Lemon Sugar Cookies

Quick Summary

Lemon Sugar Cookies-soft and chewy sugar cookies bursting with lemon flavor. If you like lemon, you are going to love this sugar cookie recipe!

lemon sugar cookies

I love all kinds of cookies, but traditional sugar cookies with frosting have never been my favorite. I am just not a frosting gal. (If you put a frosted sugar cookie in front of me, I would eat it, but they just aren’t my absolute favorite.)

I do adore these Lemon Sugar Cookies. They are soft, chewy, and bursting with lemon flavor. They are rolled in sugar which creates pretty sugary tops that are oh so sweet!

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:)

These cookies are simple, elegant, and perfect for baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, or any party. They are also a great cookie to whip up on any old day. Cookies are always a good idea, especially when they are easy to make. I love that you don’t have to worry about frosting these sugar cookies. They are perfect without frosting, I promise!

easy lemon sugar cookies

If you bake regularly, I bet you have all of the ingredients to make these delightful lemon cookies!

You will need all of the basics:

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking soda and baking powder
  • salt
  • granulated sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • egg
  • vanilla extract

The recipe also includes lemon zest and fresh lemon juice which gives the cookies the BEST lemon flavor.

lemon sugar cookie recipe

How to Make Lemon Sugar Cookies

Are you ready to bake cookies? I sure am! Let’s get this sugar cookie party started!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats. Set aside while you make the dough.
  •  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. This will make the zest come to life and add more lemon flavor to the cookies!
  • Make sure your butter is at cool room temperature and not super soft or melted. If your butter is too soft, your cookies will be flat and we don’t want that!
  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar with the lemon until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg, vanilla extract, and fresh lemon juice. Mix until combined.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Don’t over mix.
  • Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in sugar. Make sure the cookies are well coated in sugar, you want then to be pretty and sweet!
  • Place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 ½ inches apart.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown around the edges and slightly set, but still soft! Don’t over bake or you will have crisp cookies. We want them soft and chewy!
  • Let cookies sit on the baking sheets for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

How to Store

Place cooled cookies in an airtight container and keep on the counter for up to 4 days. You can place a piece of bread in the container to keep the cookies super soft. The bread will get hard as a rock, but the cookies will stay soft. It’s magic!

You can also freeze the baked cookies for up to 3 months. Freeze in a freezer bag or freezer container.

If you want to freeze the cookie dough, roll them in balls and place on a tray or baking sheet. Freeze the balls for 30 minutes or until firm. When firm, transfer to a freezer bag or freezer container and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove from freezer when ready to bake. You don’t have to defrost the dough. You can re-roll them in sugar if the sugar has faded. Add a few minutes to the baking time.

chewy lemon sugar cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies-soft and chewy sugar cookies bursting with lemon flavor. If you like lemon, you are going to love this sugar cookie recipe!
4.92 from 12 votes

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
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  •  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant.
  • Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don't over mix.
  • Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets,  about 1 ½ inches apart.
  • 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.

Notes

*To keep cookies soft, store cookies with a slice of bread in an airtight container. 

Nutrition

Calories: 125kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 65mg, Potassium: 19mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 164IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @twopeasandpod and hashtag it with #twopeasandtheirpod

Photos by Baked Ambrosia

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Maria

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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  1. i actually adore regular sugar cookies, but i’ve never actually tried them with a little lemon! that sounds like the perfect combo of flavors 🙂

  2. These really are a perfect cookie for Spring! I also never liked that hard sugar frosting on cookies very much.

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

  4. 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!

  5. I love switching things up from the usual (chocolate, strawberry, buttercream, etc.). These look positively sunny – sure to make anyone smile! ♥- Katrina

  6. These cookies sound lovely, and your photos have such a feminine quality to them! Thanks for sharing. These will be a great use of all the lemons I have.

  7. these are so pretty! I love lemon anything, and I don’t have any recipes for cookies like this- thanks!

  8. i just made lemon lace cookies but my next lemon batch are these! yummy! kennedy loves lemon cookies 🙂

  9. Lemon has been my favorite flavor lately – something about the bright citrus in winter 🙂 Your cookies look wonderful!

  10. Those sound and look fabulous! Hope you make some for the bake sale in a couple months!

  11. I made these cookies with lime. SOOOOOO tasty! I almost want to make lemon ones too because I the lime ones disappeared so quickly!

  12. My husband gave up chocolate for Lent and is now craving all things dessert. These might just be the perfect fix for his sweet tooth! Thanks 🙂

  13. 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!

