Lemon Almond Shortbread Cookies (Low Carb & Gluten Free)


Low Carb & Gluten Free Shortbread CookiesI wasn’t always a fan of lemon flavored desserts – in fact, as a kid I wouldn’t even eat them.  In my adulthood though, I’ve come to appreciate the brightness that lemon imparts to a dessert – especially in low carb recipes, and now I can’t get enough of it.  I would even go so far as to say that when given the choice of lemon over chocolate, 75% of the time the lemon flavored dessert would win out. Crazy, I know – sometimes I can’t believe it either!

So maybe it’s due to all of the pastel colored foodie magazines showing up in my mailbox, and the promise of Spring and warmer weather just around the corner, but I’ve had lemons on the brain for weeks now.  It started with the Easy Crock Pot Lemon Chicken a couple of weeks ago, then I made the Low Carb Avgolemeno (Greek Lemon Chicken Soup) last week, and just the other day I made Carolyn’s (All Day I Dream About Food)low carb Meyer Lemon Mug Cake (which took about five minutes and was SO GOOD) – you guys must try it!  Even Mr. Hungry really loved it – I’ll be making that one over and over again for sure!

Anyway, during my crazed obsession with all things lemon last week, I also made these awesome low carb shortbread cookies, which I adapted from this recipe.  They did NOT disappoint!

Low Carb Shortbread

These little cuties require just four ingredients, and have an addicting lemon flavor and crusty shortbread texture that I absolutely love!

Be sure to use a sweetener that is advertised to bake like sugar (Granulated Splenda, Ideal, etc.) and not a liquid sugar free sweetener, or they may not hold together properly.  Also important is that you chill them first if you’re going to cut them into cookies, otherwise they will crumble apart and be impossible to work with.

Low Carb Recipe for Shortbread

This versatile dough also makes a lovely low carb tart base or pie crust, which does not require pre-chilling.  You simply press it into your pan and bake it for 15 minutes.    I’ll also be posting a gorgeous low carb Blueberry & Mascarpone tart I made with it in the near future, so stay tuned for that!

Lemon Almond Shortbread Cookies (LC & GF)

Yield: 1 large tart or 16 cookies (about 2 inches in diameter)

Serving Size: 1 cookie (or 1/8th of a tart)

Lemon Almond Shortbread Cookies (LC & GF)

A versatile dough that makes beautiful shortbread cookies, or the perfect crust for a summer fruit tart or lemon meringue pie!


  • 6 Tbl butter
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sweetener (Splenda, Ideal, Swerve, etc.)
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest


  • Melt the butter in the microwave or a small saucepan. Add the almond flour, sweetener, and lemon zest, stirring until fully combined.
  • To make a tart or pie crust:
  • No need to pre-chill, just press dough into tart or pie tins. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees (F) for 15 mins until firm and golden brown.
  • To make the cookies:
  • Form dough (it will be crumbly, this is normal) into a cylinder and wrap tightly with plastic wrap to compress. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes or until firm, or in the refrigerator for 2 hours. With a sharp knife, slice into 1/2 inch thick cookies (if they crumble apart your dough isn’t cold enough). Bake in a preheated oven @ 350 degrees (F) on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet for 15 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Allow to cool before removing.


Approx nutrition info per cookie: 119 calories, 11g fat, 1.6g net carbs, 3g protein

Approx nutrition info per 1/8th tart crust: 238 calories, 23g fat, 3g net carbs, 6g protein

Low Carb Shortbread

If, like me, you can’t get enough lemon flavored low carb desserts this time of year either, you can also check out my Sugar Free Pavlova’s with Lemon Curd and low carb Lemon, Thyme & Chevre Cheesecakes.

For more great recipes, you can also download The Gluten Free Low Carber e-cookbook which is now available for both Kindle and Nook!!

Finally, don’t forget to sign up for our Diatomaceous Earth giveaway, which ends on Wednesday, March 6th!

  1. Jayne

    I LOVE anything with lemon and these fit the bill, thanks!

  2. Judy @Savoring Today
    Judy @Savoring Today03-05-2013

    The look and shape of these cookies remind me of Pecan Sandies, but I love lemon, so I’m more inclined to try them. I enjoy working with almond flour, but I haven’t tried making cookies yet, guess it’s time! :)

  3. Hayley

    Do shortbread cookies traditionally omit eggs? I ask because I love lemon, and tried your recipe as soon as I read the post, but all the way through I had problems with them not holding together. Even after an entire night in the freezer, the dough was breaking apart in huge pieces. If I try them again, I think I am going to add an egg to hold everything together.

