Lemon Sugar Cookies – A sweet and slightly tart twist on your classic sugar cookie. These soft and chewy lemon cookies will soon be a cookie jar favorite.

It’s perfection in cakes and pies but have you tried using lemon to make cookies? These lemon sugar cookies are sweet and tart like a glass of lemonade but baked up as a soft and chewy cookie instead.

stack of frosted lemon sugar cookies

I hate to admit that lemon desserts aren’t always my favorite but these frosted lemon cookies? There is something so special about them that I can’t resist sneaking two or three at a time. Maybe it’s the soft cookie with that punchy lemon flavor or the dollop of frosting on top… or perhaps I like lemon more than I thought; who knows.

On the other hand, my husband loves anything with lemon or lime, especially drinks and cookies. I was inspired to make these lemon cookies by his favorite pie, Best Key Lime Pie, a few years back to make Key Lime Sugar Cookies, and they were a huge hit.

My son, Madden, loves lemon as much as my hubby. In almost a week, he will be eleven years old (silently crying) and always asks for my Best Ever Lemon Poppy Seed Cake. So this week, I decided to take his favorite cake and make it into a cookie. But since all my kids don’t love poppy seeds, I also made Lemon Sugar Cookies traditional.

hand holding a lemon sugar cookie with a bite taken out

Cookie Ingredients

  • White sugar
  • Butter
  • Egg yolks
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon juice

Recipe Steps

In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, and juice.

Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar to the butter mixture and stir to combine.

Place dough into walnut-sized balls two inches apart on a prepared cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are cracked and barely golden brown.

frosted lemon sugar cookies and cut lemons laid out on counter

How to Make the Frosting

The frosting combines confectioners’ sugar, butter, milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Cream the confectioners’ sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually mix the milk, lemon zest, and juice until soft and stiff. This usually takes about five minutes.

Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies and enjoy.


Can you freeze lemon sugar cookies?

All cookies can be frozen, but it is best to wrap them individually to freeze them and only do this once they have cooled completely. Another way to freeze them is to stack them in layers in a Ziplock or container, separating the layers using parchment paper. I love individually wrapping them as I feel they taste better. Do not freeze frosted.

How long will they stay fresh in an airtight container?

Properly stored, freshly baked soft cookies will stay at room temperature for two to three days. They should be completely cooled before you keep them.

Can you freeze lemon sugar cookie dough?

This cookie dough can be frozen quickly, but it is best to portion it beforehand. Scoop the cookie dough balls and place them on parchment paper. Then wrap the parchment paper in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. Bake the cookies as instructed but add one to two extra minutes to the baking time.

LEMON SUGAR COOKIES frosted, laid out on a counter with cut lemons

These cookies were amazing—soft and chewy, with that fantastic buttercream frosting. I have to say that lemon has officially moved up on my list.

Now I am onto everything lemon, like Lemon Quick Bread (which I need to make soon) and Scottish Lemon Shortbread, because my son, Aiden, has been waiting for me to make some shortbread.

I am looking forward to spring and summer; lemon is just that sign: sunshine, sunscreen, and lemon in everything. If you need a little taste of sunshine in your life, be sure to try these lemon sugar cookies – they won’t disappoint. Enjoy! XOXO San

LEMON SUGAR COOKIES unfrosted in a stack

Don’t forget to pin this recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies to your favorite Pinterest board for later.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 30
Calories: 221 kcal
Lemon Sugar Cookies – A sweet & slightly tart twist on your classic sugar cookie. These soft & chewy lemon cookies will soon be a cookie jar favorite.


  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3-5 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
  • Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks, lemon zest and juice.
  • Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.
  • Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don’t flatten. Bake 10-12 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners’ sugar and butter until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk, lemon zest and juice with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes.
Calories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 1gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 119mgPotassium: 28mgSugar: 24gVitamin A: 310IUVitamin C: 2.7mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know what you think!

This post was recently updated from its original position in March 2017.

unfrosted lemon sugar cookies in a stack, frosted lemon sugar cookies stack of 4, frosted lemon sugar cookies laid out on counter

Similar Posts


  1. How many cookies is this recipe supposed to make? I know the size of a walnut is somewhere between 1 and 2 TBSP, but I am wondering an estimated amount of cookies this recipe makes. Thanks!

  2. Hello.
    I am looking forward to making these cookies, but I have a question. I read in the recipe post that you too live in CO. Has this recipe been written for high altitude baking?

    1. We are just under 5000 feet here in Fort Collins, so normally our recipes don’t require any adjustments. I’ve noticed the only difference from sea level is that things take a bit longer to heat up, but that’s all.

  3. 5 stars
    Oh wow! My family is going to be all over these cookies! So excited to make these with my daughter! Looks so yummy and delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    These Lemon Sugar Cookies would not last long at our house!! They sound absolutely delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    These are heavenly and full of goodness! We absolutely love these cookies! So yummy and very delicious! These turned out great and I’ll definitely make these again!

  6. Does the frosting get hard/stiff enough that cookies can be layered/stacked or put in a cookie jar? The ingredients for the frosting seem to prevent this. Looking to make these but a “soft” frosting concerns me.

  7. Which is the butter supposed to be — room temperature or softened? I’m sure you don’t just pull it out of the fridge and try to mix it into the sugar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating