This Lemon Cookies Recipe is the perfect sweet and zingy treat for warm weather. Sweet, citrusy, and soft, with an optional icing that will give your lemon sugar cookies an extra boost of sweetness and some crunch. These cookies are a cute and simple way to make a sunny, summery treat!
👩🏻🍳 Why You'll Love This Recipe
This lemon cookies recipe is an old favorite, and one that garners rave reviews every time! These cookies always turn out so sweet and soft, with the perfect amount of lemony flavor to pair perfectly with the vanilla sweetness.
There's also an optional royal icing which adds an extra layer with a little bit of crunch, as well as some more sweetness and a little boost of lemon flavor.
You'll love these as a special dessert for any occasion or even as a little everyday treat!
🥘 Ingredients Needed
For a complete list of ingredients, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- baking soda and baking powder - using both baking powder and soda ensures that the cookies are soft and fluffy.
- vanilla extract - the base of this cookie is just a classic sugar cookie, which needs vanilla for that classic sweet taste.
- lemon extract - this is what makes this lemon cookies recipe so delicious and citrusy!
And for the optional icing:
- confectioner's sugar - the base of this yummy icing.
- lemon juice - brings the zingy citrus flavor into the frosting as well!
- egg whites - can be substituted if you don't want to use raw eggs.
- food coloring - use whichever colors you think will go best with these lemon sugar cookies.
🔪 Instructions for this Lemon Cookies Recipe
Please note: This is an overview of the instructions. You'll find the complete instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine sugar and butter.
- Once smooth, beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon extract.
- Toss in all of the dry ingredients.
- Mix until everything is well combined.
- Drop by rounded teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet, then bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Allow to cool before icing.
- For the icing, start by sifting the confectioner's sugar into a bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and the egg whites, then use an electric mixer to beat for about 5 minutes.
- Separate into bowls and dye with as many colors as you want.
- Spoon or drizzle onto the lemon sugar cookies. Let it sit to harden.
Yes, but you'll have to use more lemon juice as lemon extract is more concentrated. For every teaspoon of lemon extract, substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Just be aware that because this is more liquid, it may slightly affect the texture of the dough.
While this comes down to personal preference, I think sugar cookies should be soft and fluffy! Especially for this lemon cookies recipe which is paired with a royal icing that hardens into a shell.
Once on the cooling rack, you should give your cookies at least 10-20 minutes to ensure that they don't melt the icing off.
First off, ensure that your cookies cool completely, then store in an airtight container to help them retain moisture and softness. Chewy cookies can also stick together, so be sure to place wax paper between layers if you're storing a lot of cookies together.
Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They should last for about 2 weeks (if they're not all eaten in a day or two!)
You can also store them in the freezer, where they'll last for up to sixth months.
Another great option is to freeze the dough before baking. One way to do this is to roll it out into a disc and press it flat, then freeze it that way. You could also scoop it into pre-sized portions and freeze them, which makes baking them later a breeze!
💭 Helpful Tips
- For a faster way to soften butter, fill a heat-safe glass bowl with hot water, then pour out the water and place the bowl over the butter for about 5 minutes.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut this dough into fun shapes for an extra fun take on this lemon cookies recipe.
Lemon sugar cookies are a simple but yummy treat. This recipe is so easy which makes it perfect to make with or for kids, and the icing can be dyed any color for any occasion!
- Mix in white chocolate chips to make these cookies extra special.
- Add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest to the lemon cookies recipe for more lemony zing!
- Before baking, roll your dough in some sugar (or lemon sugar, which is made by combining sugar and lemon zest) for an extra burst of sweetness.
- If you don't want to use egg whites for the royal icing, there are a couple of options. You can create a substitute with some gelatin and hot water, use meringue powder or a no-egg replacement powder, use pasteurized egg whites, or, if you don't care about the icing hardening, you can omit this element altogether.
🧁 Even More Dessert Options
- Does this lemon cookies recipe have you craving more delicious lemony desserts? Try this Cream Cheese Lemonade Pie, which only takes 15 minutes to put together!
- A Chocolate Orange Cake is another great citrusy dessert, and the pairing of the zingy orange with the chocolate is a match made in heaven.
- This recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction for Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownies is maybe the perfect dessert; how do you beat peanut butter and chocolate?
🍪 More Easy Cookie Recipes
- These 3 Ingredient No Bake Cookies are great for any holiday; just like these lemon sugar cookies they're so simple and 100% customizable!
- Easy Banana Graham Cookies are a unique and tasty treat that are somewhere between a cookie and a muffin, but all delicious!
- And for another super unique cookie, try these Sesame Pretzel Cookie Bites. Sweet and salty and so yummy!
Lemon Cookies Recipe
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📋 Recipe Card
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or substitute 1/2 tsp lemon extract and 1/2 tsp water)
- 2 eggs (just whites)
- Food coloring
For the cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar with a mixer until smooth; beat in egg, vanilla, and lemon extract.
- Mix in dry ingredients.
- Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets by rounded teaspoon.
- Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transporting to wire racks.
For the icing:
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, sift the confectioner's sugar into a large bowl.
- Add in the lemon juice and egg whites and mix with an electric mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes.
- Dye as many colors of icing as desired for decoration, then spoon or drizzle the icing on to the cookies. The icing will harden as it sits.
- To easily and quickly soften the butter, fill a large heat-safe glass bowl with very hot water. Then pour out the water and place the bowl upside down over the butter. Let sit for 5 minutes or so. Repeat if needed.
- Mix in white chocolate chips to make these cookies extra special.
- Add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest to the dough for more lemony zing!
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