  4. AmyLW

    I just made these. Two thumbs and two big toes up..

  5. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen03-06-2013

    I just adore the sandy texture of shortbread cookies and paired with the delicate flavor of lemon and almonds it’s all the better!

  6. Owie

    Just when I thought there was nothing left to try with almond flour….. You are an inspiration Mellissa!

  7. Dancingtigga

    Hi Melissa Just made these – having had poor experiences with artificial sweeteners, I used Demerara sugar – 40g of the stuff – the result was pretty good and worth the extra 3g carb per biscuit….might even get the kids to eat this one. Love your food – always a joy!

  8. Chris Malloy
    Chris Malloy03-08-2013

    These were great. I didn’t measure the sweetener so they turned out a bit sweet, but my non-keto coworkers loved them. They were very moist and held together well. This will be my new go to when I have a craving for shortbread!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny03-10-2013

      Thanks for the feedback Chris, so glad they worked out for you! I can’t wait to experiment with some other flavors too!

      • Chris Malloy
        Chris Malloy03-10-2013

        Actually I forgot to mention I did not use the lemon flavour. I added a little vanilla, almond extract and a tiny bit of ground cloves. It worked out really well.

  9. Cheryl

    Sometimes I find that almond flour has quite an powerful taste and takes over in the flavour department. Did you, or anyone who has tried this yet, find that?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny03-12-2013

      Hi Cheryl,

      I don’t find the almond flour to be very strong in flavor but maybe I’m just used to it. It could also be a freshness issue – nut flours will go rancid which gives them a very unpleasant and bitter flavor. To avoid this you can store it in the freezer to extend the shelf life. In these cookies, the lemon flavor is very prominent so it might be a good one for you to try!

  10. Jenny

    I love almond shortbread cookies. The recipe I use calls for 1 egg and I’ve never tried them without it. Maybe I’ll give this one a shot, it looks so yummy. I love the lemon flavor ones but recently I made a batch with cocoa powder and they came out like a crumbly brownie (with the egg the center is a slight bit moist, on the verge of gooey), very delish!

  11. kristen

    I switched up this recipe a little bit and linked to you on my blog :) Your work is awesome – thank you!

  12. Claire D
    Claire D03-31-2013

    I have done Low Carb dieting many times over the last 20 years, but was never successful with cookies or cakes. You photos look amazing and your recipes sound yummy. So this morning I made a batch of the lemon almond cookies. I let them set in the refrigerator for about 6 hours while I did my Saturday chores. Once I got home I baked the cookies, let them cool and made my low carb dinner (which was pretty tasty). And then the test, having a good dessert or cookie low carb style. I ate one of the cookies and thought pretty good. I ate a second one about 10 minutes later as I just wanted to see if they really tasted good (just a test you know?). The second one was better than the first. Okay, I have now had 4 (my limit for the day, as after all I am dieting). I have to say these cookies are wonderful – lemon and almond flavoring, what a combo! I am so excited I found your food blog. I am excited you have recipes that are low carb AND GF – what a find. Great blog!!!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny04-01-2013

      Thanks so much Claire! I had the same problem with these cookies – so hard not to eat the whole batch! ;)

  13. Miah

    These were amazing! Made them for Easter and they disappeared fast. Making another batch already!! Guilt free treats are the best!

  14. Laura K
    Laura K04-09-2013

    These were delicious! I made these yesterday for a friend and I to enjoy while we had a crafting day together. We almost ate the entire batch! I will probably make again this week and may try with lime or orange zest. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny04-09-2013

      Thanks Laura! Glad you guys enjoyed these! I have a hard time no eating the whole batch when I make them too! :)

  15. Chrys

    Thank you so, SO, much for this recipe! I have been looking for a cookie-type snack for a while now and this looks great! Trying it today :-) I tell anyone that will listen about your site, you’re a culinary genius :-)

  16. Karrel Buck
    Karrel Buck04-29-2013

    They are tasty but after 12 hours in fridge they fell apart immediately. Disapointed

