Lemon Sugar Cookies

With just the right amount of lemon flavor, these Easy Lemon Sugar Cookies are amazingly soft and chewy! They’re made with fresh lemon zest and juice, so every bite is bursting with lemon flavor.

Three citrus cookies on a countertop with six more cookies partially in view

Soft and Chewy Homemade Sugar Cookies with Lemon

There’s nothing more delightful than sinking your teeth into a soft, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookie. The popularity of my classic sugar cookies is living proof! With this equally delicious variation, the refreshing flavor of fresh lemon adds a whole new layer of delight.

Just how lemony are these cookies? The citrus flavor isn’t over the top, but it’s unmistakably there. And there are multiple ways to make it more prominent if that’s what you’d prefer. You can either use more lemon juice in the dough or add a drizzle of lemon icing on top. No matter how you decide to fine-tune these lemon sugar cookies, they’re bound to become one of your new favorite desserts!

A stack of seven lemon sugar cookies with the top two cookies cut in half to reveal their fluffy interiors

What You’ll Need

Let’s go over each ingredient you’ll need to create the ultimate lemon cookies. Since this recipe keeps it simple, there really isn’t much to discuss!

  • All-Purpose Flour: It’s important to measure this accurately – using a food scale is the best way to do so. If you don’t have one, spoon the flour into your measuring cup little by little, then level it off at the top. Be sure to fluff up the flour before picking up each spoonful.
  • Baking Soda & Baking Powder: The combination of both leavening agents makes for the most incredible sugar cookie texture.
  • Salt: To lock in moisture and bring out flavor.
  • Unsalted Butter: Be sure to let your butter come to room temperature before you use it.
  • Granulated Sugar: You’ll need some to make the dough and some more to coat the finished dough balls.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Adding a little bit of brown sugar to your cookie dough is a wonderful way to help the cookies come out as moist and tender as possible. It also makes them stay fresh for a longer period of time.
  • Egg: This acts as a binder for all of the other ingredients.
  • Vanilla Extract: I don’t recommend substituting this for lemon extract, which doesn’t provide the same genuine flavor you get with fresh lemon zest and juice.
  • Fresh Lemon Zest
  • Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice: You can add an extra tablespoon for more lemon flavor, but keep in mind that it will also make the cookies slightly thinner.
A Tupperware tub filled with lemon sugar cookies and a few fresh lemon slices

How to Make Lemon Sugar Cookies

Everybody will love how quickly these cookies come together. You don’t even have to chill the dough!

  1. Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, then set the prepared pans aside.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set the mixture aside.
  3. Cream Butter & Sugars: Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy. You should be able to see the change in color happen and know it’s ready.
  4. Add Egg: Add the egg and mix until it’s well combined with the other wet ingredients.
  5. Add Vanilla & Lemon: Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice, mixing until well combined. Start by adding 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, then add more as needed/desired.
  6. Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the dough is well combined. It will be thick and should not be sticky. Don’t over-mix it. Once it’s well combined, use a rubber spatula to help it come together to form a more cohesive ball.
  7. Make Dough Balls: Create 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough by gently rolling the dough in your hands. Then roll each ball in the additional sugar to coat them completely. Set the prepared dough balls onto the baking sheet.
  8. Bake: Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes. They will spread and the centers will look soft but done. Remove the cookies just before the edges begin to turn golden. Don’t overbake them. The cookies will be a little bit puffy when you take them out of the oven, but they will fall a bit as they cool.
  9. Let Cool: Remove your cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets for 4-5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Six lemon sugar cookies stacked on a marble countertop with more cookies surrounding them

Tips for Success

Go ahead and get familiar with the tips and tricks below. They’ll ensure your cookies come out flawless!

