Lemon Sugar Cookies

Perfectly soft and chewy lemon sugar cookies – bake up a delicious batch of summertime, any time of year!  Made with 100% real lemon – no lemon cake mix or pudding necessary.

a pile of lemon sugar cookies covered in lemon zest on a white serving plate

I always think of citrus as a winter flavor — clementines, meyer lemons, grapefruits.  But regular lemons?  Those are 100% summer.  Nothing says summer like a big pitcher of lemonade (preferably this blueberry basil (bourbon) variety!), amiright?

(Okay, let’s be fair. I love lemon YEAR ROUND. But there’s something extra summery about it.)

Now that Memorial Day is behind us, we’ve hit the unofficial start of summer.  You guys know how I feel about seasonal desserts – it’s time to pack up all the heavy chocolate and peanut butter and celebrate all things light, fresh, and fruity!  Like these simple soft and chewy lemon sugar cookies.

freshly baked lemon sugar cookies on a silicone baking mat set on a cookie sheet

(Actually, it appears I started my summer dessert celebration just a little early this year.   I miiiiight have a little bit of a lemon problem right now.  Lemon lavender bundt cake.  Carrot cake with lemon cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  French vanilla lemon blueberry scones.  All in a four week period.  And now, lemon sugar cookies.  Spring… summer… whatever.  Lemons are seasonless.)

I’m not a huge fan of plain sugar cookies.  I always feel like they need a little something extra, like a boatload of sprinkles or, in this case, a double dose of lemon.  These lemon sugar cookies use both lemon juice (freshly squeezed, please!) and lemon zest for a bright, lemony punch.

stack of lemon sugar cookies on a white plate with lemon slices in the background

Cookies with Real Lemon

Here’s the thing about lemon desserts: there’s an awful lot of fake lemon involved in them.  I am never one to bash shortcuts (no boxed cake mix scolding on this blog!), but fresh lemon is so easy to find.  Why do so many lemon cookie recipes call for  lemon cake mix or pudding or extract?

For these lemon sugar cookies, it’s nothing but real lemon: freshly squeezed lemon juice and some lemon zest baked right in.  And then an extra little sprinkling of lemon zest on top, because: more lemon.  Yes, please!

closeup picture of a lemon sugar cookie with a sprinkle of lemon zest

Make Ahead Lemon Sugar Cookies

One of the best things about these lemon sugar cookies?  Make them ahead and have them whenever you want!  The dough can be frozen unbaked (I like to roll it into balls first and freeze the balls, then thaw and bake) or the fully baked cookies can be frozen.  Bake a double batch, store some cookies in a freezer-safe bag, and pull one (or many) out whenever the mood strikes.

Homemade cookies whenever you want them?  I’m so in.

These lemon sugar cookies are begging to tag along for your next picnic, potluck, or pool party.  But don’t think these are a summertime only treat – bring a little summer sunshine into your kitchen year round with a fresh batch of lemony cookies!

Love lemon? Don’t miss these other lemon desserts!

Lemon Sugar Cookies: perfectly soft and chewy, these cookies are made with 100% real lemon - no lemon cake mix or pudding. #bunsenburnerbakery #cookies #sugarcookies #lemon

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Bake Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

Perfectly soft and chewy lemon sugar cookies – bake up a delicious batch of summertime, any time of year!


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed. Beat until butter is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg. Add in 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until flour is fully incorporated and no dry streaks remain. Refrigerate dough for 1-2 hours, until chilled.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick mat or parchment paper.
  3. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into round balls. Space 3 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until tops of cookies are slightly puffy and bottoms are just barely starting to brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest. Let the cookies sit on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. Remove frozen cookies from the container to thaw.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 109Total Fat: 4.1gCarbohydrates: 16.6gSugar: 8.5gProtein: 1.3g

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Lemon Sugar Cookies: perfectly soft and chewy, these cookies are made with 100% real lemon - no lemon cake mix or pudding. #bunsenburnerbakery #cookies #sugarcookies #lemon