Lemon Cookies

24 cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigerate 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Lemon Cookies flavored with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest are soft, sweet, and PERFECT for tea time with friends!

Cookie season never ends in the kitchen, and today we’re busy baking up our favorite Cookie Recipes, like the sultry Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, the easy Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and the fun Black and White Cookies.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon lovers unite! Lemon Cookies are one of the best cookies to make because they’re a little bit chewy, and little bit sweet, and full of those bold lemon flavors you’d expect from the fresh lemon juice and zest. Some people also refer to these cookies as Lemon Crinkle Cookies, but with as many lemon cookie varieties as there are, these are the most lemon-y ones which makes them a classic. 

Of all the lemon cookie recipes, this one is the perfect treat. You can make these all year round because while cookies are amazing during the holidays, lemon is also one of best flavors to bring out in the springtime and summer. Given the weather in the winter season, these cookies will bring a spark of joy to everyone! 

These cookies drop, so we’re only looking to scoop about a tablespoon of dough to roll in the sugar. You can find tablespoon-sized ice cream scoops with a release button that make this part a lot faster and easier.

You can also make this ahead of time and chill or freeze the cookies until you’re ready to serve, making them perfect to pull out when you’re entertaining on busy days! You’re just going to love the fresh lemon zest, just like in our Lemon Curd recipe.

How to Make Lemon Cookies

These soft lemon cookies have amazing lemon flavor from real lemons. The process is easy, but you don’t want to forget to take the time to let the dough cool. Check it out! 

  • Step One: The cookie batter is first mixed together according to the recipe. You can use a medium bowl or mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix the wet ingredients together first, and then the dry ingredients into the wet. Don’t forget the grated lemon zest for flavor and color!
  • Step Two: Before you scoop out the cookies onto your prepared baking sheet or silicone baking mat, they need to be refrigerated first for at least two hours. Better if it’s overnight. 
  • Step Three: Once the dough has been chilled completely, use a cookie scoop or tablespoon scoop out tablespoon size amounts. Then roll them in the powdered sugar. Alternatively, instead of rolling them in sugar, you can also top these cookies with a simple glaze or lemon glaze. Or, dust them with powdered sugar after they’ve cooled down. Align them on cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Step Four: Now you bake them. These lemon cookies bake really fast, so watch them closely! They will still be really soft when you remove them from the oven. The cookies will firm up as they cool off. You can lightly tap them to see if they’ve firmed up or if they need more time. 

More Yummy Lemon Desserts

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we have to chill the dough for so long? 

Lemon cookies are considered a drop cookie, which means that they have a lot of sugar in the dough, causing them to drop down and flatten really fast. This happens even more-so when the butter in the cookies is warm and already melty.

It is really important to refrigerate the dough for this cookie recipe, because you’re giving the butter and sugar a chance to get really cold. Then when they hit the heat of the oven, it will take longer for the cookie to drop than it does for the dough to cook through, leaving you with the chewy soft amazing texture that we’re looking for here.

Refrigerate this dough for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight, to make sure it’s as cold as possible. If you go straight from mixing to the oven, you’re running the risk of flat crunchy cookies.

How long do Lemon Cookies last?

This cookie recipe will keep on the counter in an airtight container for 8-10 days. We recommend layering the cookies with parchment paper to stop them from sticking together. Or, the more likely case is these yummy cookies will only last about an hour before they’re gone!

Can you freeze Lemon Cookies? 

You can freeze lemon cookies for a few weeks when sealed tightly and layered with parchment or wax paper. Defrost at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

You can also freeze the dough. Either roll it in plastic wrap tightly and seal the whole thing in a plastic bag, or scoop it into tablespoon sized balls, freeze the balls initially on a baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight container. You can go right from the freezer to the oven when you’re ready to bake.

Can I use yellow food coloring? 

If you’d like to get an extra yellow tint to your cooking, add 4-5 drops drops of yellow food coloring to the dough while mixing. We’re not using any food coloring in our recipe nor in the photos you see here. It’s all from the fresh lemon zest!

Can I use lemon oils or lemon extract? 

If you’re really going for an intense lemon flavor, 2 or 3 drops of lemon oil while mixing will really bring it up a notch and make them even more delicious. We recommend not adding too much extra flavor as they are already flavorful and too much might make them bitter in taste. 

