lemon sugar cookies
If you’re searching for a sweet and simple summertime cookie recipe, you’re looking at it. These lemon sugar cookies are the real deal when it comes to a soft, chewy, scrumptious dessert that’s as easy as it is tasty. Make them right away, or make the dough a day in advance so you can have these delicious treats ready whenever you want them!
Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe
Summer is officially in full swing here and I could not love it more. The sunshine, the green grass, the flowers in full bloom, these lemon sugar cookies on repeat… give me all of it, all the time, especially that last part.
If you’re a fan of soft and chewy sugar cookies (mayhaps these exact soft and chewy sugar cookies?), you will love this lemon-kissed version. With just a hint of lemon zest and lemon juice, these cookies are transformed into delicious treats that are soft, chewy, sweet and tangy all at once. They’re light and indulgent at the same time, and they come together with just 1 hour of chill time (or a day in advance, if that works better for your schedule). In conclusion, I am in love and it is with these cookies.
Best Ingredients for Lemon Sugar Cookies
Here is what you’ll need to make all your lemony-sweet cookie dreams come true:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar (for the dough and for rolling)
- Fresh lemon zest (from about 1 small lemon)
- Fresh lemon juice (I beg of you, use an actual lemon for this and not the store-bought juice! It makes a huge difference in flavor)
- Vanilla extract
Once you’ve got this short and sweet ingredient list covered, you’re ready to bake! Let’s gooooo.
How to Make These Cookies
You’re just a few very short steps away from having this cookie recipe in your life, and I’m just as excited for you as you are for… you. Ahem. ANYWAY, let’s do this! As always, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe with ingredient measurements and official directions. This is just an overview!
- Step One: Make the dough. Whisk the dry ingredients, then cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the lemon zest, juice, egg and vanilla, then stir in the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Maybe sneak a lil’ bite. I won’t tell.
- Step Two: Cover the dough and chill it in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This step is *very important* and can’t be skipped, or your cookies will bake flat and crispy and that’s not our objective here.
- Step Three: Bake! Shape the dough into balls, then roll each ball in extra sugar for sweetness and crunch. Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (in batches, if need be), until the cookies are just baked in the centers and lightly golden on the edges. Do not overbake! You’re better off with a slightly underbaked cookie here than an overbaked one, so keep an eye on them.
- Step Four: Cool and enjoy. Cool the cookies on a cooling rack, then enjoy!
Can I Make The Cookie Dough in Advance?
Yes! You can cover the dough and chill it for up to 24 hours in advance of baking if that fits better with your schedule. Otherwise, you can bake the cookies and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Can I Make Cut-Out Sugar Cookies With This Dough?
I do not recommend making cut-out sugar cookies with this dough. These cookies are soft and chewy, and not intended to be rolled out and cut into shapes. Please stick with the drop-and-bake plan for this one for best results!
Any Variations or Substitutions?
I really love to make these lemon sugar cookies exactly as written — they have been tested so the results are best when the recipe is followed as you see it. That said, you certainly can play around with the amount of lemon zest in the recipe (I do not recommend adding more lemon juice, as that can make the dough too wet). You can also try orange zest, or a mix of lemon + orange zest. I have great plans to make ice cream sandwiches out of these cookies at some point, too, and I am very jazzed about it.
For a similar soft cookie, try these Snickerdoodles!
Add these lemon sugar cookies to your summer bucket list! You will be glad you did.Print
Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 24 cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Delightfully chewy and soft lemon sugar cookies are the perfect summer treat! A classic sugar cookie with a kiss of citrus, you will love baking and eating this simple and delicious dessert.
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from about 1 small lemon)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 small lemon)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer), cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in lemon zest, lemon juice, egg and vanilla extract until just combined.
- Slowly stir in flour mixture just until a dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.*
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar to a small bowl.
- Scoop and roll chilled dough into balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each). Roll each dough ball in sugar, then transfer to prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. (You may have to bake in batches; refrigerate any remaining dough while you bake the first batch.)
- Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until cookies are just set in the centers and lightly golden on the edges (do not overbake). Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- *You can refrigerate the dough up to 24 hours in advance.
- Store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
- Freeze fully baked and cooled cookies in an airtight container up to 3 months.
Keywords: lemon cookie dough, sugar cookie dough, lemon cookies, chewy lemon cookies
Omg these look delicious! I will probably make these for my daughter’s birthday party, except might add edible glitter from https://www.thesugarart.com/ – check them out actually, they have vegan products! ?
Oh how I LOVE lemon!!!
Nice recipe! thanks for sharing……
love lemon flavored everything, at least so far, and cookies are definitely included among them and I also love using zest too so nice to see zest in these cookies, thank you!
Totally going to make this. Have you tried rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar BEFORE creaming butter and sugar together? I’ve read that rubbing citrus zest into sugar increases the amount of oils released into the sugar–intensifying the citrus flavor. Sounds like it’s necessary to make two batches–one as you’ve written and one with zest rubbed into sugar! And then have to eat them ALL to test…
Elizabeth, I have not tried that for this recipe but I HIGHLY recommend it. Thanks for the idea! 🙂
I love the taste of lemon. It seems yummy with cookies. Gonna try it soon. Thank You.
Can you please give the ingredient measurements by weight, it makes it far easier to follow for those of us in other countries. For example, we don’t have “sticks” of butter in Australia, so I have no idea how much that is.
Gail, There is a toggle option on the recipe card for metric conversions that can help you! That is also why I specify that 1 “stick” of butter equals 1/2 cup for easier conversion. I do not test recipes primarily with weight measurements so I do not provide them because I am not confident enough to suggest those measurements for the same results, however, if you sign up for my email list I do offer a free baking conversions chart that you can use for this purpose. Thanks for your feedback!