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Shortbread Lemon Tart

This shortbread lemon tart combines a sweet, crunchy cookie crust with a tangy, buttery lemon filling.

A lemon tart garnished with whipped cream and raspberries on a blue plate in front of a stack of dessert plates and a pie server

Welcome to #LemonWeek 2021 hosted by Lynn from Fresh April Flours! What better way to welcome summer than with over 50 recipes featuring bright and sunny lemons? Come join me and my fellow Lemon Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!

I'm pretty partial to chocolate desserts, but I love a good lemon tart on a warm summer night, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

A whole lemon tart garnished with whipped cream and raspberries on a blue plate

How to Make a Shortbread Lemon Tart

While pies tend to have tender, flaky crusts, tarts often have firm, crumbly crusts. Pies are made in a pie plate with a slanted sides, while tarts are made in tart pans with straight up-and-down sides and a removeable bottom.

This cookie crust was adapted from a shortbread cookie recipe where cold butter was cut into the flour mixture. I typically do that using my food processor. If you don't have a food processor, you can cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two forks or your fingers.

Lemon filling being poured into a shortbread crust


Q: Can I use a store-bought graham cracker crust for this tart?

A: Yes, you can bake this filling in a store-bought graham cracker crust.

Q: Why do I need to freeze the shortbread crust AND poke it with a fork? Can't I do one or the other?

A: They serve different purposes. Freezing the crust before baking helps prevent the crust from shrinking away from the edges. Poking holes with a fork allows air to escape during baking, which prevents the crust from puffing up.

Q: What can I use as garnish for this tart?

A: I love a good dollop sweetened whipped cream, and a handful of blueberries and/or raspberries. Or, give it a dusting of powdered sugar.

Q: Can I use meyer lemons in this recipe?

A: Absolutely! But cut the amount of sugar back to ¼ cup.

A slice of shortbread lemon tart garnished with raspberries on a blue plate with the rest of the tart in the background

Like cheesecake, you want to bake this tart until the center of the filling just barely jiggles when you give the baking sheet a gentle shake. It will bake just a bit more when it's cooling on the rack (called "carryover cooking").

To store leftover lemon tart, place the tart on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

A slice of shortbread lemon tart garnished with whipped cream and raspberries

Shortbread Lemon Tart

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chilling Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 50 minutes

This shortbread lemon tart combines a sweet, crunchy cookie crust with a tangy, buttery lemon filling.


For the crust

  • 1 cup (4.25 oz/120 g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (65 g) granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (4 oz/112 g) unsalted butter, cubed, cold
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups (8.75 oz/248 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup (2 oz/55 g) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9-inch tart pan with a removeable bottom with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt.
  4. Add the cubed cold butter and the vanilla extract. Process until the mixture starts to form small clumps.
  5. Empty the food processor into the tart pan. Use your hands or the back of a spoon to press the crust into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Prick with a fork to prevent puffing up while baking.
  6. Place the tart pan in the freezer while you make the filling.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until the mixture lightens in color. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
  8. Slowly stream in the butter and whisk until smooth.
  9. Remove the tart pan from the freezer and place on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust.
  10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is just set when you jiggle the baking sheet.
  11. Place the tart pan on a wire cooling rack. Cool the tart to room temperature.
  12. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the cooled tart and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Garnish with whipped cream and berries, or a dusting of powdered sugar.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

I am not a certified nutritionist. This nutrition information is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only.

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