These delicious yet easy lemon cookies are moist, tender, and chewy. Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest make the cookies tart and tangy, while both the granulated sugar and rich brown sugar balance out the flavors.
There’s nothing in life better than a good homemade cookie, and this lemon cookie recipe has quickly become one of my favorites. The chewy and soft cookies are bursting with lemon flavor from both juice and zest, but the brown sugar helps prevent them from being too tart. They’re packed with butter and vanilla, giving them a rich, comforting, and fancy taste.
And, since you eat with your eyes first, this recipe uses yellow food coloring to make the cookies colorful and fruity. They’re gorgeous cookies that are surprisingly easy to make and sure to be a hit with anyone you serve them to.
Why You’ll Love This Cookie Recipe
- Easy to make. The instructions are simple and easy to follow, and it only takes 25 minutes from start to finish.
- Perfect texture. The key to a good cookie is to have a good texture, and the texture in these luscious and tangy lemon sugar cookies couldn’t be better. They’re firm and chewy but also soft and moist.
- Easy to scale. This is a very easy recipe to scale up if you want to make a large batch. It’s easy to double or triple the recipe, and it doesn’t add much time at all.
Ingredients For Lemon Cookies
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter: Make sure that the butter is at room temperature.
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar: I recommend light brown sugar.
- Lemon zest
- Lemon juice
- Yellow food coloring
- Vanilla extract: You can also use vanilla paste.
- Powdered sugar
How to Make Lemon Cookies
Here’s how to make this super easy, 25-minute cookie recipe. You’ll be surprised at how simple this recipe is.
- Prepare the flour. Add the flour to a mixing bowl with the baking soda and salt. Mix to combine, then set aside.
- Cream the butter. Put the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and cream until light and airy.
- Flavor the butter. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon zest to the creamed butter and beat until fluffy. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the final ingredients. Add the egg, lemon juice, vanilla, and food coloring to the creamed butter. Stir until the ingredients are just combined.
- Mix in the flour. Turn your mixer on low and slowly pour in the flour mixture. Mix until the dough is incorporated but still soft and sticky.
- Chill. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Prep. While your dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 350˚F and line your baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Shape the cookies. Roll balls out of about 1½ tablespoons of dough. Flatten the lemon cookie balls slightly.
- Coat in sugar. Roll the dough balls in powdered sugar until evenly coated, then place them on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake. Put the cookies in the oven and bake until the edges are set but the tops are still soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Cool. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
Tips for Success
- Make sure you use enough juice. This recipe calls for the juice of half a lemon, so make sure that you’re using about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Cool completely. It’s really tempting to eat these tender cookies as soon as they come out of the oven, but it’s important to let the cookies cool completely so that they are firm and chewy.
- Chill for longer. This recipe calls for you to chill the dough for 30 minutes. If you have the time, chill the dough for even longer. For the best results, chill the dough in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. Placing dough in the fridge makes it easier to work with, but it also melds the flavors together and gives the cookies a better texture.
- Use the right temperature butter. Make sure that your butter is not too cold but not too warm. If the butter is cold, then you won’t be able to cream it to make this recipe. But if it’s too warm, it will start to separate, and your cookies will be greasy and dense. Use butter that’s at room temperature, where it’s easily spreadable but not separating.
How to Store
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container. They’ll last at room temperature for at least 5 days, in the fridge for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months.
Can I Freeze The Cookie Dough For Later?
You can absolutely freeze lemon cookie dough to use at a later date. I recommend shaping the lemon cookie balls and then storing them in a double layer of airtight bags for up to 3 months. You can then bake the cookies straight from the oven, though you’ll need to add a few additional minutes of baking time. You can also store unshaped dough by wrapping it in plastic wrap and then placing it in an airtight bag. Let the dough thaw overnight in the fridge before shaping and baking.
More Cookie Recipes to Try
If you’re anything like me, then you can’t get enough of cookies. They’re the ultimate dessert, and so easy to make. Here are a few more of my favorite recipes.
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Banana Cookies with Chocolate Chips
- Homemade Butter Cookies
- Orange Cookies
- Hot Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, about half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or vanilla paste
- powdered sugar, for rolling the dough balls
- Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter in a large mixing bowl until light.
- Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and lemon zest to the butter and cream until combined and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add in the egg, lemon juice, vanilla, and food coloring. Mix until just combined.
- With your mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture until the cookie dough is combined. Be careful not to over-mix. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
- Cover the dough and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- While the dough chills, preheat your oven to 350˚F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Pinch off about 1½ to 2 tablespoons of dough and roll the dough into balls. Flatten the balls slightly.
- Roll each dough ball in powdered sugar until coated evenly, then place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies have set, but the tops are still soft in the center. Don't over-bake the cookies.
- Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then move them to a wire rack. Cool completely before serving.
- Don’t serve the cookies immediately; let them cool completely for a firm and chewy texture.
- For best results, chill the dough longer than the 30 minutes advised – a few hours or overnight enhances the texture and melds the flavors.
- Use room-temperature butter and egg for this recipe.
- Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, in the fridge for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months.
- Leftover dough can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 months.