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A plate of lemon sugar cookies
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5 from 4 votes

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Chilling1 hr
Total Time1 hr 32 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookies, lemon, sugar cookie
Servings: 48 (2-inch) cookies
Calories: 68kcal
Author: Tricia


  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (284g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar (300g), plus 1/3 cup (75g) extra for rolling
  • 2 lemons, zested (preferably organic, no white pith!)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (57g)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g or 4oz)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained of pulp and seeds


  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended; Set aside.
  • In a food processor combine 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar with the zest from 2 lemons. Process until the sugar is yellow in color with small flecks of zest. If you don’t have a food processor, combine the sugar and zest in a bowl and work the two together with your fingers until the zest is broken up and the sugar is bright yellow.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the lemon sugar, cream cheese and butter. Beat until lightened and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon juice and mix on low until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions blending just until the flour disappears. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and blend again.
  • Cover and refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Pour ⅓ cup granulated sugar into a shallow bowl for coating the dough balls; set aside.
  • Using a small cookie scoop, portion out 1 ½ tablespoons of cookie dough. Roll the dough into a ball, then roll the ball in granulated sugar. Place the dough balls 2-inches apart on the (cool) prepared baking sheet. Once the cookie sheet is full, bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. The edges should be set and barely beginning to brown. The bottoms should be light brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


  • The tops of the cookies should not be browned. Do not over-bake.
  • Always use a cold or cooled cookie sheet.
  • TIP: Once the dough is chilled, roll into dough balls and refrigerate before baking. You can store the dough balls in the refrigerator to bake later, or freeze until needed.
  • Baked Lemon Sugar Cookies freeze beautifully! Seal well in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Set the cookies out at room temperature to thaw.
  • If you have a small mini-food chopper - combine the zest with about half the sugar and process.
  • Zest only the bright yellow rind of the lemon, no white pith or the cookies may taste bitter. Use organic lemons whenever possible.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. When multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.


Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 86IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg