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Lemon Sugar Cookies

A close up of food, with Cookie and Sugar
These are the most delicious, soft, and flavorful lemon sugar cookies you could hope to bake!
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Table of Contents
  5. FAQ

Delicious and easy to make, this lemon sugar cookies recipe is baked from scratch to create a unique flavor. Our family is crazy about this old fashioned classic recipe. I personally think they’re the best — the soft and chewy texture with slightly crispy edges is hard to beat. 

These chewy lemon sugar cookies are always a hit on cookie trays or for family gatherings. For all those lemon lovers, you have to try our other luscious lemon desserts such as our Lemon Lasagna, easy Lemon Poppy Seed Bread, White Chocolate Lemon Truffles or the crowd favorite, Lemon Cheesecake Bars.

A close up of a cake


A chocolate cake on a plate, with Cookie and Lemon

You will need:

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided into 1 ¼ cups and ¼ cup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 egg


CITRUS: You could replace the flavor of lemon in this lemon sugar cookie recipe with other citrus flavors such as orange or lime. Just substitute orange or lime juice and orange or lime zest for the lemon equivalents.


STEP ONE: Start by whisking together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 

STEP TWO: In a large bowl, with a hand mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, cream cheese, 1 ¼ cups sugar until it’s smooth and creamy. It should take about 1-2 minutes. Once mixed, you’ll add vanilla, lemon juice, and fresh lemon zest and then beat in one egg. 

A plate of breakfast food, with Cookie and Sugar

STEP THREE: Slowly add your flour mixture to the butter mixture, just a little at a time, until just combined. 

PRO TIP: Do not over mix the batter. Over mixing can result in crumbly cookies.

STEP FOUR: Wrap the bowl with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. 

PRO TIP: Do not skip the chilling step, this is important to get the best texture for these delicious cookies.

STEP FIVE: Then preheat your oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

STEP SIX: Scoop dough into balls and roll dough in sugar until coated all over.

PRO TIP: You can use your hands to roll the dough into balls, but a cookie dough scoop will keep your hands clean and help to form the balls into a uniform size.

A bunch of food on a plate, with Cookie and Sugar

STEP SEVEN: Bake the lemon sugar cookies for 10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown. 

STEP EIGHT: Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. 


Serve these chewy lemon cookies for a delicious snack. Serve with one of our refreshing drinks such as our iced tea, raspberry iced tea, sweet peach iced tea, or our southern strawberry sweet tea on the side.

They make excellent treats for friends, coworkers, to take to a playdate or bake sale. I’m sure they’ll disappear quickly, so you might want to make a double batch of these cookies. Or triple!


ON THE COUNTER: Once the cookies are completely cooled, you can place them on a plate and then wrap them tightly with plastic wrap.

IN THE FREEZER: Once the cookies are completely cooled, wrap your cookies in plastic wrap and then place them inside a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. This lemon cookie recipe will last for up to three months in the freezer if properly stored.

A sliced banana on a cutting board, with Sugar cookie

The bright flavors of these lemon sugar cookies with a touch of sweetness thanks to the added sugar on the outside make for the perfect summertime cookie or treat for family and friends. Everyone will be asking for this perfect cookie recipe to make them for themselves!


Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of real lemon?

Real lemon will give you the fresh lemon flavor but you can use bottled lemon juice instead in these lemony cookies.

Can I substitute lemon extract for lemon juice in these cookies?

Yes, you can substitute lemon extract for lemon juice. Since the lemon extract is far more concentrated than lemon juice, you will only need a couple of drops of the extract to replace the lemon juice.

Can I freeze these cookies?