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

  15. These cookies are so pretty Maria and perfect for spring! Love the cookies all tied up in the yellow ribbon. So pretty!

  16. 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!

  17. Love lemon at this time of year! I have made these numerous times since posting them last summer, definitely a family fave and perfect for spring.

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. I am not too big on glazed cookies either. These cookies look simple and the flavor must be incredible:)Happy spring-like cookies;)

  21. 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!

  22. The lemon flavored makes it mouth watering. I just can’t wait to share this with my friends. They will surely be surprised with the lemon flavor too.

  23. Chewy cookies are so yummy! I prefer chewy than crunchy because if you bite a crunchy cookies there are bits that’s falling down and it makes me feel like I’m messed up. LOL

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. I made these and they turned out completely flat! I followed the recipe exactly! Happen to anyone else?

    1. Sorry the cookies were flat for you. Maybe add a little more flour and don’t flatten them down before baking.

  30. 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!

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. I just made these and they are delicious! They are cooling now and I have snuck two already. Thanks for the recipe.

  35. 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!!!

  36. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ve been looking to try out a new cookie, and I can’t wait to make these!

  37. 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. 🙁

  38. 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!

  39. 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.:)

  40. 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? =(

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

  42. 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. 🙂

  43. 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?

  44. 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.

  45. Delicious cookies ! Real lemon zest makes all the difference. Not too sweet, juste perfect. Will bake them again for sure.

  46. I just made these and added some white chocolate – delicious!!! They really taste like spring. Thank you for the recipe! 🙂

  47. 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!

  48. 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!!

  49. If you bake one to three minutes longer they turn crispy instead of chewy. Also very yummy and delicate.

  50. 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!!

  51. 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.

  52. 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

  53. 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!

  54. 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.

  55. Hi!

    Just tried this lemon sugar cookie recipe last night & they were a huge hit.
    Simple & Delicious!! THANK YOU!

  56. 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?

    1. I haven’t tried rolling them out and cutting them into shapes. Let me know if you try it!

  57. 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

  58. 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.

  59. Do you have a gluten free version? These sound so delicious, I do not especially care for frosting on cookies either…

  60. 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.

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

  62. 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!

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

  64. 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!

  65. 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.

  66. 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….

  67. 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!

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

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

  71. 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!

  72. 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!

  73. 5 stars
    These are one of my husband’s favorites.  So delicious.
    Can I freeze this cookie dough?  How long will it keep in the freezer?

  74. 4 stars
    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.

  75. 5 stars
    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 

  76. 5 stars
    You are the cookie master! Love all your cookie recipes. These were wonderful, with just a hint of lemon flavor.

  77. I like your all recipes
    You are not only putting indigents you are putting in it your love.
    Regards
    ogustos.com

  78. Delicious! I actually found myself wanting even more lemon flavor (I really like to be hit with lemon), so I might try adding a bit more zest next time.

    How did you get yours so yellow? Mine were still more pale like sugar cookies with lemon zest flecks in it.

    Thanks!

    1. You can certainly add more zest if you want them super lemony. They really aren’t yellow, just a hint of yellow. Sometimes computer screens adjust colors:)

  79. 5 stars
    I sat aside 1/4 cup lemon zest infused sugar to roll the cookies in then added plain sugar to make up the other 1/4 cup. Live the lemony sugar flavor! Great recipe and simple to boot!

  80. 5 stars
    Perfect cookies – a big hit for Christmas – delicious, chewy, and they are devoured quickly. Not too sweet, yet they are sugar cookies – and not too tart from the lemons. Thanks for a perfect and easy recipe.

    1. Ana, mine didn’t flatten st all like sugar cookies, they were too thick and I used 1 tablespoon per cookie

  81. 5 stars
    Okay, I need to amend my meh 3-star review. We weigh everything, right, so I asked my husband to give me 2.75 cups as grams of flour. I misheard him and was short 100 WHOLE GRAMS OF FLOUR! No wonder they were so flat and too buttery and spread everywhere! Please forgive my ridiculousness. You are amazing. Your cookies are amazing. H(belated)BD to you.

  82. 5 stars
    Is this the same recipe from like 6-7 years ago? They use to be my absolute favorite and I made them CONSTANTLY with a lemon glaze but these ones look totally different. I had the recipe written down but seem to have lost it and had a craving for these.

  83. 5 stars
    I made these for my daughter in law’s birthday and they were a big hit! Just the right amount of lemon.