What should I do if it starts to curdle while I’m mixing it? 

Sometimes, citrus added with dairy can curdle. Try mixing the vanilla and the lemon together first before adding it with the other ingredients.

Should the butter be at room temperature or refrigerated when adding it to the dough? 

You can use either straight out of the refrigerator or at room temperature butter because the dough will get put back into the refrigerator to really get cold. It will be easier to mix if it is at room temperature though.

Lemon Cookie

Key Ingredients in Lemon Cookies

This is a simple cookie recipe and all the ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store. Make sure you’ve got some baking sheets too! Using a wire rack will help the cookies cool as well. 

  • Lemon: We recommend using fresh lemon juice instead of bottled. The fresh juice just tastes better and doesn’t have any added ingredients that can mute the flavor of the cookie. You can use a lemon zester to get the skin off of the lemon, or just use a small cheese grater and it does the job just as well. Don’t forget to wash the lemons first! 
  • Cookie Dough: The dough is a standard flour mixture composed of dry ingredients mixed with wet ingredients. We’re using regular granulated sugar and bleached white all purpose flour for this recipe. Be sure to use unsalted butter for best taste. White sugar works good too. 

Can I make Lemon Cookies ahead of time? 

Yes! These chewy lemon cookies can easily be made ahead of time! Bake them according to the recipe and once they have cooled, place them in a bag in the freezer or fridge. They’ll last at least a week in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer. Simply let them thaw to room temperature before serving. Enjoy! 

How to Make Lemon Cookies with Cake Mix

  • Start with either lemon cake mix or white cake mix.
  • Combine cake mix in a mixing bowl with 2 eggs and ½ cup of vegetable oil.
  • If you’re using lemon mix, add zest only, or it will be too lemony. For white, add both lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Scoop onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for a total time of 8-10 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
  • Dust with confectioner’s sugar or top with glaze or frosting once the cookies have completely cooled.

More Cookie Recipes

How to Store Lemon Cookies

  • Serve: Serve these cookies when they’ve cooled down from baking. Keep them covered during the summer season and refrigerate them within 2 hours. 
  • Store: These yummy cookies will store in the fridge for about 2 weeks in an air tight container. 
  • Freeze: You can easily place these cookies in an air tight container and freeze them for up to 6 months. They’ll be easier to thaw if wrapped individually with saran rap, or layered between parchment paper. 
Lemon Cookies with powdered sugar

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Lemon Cookies

Lemon Cookies flavored with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest are soft, sweet, and PERFECT for tea time with friends!
Yield 24 cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  • Cream the butter and sugar in your stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes then add in the lemon zest, vanilla, egg and lemon juice and combine fully.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together then add it to the stand mixer on medium speed and mix until just combined.
  • Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours (preferably overnight), then when you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using a tablespoon scoop, drop tablespoon amounts into powdered sugar and roll until well covered then place onto a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes, do not brown the cookies, they’ll be soft when they come out and harden as they cool.


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.


Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 52mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Lemon Cookies Pin 1

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Easy Lemon Cookies

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Good flavor, very light, but a little crumbly. They stuck to my non-stock cookie sheets. I like them a light brown on the edges and crispy. Cooked 20 min. Best lemon cookie recipe so far although they did’t appear crinkled. I would appreciate feed back.

    1. I realize this comment is very old, so I am so sorry for the delay in replying.

      Did you have any issues with the mixing? I have had that turnout when I mixed mine a bit too much. Also cooking that long can dry them a bit more which could cause sticking. I would use a parchment paper lining and it would alleviate a lot of the issues.

  2. My daughter is on a strict Low Fodmap diet, and she could eat (and enjoy) these cookies. I followed the recipe exactly, even using the yellow food coloring (I needed 4-5 drops). I prepared the dough, chilled it a little bit, then used a small ice cream scoop to measure and put the drop cookies on a non-stick cookie sheet. I froze all the cookies and put them into a large plastic bag with the powdered sugar. After shaking the bag to distribute the sugar, I put the bag full of cookies back into the freezer. When I took them out to bake, still frozen, they didn’t spread at all. I was careful to underbake them just slightly. They were absolutely melt-in-the-mouth delicious! Thank you, Sabrina! I’m looking forward !to trying more of your recipes.

