Tart and sweet, lemon curd cookies are a delightful treat to try for spring! The shortbread melts-in-your-mouth while the curd adds a creamy, zesty component. The best part is that this recipe only takes 30 minutes!

wire rack with lemon curd cookie with yellow curd in the center.

Aren’t thumbprint cookies the best? The center holds a little surprise that guarantees a pop of flavor! These lemon thumbprint cookies are filled with homemade lemon curd. You’ll love the buttery and citrusy flavor combo. It’s the perfect treat to brighten up your day!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Melt-in-your-mouth texture. Buttery shortbread plus creamy lemon curd makes for an amazing delicious.
  • Bright citrusy taste. The addition of zest makes each bite flavorful!
  • Easy to make. The dough is made in one bowl and the curd cane be homemade or store-bought.
  • Ready in 30 minutes. You’ll have a cookie to taste test in no time at all!
  • Perfect for special occasions. Add these to your Easter menu or surprise mom for Mother’s Day!

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make lemon curd cookies.
  • Lemon curd: You can use 10-minute homemade lemon curd or store-bought (I love the one from Trader Joe’s!)
  • Zest: Use fresh zest from a large lemon. This is where a lot of the citrusy flavor comes from!
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter that is room temperature.
  • Almond extract: One of my favorite flavors and it tastes amazing with citrus. If it’s not your favorite, substitute with vanilla extract.

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Use a different filling. A classic filling for thumbprint cookies is jam. I suggest raspberry or blueberry jam to complement the lemon shortbread.

Make cookie sandwiches. Skip adding the thumbprint and instead spread the lemon curd between two shortbread cookies.

Stir in 1/2 cup chopped almonds to the dough before forming into balls. This will complement the almond extract and add a little crunch to each bite (similar to turtle thumbprints).

Add a glaze. Whisk together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 Tablespoon milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cookies.

How to Make Lemon Curd Cookies

photo collage demonstrating how to make lemon curd cookies in a mixing bowl and press thumbprints in the center of cookies on baking sheet.
  1. Combine lemon zest and sugar. Use your fingers to rub the mixture together.
  2. Add the butter and mix until combined. Mix in the egg, almond extract and salt.
  3. Add the flour, then mix until combined.
  4. Scoop the dough into balls and use your thumb or back of a teaspoon to make an indent. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly before filling with curd.

Expert Tips

Make your own lemon curd. Personally I think the taste and texture of homemade lemon curd is better than store-bought. It’s also super easy to make from scratch!

Reinforce the thumbprint or indentation. If the cookies puffed up while baking, have a teaspoon ready to press the thumbprint shape into the center of the cookies while they are still warm.

Weigh your ingredients. To avoid crumbly cookies, make sure you weigh your flour with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have a scale, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife.

Use room temperature ingredients. This makes a smoother more consistent dough. As a result, the texture of the cookies will be better.

lemon curd thumbprint cookies on a wire rack next to a striped kitchen cloth and lemon wedge.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Make ahead the dough and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Let sit at room temperature until soft enough to scoop. You can also make ahead the lemon curd and keep in an airtight container for 1 week.

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Place parchment paper between layers so the cookies don’t stick together.

Freeze the thumbprint cookies before filling them. Place in an airtight container. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature. The texture of the curd will be slightly affected when defrosting so it’s best to add it separately.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use lemon oil or extract?

Yes, 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil or 1 teaspoon lemon extract may be used in the recipe if desired.

Why are my thumbprint cookies crumbly?

Most likely they were over-baked or the flour was not measured properly. Use a kitchen scale or the spoon and level method.

Do lemon curd cookies need to be refrigerated?

Yes, whether you use homemade or store-bought lemon curd, it must be refrigerated once it is opened. Since the cookies contain curd they also need to be refrigerated.

lemon curd cookie next to lemon wedge and more cookies filled with curd.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

wire rack with lemon curd cookie with yellow curd in the center.

Get the Recipe: Easy Lemon Curd Cookies

Tart and sweet, lemon curd cookies are a delightful treat to try for spring. They are easy to make from scratch in just 30 minutes!
5 (8 ratings)


  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, plus more for rolling cookies in
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract, (or vanilla)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups (281 g) all purpose flour
  • ½ cup homemade lemon curd


  • In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar (this increases the citrus flavor).
  • Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg, almond extract and salt. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the flour and mix just until combined.
  • Scoop a tablespoon of dough and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Roll dough ball in granulated sugar and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your thumb or the back of a ½ teaspoon measure, create an indentation in the center of the dough ball.
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. While the oven preheats, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. This will prevent the cookies from spreading.
  • Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are set. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • While the cookies are still warm, fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon lemon curd. If the cookies puffed up at all, use the back of a clean teaspoon to press the cookies again. Cool completely before serving.


Store-bought lemon curd may be substituted for homemade. I prefer the Trader Joe’s brand.
Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Serving: 1cookies, Calories: 115kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 32mg, Potassium: 13mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 185IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.4mg

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