This limoncello lavender shortbread squares recipe is one of my favorite springtime treats. The first time I made them, I thought I’d just sneak a little taste before bringing them out to my guests… I ended up eating a whole limoncello lavender shortbread square right there in the kitchen. The crunch of the zest paired with the smooth, creamy filling was sooo satisfying, and the warm floral notes are absolutely divine.

Lavender in desserts adds such a sophisticated twist, and these bars are tied together with a buttery shortbread crust that will have everyone licking their fingers. If you want to learn more about limoncello—including how to make your own with my family recipe—make sure to check out Erik and Tracy’s Homemade Limoncello!

Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares

What Type of Lavender is Good for Baking?

When it comes to baking with lavender, not all varieties are created equal. Specific varieties of lavender are used for different purposes. Some are grown for their aroma, packing a punch in the scent department but not quite suited for your culinary adventures. For this recipe (and all your baking) you’ll be reaching for the culinary variety. This type is specially grown for its flavor profile—so when you’re shopping, make extra sure you’re grabbing “culinary lavender.”

Your best bet is to purchase your lavender from a spice store like Penzey’s Spice House or directly from a lavender farm like Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm in Door County, Wisconsin! Otherwise you can check for spice shops local to your community, and sometimes herbalists and apothecaries will carry this type of lavender, too.

You can also grow your own lavender plants and harvest the buds. Remember that like any fresh herb, you will be using more of the fresh herb than the dried. Dried lavender is more intensely flavored than fresh. Use one teaspoon of dried lavender in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh. If you like the idea of baking with lavender, you could also try your hand at my London Fog Lavender Shortbread Cookies recipe!

How to Make Lavender Sugar

Making lavender sugar is like crafting a little jar of magic. It's simple, really—I’ll explain the whole process below. This enchanted sugar can elevate teas, lemonades, and even a simple fruit salad.

 Lavender Sugar

How to Store Homemade Lavender Sugar

Lavender sugar will keep in your pantry for up to 6 months. I recommend using it faster than that for the best flavor, though. For this recipe, you’ll use about 3 cups of this fragrant sugar, but feel free to make more if you want to get creative!

What Kind of Crust Should I Use for Lemon Bars?

The foundation of any great bar is its crust, and for these lavender shortbread squares, a shortbread crust is your golden ticket. The crust I used for this recipe is from my Lemon Raspberry Bars, featured in my cookbook, A Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family and Friends. It's sturdy, buttery, and perfect under a luscious filling of any flavor.

Pro-Tip: Filling Has to Be Poured in Hot!

Don’t wait for the filling to cool when you’re making this floral lemon bar recipe—the filling has to be poured in when the crust is fresh and hot. As soon as the crust is baked, slide the oven rack out and pour the filling in. For the rest of the recipe, patience is a virtue. You’ll need to let your lemon squares cool completely to room temperature in the pan before transferring it to the refrigerator. After they chill in the fridge, you can slice them up. The wait is worth it!

Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares Recipe
Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares

How to Slice Lemon Squares (Without the Mess)

Want to know how to get that perfect slice? Run your chef's knife under hot tap water for a few seconds, wipe it dry, and then slice. It's a game-changer. You get those clean, magazine-worthy squares without any mess. Repeat this process with every slice. You will find that you get a very clean slice with none of the filling sticking to the knife. This is also a great method for cutting a cheesecake, by the way!

Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares
Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares

How to Store Lemon Bars and Lemon Squares

If you don’t eat them all in one sitting, leftover bars should be stored in the fridge in a covered container. They will last up to 3 days. And guess what? They're freezer-friendly too! Just thaw them for 30 to 45 minutes before serving, and maybe sprinkle a little more confectioners' sugar on top for that fresh-made look.

More Limoncello Recipes

Limoncello Cocktail Recipes

Yield: 24 Squares
Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares Recipe

Limoncello Lavender Shortbread Squares Recipe

Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 50 MinTotal time: 1 H & 20 M
This elegant take on a classic lemon bar uses homemade lavender sugar and homemade limoncello. It’s fancy… but also easy to make!


Lavender Sugar
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons culinary lavender
Shortbread Crust
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup lavender sugar
  • Zest from one lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • 2 cups of flour
  • Pinch of salt
Limoncello Lavender Filling


How to Make Lavender Sugar
  1. To make the lavender sugar, place 1 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the 2 tablespoons of culinary lavender buds. Process for 20 seconds to blend well. Add the remaining 2 cups of sugar and pulse until well mixed. You will still see some small pieces of lavender. All 3 cups will be used in this recipe, but if you want to make extra lavender sugar, just repeat the recipe and store the sugar in your pantry for up to 6 months.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line your baking pan with one 9x16 inch sheet of parchment paper—it should cover the bottom of the pan and come up the shorter sides about an inch.
  3. Lay another 12x16 inch sheet of parchment paper over the top of the other sheet—it should hang over both long edges of the pan so you can use it to lift the bars out of the pan later.
  4. Lightly spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Prepare the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with ½ cup of the lavender sugar and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and salt. Beat on low until combined. You can also use a hand mixer but it is easier to add the flour slowly using a stand mixer.
  6. Using lightly floured hands, spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Use your fingers to firmly push down on the mixture going about ½-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate or freeze the dough in the pan for 15 minutes to harden the butter. This will help keep the dough from sinking down during baking.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Prepare the filling while the crust bakes. You will want your filling to be ready before the crust is done baking.
  8. To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the 8 eggs, lemon juice, limoncello, remaining 2½ cups of lavender sugar and lemon zest. Sift the flour over the mixture and gently combine using a wire whisk until no streaks of flour remain.
  9. When the crust is done, slide the oven rack part-way out of the oven, leaving the hot pan there. Carefully pour the filling over the hot crust and slide it back into the oven. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center barely jiggles when you tap the pan. The filling will firm up during the cooling process. Make sure to cool it in the pan and, once cooled, place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to allow the filling to set.
  10. When ready to cut into squares, carefully use the overhanging edges of parchment paper to lift the shortbread out of the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the shortbread into 24 squares (see my pro tip in the blog post above).
  11. Dust the cut squares with confectioners’ sugar and garnish, if you like, with dried lavender and candied lemon zest. Enjoy!
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