Get your mixer ready! We’re baking lavender cookies. The lavender shortbread cookies taste light, buttery, and have a subtle floral aroma. The cookies are rolled in colored sugar for a pretty and simple finish.
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Homemade lavender cookies
This simple yet elegant lavender flower shortbread recipe is dear to my heart because it reminds me of my aunt Mary-Louise. She had the most beautiful flower garden, full of exquisite heritage roses and rows of English lavender. She also taught me how to make shortbread when I could barely look over the kitchen counter.
And now, I’m so happy to share these lavender cookies with you! They taste like a summery version of your favorite shortbread. Using florals in baking creates exciting flavor profiles. If you’re a shortbread lover, you’ll enjoy this fun twist on classic shortbread cookies!
Lavender cookies are a buttery shortbread mingled with aromatic lavender and rolled in a sparkly sugar crust. They’re perfectly soft, slightly sweet, elegant, and incredibly fragrant.
Why you’ll love this lavender shortbread recipe
The list is long when it comes to all the things to love about these homemade lavender cookies:
- Delicious lavender aroma: I love baking with lavender. It lends so well to sweetness and gives you a lovely floral aroma. And in case you’re wondering, the lavender flavor is light, not overpowering or soapy.
- Easy: Although lavender cookies seem very sophisticated, they are easy to prepare, even by novice bakers.
- Quick: While there’s a little wait involved to freeze the cookie dough, the active time is only 20 minutes.
- Slice n’ bake: Speaking of freezing, store the cookie dough in the freezer, and then slice n’ bake whenever you’re in the mood for homemade shortbread. Or unannounced guests arrive. Think lavender icebox cookies!
- Just 5 ingredients: I love easy cookie recipes with few ingredients. These lavender cookies require only 5 ingredients (or four if you skip the food coloring).
- Great gift: This lavender cookies recipe is easy to transport, making it an excellent homemade food gift idea and cookie exchange recipe.
Shortbread is one of my favorite cookie recipes because it’s easy to whip up with just a few pantry staples. To make these easy lavender cookies, you’ll need:
- Lavender: Lavender is one of my favorite summertime plants and makes the perfect addition to traditional shortbread. You can bake the cookies with 1/2 tsp dried lavender, 1 tsp fresh lavender florets, or 1/4 tsp lavender extract. If buying dried, make sure it’s edible lavender that is intended for cooking.
- Butter: You’ll need cold, salted butter for this tender shortbread recipe. If you only have unsalted butter, add 1/8 tsp fine salt. With simple cookies, quality really matters, so be sure to reach for high-quality butter.
- Flour: Regular all-purpose flour (plain flour) gives these cookies the best texture. Spoon and level the flour for the best results.
- Sugar: We use granulated sugar (white sugar) in the cookies and to create a sparkly lavender sugar crust. The cookie dough isn’t overly sweet, and the sugar crust adds a nice crunch and extra sweetness.
- Purple food coloring (optional): A touch of food coloring lends the sugar crust a lovely purple hue.
In case you’re wondering, shortbread usually doesn’t contain eggs, baking soda, or baking powder. It’s the simplest cookie with the least number of ingredients.
You can find the full measurements and ingredient amounts in the recipe card below.
Lavender cookies are incredibly easy to make. First, whip up the shortbread, roll into a log, and freeze. And while the shortbread is freezing, prep the lavender sugar. Then slice and bake. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:
Step 1: Crush the lavender
Crush the dried lavender in a mortar into smaller bits. If using fresh lavender, carefully wash the florets and chop them on a cutting board.
Step 2: Cream sugar and butter
In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, for about two minutes.
Step 3: Add flour and lavender
Sift the flour into the bowl. Add the lavender and whisk until crumbly. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water and knead until just combined. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If the dough seems too sticky, add 1 tbsp flour add a time until it just starts to come together.
Step 4: Shape the dough
Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap/cling film or wax paper. Shape the dough into a log about 2 in / 5 cm in diameter and 8 in / 20 cm long.
Step 5: Chill
Wrap the log in plastic wrap/cling film and put it into the freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 6: Color the sugar
While the cookie dough is freezing, fill the remaining granulated sugar and food coloring into a small mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar is evenly tinted, and no lumps of food coloring are showing.
Step 7: Preheat the oven
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (baking paper) and preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C / gas mark 3.
Step 8: Garnish the dough
Sprinkle the colored sugar on a piece of plastic wrap/clingfilm. Unwrap the dough and roll the log in the sugar until completely coated. Optionally, brush the log with a bit of egg white if the sugar doesn’t stick.
Step 9: Cut cookie rounds
Using a sharp knife, slice thin rounds of the log and place them on the baking tray, spacing the cookies 2 in / 5 cm apart.
Step 10: Bake
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Watch the cookies closely while baking, so they don’t overbake. It’s okay if the cookies seem soft and underbaked, they will continue to cook as they cool.
Step 11: Cool
Let cookies on the cookie sheet for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are set enough to be handled. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
The lavender cookie recipe is simple but read through my tips and tricks before you get started for the best results.
