Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Lemon Sugar Cookies Stack

I love all kinds of cookies, but traditional sugar cookies with frosting have never been my favorite. I am just not a frosting gal. (I am sure if you put a frosted sugar cookie in front of me, I would eat it, but they just aren’t my favorite.) I do adore Lemon Sugar Cookies-they are soft, chewy, and rolled in sugar. These cookies are simple, elegant, and perfect for spring.

Lemon Sugar Cookies on plate

The recipe includes lemon zest and fresh lemon juice so the cookies have a delightful lemon flavor. The cookies are soft and chewy in the middle with slightly crisp edges. Even though the cookies are “sugar” cookies and rolled in sugar, they aren’t overly sweet-making it easy to eat cookie after cookie:)

Ring in spring with a batch of Lemon Sugar Cookies. They are light, refreshing, and the perfect treat for a sunny day.

Lemon Sugar Cookes

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Everyone loves the burst of lemon in these soft and chewy sugar cookies.
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time
15 minutes
Servings
3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add lemon zest, egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Mix until combined. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
  5. Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets,  about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown around the edges and set. Let cookies sit on the baking sheets for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  7. *To keep cookies soft, store cookies with a slice of bread in an air tight container.

If you like these Lemon Sugar Cookies, you might also like:

Lemon Buttermilk Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
Lemon Cloud Tea Cookies from Joy the Baker
Glazed Lemon Cookies from Cafe Johnsonia
Lemon Burst Cookies from Brown Eyed Baker

Maria Lichty

I’m Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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CommentsLeave a reply

  1. So spring like!! I love unfrosted sugar cookies- its actually my favorite kind of cookie! Looks fantastic. Hope you had a nice weekend 🙂

  2. Now that spring feels like it may be moving in, these will be perfect! I ALMOST bought a huge bag of lemons yesterday – now I’m kicking myself because I didn’t!

  3. I’ll definitely be making these for Easter and I may have to send some to our 3 Placerville missionaries in the MTC as a break from the cafeteria food!

  4. These look so good. I can’t wait to try them. They may even be my Christmas swap cookie this coming year.
    Thanks. Peg

  5. These are beautiful! I don’t know why I’ve never thought of lemon sugar cookies considering I love sugar cookies and pretty much anything with a touch of lemon. Perfect!

  6. I’m opposite of you – my favorite cookies are sugar with frosting and sprinkles 🙂 So I know I would love these – so pretty and the lemon touch sounds just perfect!

  7. Thanks for including me in your link list–I’m honored! 🙂 I bought two giant bags of lemons the other day and I can’t use them quickly enough. Very pretty cookies. And congrats on the Kitchn article. You are so awesome!

  8. I actually made these last night, but in honor of St. Patrick’s Day I substituted lime zest/juice for the lemon – success!! They were pretty darn tasty, and had an awesome consistency (well, after the first batch that browned a tad more than I’d wanted them to). Thanks for sharing my new favorite sugar cookie recipe!

  9. These are a keeper! I made them today and it is all I can do to just stop at eating just one! The ones I baked for less time I was worried wouldn’t be done, but they are so soft and good!

  10. I unfortunately have not made the cookies, but forwarded the recipe to my mom–THEY ARE AWESOME!!! (We are a sugar cookie family but this recipe just became THE recipe!) Thank you for sharing!

  11. These are the BEST cookies I have ever had. I am not kidding.. I forwarded it to my best girlfriend to make for another girlfriends baby shower and they were a hit! Now, all of my college roomates (6 in all) are obsessed and making these for easter and other parties! Thanks so much for posting this! I might try it again in winter with orange… YUM

  12. We loved these! Mine spread out a lot more than yours though and didn’t look near as pretty, do you have any idea why? Thanks!

  13. Those look amazingg *_* and really refreshing.

    Before you cook them should I press the dough balls down to get it flat? Or does it flatten itself?

    1. I didn’t flatten them down, they spread while baking. If they don’t flatten for you, you can press them down lightly before baking. Enjoy!

