Lemon Cookies flavored with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest are soft, sweet, and PERFECT for making ahead of time and pulling out when you need them!
Lemon Cookies are one of my absolute favorite cookies to make because they’re a little bit chewy, and little bit sweet, and full of that lemony goodness 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 I’ve eaten these are the most lemon-y ones I’ve ever had, so they qualify as my classic version.
I 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 right now I need all the spring and summer I can muster!
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!
WHY DO WE HAVE TO CHILL THE DOUGH?
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. I recommend layering the cookies with parchment paper to stop them from sticking together.
Or, the more likely case is they’ll last about an hour. 😉
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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.
MORE COOKIE RECIPES
- Strawberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
- S’Mores Cookies
- Brown Sugar Cookies
- Buckeye Brownie Cookies
HOW TO MAKE LEMON COOKIES WITH CAKE MIX
- Start with either lemon cake mix or white cake mix.
- Mix cake mix 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.
TIPS FOR MAKING LEMON COOKIES
- 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.
- I 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, but honestly I just use a small cheese grater and it does the job just as well.
- 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.
- Instead of rolling them in sugar, you can also top these cookies with a simple glaze. Or, dust them with powdered sugar after they’ve cooled down.
- 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.