Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies [Vegan & Allergy-Friendly]

Welcome to #ChristmasSweetsWeek 2020, co-hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! What better way to celebrate the holidays than with food and fun? 21 bloggers from around the country have come together to share some of their favorite sweet Christmas recipes! Deck the halls and get ready for very merry sweet treats, like fudge, cookies, Christmas morning breakfasts, layer cakes, cocoa, and more! Scroll down for more recipes, and follow along on social media with our #ChristmasSweetsWeek hashtag. Happy Holidays!

My (Robby’s) first foray into the food & beverage management world was during my time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and one of the first trainings on the leadership path was about serving guests that had food allergies or intolerances. Out of the seven locations that I oversaw, one of them was this amazing little bakery that served everything from bagels and danishes to fresh fruit tarts and the most delicious cupcakes. Whenever a guest came in that had an allergy, intolerance, or dietary preference, it was up to me to make sure, to the best of our ability, that that guest’s special dietary needs or preferences were met. That bakery was the bane of my existence.

It seemed like, almost every single day, we had a guest that came in (now mind you, that is with an average of 20k guests coming into the park in a day) that had an immense amount of dietary preferences that were going to, ultimately, be an incredible challenge to meet. What do I mean? Sometime, try walking into a bakery and ask if they have anything that meets the following criteria: gluten-free, peanut / tree-nut free, dairy-free, egg-free, AND soy-free. Odds are, there’s probably zero options for that.

Among our close friends and family, we have some friends that are gluten-intolerant, some that try to stay away from dairy, and some that have nut allergies. Whenever we have a get-together, I always feel bad how they are so afraid to touch most of the options, and when they dared, it tugged at my food safety manager heartstrings about the risk they were taking on.

So when the opportunity came to participate in a Holidays desserts event, I immediately knew I wanted to try and do the seemingly-impossible: make an amazing BAKED dessert that has no dairy, no eggs, no soy, no gluten, and no nuts. And so, this experiment began. (This is not sponsored, by the way!)

After lots of online research, I found it darn near impossible to find any kind of baked dessert recipe that met all of the requirements, so inspiration was going to be completely up to me. On an early-season holiday segment on one of the local morning radio shows in our area, I heard a contributor mention that they were playing with adding herbs to some of their baked goods, like basil white chocolate raspberry cookies. The thought intrigued me. But I remembered that the only major-allergen-free dessert options during my Disney days were these chocolate chip cookies that nobody really liked. And so, I knew I didn’t want to just do a normal cookie.

Enter shortbread. I realized, if I could find a good gluten-free flour that didn’t use nuts, I could start with that, and then instead of using butter, I could try using a cooking oil. From there, the idea grew to making lemon rosemary shortbread.

Ultimately, I found the perfect flour to use, found that canola oil presented a good alternative to butter in this instance, and found a decent balance between lemon, sugar, and rosemary to have the shortbread be flavorful yet still be a sweet dessert-style cookie. However, I found that, with the ingredients I was using, the rosemary often either disappeared completely behind the lemon or remained as the only note on the finish.

So these shortbread cookies, while good on their own, really become the perfect little bite when topped with a lemon glaze. And the best part? These are super easy to make. Add flour, powdered sugar, salt, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary to a mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. Then, pour in the oil, mix just until everything comes together in one coherent dough. Bake in a greased pan, let them sit for a bit after coming out, then drizzle a powdered-sugar / lemon-zest / lemon-juice glaze on top.


Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies [Vegan & Allergy-Friendly]

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies are delicious, take only one bowl, and are free of gluten, animal products, and all major allergens!

  • Author: Robby Burroughs
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 50 minutes 1x
  • Category: baking
  • Cuisine: vegan




250 grams of major-allergen-free flour, such as Pillsbury Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend

100 grams of powdered sugar

1 tablespoon of finely-chopped fresh rosemary

Zest of 1.5 lemons

⅛ tsp fine salt

⅔ cup of canola oil


100 grams of powdered sugar

Zest of ½ lemon

Juice of ½ lemon


Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease an 8×8 glass pan with canola oil.

In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients (allergen-free flour, powdered sugar, chopped rosemary, lemon zest, and salt) and combine thoroughly with a whisk.

Add canola oil to the dry ingredients and mix just until the dough comes completely together.

Pour dough into greased pan and flatten to uniformity across the entirety of the pan. Using a fork, poke holes across the whole the top of the shortbread (this keeps it from puffing oddly).

Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes, until the edges that can be seen through the side of the pan just start to turn golden-brown.

While the shortbread is baking, add 100 grams of powdered sugar and zest of the remaining ½ of a lemon to a small mixing bowl, and combine with a whisk or spoon. Then, slowly start adding the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the bowl, stirring constantly. Add just enough juice to get to desired texture (mine ended up being most of the ½ of the lemon).

Once the edges of the cookies are starting to brown, remove the pan from the oven and let the shortbread cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

Once the shortbread has cooled, use a bench scraper or sharp knife to cut the shortbread into desired shapes, and remove the shortbread from the pan onto a serving plate.

Drizzle the icing onto the shortbread cookies, as much as desired.


Please note that we’ve given some of the measurements in this recipe by weight only, instead of also in volume (cup measurements). That’s because gluten/allergy-free flours vary widely, so weight is a much more reliable measure.

We tested this recipe using Pillsbury Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend, so using another flour may lead to variations in baked texture.

As an alternate to cutting the cookies after the fact, you can score the dough into your desired cookie shapes before it goes into the oven. You’ll still need to actually cut the baked cookies with a knife or bench scraper.

Keywords: vegan baking, shortbread cookies

Enjoy these #ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes from our bloggers:

Breakfast and Baked Goods Recipes
Cranberry Orange Quick Bread by Simply Inspired Meals
Gingerbread Baked Oatmeal by Making Miracles

Candy and Fudge Recipes
Christmas Snack Board by Love & Confections
Papaya Halwa by Palatable Pastime
Hard Cinnamon Candy by Blogghetti
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge by An Affair from the Heart
Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Pastry and Dessert Recipes
Gingerbread Snack Cake by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Christmas Tree Krispie Treats by Sweet Beginnings
Hot Chocolate cookies by Christmas Tree Lane
Lemon Olive Oil Sugar Cookies by The Spiffy Cookie
Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies [Vegan & Allergy-Friendly] by Bear & Bug Eats
Candy Cane Ice Cream Pie by A Little Fish in the Kitchen Lemon
Gingerbread House by House of Nash Eats
Gingerbread Layer Cake by The Redhead Baker
Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies by Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
Christmas Sprinkle Cookies by The Mandatory Mooch
Chocolate Saltine Toffee by For the Love of Food


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