Soft chewy lemon sugar cookies are always a hit! A light lemon cookie that will be a crowd favorite.
Lemon Sugar Cookies
I may be a chocoholic but these cookies got me from the first bite. Actually, I lie. It was from the first bite of cookie dough because after one taste, I was hooked! Since my Mom loves all things lemon, I decided I had to break free from my chocolate love affair and make something that she would love - a sweet, soft lemon sugar cookie.
She was smitten with the first taste! This cookie is bursting with fresh lemon flavor without being too tart and if you could imagine a marriage between a soft sugar cookie and a tangy lemon, you will get this delectable lemon sugar cookie.
This is a soft, chewy lemon cookie with a light lemon flavor. It is a simple, crowd-pleasing recipe that everyone loves! Add more lemon zest for extra lemon flavor.
Key Steps for making the BEST Lemon sugar cookies:
- Cream butter and sugar for four minutes or until light and fluffy. This breaks down the sugar so you don't end up with grainy cookies. It also whips in the air, which not only helps to give the cookie body but keeps it from going completely flat once it hits the hot oven.
- Use fresh lemon juice. The fake stuff you find in the grocery store just tastes fake. Fresh lemon transforms so many dishes and since it's the star ingredient in this cookie, fresh is best.
- Use a zester to get the vibrant yellow skin from the lemon and leave the bitter white part behind. We want the good stuff! Click HERE to buy a zester for about $10 bucks.
- These cookies are best soft so don't overbake. An outstanding cookie can become mediocre just from overbaking. I always use non-stick silicone baking sheets. These silicone baking sheets are some of my favorites because they work well and are reasonably priced.
- Top with sparkling sugar just as you are removing the cookies from the oven.
Thank as always for all of your incredible support. xo Happy Baking!
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These look delicious. But Cana they be frozen? And would you top with sugar before or after freezing?
Hi Terri! I love to freeze these cookies and they tend to defrost beautifully. I would put the sugar crystals on just before removing from the oven to give it time to adhere to the cookie. Hope that helps!
You did not say in your direction but how big do I make the cookies or amount that I scoop up?........thanks.
Hi Judy! It is completely up to you depending on what size cookie that you want. I tend to use a regular-sized cookie scoop so they are all equal. I have also made them into bite-size cookies as well. I hope that helps!
Loved these! I made them with my 4 yr old. The recipe couldn't be easier, which is a huge bonus. My older son who hates sweets said these were awesome and went back for more. We didn't have enough lemon so we zested lime and orange with it and wound up with more than we needed, so turned the excess into a glaze. I will definitely make these again. What a wonderful site you have!
Made these this weekend for my daughter's birthday and they were a big hit! Very easy to make and great tasting!
Hi Erica! Yay! I am so happy to hear that they were a hit at your daughter's birthday party. Thank you for taking the time to write a kind comment. I appreciate it!
Hi Meg! I love that you baked with your 4-year old. Those are priceless memories. My kids love to bake along side with me too and I cherish those times with them. I am so glad you loved the cookies. Great idea to use lime and orange!
Hi there! I was just curious why you recommended cold butter in this recipe? Typically warm butter yields the best results when creaming. Just wondering if there was something I was missing! The cookies are absolutely delicious!
Hi Tess! That is a great point. I have cookies of all sorts on my blog -- melted butter, softened room temperature butter, and even cold butter. The reason that I use cold butter (it must be cut into cubes to help the creaming process) is that I want the cookies to keep their shape once they hit the oven. Since we add lemon juice to the cookies, there could be a tendency for the cookies to go flat. Also, it is important to cream for 4 minutes to allow the butter and sugar to incorporate. I hope that helps!
Your instruction about the butter and time were perfect! No need to refrigerate and wait. These cookies came out beautiful and so tasty. Thanks so much for sharing. Hubby lives them and bonus, the house smells wonderful ????
Made these lemon sugar cookies today for a friend's bridal shower and everyone loved them! A great recipe, simple and quick. Thank you for sharing!
Hi Manal! I love to hear that. I am so glad that your friends enjoyed the cookies. Thank you so much for trying out the recipe and for taking time to comment. - Melissa
Pinned this 2 hours ago and made my first batch,these are great. We love them thanks for sharing. Delicious !!!
Now that is what I call efficient! I love that you made them so quickly after finding them on Pinterest. Thanks for trying out the recipe! - Melissa
Stunning sugar cookies, and now a top fave! Thank you!!!
I added fresh sweet basil, and a pinch of mint, oh my gosh, elevated a stunning cookie to the next level. What a wonderful recipe, thank you for not keeping it a secret ☺
What a fabulous idea, Iris! That is brilliant. I can't wait to try it. We always have a plethora of fresh basil so I can't wait to give it a shot. Thanks for sharing. -Melissa
Hi Iris! Adding basis and mint sounds amazing. How much did you add roughly? Did you chop it up really thin? Thanks
Oh that sounds amazing! I made these yesterday for my small group along with two other cookies and these were the favorite!!
I have to make cookies for this weekend for a family gathering and came across this recipe. Looks great and I'm excited to try it! But I'm curious how well they travel?
Hi Rebecca! They travel quite well. I love to freeze my cookies before I travel and place parchment or wax paper in between rows if I am stacking them. I hope that helps! 🙂 - Melissa
So these cookies are freezeable, then? Im baking this weekend for a friends party next month. Will they hold in the the freezer for a month? This is my only free weekend from now until party. Thanks!
Hello! Just getting ready to bake these lovely cookies and I noticed something. In the recipe, it says to bake the cookies directly after mixing the dough. When I scrolled down to read the comments from others, you had recommended to chill the dough for 10-20 minutes so that the cookies will keep their shape. Is that best every time? Can't wait to try these!!
