Lemon sugar cookies are chewy and full of zesty flavor. This recipe is easy to follow and is the perfect use for lemons!

lemon sugar cookies in stacks on brown cutting board

Need something to brighten up your day? Lemon sugar cookies are the answer. The citrus adds a pop of flavor to wake up your tastebuds! These cookies are incredibly easy to make and are perfect during the winter when citrus is in season.

Why this recipe works: The recipe calls for melted butter and an extra egg yolk, then chilling the dough. These three things make cookies extra chewy! The use of fresh lemon juice plus lemon zest guarantees plenty of zesty flavor.

three lemon sugar cookies laid on top of each other next to pinch bowl of sugar and half a lemon
lemon sugar cookie ingredients in bowls labeled with text

How to make lemon sugar cookies

  1. Whisk dry ingredients⁠—flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. Combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub the lemon zest into sugar.
  3. Make dough: Add melted butter to sugar and mix until butter is absorbed. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Add dry ingredient and mix just until combined.
  4. Chill dough for at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Scoop cookie dough into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until edges are set and centers are soft. Let cookies cool on sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pro tip: When using lemon zest in a recipe, use your fingers to rub the zest into the granulated sugar. It increase the lemon flavor in the dessert!

photo collage demonstrating how to make lemon sugar cookie dough in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer
photo collage demonstrating how to roll lemon sugar cookie dough into balls and rolling in sugar

Helpful tips

Lemon sugar cookies are pretty simple, but there are a few tricks to guarantee perfectly chewy and zesty cookies! Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients. It’s much more accurate than measuring your ingredients. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, fluff up your flour with a fork, then spoon it into a measuring cup. Level with a knife (don’t pack the flour in). Use fresh lemon juice (not bottled). The flavor will be much better in the cookies! Work quickly when rolling the dough into balls. You want the dough to stay cold so the cookies turn out chewy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bottled lemon juice?

I don’t recommend bottled lemon juice. The flavor isn’t as strong. Fresh lemon juice is best.

Why did my cookies spread?

The dough was probably too warm. Be careful not to overwork the dough when rolling it into balls. The body heat from your hands can soften the dough too much.

How to store lemon cookies

Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Can you freeze lemon sugar cookies?

Yes, lemon sugar cookie dough may be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and mark with the date. Defrost in the refrigerator before rolling into balls and baking.

Can I use lemon extract instead?

Yes, 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract may be used. If doing this, decrease fresh lemon juice to 1 tablespoon.

stack of lemon sugar cookies next to lemon wedges and more cookies

More lemon recipes

Lemon is one of the best dessert flavors. Friends love my lemon bars. The recipe comes from my mom and she has been using it for decades so you know it’s good. Another popular recipe is for lemon cupcakes. Both the cake batter and the buttercream are flavored with fresh lemon juice for plenty of citrus flavor.

Lemon pairs well with poppy seeds. I suggest trying my glazed lemon poppy seed bread or lemon poppy seed muffins!

lemon sugar cookies piled on a wood cutting board in front of lemon halves

Lemon sugar cookies are such an easy dessert to make. I love making them in winter when citrus is in season. They definitely brighten up those dreary winter days! You could also make these cookies for baby showers or Mother’s Day in the spring! What occasion will you bake lemon sugar cookies for? Let me know in the comments and tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen when you bake!

three lemon sugar cookies next to wooden pinch bowl of sugar

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon sugar cookies are chewy and full of zesty flavor. This recipe is easy to follow and is the perfect use for lemons!
5 (3 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (265 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional granulated sugar for rolling cookies in

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. Rub the sugar and zest between your fingers to increase the lemon flavor. Add melted butter to the bowl and use an electric mixer to mix until butter is absorbed. Add egg and egg yolk and mix until combined, then mix in the lemon juice and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.
  • Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use a medium cookie scoop to scoop dough and roll into balls. Work quickly so the dough stays relatively cold before baking. Roll each dough ball in granulated sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the centers are soft. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 134kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 104mg, Potassium: 22mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 167IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 1mg

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