  14. An ice cream social was planned this past Sunday at our church. Those attending were asked to bring cookies. Years ago I remember having lemon sugar cookies that were so tasty. Did a search on the “net” and found your recipe. This recipe is simple and the cookies were fabulous! I even posted on my facebook how much I loved the recipe and have added your website to my FAVORITES!

  15. These are my favorite also! I don’t like iced cookies either. My friends laugh because I don’t eat mu own. I’d rather have a mall cookie any day of the week! Your blog has been the best new discovery for me! Its like getting a new cookbook in the mail!

  16. I made this recipe for a Fourth of July BBQ. The cookies were excellent on their own but I used them to make ice cream sandwiches with strawberry and blueberry ice cream. Of course the ice cream more pink and lavender than red and blue, but everyone loved them and these cookies held up beautifully.

  17. FYI, I made these for a bake sale and doubled the size (I made 15 cookies from the recipe) so they would seem be in keeping w/ brownie prices. The cooking time for the big cookies was 16-18 minutes and they need about 4 minutes of cooling on the cookie sheet to brown the bottoms completely before transferring to the cooling rack.

    Also, if you’re into size uniformity I found it was easier to make all the dough balls then go back and roll them in sugar rather than rolling in sugar as I went. This way I could go back and adjust the cookie sizes without too much trouble.

  18. Just made these cookies and they are YUMMY!!! I did add a lil more lemon and lemon zest since I like my cookies lemony! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  19. Hmmmm…mine turned out really, REALLY flat! I just replaced my baking powder and soda, so I’m not sure what happened. The taste is there, but they just don’t look as pretty as in the picture. 🙁

  20. I know this post is really late, but OMG! I just made these and they are delicious! And the recipe was incredibly easy for a novice baker like me. Thank you for sharing!

  21. These cookies are really good, I love anything with lemon. They are soft and chewy and the tip for the cookies in the container with a slice of bread really keeps them soft. Thanks. I love your site, everything looks so good I can’t wait to try another one of your recipes.:)

  22. hi, i just made these. they taste amazing but my cookies spread really big and they came in completely flat! what did i do wrong? =(

  23. Made these last night and they are a hit! Absolutely delicious! The bread trick really does work too. Fresh lemon is a MUST!!!

  24. Made these tonight for a Christmas cookie exchange. Made a little icing with powdered sugar and lemon juice and lemon extract and drizzled that on top. Very nice and easy cookies! Will make these again. 🙂

  25. These cookies will make an appearance on my mom’s Chinese New Year cookie table. Thing is, how long can these be kept in an airtight container in room temperature. I need them to last at least 1 week in that condition. Think it’ll be alright?

  26. I totally made these the other day. My mom loved it so much because of how lemony they were. Very different and unique cookies to have for Chinese New Year. Only thing, a tad bit too sweet. Might reduce the sugar next time. Really good with black coffee though.

  27. Delicious!! Loveeee this recipe. It’s perfect. For those of you whose cookies spread, try putting your cookie sheet with dough balls in the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Shouldn’t spread if the butter is chilled. After I roll in sugar, I flatten a bit with a buttered glass bottom dipped in sugar, then sprinkle them with a bit before they go in the oven. YUMMY!

  28. I made these yesterday and there are only two left. No, I didn’t eat them all by myself! My parents where here, my boyfriend was here and my kids all helped! So I need to make more!! I get a hankering for lemon desserts every year around this time and these were so simple to make and so tasty and wonderful!! I’m going to try lime in the recipe next! Thanks so much for this recipe!!

  29. I just made these cookies. I followed the recipe exactly except that I used egg whites instead of eggs, and they are amazing! I will definitely make these again. Thanks!!

  30. I just made these for a friend’s birthday, but they did not turn out at all. Very flat and can’t get them off the pan in one piece. Huge disappointment. I’ll have to find a back up recipe.

  31. These were delicious. I rolled some in plain sugar, some in a lavender ginger sugar. We used them for homemade ice-cream sandwiches with homemade Jeni’s vanilla ice cream and frozen cherry puree. Thank you! They were just what I was looking for…. and the dough was good too…. :0

  32. We love these cookies! Best I have ever had! I made them to send to school for my daugthers birthday, not one came home:) I put a lemon frosting on them with all natural colored spinkles, they looked so yummy. Thank you both for this amazing recipe!

