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Irish Shortbread with Lemon and Currants

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This recipe for easy, buttery Irish Shortbread with Lemon and Currants is an incredibly delicious variation on tradition. It’s easy to make, keeps well, and is just plain pretty!

Irish Shortbread with Lemon and Currants cut into triangles and stacked on a wooden cutting board.

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So what makes this an Irish Shortbread recipe? While shortbread cookies are most often associated with Scotland (this is how to make traditional Scottish Shortbread), similar shortbread recipes are found throughout Ireland as well.

And they vary region by region, and family by family. As it should be.

These shortbread cookies are incredibly easy to make. I love the flavor the freshly squeezed lemon and currants add to the familiar favorite shortbread.

Triangles of Irish Shortbread on a wooden tray.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of butter should I use?

As one of the main flavors of shortbread is the butter, use the best quality European-style butter available to you. If you can buy an Irish butter brand like Kerrygold, use that!

How long will this shortbread keep?

In an air-tight container it should be good for 3-4 days, if it lasts that long!

Close up of shortbread triangles on a wooden board.

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Irish Shortbread with Lemon and Currants cut into triangles and stacked on a wooden cutting board.

Irish Shortbread with Lemon and Currants

Irish Shortbread with Lemon and Currants is an incredibly delicious variation on tradition. It’s easy to make, keeps well, and is just plain pretty!
4.7 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Stephanie Wilson

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup salted butter softened (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 of a lemon finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, currants, and salt. Work carefully until the dough comes together, try not to overwork the dough. Shape the dough into a 9-inch circle.
  • Transfer the disc-shaped dough to the prepared baking sheet. Level the surface with a rolling pin, and trim the edges of the dough neatly. Crimp the edges, prick the surface with a fork, and score with a sharp knife into 12 equal wedges.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until it becomes a pale golden color. Remove from the oven, sprinkle sugar on the top, and cut along the scored edges into wedges. Let cool before serving.

Notes

Splurge on the high-quality butter for this recipe. You’ll be glad you did!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 103mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: irish shortbread, recipe for shortbread cookies, shortbread, shortbread cookie recipe, shortbread recipe, traditional shortbread recipe

10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Lovely recipe. I switched out half the flour for Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat flour, which is much healthier than white and adds a pleasant toastiness…

    1. Hi Mary, thank you so much for trying this recipe! I love your substitution and can’t wait to try it myself.

  2. I had trouble with mine. The dough was really not coming together. Too dry. Since my liquids were lemon juice and vanilla extract, I added more lemon juice to try to bind the dough. It didn’t work very well. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Vickie, thank you for your suggestion. I’m so sorry you had trouble with this. I was already making soda bread when your comment came through and with all the ingredients already on hand, I tested the recipe again. I was not able to replicate the problem.

      However, here are a few tips when making shortbread:

      I mention in the recipe to be careful not to overwork the dough. That’s true, but the mixing process may take longer than you think. I made mine in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. After adding all of the ingredients, I mixed on low for about 3 minutes before the dough began to resemble large crumbs. I then increased the speed and mixed for another minute or so until the dough began sticking together and almost forming a ball. Only after that did I turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and roll it into a circle. The dough is easy to handle once it comes together.

      I hope this helps!

  3. Thank you for this great recipe, Stephanie. I made it recently and was so pleased with the result. I wanted to make round shapes rather than having wedges, so I rolled the dough out to around 1/4″ or a bit thicker and used a 2.5″ scone cutter. Result was 24 lovely melt-in-the-mouth biscuits! 🙂

    1. Hi Sandie! I’m so glad you liked the Irish Shortbread! That was a brilliant idea to cut them into rounds. Thank you for sharing — it’s now on my baking list next week to make them as you did. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. please revise to include information about how many currants to add and at what point in the process to make the addition.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Linda! You will need 1/3 cup of dried currants. Add it into the batter with the flour. I’ve updated the recipe. Thanks so much!

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