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny04-29-2013

      Sorry Karrel – not sure why they fell apart on you – do you mean you couldn’t get them to hold together to cut into slices before baking – or that you made them and stored them in the fridge and they got soft and fell apart? If it was beforehand, it’s possible that they weren’t wrapped tight enough while cooling, and if you mean after, if they weren’t sealed they may have absorbed moisture in the fridge and gotten soggy. Of course I’m guessing, it’s hard to figure out without more details. Sorry that you were disappointed! :(

  17. Mari

    Loved the recipe….the cookies were devoured in 2 days. Next time, I’ll add more lemon zest. I also tried this recipe with peanut butter (2 large TBS), instead of the lemon zest. It turned out okay, but let the peanut butter cookies cool in the fridge for 2 hours. If you eat them while they are warm, they taste bitter/burned.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny07-14-2013

      It took you 2 whole days to eat them all? Mine usually only last about 2 hours! ;)

  18. Thelma Connolly
    Thelma Connolly07-24-2013

    I tried the Lemon Almond Shortbread cookies & they are simply AWESOME!!!! I live on low cal/low carb diet and they are Fab!!!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny07-25-2013

      I know right??? I love these so much that I don’t make them too often or I just can’t stop eating them!!!!

  19. mnk

    Oh my! I just discovered your blog, and said to my husband “how come we’ve never seen this before!” Your blog is a Godsend! Thanks so much for the amazing recipes.

  20. Rachel

    I just made these tonight. Instead of messing with the chilling and cutting, to get cookies, I sprayed a mini muffin pan (16 holes anyway) and scooped the dough evenly into each cup and pressed firm. I ended up with 16 fabulous cookies that held together perfectly!

  21. Josephine

    Hi Mellissa. I just discovered your blog the other night when browsing around collecting low carb meal inspiration – and wow! I really think your recipes are creative and very inviting. I am definitely gonna cook up a few of them! So cool with a new source of food inspiration!
    All the best from Josephine (from Atastylovestory.com)

  22. Shel

    Late to the party, just wanted to say these were a fabulous Christmas cookie, too. I grabbed the wrong fruit off the tree and our first batch was orange flavored. I sweetened with the recommended amount of erythritol and added some liquid sucralose.. After 30 minutes in the freezer, the dough was firm, but would crack or break. By holding a finger on the front edge of the dough, I was able to easily slice into nice looking cookies. We all know how tasty these are warm, but they just get better and more short-bready if given the opportunity. Some of them made it almost 24 hours and they were the best!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny12-26-2013

      Thanks for letting me know Shel! I like the orange idea – maybe dipped in chocolate afterwards since I love orange and chocolate together! I’ll get to work on that one soon – thanks for the inspiration! So glad you enjoyed them and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  23. maria loukakos
    maria loukakos01-01-2014

    Great recipe.. Worked well and biscuites held together beautifully. Thank you

  24. Jill

    I made these tonight with a few changes. I had no lemon so used 2 teaspoons lime juice. Based on some of the other posts, I added 1 egg and since coconut goes so well with lime, I added 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut. They were delicious!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny01-30-2014

      Thanks Jill – I haven’t tried the egg but I’m wondering if it makes them easier to work with? Will have to experiment! Thanks!

      • jill

        T they were actually very easy to work with and I had no problem with them crumbling. I brought some to work today and they were a big hit!

        • Mellissa Sevigny
          Mellissa Sevigny01-30-2014

          Glad they were a hit Jill, I’m definitely going to try an egg in my next batch!

  25. heather

    I’m not sure what I did wrong but these didn’t turn out for me. :(

  26. Stephanie Wagner
    Stephanie Wagner03-08-2014

    Can I just say making these cookies comes at the perfect time with all of the Girl Scout cookies coming out now. I’ll also have to hunt down some low carb recipes for Samoas, Thin Mints and Tagalongs!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny03-08-2014

      I think Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food has some copycat girlscout cookies on her site – if not a Pinterest search should turn some up!

      • Stephanie Wagner
        Stephanie Wagner03-08-2014

        That is so funny you just now said that! I JUST finished pinning all three of her recipes! haha! Baking day for me!

        • Mellissa Sevigny
          Mellissa Sevigny03-08-2014

          Yay! Me too! I’m busy baking 5 different cupcake recipes for the Spring issue of the ezine today! Be sure to box some of your cookies up and send them over here to me – I LOVE all of Carolyn’s cookie recipes! :)

  27. Christine Castaneda
    Christine Castaneda03-12-2014

    Made these again tonight. SOOOO YUMMY!

