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Lemon Tea Cookies

These sandwich cookies taste rich and buttery and have a lovely lemon filling. The recipe has been in our family since the 1950s, when my mother got it from a French friend in her club. —Phyllis Dietz, Westland, Michigan
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    about 4-1/2 dozen


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add flour and mix well.
  • Divide dough in half and shape each half into a 14-in. roll; reshape each roll into a 14x1-1/8x1-1/8-in. block. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Unwrap dough and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle half the cookies with nuts, gently pressing into dough.
  • Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, cream the butter, lemon juice and orange zest until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar until smooth. Tint yellow if desired. Spread about 1 teaspoon filling on bottoms of the plain cookies; place nut-topped cookies over filling.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 70 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 32mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
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  • suefalk
    Jun 19, 2019

    Delicious! A shortbread cookie that packs a lemony punch! Personally, I don't think it needs the walnuts, but to each his own. I would definitely make these again.

  • Calandria
    Dec 13, 2017

    Every year I put together a box of cookies for our neighbours and family members. I found these in a taste of home cookie book I received several years ago and fell in love with the buttery lemon taste. I'm happy to say these cookies are once again included in my cookie box

  • cbachtel
    Nov 2, 2017

    I haven't made these yet, but am answering plj69 below. Substitute Splenda for Sugar in cookie (or do 1/2 and 1/2). Since it is a shortbread, it won't need the sugar to "raise". In the filling, use 1 1/2 cups Splenda along with 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch. It will substitute for the powdered sugar. It may be a little more runny, so you may need to lessen the amount of lemon juice (could substitute a little lemon extract to bring out the lemon flavor in place of some of the juice)

  • plj69
    Nov 1, 2017

    Need sugar free recipe for these lemon cookies. Any ideas. Original are great.

  • angieact1
    Apr 22, 2017

    These are really great, My daughter loves lemon so these were a hit

  • hwheaton
    Feb 9, 2017

    These cookies are simply delicious, and worth the effort. The recipe is excellent as is; for my second go-round, I ground up a teaspoon of dried lavender and mixed it in with the flour—just for something a little bit different. These actually get better after sitting in a cookie tin for a couple of days!

  • _nlfPA
    Mar 12, 2016

    I made these cookies for a bridal shower and the ladies loved them. The only thing I did differently was to use lemon curd between the cookies instead of the filling in the recipe.They are delicious.

  • Gluttongoose
    Mar 31, 2015

    These look really scrummy ! Thankyou Phyllis.

  • kh33
    Jan 28, 2015

    My favourite. They will literally melt in your mouth. I put the dough in saran wrap, shape a log, and then put in fridge for a couple hours before slicing. To save time, I just ice the cookies instead of making sandwiches. Note: I found these taste better and last longer if kept in the fridge.

  • oasisNM
    Jun 27, 2013

    perfect everytime