Hi Kristen! Well, I am a few months behind replying to your comment. Haha! Sorry. You are right -- I tend to chill mine just because I usually chill all of my cookies. I like that it helps to keep the shape of the cookies. You can do either way with this recipe and will turn out great. 🙂 - Melissa
Just found your site recently and I LOVE it! Great recipes, photos, and clear instructions - thank you! I tried the cookies twice - the first time as lemon cookies. They weren't as pretty as yours, but they were very good. The dough was VERY soft, so I refrigerated it for an hour. It didn't firm up too much, but since I wasn't rolling the dough out, it wasn't a problem. The second time I made them I tried them as regular sugar cookies with no lemon flavoring at all, but I added 1/2 tsp extra vanilla. The dough was firmer - I didn't need to refrigerate it - and it was easier to work it as I scooped them onto the cookie sheet. The cookies were very good both ways and my family really enjoyed them! Thanks again - looking forward to trying more of your recipes!
Hi there! Thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experience with the lemon sugar cookies. That is so interesting that the dough was so sticky! I wonder if the butter wasn't cold enough. I use butter straight out of the refrigerator. That is a great idea though to make vanilla sugar cookies using the same dough. I am going to have to try that idea. Thanks for sharing! - Melissa 🙂
Another successfully executed Melissa Stadler recipe!! Baked these just now, at the cabin....triple thumbs up!!!!
Hi Judy! You are the BEST! I am so sorry for the delay in responding -- my comment bar disappeared for a long while and I just got it up and running again. I am so happy that you loved the lemon cookies. Thank you for all of your amazing support. xoxo - Melissa 🙂
Dear Melissa ! I need your help !
I made these cookies and the first time around I completely fell in love 🙂 ... I have tried twice more after it and for some reason they always go completely flat in the oven (when big blend 🙁 ...)
What am I doing wrong????
I have had that happen before and I get so baffled! I can completely understand. A few things to consider:
Make sure the butter is cold and straight out of the refrigerator. I cut it into cubes so that it mixes well with the sugar. Also, chill your dough for at least 10-20 minutes which should help keep its shape. Let me know if those things help out. They shouldn't be flat. Good luck and thanks for trying! - Melissa
And yet the pictures on your site show a very flat cookie????
I tried these today. It is a must try. So incredibly good. Soft but crunchy at the same time. Perfect!!
Hi Catherine! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. That's the key to a great cookie, right? It has to be soft and crunchy at the same time. Thanks!! - Melissa 🙂
Baking a batch right now for our Memorial Day cookout. The are delicious, so light & sweet! Just not sure why mine don't look like yours? Mine are puffy, even after cooling. Should I flatten w/ a fork before baking? Your photos are awesome!
Hi Cathy! A Memorial Day cookout sounds like so much fun! If they are puffing up, you can flatten them with a fork and that will definitely make them flatter. They should definitely puff up in the oven but once you take them out, the do come down some. Let me know how they turn out and thanks for reaching out! - Melissa
I tried these out today and loved them!
Thank you so much, Brigette! So happy to hear you loved them. 🙂
Hi, I made these cookies, and they came out great. I used softened butter and after scooping the cookies into balls, I froze them overnight. I do this for all my cookies. They came out perfectly! Freezing the cookies makes for a better shaped, thick cookie. These were a good 1/2" high. Just thought I'd share my tip. Thanks for the great recipe!! :0)
They came out pretty good. I added a few drops of yellow food coloring in order to achieve that beautiful yellow color. The cookies have the perfect lemon taste. Soft and chewy but with a little crunch. Yummy!
Great idea, Nikki! That would add to the yellow color of the cookies. Thanks for sharing!
Absolutely loved these cookies..my 4 yr old son loved them more than me..my hubby don't even eat sweets, but he sure enjoyed these cookies.. THANK YOU!
Love it! Thank you Bettina! I love when the kids approve of them. 🙂
They are delicious and delightful. I ended up doubling the lemon juice which gave more lemon flavor and then I added in some cream of tartar which gave the flavor a little zing and bite to the cookie. It's a winner for kids and grown ups!
Hi Anne! That is such a great idea! I am going to try it next time for sure. Also, love the idea of adding cream of tartar. I love that you play around with recipes because the experimentation is the fun part. Thank you for reaching out and have a great night! - Melissa
Would you add finely group d nuts to the recipe? Has anyone tried that?
Just printed this to make in a few days. Beautiful. I love lemon cookies and this looks super. You should have a photography studio!!!
You are the sweetest, Pam! I am such a rookie with photography and am just learning but I appreciate the compliment. xoxo
First time in this blog, and I`m amazed 🙂
I tried this recipe and the the jury (my kids) said that it`s brilliant. Thank you!
Hi Angela! Thank you so much for your comment. I love that you call your kids the "jury" because I do the same thing. They are honest and will always tell you how it is. 🙂 I am so happy they passed the test!
These are the best cookies I've ever made, and I've made a lot of cookies.
Hey! I’m trying this! How do I️ get the flatness and the size you made? How big would you make the scoop of dough? Xo
I am curious about this too. My cookies were fluffy and plump. Tasted great but looked nothing like the picture.
Same questions. Mine seemed too round first batch, so I turned down the heat a bit, flattened them a bit, but I think they needed less flour to spread better in my oven (I hate my oven). They were smooth, not crinkly like the picture.
I also think that I would have gotten a better texture if I had softened the butter and mixed by hand at the butter/sugar stage and then chilled in the fridge a bit before cooking. Cold butter had to be beat with an electric mixer, but that can whip air into the cookie which makes it too cakey.
I need to make 8 dozen for a cookie exchange. how many cookies does this make?