  • Room Temperature Butter is Key: Don’t forget to take your butter out of the fridge at least an hour before you use it. It should be soft enough for your finger to make an imprint when you press on it, but not so soft that your finger glides through it.
  • Use Your Preferred Amount of Lemon Juice: Feel free to add anywhere between 3 and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to your cookies. Three tablespoons will give you thicker cookies with a touch less lemon flavor while 4 tablespoons will make for thinner, more lemony cookies.
  • Avoid Over-Mixing Your Dough: Once your dough is well combined, there’s no use continuing to mix it. Over-mixed dough bakes into less soft and fluffy cookies.
  • Don’t Overbake the Cookies: I like to take these out of the oven once they’ve spread but not yet turned golden on the edges. Wait until they’re just done without looking undercooked.
  • Make Sure Your Dough Balls are the Right Size: Each cookie should be made up of 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls of dough. If you make the dough balls smaller or larger, you’ll have to adjust the bake time. Larger cookies will spread more and thin out more.
An overhead shot of a bunch of sugar cookies inside of a bowl beside a teal napkin

Ways to Decorate Your Cookies

These cookies are truly perfect the way they are, but you can totally choose to dress them up if you’d like. Here are a couple of ideas!

  • Add a Drizzle of Lemon Icing: Say you want thicker cookies and more lemon flavor – instead of adding an extra tablespoon of lemon juice, whip up the creamy lemon glaze from this recipe and drizzle it over your cooled cookies!
  • Add White Chocolate: Another thing that tastes incredible drizzled over these cookies is white chocolate. I recommend using candy melts rather than white chocolate chips, as they’re made to be melted.
  • Roll the Dough in Sprinkles or Sanding Sugar: If you’d like to add some color to your cookies, try rolling the dough balls in yellow sanding sugar or sprinkles rather than granulated sugar. Keep in mind that the sprinkles will also add a light crunch.

Storage Instructions

These cookies should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature. They will stay fresh for up to 5 days!

If you’ve drizzled them with icing, keep them away from heat or sunlight to prevent the icing from melting. You could also store them in the fridge and bring them to room temperature before enjoying them if you’d like.

Do These Freeze Well?

They do indeed! Simply place the cooled cookies into a heavy-duty freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, seal the bag and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw out your cookies before enjoying them.

Print
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A Tupperware tub filled with lemon sugar cookies and a few fresh lemon slices
Recipe

Lemon Sugar Cookies

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 35
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

With just the right amount of citrus flavor, these Easy Lemon Sugar Cookies are amazingly soft and chewy! Made with a fail-proof ingredient lineup including fresh lemon zest and juice, they’re guaranteed to stay moist and tender for days.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp (233g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (28g) light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 34 tbsp fresh lemon juice (for thicker or thinner cookies versus more flavor)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (additional for rolling)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy. You should be able to see the change in color happen and know it’s ready.
  4. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until well combined. You can start by adding 3 tablespoons and add more, as needed. Adding more will make your cookies spread a little more and be thinner and have a little more lemon flavor. Sticking with 3 tablespoons will give you thicker cookies.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is well combined. It will be thick and shouldn’t be sticky. Do not over mix. Once it’s well combined, use a rubber spatula to help it come together to form a more cohesive ball.
  7. Create 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough. Gently roll into a ball, then roll each ball in the additional sugar to coat. Set the balls on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes. The cookies will spread and the centers will look soft but should look done. Remove just before the edges begin to turn golden. Don’t overbake. The cookies will be a little puffy when you take them out of the oven but will fall a bit as they cool.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Makes 32-35 cookies
  • To Store: Place cooled cookies into an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: Freeze cooled cookies in a heavy-duty storage bag for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter before enjoying.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 118
  • Sugar: 7.7 g
  • Sodium: 72.5 mg
  • Fat: 5.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.1 g
  • Protein: 1.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 19.3 mg

Keywords: lemon cookies, sugar cookies with lemon, lemony dessert

Categories

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Are you a big fan of fresh lemon flavor? You have to experience the amazingness of the following treats.

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Recipe rating

4 Comments
    1. Lindsay

      These are drop cookies, not cut out cookies, but you can make the cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to three days prior to baking.

  1. Tracey

    This is a great recipe for soft fluffy type sugar cookies. I substituted with Monk fruit sugar alternative for lower calories. Instead of rolling in sugar, I drizzled with lemon glaze after the cookies cooled. Wondering how it would turn out with some coconut flour.😁
    This one is a keeper.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29