Soft and chewy, buttery and lemony, these Lemon Sugar Cookies are a year-round taste of sunshine!
In this blog post we will be making lemon sugar cookies. These sugar cookies are soft and chewy and bursting with bright lemon flavor. Best of all, they call for only a small handful of easy-to-find ingredients. Read on for illustrated recipe directions, recipe FAQs, and storage directions.
Table of contents
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One of the many things I love about sugar cookies is how versatile they are.
Seriously -- make a batch for Christmas (of course!) but they will also never be turned down at any other holiday (have you ever made sugar cookies for Easter or Halloween? So fun!), or just because.
This lemon cookie just as versatile but even easier to make than classic cutout sugar cookies.
The bright lemon flavor of these cookies is guaranteed to brighten up any winter day, but they're also popular at wedding cookie tables, Memorial Day barbecues, school birthday parties, and more.
Oh, and did I mention how easy these cookies are to make? Because, I need to be honest. Even though I love baking, I do not enjoy cut out cookies! Yes, they're cute and all, but they are so. Much. Work. The opposite of baking therapy in my book.
These soft and chewy sugar cookies are made without any cutters. Just roll the dough into balls, turn the balls to cover in sugar, and lightly press the cookie balls down with the bottom of a drinking glass before baking.
Easy peasy! See? I told you they're amazing to make any time of year. 😉
This lemon sugar cookie recipe is...
These cookies are guaranteed to brighten up any day!
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Lemon zest - see my notes below on how to zest a lemon; we need fresh lemon zest that's just the exterior of the lemon peel (not the white pithy layer underneath)
- Baking soda
- Large eggs
- Flour - you can use a 1:1 mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour. The cookies will be nuttier and slightly more dense, but they will still be delicious.
- Butter - salted butter can replace the unsalted butter, just decrease the salt in the rest of the recipe to ¼ teaspoon
How to make lemon sugar cookies..
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
- Add the eggs and lemon zest to the creamed butter and mix until combined.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and mix in until no streaks of flour remain.
- Scoop the cookie dough in scant 2-tablespoon scoops. Roll the scoops of dough into balls. Roll the balls in extra granulated sugar to cover.
- Place the balls of cookie dough 3 inches from each other on the baking sheets. Wrap parchment paper around the bottom of a drinking glass and gently press the balls down until ¼-inch thick.
- Bake the cookies until the cookies are the slightest golden color on the bottom and are no longer puffy.
- Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and cool until at the desired serving temperature.
- Weigh the flour to measure it. Weighing is the most accurate way and can make one of the biggest differences in the end results of baking recipes. Food scales run only about $10 on Amazon and are very easy to use. If you can't get one in time for this recipe, you will want to spoon the flour into measuring cups and then level the top with a knife.
- Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. This will help the cookies to cook evenly and for them not to stick to the cookie sheets.
- Use fresh lemon zest. Fresh zest will give you the best flavor. You want 2 ½ tablespoons zest for this recipe, or about the zest from two large lemons. See my notes below for how to use up the remaining lemon.
- Soften the butter to room temperature. Butter that is at room temperature will be easy to indent when pressing on it gently, but firmly with your finger tip. It should take anywhere from 1-3 hours to soften butter at room temperature. You can also soften it in the microwave on 20% heat at 20-30 second intervals.
The easiest way to zest a lemon is with a Microplane zester. With a small plate or bowl underneath, run the zester back and forth over the peel of a clean and dry lemon, just until you have zested all of the yellow zest off the lemon. When you get down to the white pith, rotate to a new section of the lemon peel. Continue zesting until you've zested the whole lemon. Scrape the remaining zest off the back of the Microplane (there's usually quite a bit that sticks there) and measure the zest for your recipe.
No, you do not need to chill this cookie dough before baking. If you prefer to chill it, you can chill the flattened cookie discs on the baking sheet for 2-4 hours (add any extra baking time, as needed), but you don't need to do so for these cookies to turn out great!
Yes, you can freeze lemon cookie dough. You can freeze the whole batch of dough together or you can freeze the unbaked cookie discs. To freeze the whole batch, just freeze it in a freezer-safe container. To freeze the discs, freeze the unbaked flattened balls of dough on the baking sheets in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until firm. Once frozen, move the frozen discs to a freezer safe container. Either way, the dough will last frozen for up to 3 months.
The easiest way to make uniform cookies is by using a cookie scooper. I love this 1.7 tablespoon scooper from Amazon for this recipe!
Another way to ensure uniform cookies is by weighing the scoops of cookie dough on a food scale before rolling them into balls. Scoop the first cookie with a scooper, weigh that, and then weigh the subsequent scoops of cookies to match.
Ideas for leftover lemons:
Even though we will be zesting two large lemons for this recipe, the interior of the lemons should still be fine to use. Store the zested lemon in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or until using it in any of the following recipes:
- Air fryer zucchini or brussels sprouts
- Blueberry & Avocado Spinach Salad
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Lemon curd
- Crispy Herbed Panko Chicken
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Rubbed Turmeric Chicken
Leftover cookies last covered in an airtight container for 3-4 days. They can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Food scale
- Silicone spatula
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Baking sheets
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Cookie scooper
More dessert and cookie recipes:
- Lemon Bars
- Strawberry Lemonade Bars
- Strawberry Shortbread Cookies
- Brown Butter White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Lemon Blueberry Muffin Bread
- Meyer Lemon Curd
- Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
- Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!