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Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

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These soft, chewy cookies are for lemon lovers only! They're made with a triple punch of lemon: lemon juice, zest, and extract. Perfect for when you need a little bit of sunshine.

and Irvin Lin

Unlike other lemon sugar cookies, which have just the barest hint of lemon flavor, these cookies pack quite a lemony punch, but without tasting too sour or too artificial. The secret is to use three different types of lemon flavoring in the dough: lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract.

Most lemon cookies also tend to be crispy and crumbly. I have nothing against those cookies, but I want a cookie that I can really sink my teeth into. These soft and chewy lemon cookies are certainly that.

Lemon Lovers Only!

It seems like my friends are evenly split between chocolate lovers and lemon lovers when it comes to dessert. On one side are those folks who crave dark, rich, earthy, dense chocolate.

On the other side are those folks who desire bright and sunny lemon treats. Their eyes light up when they see lemon bars. They start salivating at the idea of lemon meringue pie.

When I mentioned these soft and chewy lemon cookies, these friends immediately clamored for the recipe. If you love lemon, this one is for you!

Secret Ingredient for Soft, Chewy Cookies

The secret ingredient for making these cookies soft and chewy is cream cheese. This also adds a subtle tang that works really well with the lemon flavor. Just makes sure to let the cream cheese warm to room temperature before making the cookies or it will never properly incorporate into the dough.

Tips for Working with This Dough

Because of the lemon juice, the dough will seem really sticky and hard to work with. Let the dough chill in the fridge for an hour to help firm up the dough and make it easier to shape.

If you find the dough is still really sticky, you can also wet your palms before rolling them. Don’t worry if things get a little messy, you can always wash it all off later!

How to Store and Freeze

Store these cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days. They also freeze really well!

  • To freeze unbaked cookies: Roll the cookies into balls, but do not roll them in the sugar. Freeze them on a sheet pan in a single layer without touching, then transfer to a freezer container once hard and freeze for up to three months. To bake, let the balls thaw slightly so they are a little tacky on the outside, roll in sugar, and the bake as directed, adding an extra minute or two onto the cooking time.
  • To freeze baked cookies: Stack the cookies three or four high, wrap them in foil, and then transfer to a freezer bag. Freeze for up to a month.

Love Lemon? You’ll Love These Recipes!

  • Classic Lemon Bars
  • Lemon Pound Cake
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • How to Make Lemon Curd
  • Lemon Icebox Pie

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies Recipe

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.


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
  • Medium cookie scoop, optional (this tool makes it much easier to scoop this soft dough)


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

Lemon cookies are amazing, right! But most lemon cookies you buy or make are hard like a shortbread or sugar cookie. These soft lemon cookies break the mold with a new, chewy texture almost identical to a fig newton.


Step 1

In a medium-sized bowl mix together the flour(s), baking soda, (baking powder if making the cakey version) and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat both kids of sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolk (or eggs, if making cakey version), beat until very well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and sour cream, mix until well combined.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, stir until just combined. Gently stir in the blueberries.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop golf ball sized mounds onto a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper (if making cakey version, chill for 20 to 30 minutes prior to baking or they will spread too much. Chewy version does not need to be chilled).

Bake at 350°F for 12 to 16 minutes or until the top just starts to turn a very light golden brown.

Immediately slide the parchment onto the counter, allow the cookies to cool to room temperature.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

These cookies look like they would just melt in your mouth. So pretty and yummy!

Thank you, Serena, for the reminder to get the sugar infused with zest. Your cookies look delightful. And I'd say your sweet-toothed family members have good taste =)

Those look awesome! Terrific recipe, pinned! :)

I love crinkly cookies and your lemon twist sounds wonderful! Perfect citrus treat to round out the chocolate ones :)

I'm saving this recipe because I know exactly the person I'll bake them for and give them as a gift on their birthday.

LOVE cream cheese cookies!

Made this recipe today and they are delicious. Everyone who tried them LOVED them!

Also, I made the icing with lemon juice and powdered sugar and that's definitely better. would do that every time!

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Suggestion for coconut oil substitution?

Butter or shortening but I would choose butter! Thanks, Serena

definitely baking these sometime this week. the cream cheese cookies sound absolutely delicious. Hope you come up with more crinkle cookie flavors. thanks for this recipe!

I printed the recipe in the box above, but the ingredient list says 1-1/2 granulated sugar (missing the "cup") and leaves out the flour completely! I had to go back to the previous directions to find the quantities. You may want to update the recipe :-)
We are making these this week - they look delicious!

Thank you so much for letting me know! It must have happened during the last update to the recipe card!

A common problem when making these Lemon Crinkle Cookies is that they flatten out way too much! Why?

