Salted Rosemary Citrus Shortbread

I usually make this recipe at Christmas time. Something about shortbread, rosemary and the lovely citrus fruits that are in season this time of year call to mind the holidays. Changing the citrus used actually can make this more seasonal. I typically use grapefruit during the holiday; something about it really goes with the salt, rosemary and buttery shortbread. But orange will work in a pinch, and lemon is great in the summer. Recently, I used a tangerine and it was delightful. Avoid lime – lime does not pair well with rosemary in this cookie.

Salted Rosemary Citrus Shortbread

Savory Sweet Shortbread with a herbacous, citrus twist
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12


  • Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Tempered glass baking 8 X 8 inch baking pan


  • 1 1/2 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Rice Flour You can substitute Cake Flour but it changes the texture.
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, fine chopped
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbp Citrus Zest Grapefruit, Orange or Lemon, omit Lime
  • 2 tsp Turbinado Sugar
  • Flakey Sea Salt Recommend Maldon brand


  • Zest citrus of choice, finely chop fresh rosemary. Measure out ingredients.
  • Line a 8 X 8 inch baking dish (preferrably glass) with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang for easy handling.
  • Whisk together flour, cake flour, rosemary, and salt, set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, or a bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar and citrus zest and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl as needed.
  • Add flours, rosemary and salt mixture. Beat on low speed until crumbly, then increase speed and mix until well combined.
  • Transfer dough to the prepared pan. I do this in scoops, using an ice cream scoop and placing them strategically in the pan to evenly distribute. Use a spatula, or your hands 🙂 to press dough evenly into the pan. Smooth the top with a spatula, and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill 1 hour until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Remove shortbread from the refridgerator and prick with a fork all over. Sprinkle evenly with the turbinado sugar adn then sprinkle on the flakey sea salt to taste. Go easy on the sea salt to prevent over salting, but let it shine.
  • Bake @ 375 degreees for 30 -35 mjutes until golden brown around the edges and the surface is lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and cut into 1 X 2 inch pieces while the short bread is still in the pan. Let rest for approximately 10 minutes, and then lift the shortbread out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang as handles, and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Separate cookies when completely cooled. Use a sharp knife to retrace cut marks if necessary.


Cookies can be baked and cut, and stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.  Suggest refrigeration if storing for more than 3 days.  You can also freeze cookies for up to 3 months if desired.  

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