- Infuse the sugar with lavender. If you have the time and want to kick up the lavender flavor, make lavender-infused sugar. How do you make lavender sugar? Easy! Add granulated sugar + 3 tbsp dried lavender buds into an airtight jar and let infuse for 3 to 7 days. The lavender will aromatize the sugar, and you have delicious lavender sugar to use in your shortbread cookies and the sugar crust.
- Crush the lavender to bring out the flavor. I recommend crushing the lavender with a mortar and pestle. I know this is an extra step, but crushing the lavender will release the aromatic oils from the lavender into the cookie dough. Alternatively, chop the lavender buds with a sharp knife.
- Use cold butter. The beauty of these lavender cookies is that they will come together in minutes, and you don’t even have to set out the butter. In fact, shortbread turns out best with cold butter. By “cold” I mean cool to the touch, not rock hard cold. When it’s time to bake, take your butter from the fridge, chop into cubes, and get right on with making the shortbread dough.
- Spoon and level the flour if measuring with cups. Too much flour will make the lavender cookies tough and dry.
- Don’t overmix the cookie dough. For soft, buttery cookies, don’t overmix the dough.
- Watch the baking time. Lavender shortbread is delicate, don’t overbake it. The lavender shortbread cookies will seem super soft when you take them out of the oven. But they continue to bake and set nicely.
My easy short recipe allows ample ways to customize your lavender cookies. Here are a few tasty ideas:
- Lemon lavender cookies: The finely grated zest of 1 lemon or orange gives the cookies a refreshing citrus note.
- Vanilla lavender cookies: Vanilla and lavender is another delicious pairing. 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract warms up the cookies.
- Lavender chocolate chip shortbread: Chocolate chips and lavender? Yes, please! Fold 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips into the lavender dough.
- Earl Grey lavender shortbread: Add 1/2 tbsp finely ground Earl grey tea to the cookie dough for lavender Earl Grey cookies.
- Lavender thyme cookies: You can also combine lavender with other herbs such as thyme or rosemary.
- Chocolate dipped: Dip the lavender cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt. So good! Semisweet, milk, and white chocolate are all tasty options.
- Lemon glaze: A simple glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar is the perfect way to dress up your lavender cookies. Drizzle over the cookies and decorate with lavender buds.
Lavender shortbread FAQ
How many lavender cookies does the recipe make?
The recipe yields 20 cookies. Simply double the amounts if you want more.
Fresh lavender, dried lavender, or lavender extract – which is best?
You have a few options to bake with lavender. Let’s talk about it:
- Dried culinary lavender: The most accessible option is dried lavender buds. You can find them in tea shops, some grocery shops and food co-ops, and online. Be sure to purchase culinary-grade lavender that is meant for food preparation.
- Fresh lavender: Got fresh lavender growing in your garden? Go and grab 3 to 5 stalks for this recipe! Wash under running water and gently pat dry with a paper towel. Pick off the bud and flower petals, discard the stems.
- Lavender extract is a third option you can use to season these floral shortbread cookies. I recommend this food-grade lavender oil from OliveNation and this and this lavender paste from Taylor & College.
Can I use lavender essential oil in baking?
Though it might seem tempting to season your cookies with lavender essential oil, most essential oils aren’t safe to be consumed internally. Better stick with culinary dried lavender flowers!
My shortbread is sticky. What can I do?
Sticky cookie dough probably means that the butter was too warm. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap/cling film and pop in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes.
How to tell when the cookies are done?
You may not know when the cookies are done because shortbread doesn’t bake up with golden brown edges. It’s better to err on the side of underbaking than burning the cookies. The baking time is 10 to 13 minutes.
For tender cookies, remove the baking sheet from the oven when the center of cookies has risen but still looks pale and soft. The shortbread continues to bake on the cookie sheet from the residual heat after taking them out of the oven.
Can I make the cookie with a stand mixer?
Yes! I prefer a hand-held electric mixer to prepare the dough, but a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment works fine, too, especially if you plan on doubling the recipe.
How to store lavender cookies
To keep the lavender shortbread soft and tender, store the cookies tightly covered in an airtight container.
How long does lavender shortbread last?
Lavender shortbread stores at room temperature for 3 days, in the refrigerator for 7, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The unbaked cookie can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze lavender cookies?
Yes, you can freeze this lavender recipe and have the cookies ready whenever you need a treat. You have 2 options for freezing lavender cookies:
- Freeze the unbaked cookie dough: Keep the tightly wrapped cookie dough in the freezer for up to 2 months. Be sure to freeze the cookies without the sugar garnish. Once you’re ready to bake, take it out of the freezer, roll in sugar, slice, and bake as described in the recipe.
- Freeze baked cookies: You can freeze baked cookies for 3 to 4 months. Put the cookies into a freezer bag with pieces of parchment paper/baking paper between layers, so they don’t cling together.
I first published this lavender cookie recipe in 2017 and updated the post with better instructions and new photos in 2021. The original article included a free printable cookie box that you can still download below.
Craft the printable sleeve box
Print the printable on letter-size or A4 cardstock or photo paper and cut out the different elements along the grey lines. Put glue on all the flaps that say “Glue.” To make the sleeve box, adhere the bottom to the top. For the sleeve, glue together the two parts. Now your treat box is ready to be filled with lavender cookies!
Free Printable Cookie Box
Click on the button to download your free printable sleeve box so you can gift give the lavender cookies in style!