  28. Steph

    These turned out PERFECTLY. I didn’t need to add an egg or anything, I just followed the recipe. Maybe next time I’ll add a bit more zest, just for extra yummy lemon! I also left the dough in the freezer for 45 minutes, just to make sure it held together. Which it did fantastically. Thank you! :D

    Very difficult not to eat them all at once!!

  29. Jennifer Stock
    Jennifer Stock05-04-2014

    These were wonderful! I have been making cookies every night for months now trying to come up with a low carb almond flour cookie with Truvia that doesn’t turn out like a cute little pancake, in terms of texture. I was about to start adding in starches to get the crunchy dense-ness that I associate with a cookie and then poof! I find your recipe. It’s perfect! I kept my first batch refrigerated and they got much harder by the next day. Thank you so much–I am very grateful for your talent and generosity.

    Now I can move on to something different! You don’t have a fool-proof brownie recipe by any chance, do you? :)

  30. Nicole

    I stumbled upon this blog about a month ago and couldn’t be happier! I made these cookies last night and everyone at my job LOVES them (so do I!) I am looking forward to making a pie with this recipe! I have PCOS and my body does not process carbs properly and it is very difficult for me to lose weight without watching my carb count. I started lowering my carb count to 20g or less a day about 3 months ago and have since lost 36 pounds (with exercise added in). Your recipes have made me super excited about eating healthy! I don’t feel like I am on a diet. I am just eating right now! I purchased all 3 cookbooks so far and can’t wait to try them.
    Thank you so much for all your amazing recipes! Please keep them coming :)

  31. Melanie E.
    Melanie E.05-16-2014

    I might try these out tonight–certainly love the very minimal list of ingredients! Yay! The serving size should be 1 cookie or 1/16 of a tart, though, right? (Or should it be 2 cookies and 1/8 of a tart?)

  32. Melanie E.
    Melanie E.05-17-2014

    Made these last night and they were delicious! I didn’t have lemon, so I instead used 1/4 tsp of vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract. Delicious! I had read the comments about the dough crumbling after chilling, so I took extra care in how I shaped it in the plastic wrap! I thought I had it pressed well, but when I tried rolling it over to round it out, it did split in two. So I just kept working at it until it all stayed together when I rolled it over! No egg, and it worked for me! These were a huge hit. It had that great buttery almond flavor, and a texture that I don’t think people would guess was gluten-free. YUM!

  33. Aimee

    Has anyone tried these with lavender? I love lavender shortbread cookies!

  34. Flo

    I made these for the first time last night and they were absolutely wonderful. Mine turned out a little softer and less crusty because the granulated splenda I have on hand isn’t the “bakes like sugar”. The end result was something akin to a lofthouse sugar cookie in texture.
    Today I made a second batch with a couple of small changes since I was out of lemons to zest. I added 2 Tbsp of dark cocoa powder and 1/4tsp of vanilla. They turned out like soft delicious oreos. I’m sure with baking splenda they’d be delicious milk dunking, ice cream crumbling replicas.

    If anyone is having issues getting the dough wrapped tightly enough for cookies that won’t crumble when you slice or bake them I recommend googling “saran wrap frosting” A few quick twirls and you have a tightly wrapped and even cylinder ready for easy slicing.

    Thanks, Melissa. Keep on doing what you do. You’re great at it.

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny07-12-2014

      Thanks so much Flo, I appreciate the feedback! Can’t wait to try your oreo version, thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

  35. Wendy

    Oh my goodness. Okay, so I didn’t have any lemon extract and made them without, but WOW. Shortbread texture, eating them warm because I couldn’t wait to try them. OH MY WORD. How can these be low carb and so delicious, these are AMAZING!

  36. Susan

    I would love to make these but am unsure as to your measurements – could they be given in the UK imperial or grams please. Thanks

  37. Elissa

    These are sooo good! I made a batch, put aside 7 for one week’s worth, and froze the rest. Yesterday I had some carbs left for the day so I decided to eat a second one for dessert but didn’t want to dig into the 7 I put aside for the week. So, I ate a frozen one…omg….even better! So good that I put the ones I set aside for this week in the freezer too! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny08-28-2014

      These are still on of my very favorite cookies Elissa! I have also flavored them with maple and walnuts, and I’ve done a pecans sandies style too. You can flavor this base with almost anything and it will be great – even a savory version! Glad you liked them! :)

  38. Blanche

    you just saved my low carb life. Thank you.