  33. These came out great. I cut back on the sugar a bit and added a lemon’s more worth of zest. I also had to throw in a bit more flour at the end because the batter was too runny (it’s possible that I didn’t measure out as much as I should in the beginning). Overall, I liked them. My only wish was for there to be a stronger lemon profile. Next time, I’ll try to add more lemon zest and may be coat them in a lemon infused glaze.

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  35. question, can you cut the dough into shapes before baking or does it not work? I’m looking for lemon chewy cookies but instead of just rolling into a ball, i want to do some shapes. Is that do-able at all?

  36. these had a delicious flavor, but the dough was very thin! the cookies spread more than i anticipated. i had to let them bake longer than recommended as well.

    they turned out thin and crispy brown around the edges, yummm

  37. Although a simple recipe, the flavor of these cookies lacks nothing but an incredible sweet, lemony taste. This is the second time I’ve made them. One of my new favs and a huge hit.

  38. I just made these Lemon Sugar Cookies. They taste amazing! But I would like to know why mine do not have the “CRACKLE” look like your photo.

  39. Just made these today. They are fantastic! Not overpoweringly lemony, not cloyingly sweet. Perfect! Will be using this recipe again!

  40. I just made these with my girls today, and they were delicious!!! Not too sweet with a delicate lemon flavor. The only thing I would do different is refrigerate the dough before baking because mine were flatter than I like. They were just as advertised, a little crunchy on the outside and soft and in the center – yum!

  41. Just made these delicious and simple cookies. This one is going in the recipe box. Thank you for sharing.

  42. These taste incredible. Just baked half a batch and put the rest of the dough in the fridge for the weekend. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  43. Just made these today using your recipe. DELICIOUS! As of lately, I love to use lemon in a lot of my cooking. I also drink lemon water daily to make my water alkaline as it has so many health benefits.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. It is one I will use for years to come, can’t wait to make more to give as gifts.

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  45. We love these!! Thanks for sharing! Last batch we decided to be creative and used orange zest/juice in place of the lemon! Thinking about trying lime next….

  46. I bake probably once a week and I could not wait to make these, unfortunately they melted into one another and I can not figure out what I did wrong. I was wondering if you had any ideas? After the first batched melted into one giant cookie I refrigerated the dough and it just kept happening, please help and I love your website..

    1. Odd, I’ve never had that happen with this recipe. Was your butter too soft? Did you add the right amount of flour? Sorry you had issues!

  47. I just made these and they are amazing! Does the recipe double well? I hope so because there are so many people I want to share these with. I am going to get more lemons and bake another batch tomorrow.

  48. YES! This is the recipe I’ve been looking for! If you don’t have silicone mats, you can just lightly oil a traditional cookie sheet (or the bottom of a large rectangular cake pan) and lightly dust with flour.

  49. @ Jenny, if you used margarine or other vegetable spread instead of real butter, they will melt into each other like that.

  50. I am on a strict cleanse and I adapted this recipe to fit my diet. It was incredibly delicious and I really felt like I was cheating! I substituted the Perfect Flour Blend (gluten free AND whole grain brown rice) for AP flour and Xylitol for sugar, all equal substitions. Amazing!

  51. Maria:

    I finally got around to baking these Lemon Sugar Cookies. Mine were Lemon-Lime with freshly grated peel mixed with the sugar. Excellent cookies – better than the Cook’s Illustrated recipe! Looked just like the photos. Perfect! I plan on making an Orange-Cardamom version as well as Vanilla Bean. Easy, too!


  52. These are one of my husband’s favorites.  So delicious.
    Can I freeze this cookie dough?  How long will it keep in the freezer?


  53. Mine ended up a bit flat, for some reason. But they tasted amazing. So lemony. Will be trying different variations to see if I can get them to stay fluffy.


  54. My Husband got home hooked on anything lemon but he’s pretty picky when it comes to lemon desserts and I have tried many lemon cookie recipes and all didn’t quite fit the bill (either too sweet, too dry etc) but these are PERFECT! They are not too sweet and have a much more real lemony taste than other lemon cookies. They are the perfecy tart, sweet and fresh 

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