked it and feel free to ask any recipe questions you may have! 🙂

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5 from 3 votes

Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies

These Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies are buttery, easy to make and filled with homemade lemon curd. They're perfect for warm weather!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Calories 89kcal
Author Maria Azzarelli

Equipment

  • Baking sheets
  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Cookie scoop (I use a 1 tablespoon scoop)

Ingredients

Lemon Curd

  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 28 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, cubed

Shortbread Dough

  • 300 g (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 226 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Lemon Curd

  • In a small bowl rub together granulated sugar and lemon zest until it looks like wet sand. Add 1/2 of the lemon sugar to a small pot and set aside.
  • Whisk the egg into the small bowl with the sugar until well combined then set aside.
  • Combine the lemon juice with the sugar in the small pot then bring to a boil over medium low heat. Once boiling remove from heat and temper the egg by very slowly pouring 3/4 of the boiling liquid into the egg mixture while constantly and vigorously whisking.
  • Return all the liquid back to the small pot and whisk constantly over low heat until thickened. The curd will be done when it coats the back of a spoon and a line remains after running your finger through it. Remove from heat then mix in cubed butter until fully incorporated.
  • Strain curd into an airtight container then press a layer of plastic wrap to the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with lid then store Lemon Curd in the fridge for up to a week.

Shortbread Dough

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • In a small bowl whisk all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside.
  • Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to cream the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy then add the vanilla extract.
  • Add the dry ingredients all at once then mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Using a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls then place onto the lined baking sheets. Use the back of a 1/2 teaspoon to make an indent in each cookie dough ball then fill with lemon curd.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned.

Notes

  • Weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale! Measuring ingredients by volume is not accurate.
 
 
  • Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter. You can use salted butter, just be sure to omit the 1/2 tsp salt.
 
 
  • Store Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
 
 
  • Store Small Batch Lemon Curd in the fridge for up to a week.
 
 
  • Nutrition: the provided nutritional information is an estimate per serving. Please read my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.

Nutrition

Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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