  39. Andrea

    Oh wow! I just made the dough for these (didn’t have lemon zest so I used a bit of lemon juice) …I tasted the dough and it was INCREDIBLE!!! now I have to wait for the dough to chill!! Ahhh! I can’t wait to taste the cookies once they’re baked! Thank you!!!

  40. Sharlene

    I made them exactly like described except I didn’t use the lemon. I don’t like lemon so I used a tsp of vanilla extract. They were so good my husband ate half of them. I will be making more! Anyone ever try using half almond flour and half coconut flour?

  41. Iris

    OMGoodness……just made these, they are outstanding for a low carb cookie! I used truvia for the sweetner and 1/2 t of butter vanilla nut flavoring and 1/2 of vanilla. Did not need an egg….soooo good!

  42. Monica Liu
    Monica Liu11-21-2014

    Hi! Can I use granulated brown sugar instead of the granulated sweetener? Thanks!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny11-21-2014

      I don’t think brown sugar would give you the texture or flavor that you’d be looking for Monica. It would overwhelm the lemon I think, but you could try it!

  43. Yvonne Parks
    Yvonne Parks11-23-2014

    Help! I tried making these cookies twice tonight… And both times they came out so grainy. Not like a short bread texture at all. The second time I tried running the almond meal through my food processor. That batch is still in the oven, but the deal was very grainy and non-shortbread-y. (i’m new to working with almond flour… so am I missing something? Have I done something wrong?)

    Ps…I’m using Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour/Meal

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny11-24-2014

      The Bob’s Red Mill is very course, you’d be much better off with Honeyville, Wellbee or even Nuts.com version for baked goods!

  44. Susan

    You say to form the dough into a cylinder – how big around and how long?

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny12-15-2014

      Depends on how large you want your cookies Susan, but about 2 inches in diameter works and you’ll probably end up with a cylinder about 10 inches long at that width. Enjoy!

      • Susan

        Thanks so much for your answer! Can’t wait to try these

  45. Anne

    Thank you SO MUCH! My mom and I are determined to stay grain free through the holidays (I have celiacs and she realized she doesn’t tolerate wheat well, and we both do well on a keto/high fat low carb diet.) She was bemoaning the loss of Walker’s shortbread cookies, which she used to love. I’ve been trying out grain free sugar free cookie recipes all week and this one is incredible! I actually skipped the lemon since I wanted a real old fashioned shortbread, and they are perfection! I’m not sure how many will make it home to give to my Mom :)

    I used powdered erythritol, and upped that to almost 1/4 cup since it is not as sweet as sugar, and added an extra tablespoonof butter, and the cookies are perfectly crumbly and delicious!

  46. Anne

    Ah, sorry! 1/2 cup not1/4. Typo! Also, bobs red mill now has an almond flour, not meal, which is much finer and bakes nicely. Just fyi!

  47. Shroug

    I made these last week and I loved them, my favourite low carb gluten free cookie that I have ever tried ,I was wondering if I could add pistachios

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny12-22-2014

      Yes, you can customize the flavors any way you like! I’ve done maple walnut and butter pecan with great results!

  48. Sarah

    These were very good! I was hoping to make them a bit more lemony so I added the zest of an entire lemon and the juice of half the lemon. I figured that would be ok since some people mentioned having to add an egg as the dough was too crumbly. Well, I don’t know how anyone could have had a problem with the dough being too crumbly unless they didn’t follow the recipe. With the lemon juice, my dough was way too moist so I had to add some extra almond flour (totally not the fault of the recipe obviously as the lemon juice was my addition). Anyway, they sliced great and after baking I rolled them in powdered sugar in the hopes of replicating a family Christmas cookie recipe. I also used regular cane sugar for the sweetener. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny12-23-2014

      Glad you liked these Sarah, and thanks for letting us know that they work just as well with regular sugar!

    • Mellissa Sevigny
      Mellissa Sevigny12-23-2014

      Glad you liked these Sarah, and thanks for letting us know that they work just as well with regular sugar!

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