Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

Be sure to let the cream cheese and butter warm to room temperature before making the cookies.

Chilling the dough for an hour before shaping the cookies makes it easier to work with.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 12 minutes
  • Chilling time: 1 hour
  • Yield: about 30 cookies


For the cookies:

  • 3/4 cup (170g or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

To finish:

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated white sugar

Special equipment:


1 Beat the butter and sugar together: Place the softened butter, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon extract, vanilla extract, both sugars and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients together until the butter is light, fluffy, and clings to the side of the bowl.

butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl lemon cookie batter

2 Beat in the egg and lemon juice: Add the egg and beat to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the lemon juice and mix to incorporate, about a minute. The batter may look “broken” but don’t worry about that. Again scrape down the sides of the bowl.

lemon cookie batter in mixing bowl

3 Mix in the flour: Add the flour and baking soda. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are mostly absorbed, then increase the speed for a few seconds until fully incorporated.

lemon cookie batter in silver mixing bowl

4 Cover the bowl and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight. This makes the sticky, soft dough easier to roll out.

5 Heat the oven to 375°F: Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment.

6 Roll the cookies: Use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure to scoop up a heaping tablespoon dough. Lightly roll the dough in the palms of your hands to form a ball roughly 1 1/2 inches in diameter, about the size of a ping-pong ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with even after chilling, wet your hands, dry them slightly with a paper towel, and try rolling again with damp hands.

Roll the dough in the granulated white sugar and place on the baking sheet. Repeat, leaving about 2 inches between each ball.

soft lemon cookies dough balls in baking sheet and in bowl of sugar

Using the flat bottom of a glass, press down and form thick disks, about 2 inches wide. If the dough starts sticking to the bottom of the glass, dip the glass in the sugar before continuing. Sprinkle some extra sugar over each cookie.

cup pressing lemon cookies into shape sugar being sprinkled on lemon cookies

7 Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie are starting to turn golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then use a very thin spatula (like a fish spatula) to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

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  • Karen

    Great cookies…

  • Dianne

    I’ve made these a couple of times, they are lemony and delicious. Making more tomorrow, planning to take a batch to work Monday. Thanks for the recipe


  • CreoleLadyMzP

    This was Not a good cookie recipe. The flavor was not as lemony as advertised. My search continues for a great lemon cookie recipe

  • aini

    This is the third time i made this and the dough is always so sticky. Does the flour quantity is correct? In the last batch, i managed it by putting the dough in freezer first for about 15 minutes and scoop it with ice cream maker. It works and the taste is lovely. Thank you

    • Irvin Lin

      Thanks for the suggestion! I tried to increase the flour when I was testing it and I found that the lemon flavor became more dull with the addition of the flour. But your trick with the freezer sounds great. I will try that next time I make this recipe!

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Aini! We just retested this recipe and added a step to chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour before shaping. The dough is still sticky and tacky, but chilling makes it a little more manageable. I hope this helps!

  • DEDE

    Have a batch of these in the oven now. I am a experienced baker. I found the dough very sticky. The wet/damp hands method did not quite work. Dropped the dough into the sugar then was able to roll them. Also, need to dip the bottom of the glass in sugar periodically. The taste was good, not great, just good. Was expecting much more of a lemon flavor. Liked the final texture and chewiness of the cookie. Next time I think I’ll refrigerate the dough before rolling. Will keep this recipe in the “in progress” file.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Dede! Just wanted to let you know that we retested this recipe and added a step to chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour before shaping. The dough is still fairly sticky and tacky, but chilling makes it a little more manageable. I hope this helps!

  • Sonia

    Riquísimas! Les agregué nueces y quedaron súper. Muchas gracias!

  • Elizabeth @ Pineapples and Polka Dots

    My sister, a lemon cookie LOVER, would go crazy for these! Most lemon cookie recipes are crunchy and thin, which some people love, but these look heavenly! :)

  • Teresa Satterfield

    Made the lemon cookies today. Delicious ! Lemony, buttery goodness. This recipe goes in my collection .

  • Vicki Tunell

    I made these yesterday, they are delicious and were simple to make. I used my cookie dough scooper to make the rolling in the sugar less messy. My kids are super happy! Thanks for a great recipe.

  • Lorraine W

    I can hardly wait to make these cookies. I love anything Lemon.

  • snperch

    I know butter is always best, but, can I use butter flavored Crisco instead? I rarely have butter on hand. This cookie sounds luscious!

  • Kat

    Just made them and they are amazing!
    Great texture and taste :)

  • Susan E.

    I can’t wait to make these – they look yummy!! Do these baked lemon cookies freeze well? I usually freeze some of my baked cookies, because its just 2 of us.

  • Jillian

    Awesome recipe !!

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    I must try these cookies! They look so simple to prepare and they must be so delicious. Thank you :-)

  • Alison

    These look great! I’m excited to make them.