  3. Although the amount of lemon juice and zest may seem like a lot, the lemon flavour really decreases when you bake them so don’t be afraid to add more! I also added yellow food colouring as I wanted them to be yellow for a friends birthday present and they turned out just like the pics! I would also recommend really coating the dough in icing sugar to get the crinkle affect. Thanks for the recipe, my friend and I loved them!

    1. Do I need to adjust to high altitude for this recipe? I Live over 6000 ft and tried your
      Applesauce Banana Bread which took over 2 hours to bake. Drop cookies are even harder to bake since the sugar, flour and liquid need to be just right for them to spread and crinkle. Any suggestions for me before I forge forward? P.S. I would love High Altitude changes in All Baking Cookbooks….it would be so gratefully appreciated from all of us who spend hours kneading & and waiting for rise times for all their efforts to fail.

  4. I made these cookies on the weekend and brought them into work. Literal rave reviews across the board! These cookies were SUCH a hit. Absolutely going to make them again! Thank you!!!

      1. Hi I made this and when I added in the eggs vanilla and lemon it started to get curdled. Any advice? Is that normal??? Please help

        1. Sometimes, citrus added with dairy can curdle. Next time, try mixing the vanilla and the lemon together first before adding it with the other ingredients. Hope this helps!

    1. Happy to hear that you liked them! Sorry to hear that they didn’t crinkle! If you want to troubleshoot, shoot me an email at contact @ dinnerthendessert .com

  5. Hi! They look great! Quick question though- should the butter be straight out of the fridge/ room temperature /melted? Does it matter?

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. You can use either straight out of the refrigerator or at room temperature butter because the dough will get put back into the refrigerator to really get cold. I hope you enjoy them!

  6. Oh my goodness! They are delicious and my family loves them. “Soft and not too sweet” were the comments. I pretty much have to make them for every party now. Question: your cookies are so yellow, mine were pale…did you add food colouring or is that a filter?

  7. These turned out so good! They were soft and light and made a perfect snack!

    I think your time estimation is a bit off though – 10 minutes to zest lemon, juice lemon, mix together the dough, and roll each cookie individually? And in my opinion, chilling time should be included in the total time – after all, I want to know how long it’ll take before I can enjoy the cookies and if you say 20 minutes I’ll expect them to be finished 20 minutes after starting, haha.

    Thank you for sharing, I’ll definitely be making these again and next time I’ll try to double the batch so I’ll actually be able to throw some in the freezer to save!

  8. These cookies are so delicious!!!
    I’ve just made them but unfortunately I’m from germany so i usually bake after grams.. I’ve googled “teaspoons” and “cups” and it said, per teaspoon 14g and 1 cup is about 340g. Is that right? My dough was not very soft after adding so much flour. Still tastes amazing, just wanted to ask!! Xx

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Each recipe card has the option to change to metric vs US customary measurements. This should help to adjust in the future.

  9. I have tried to save recipes by creating an account as you describe above, when I log in to the account it says ‘no saved recipes’. Can you tell me how I operate your ‘saving’ system? I was trying to save the chicken and sugar recipe, but when logged into my newly created account it was not there? Any advice? I would love to keep my own favourites, but don’t know where to go from here. Many thanks.

    1. Oh no! If you’re still having the issue please email me at contact @ dinnerthendessert .com so I can help you out.

  10. Delicious!!! So light and lemony! I didn’t have any lemon zest, so used orange zest instead, which worked great!. ?

      1. Why is your recipe page so difficult to get to the recepies. All the ads and crossover ads are entirely too much and to many. If you don’t want to share don’t but your maze is crazy. Only self centered people with braces is n their brains do this. Terrible surprise and insulted with this. Bennett

        1. And yet you were able to find your way to the comment section Bennett. Sorry a blog page is “insulting”.

      1. The sweet notes of the vanilla really helps balance out the flavors of the cookie, which already has a lot of lemon flavor in it. You could definitely use any amount of lemon extract you wanted in substitution for vanilla but it might turn out having a much more bitter flavor than you were hoping for. Let us know how it turns out!