Lemon Basil Shortbread – Crazy Ingredient Challenge

It’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge time!

A group of bloggers get together and pick two ingredients that might not normally be paired together to make amazing new recipes. This month we have Lemon and Basil.

fresh lemon and basil


Well, some people might think they are a bit crazy together. But the only challenge for me was deciding on one of the oodles of ideas I had to make: beverage, side dish, with fish, with pasta or maybe a dessert…

It was Ma’am’s birthday this month – shortbread won out. It’s her favorite.

Citrus Herb Shortbread

I started with my basic shortbread recipe that I have made for years. It is great plain with just flour, butter and sugar. But it is also nice to toss in some extra ingredients once in awhile (chai spice anyone?)

You can combine any citrus and fresh herb to make these. I have made Lemon Rosemary Shortbread before and lemon and lavender are another of my favorite flavor combinations. Or you could go with lime or orange or even grapefruit. Toss in your favorite herb (rosemary, thyme, lavender, etc.) and you have a simple and delicious (or is it simply delicious?) cookie.

Be sure to scroll past the recipe to check out what the other bloggers made with these ingredients.

Lemon Basil Shortbread

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Lemon Basil Shortbread cookies. Simple crispy shortbread with a hint of citrus and kick of peppery basil.


  • 1 lemon (or preferred citrus)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil (or preferred herb)
  • 1lb butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


You can make these with any combination of citrus fruit (limes, oranges, tangerines) and fresh herbs (rosemary, lavender, thyme).


Using a fine grater or other zesting tool, zest the lemon. Finally chop the basil leaves.
lemon zest and basil
Cube butter into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. Put in a large bowl with flour, sugar and half of the lemon zest and basil.
Citrus Herb Shortbread ingredients
Gently combine with your fingers to make a soft dough. Roll into 2 tubes about 2-3" wide and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Slice cookies 1/4" thick and place an inch apart on cookie sheets.
slice shortbread cookies
Turn down oven to 275 degrees and bake until cookies turn a slightly rosy color (just as they begin to brown). Allow to cool completely
shortbread in the oven
Juice the lemon into a small bowl or cup. In a small bowl add powdered sugar and remaining zest and basil. Thin to desired consistency with lemon juice.
citrus herb glaze
Spoon glaze over each cookie, allow to harden.
spoon glaze on shortbread

Until next time, happy eating.


Our Three Peas

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  1. Lauren @ Sew You Think You Can Cook

    Oooh I love shortbread. What a wonderful idea, can’t wait to give these a try!

    1. Audrey

      My mom loved them! I snuck 2 and they were fabulous.

  2. Ashley@cheesecurdinparadise

    I love this idea of using shortbread cookies! The glaze looks delicious!
    Ashley@cheesecurdinparadise recently posted…Lemon Basil VodkaMy Profile

    1. Audrey

      The simple sweetened lemon glaze is my favorite part of these.

  3. Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade

    Great idea making cookies and shortbread is a perfect base for just about any flavor.
    Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade recently posted…Lemon and Basil CIC Feb 2015My Profile

    1. Audrey

      I agree! I love them plain most of all, but when I want to experiment they lend themselves well to a wide variety of ingredients.

  4. Kathleen

    Thanks Audrey they look great. I would never have thought to put basil in. I just started growing some so I am loving all things basil. Nice pics too.
    Kathleen recently posted…When Thrift becomes Expensive!My Profile

    1. Audrey

      I usually do rosemary since I have two hard to control bushes in the yard, but the basil gave it a more peppery kick instead of a bit more floral in the rosemary. Both awesome.

  5. Jen@The Evolution of Mom

    What the what???? I’m going to try these. I love basil! Thanks for linking up at the Momma Told Me Link Party!

    Jen@The Evolution of Mom recently posted…Momma Told Me {Link Party}My Profile

    1. Audrey

      I had to buy basil for this since the freak snowstorm killed my basil plant. Usually we can grow it year round here.

  6. Winnie

    These are such great and super-unique cookies!!
    I happen to looooooove basil, so I really must try this recipe
    Winnie recently posted…עוגות גבינה אישיות עם שוקולד לבן, עטופות ברולדהMy Profile

    1. Audrey

      Thanks so much, Winnie! It means so much coming from you.

  7. Erlene

    What an unexpected ingredient in a cookie. I’ve never tried putting herbs in a cookie, but it would be nice to try 🙂
    Erlene recently posted…Pinterest Tested #14 – Lace Window Privacy & DIY Roman ShadeMy Profile

  8. Kathleen

    Hi Audrey,
    I just wrote a little post on herbs and I linked to your Lemon & Basil shortbread for others to enjoy. Here is the post http://60-thenew40.com/growing-herbs-and-cooking-with-herbs/
    Kathleen recently posted…When Thrift becomes Expensive!My Profile

    1. Audrey

      Wow! Thanks, Kathleen! Obviously I use and cook with them a lot.

  9. Brittany

    What a unique twist on the shortbread cookie! I bet it’s delicious. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope you join us again next week 🙂
    Brittany recently posted…Home Matters Linky Party #25My Profile

  10. Gentle Joy

    I never would have put those ingredients together… but it actually sounds wonderful! Good job. 🙂
    Gentle Joy recently posted…Peppermint Hot Cocoa-Mmmm Good!My Profile

  11. Kara

    Sounds like an interesting, but refreshing combination of ingredients! I love basil and shortbread so it’s something I’d like to try. I’ll have to save this recipe for later!
    Kara recently posted…It’s in the Air: Yellow Dust -Or- I’d Never Thought I’d Need a MaskMy Profile

  12. Jess

    I love fresh herbs, so why not on a cookie? Looks great 🙂
    Jess recently posted…Instagram Blog Hop No. 15My Profile

  13. Simple Hacks Living

    Very unique! I love this!
    Simple Hacks Living recently posted…Mexican Pizza SkilletMy Profile

  14. Lou Lou Girls

    Super yummy recipe! This looks so amazing. Pinned and tweeted. We love to party with you, so I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm.. Have an amazing day! Lou Lou Girls
    Lou Lou Girls recently posted…Award Winning Hot Wing ChiliMy Profile

  15. Sydney @ Tastefully Frugal

    Audrey these look so good! I love lemon and basil so I am definitely going to try these! Thank you so much for sharing with us at Talented Tuesdays. I hope you can join us again this week.
    Sydney @ Tastefully Frugal recently posted…Dessert For Two: Easy Strawberry Cheesecake {No Bake}My Profile

  16. Michelle

    I love basil and lemon scented anything, never thought to use it in a cookie. Nice touch. Stopping by on Wine’d Down Wednesday

  17. Natalie @ our parallel connection

    Oh yum. I cannot cook (or bake) and most times it ends in a disaster but I keep on trying. I think I could do this one.

  18. Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm

    This sounds absolutely delicious to me!!
    Wendy, A Day in the Life on the Farm recently posted…Prepping for St. Pat’s….Irish Root SoupMy Profile

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