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Murielle Banackissa

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies

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1 hour 45 mins Prep: 30 mins Cook: 15 mins Resting Time: 1 hour
Serves 14

Delicate, thin, lemony, and rich, these shortbread cookies are a treat anytime of the year, especially during Christmas cookie season!


  • cup (75g) unsalted vegan butter , at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (15g) icing sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ cup + 3 tbsp (85g) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Step 1

    In a large bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy using a hand mixer.

  2. Step 2

    Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds. Incorporate with the mixer.

  3. Step 3

    Sift the flour directly into the bowl. Add the salt and fold into the butter mixture until no dry white flour streaks remain.

  4. Step 4

    Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Cover and form into a ball. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  5. Step 5

    Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. Step 6

    Generously flour a clean work surface and divide the dough into 2 pieces.

  7. Step 7

    Flour your rolling pin and roll out one of the pieces of dough into a circle 2-3mm thick. Cut out cookies using your favorite cookie cutter and place on the prepared baking sheet.

  8. Step 8

    If you notice that the dough is sticking to your surface or your rolling pin, don't hesitate to add flour to your work surface and/or flour your rolling pin.

  9. Step 9

    Gather all the dough scraps together, form a ball, roll out once again, and cut out as many cookies as possible. Repeat until you have very little scaps left. Set aside.

  10. Step 10

    Repeat the rolling process with the untouched half of dough and finally with all the scraps together.

  11. Step 11

    Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven. Leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

  12. Step 12

    Transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to a week.

Common Questions & Swaps

  • Can I use granulated sugar instead of the icing sugar? I would not suggest it. The icing sugar makes these cookies nice and light.
  • Is there a replacement for the vegan butter? Yes, you can use refined (to avoid the coconutty flavor) coconut oil.
  • Because these shortbreads are very lightly sweetened, I would suggest against using salted butter as it would really overpower the subtle sweetness of these cookies. 
  • Can I replace the all-purpose flour with another kind of flour? I have not tested any other flour so I would stick with AP. 
  • Feel free to omit the poppy seeds if you don't like them. 
Stacked Lemon Poppy Seeds Shortbread Cookies
Tea mug on a plate with Lemon Poppy Seeds Shortbread Cookies
Hand holding one Lemon Poppy Seeds Shortbread Cookies

With the holidays right around the corner, I thought now would be the perfect time to share with you yet another vegan cookie recipe.

Just like my Easy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, these Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies were featured at my wedding!

They are very different from the other cookies as they are much more subtle in flavor, have a lovely hint of lemon, and are really delicate. These shortbread cookies are perfect paired with a cup of tea or a flavored latte. They can also be made quite in advance, frozen, then baked and served, making them perfect Christmas cookies, reducing how much prep you would need to do during the holiday season.

Little bonus: offer these Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies for a unique edible gift!


Tips on Making These Cookies in Advance

I made these cookies weeks before my wedding and they turned out delicious, so here are a few tips on how you too can prep these in advance.

Line the bottom of a large freezer-friendly container (that has a lid) with parchment paper.

As each cookie is formed, place it in the container, topping each layer of cookies with a piece of parchment paper to prevent from sticking.

Repeat until all the cookies are in your container. Close and freeze for up to 1 month.

On the day of baking, preheat the oven to 325ºF. Remove the cookies from the freezer, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until starting to turn golden (no need to thaw them).

Closeup of Lemon Poppy Seeds Shortbread Cookies
Tea poured in an amber glass mug with shortbread cookies in the background

When it comes to the ingredients used in this recipe, below are the ones I used.

For any modifications, refer to the Swaps & Comments section.

Unsalted vegan butter: The key to buttery, rich, and flavorful shortbread cookies.

Icing sugar: In this recipe, it gives the cookies a subtle sweetness, while keeping them light in texture.

Lemon zest and juice: Both give these shortbread cookies a subtle lemony aroma.

Poppy seeds: They pair really well with the flavor of lemon and add a little bit of texture to these cookies.

All-purpose flour: Light and neutral in flavor, all-purpose flour is what holds these cookies together.

Sea salt: A touch of it is used in this recipe to give these cookies a light savoury hint.

Lemon Poppy Seeds Shortbread Cookies stacked in a metal plate

It’s kind of hard to believe that we have finally reached Christmas cookie season! I am over the moon as this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love all the festive music, the lights, the coziness, and of course the food.

It’s even more special this year as I am sharing with you a recipe that is near and dear to my heart.

I hope that as you bring these Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies, you are fully in the present. Take your time rolling out the dough and stop to smell the delicious buttery aroma these cookies bring to your kitchen.

If you make these shortbreads, I’d appreciate it if you left a review above in the recipe box and shared about it on social media. Don’t forget to tag me (@muriellebanackissa).

Happy Christmas cookie season ✦