Lemon cookies are a delightful treat that combines the tangy flavor of lemons with the sweetness of icing, creating a perfect balance of flavors. This recipe yields soft, zesty cookies that are perfect for any occasion, from afternoon tea to dessert after dinner.

For the lemon cookies, you will need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the lemon icing, prepare:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened unsalted butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, using a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three parts, mixing on low speed just until the ingredients are combined.
  6. Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, drop dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until they are very lightly browned on the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk, and lemon zest to make the lemon icing.
  9. Once the cookies are fully cooled, ice them generously with the lemon icing. Place the iced cookies on wire racks to allow the icing to set.
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  • Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature for easier creaming with the sugar.
  • Do not overmix the dough once the flour mixture is added to prevent tough cookies.
  • Adjust the amount of lemon zest and juice according to your preference for lemon flavor intensity.
  • For a smoother icing consistency, you can adjust the amount of milk or lemon juice as needed.

These lemon cookies are a delightful treat that brings together the fresh citrusy flavor of lemons with the sweetness of icing. With their soft texture and tangy taste, they are sure to become a favorite among friends and family. Enjoy them with a cup of tea or as a sweet ending to any meal!

1. Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter in this recipe?

  • While you can technically use salted butter, it’s generally recommended to use unsalted butter in baking recipes. This allows you to have better control over the amount of salt in the recipe. If you only have salted butter on hand, you can reduce the amount of added salt in the recipe accordingly. However, keep in mind that the flavor may be slightly altered due to the salt content in the butter.

2. Can I prepare the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking?

  • Yes, you can prepare the cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate it before baking. Chilling the dough can actually enhance the flavor and texture of the cookies. After mixing the dough, you can cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, let the dough sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes to soften slightly before scooping and baking as directed in the recipe.
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3. How do I store the lemon cookies once they are baked?

  • Once the lemon cookies are baked and fully cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Layer the cookies between sheets of wax paper or parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Properly stored, the cookies should stay fresh for up to 5-7 days. If you prefer to keep them longer, you can freeze the cookies in a freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the frozen cookies at room temperature before serving.

4. Can I make these lemon cookies gluten-free?

  • Yes, you can adapt this recipe to make gluten-free lemon cookies by using a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. Make sure the blend contains xanthan gum or another binding agent to help hold the cookies together. You may need to adjust the amount of flour or add a bit more liquid to achieve the desired dough consistency since gluten-free flours can vary in their absorbency. Additionally, always double-check that all other ingredients, such as baking powder and baking soda, are labeled as gluten-free to ensure the entire recipe is gluten-free.

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