You can freeze these cookies stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


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A close up of food, with Cookie and Sugar

Lemon Sugar Cookies

5 from 13 votes
These are the most delicious, soft, and flavorful lemon sugar cookies you could hope to bake!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 24


  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar divided into 1 ¼ cups and ¼ cup
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 egg


  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
  • In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and 1 ¼ cups sugar until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes
  • Mix in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest
  • Beat in egg
  • Slowly add flour mixture, mixing in a little at a time, until just combined
  • Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Scoop sugar cookie dough into balls and roll in sugar until coated all over
  • Bake cookies 10 minutes, until edges just start to brown
  • Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and move to a wire rack to finish cooling.



Taking the time to refrigerate the dough makes for easier rolling and a soft, delicious cookie. 


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 179mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Jenny says

    I love lemon desserts and sugar cookies and this combination sounds heavenly. Pinning & sharing. Thanks for partying at Merry Monday!

  2. Toni Ayne Thomason says

    5 stars
    Absolutley delicious. I cannot get enough of these. Prepare to make several batches. They will not last long.

  3. Lori says

    5 stars
    I really, really liked them! The video and written measurements are different so I used the written and hoped for the best. Didn’t disappoint!

  4. Lauri says

    Looks great ..but 2 sticks of butter is way too much for my family ..I know “butter makes it better” ..but ..may try cutting recipe in.half.

  5. Shandi says

    5 stars
    I made these once a loved them! Made them again last night but doubled the recipe. Was that my undoing? This batch turned out completely different. Taste was still great but they were not fluffy at all.

  6. Kate says

    I made these tonight and they totally melted and spread into more of a giant flatbread than individual cookies….I followed the instructions exactly (with the exception of cooling them for about 2 hours instead of 1), so I’m puzzled about why this happened. Any ideas? Otherwise, the flatbread tasted great!

  7. Jennifer A Beeson says

    I made these out of boredom and for what I had on hand during the current pandemic. They are amazing! Light and fluffy, I rolled them in pastel colored sugar for since it’s spring. The coarse sugar gave them a great coating. Definitely cheered my family up!

  8. Shelly says

    5 stars
    The dough is so fabulous and not at all sweet before adding the rolled sugar, so you can control the amount you roll on before baking. I needed to add orange 🍊 peel seasoning To my mix bc I didn’t have very flavorful lemons in our yard.

  9. Priscilla says

    5 stars
    These are the best cookies I have ever tasted. There are so many possibilities, I added some sesame seeds to a few, then I added some chia seeds (to cut the guilt) and then on half of the cookie I dipped in chocolate…it was all good!!

  10. Cindy says

    Sounds great,my husband and I like having a lemon cookie with our evening tea ,these looks great. I have to use gluten free flour I’m gluten free and soy free not by my wanting to be I have stomach allergies thx

    • Layne Kangas says

      I believe you could, but I haven’t done it personally so I cannot tell you an exact amount. The typical rule of thumb is to use about 3/4 the amount of oil as the recipe calls for butter. Good luck!

  11. Samantha says

    5 stars
    I don’t typically leave reviews however, these lemon sugar cookies are incredible! My family has devoured them! Thank you for the recipe, I’ll be making these again and again.

  12. Debi says

    5 stars
    We have 7 people at home at the moment and as I took these cookies out of my oven I didn’t have time to take them off the tray ! They were gone in a flash ! My 30 yr old son loves the batter! Good thing they were right out of the chicken coop! Delicious!

  13. Patricia Fernández says

    5 stars
    Love this cookies, the recipe and instructions are great, no fail!
    They disappeared in two days and I’m baking more tonight.
    Is one of a few recipes that my whole family liked.
    I was wondering if the dough will get sour if I left it overnight in the fridge without baking? Have you tried that?

  14. Amber says

    Do I need to substitute anything if I leave out the cream cheese? I have a son with dairy allergy, but he can have butter.

  15. Debi says

    5 stars
    I made these today. Well actually made them yesterday and left in the refrigerator overnight. Baked some today and froze the dough for later in the week. These will be my go to cookies! Very very flavorful. Now I did add more lemon peel double. And I added lemon extract. Probably a teaspoon. But these were soooo good. Soft but chewy around the edges. I will be making many of these.


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