Vegan Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Basil


Love light lemon shortbread cookies? Me too! They are so cool and easy to whip up—just mix a few ingredients, roll into logs, slice, and bake. Yet the rewards are so lovely! These pretty, tender, flakey vegan cookies are the best shortbread cookies ever! And they suit just about every occasion. Feel like serving them with coffee or tea? Check! Looking for an easy dessert that impresses? Go for it! Serve a platter of these Vegan Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies with fresh seasonal fruit or sorbet for an elegant yet simple dessert course. There’s more! These vegan shortbread cookies are also divine served at picnics, hikes, potlucks, parties, or even packaged up in a Mason jar with a ribbon as a hostess gift!

These lemon shortbread cookies are made a touch healthier with a lighter amount of vegan butter, and cane sugar, and the inclusion of some whole wheat flour in the mix. The lemon zest and juice add a bright, clean citrusy pop, and the cool minty aroma of basil shines right through.


Vegan Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Basil

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  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 28 cookies
  • Diet: Vegan

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This recipe for aromatic, lovely, delicious vegan lemon shortbread cookies with a touch of basil is simply divine! Lighter in sugar and fat, with a touch of whole wheat flour, these vegan shortbread cookies shine with flavor!


  • 1 fresh lemon
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup vegan butter sticks (i.e., Miyoko’s or Earth Balance), cold
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, divided
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour


  1. Zest one large lemon to make 1 tablespoon and set aside. Juice the lemon to make ¼ cup of juice and set aside.
  2. Place ½ cup sugar, lemon zest (reserving ½ teaspoon for garnish later), and chopped basil leaves into a mixing bowl (or container of a standing electric mixer).
  3. Mix with an electric mixer until sugar, lemon zest, and basil is very evenly combined.
  4. Cut in vegan butter with the electric mixer, until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  5. Stir in all 1 cup purpose and ½ cup whole wheat flour with the electric mixer, just until mixture is crumbly (do not overmix).
  6. Mix in ¼ cup lemon juice with electric mixer, until dough is just smooth (do not overmix).
  7. Remove dough from bowl, cover, and chill for about 1 hour until mixture is chilled and easier to work with.
  8. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  9. Roll dough with your hands into two long logs (about 9-inches long) with 2 tablespoons additional all purpose flour, as needed to avoid sticking to surface. Gently shape the logs into two long square logs with your hands.
  10. Slice with a sharp knife into slices (about ½-inch thick) of shortbread.
  11. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange the shortbread evenly over the surface, allowing room to spread out slightly.
  12. Sprinkle the surface of each shortbread with the remaining (2 tablespoons) sugar and remaining (½ teaspoon) lemon zest.
  13. Place shortbread in oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until tender and lightly golden on surface.
  14. Remove and store in air-tight container before serving.
  15. Makes 28 servings (1 shortbread per serving).


Make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose and wheat flour.

Try using another type of herb instead of basil, such as rosemary or mint.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: lemon shortbread cookies, best shortbread cookies, vegan shortbread cookies, how to make shortbread cookies

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For more of my favorite plant-based cookie recipes, try the following:

Tollhouse Pan Cookies
Soft Molasses Cookies
Vegan Cowboy Cookies
Vegan Pine Nut Oat Cookies

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Publisher: Sharon Palmer