This recipe calls for softened butter, not melted butter. The best way to get softened butter is to plan ahead. A couple of hours before you make these cookies set 1/2 cup of butter on the counter. As it sits there is will soften.

But if you are in a pinch you can microwave butter to soften it instead. Microwave in 5-second intervals rotating your cube of butter each time. Please please please use caution when softening this way. It can easily go from solid to melted in seconds! And in turn, your cookies will spread way too much.

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients except flour until well blended.

On low speed, beat in flour just until blended.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sugar or almonds.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. HINT: These cookies will have a nicely browned edge if baked on a regular thin cookie sheet rather than a thick or insulated one.

Chewy & Soft Lemon Cookies


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 cup [1 stick] plus 2 Tbsp), softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 medium lemons (about 1 Tbsp lemon zest)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ medium lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt


Ensure that the ingredients are at room temperature before getting started. In the mixing bowl, start by creaming the butter, cream cheese and sour cream all together for about five minutes on medium speed until combined.

Add in the sugar gradually on low speed and then turn up the speed to medium and mix until light fluffy for about a minute or two. Scrape the bowl well. Add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest and food coloring, if you're using it. Mix for about two minutes until combined on medium speed.

Scrape the bowl again. Add in the whole egg and let it absorb on medium speed. Then, add in the yolk and do the same.

Mix until uniform for about two minutes. Scrape the bowl well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

On low speed, dump in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, about 15 seconds. Flour will still be visible at this point.

With a rubber spatula, fold in the rest of flour into the dough. The flour should be absorbed, but don't overmix.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least a couple hours, but preferably overnight.

Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or with parchment paper. I still spray with the mat or parchment with cooking spray, just in case.

I recommend using a cookie scoop to scoop out about 1 1/2 tablespoon sized dough. Roll it between the palms of your hands until a round ball forms. Line them up about 2" apart.

Press down with your three fingers to flatten them slightly.

Bake at 350°F for about 9-10 minutes. It should look slightly under baked. Allow it to cool on the pan, out of the oven for about 5 minutes. Then move it to a wire rack to cool completely.


You can keep the cookies stored in a covered plastic container for about a week. You can keep the dough in the fridge covered for about a week or in the freezer for about a month.

How do you make lemon glaze?

Another burst of flavor is going to come from the lemon glaze on top of the cookies!

To make the glaze use powdered sugar mixed with fresh lemon juice and zest. This will result in a very strong lemon flavor.

If you would prefer a more mellow lemon flavor then replace a portion of the lemon juice with milk or cream.

To get your desired consistency of glaze add either more juice/milk for a thinner glaze or more powdered sugar for a thicker glaze.

Righto! Let’s gather all the ingredients we need to make these lemony delights.

Next we want to mix together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and erythritol, egg, vanilla and lemon zest & juice.

Slowly add in dry ingredients until completely combined.

Once that is done the batter will look something like this:

Roll rounded spoonfuls of dough into little balls and then roll in the erythritol so they are fully coated.

Place on parchment papered cookie sheets approximately 1-2 inches apart.

Press cookies down with a spoon or fork.

Let them cool on the cookie sheet’s for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Planning a dinner party and need some inspiration?

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We’re chatting cooking techniques, dessert ideas, and everything in between. If you’re already a member, invite your friends to join us too!

Lemon Cookies

One of the most popular recipes on my website is this one for these soft raspberry lemon cookies.

It&rsquos been the most popular recipe almost from the day I posted it and it hasn&rsquot slowed down. Everyone that makes those cookies loves them. Everyone I&rsquove made them for loves them. I&rsquom not even exaggerating when I say that they seem to be popular with everyone that tries them.

Which, let&rsquos be honest, is a little odd. With most recipes, some people love them, some hate them, some think they&rsquore just okay& don&rsquot usually have the same response from everybody that tries it. And that&rsquos totally fine, we can&rsquot all like the same things.

But everyone likes those raspberry lemon cookies.

So it was really only logical to post a recipe for plain and simple, easy lemon cookies as well. Since clearly we all enjoy soft lemon cookies.

But really, what&rsquos not to like?

They&rsquore easy to make, filled with sweet and tangy lemon flavour from fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, and mix up easily in just a few minutes. You do need to chill this dough, it&rsquos way too sticky to roll into balls and coat in powdered sugar right after mixing it, but after chilling it for an hour it&rsquos doable. They bake up soft and chewy with that crackly, crinkly texture from the powdered sugar, and they stay soft and chewy for days. They freeze well too, so you can make them ahead of time, although I would put wax paper between layers of cookies so they don&rsquot stick together, as they are quite soft.

I think these soft lemon cookies disappeared in two days. There&rsquos only five of us, that&rsquos kind of ridiculous.

It really shouldn&rsquot have surprised me though. Like I said, everyone loves lemon cookies!