Best of Swanky Recipes/ Cookies/ Desserts

Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies

The BEST soft and chewy Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies with icing. You’ll want to bake these lemon citrus cookies this summer. Each bite is delicately crisp on the outside, soft, chewy, and cakelike inside. This recipe uses real citrus lemon and does not contain any lemon extract.

Lemon Sugar Cookies - Lemon cookies in a stack of 4 with icing dripping and tied in pink and white twine. Displayed on beige burlap.

Lemon desserts and sugar cookies are my two favorite types of desserts. This luscious cookie is packed with plenty of lemon flavor. Made from scratch, this quick and easy cookie is one of my most requested summer recipes. These cookies taste nice with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream toppings.

If you are looking for a way to make the most out of your lemons this season, use fresh lemon juice in place of extract flavors. By doing this, the cookies will have a subtle floral flavor instead of tasting like regular sugar cookies with any artificial flavor. Along with the tart flavor, we also add lemon zest for texture and citrus notes.

I use fresh lemon juice and zest instead of extracts in my recipe. The cookies are very soft and moist. The technique I use is to roll the drop dough and bake it at 350°F for about 9-11 minutes or just until the edges turn brown. I recommend greasing a baking sheet or using a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to prevent spreading.

Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies - Lemon Sugar cookies served on a plate in a stack with icing dripping.

I list two ways to make these cookies. I have a homemade version that uses fresh ingredients like fresh lemons, and butter and I have an easier version to make a quick lemon cookie recipe. I prefer the homemade version because fresh lemons are amazing, but I’ve also made the cake mix cookie version when I just didn’t have all the ingredients and was short on time.

Lemon Cookie Ingredients

☑ LEMON: I used fresh lemon juice and zest instead of extracts to get the best flavor.

BUTTER: Adds flavor and moisture which results in a cookie chewy. Use room temperature butter.

SUGAR: I use granulated sugar in my sugar cookie recipes. Using this sugar also helps sweeten the lemon juice so it’s not tart.

FLOUR: All-purpose flour.

EGG: Helps bind the ingredients. Use room temperature eggs. This will result in even cookies that cook at the same temperature.

How to Make Lemon Sugar Cookies

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in the dry ingredients such as the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Roll 1-inch balls of cookie dough from a cookie scoop or about 1 tablespoon of dough.
  4. Bake in 350°F oven for 9-11 minutes.
  5. Mix together water and powdered sugar. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies using a spoon.
Lemon Cookies - Lemon sugar cookies in a stack of 3 on a plate with burlap and icing dripping from them.

Easier Lemon Cookies – Made with a Cake Mix

Looking to make these luscious lemon cookies but don’t have the time or all of the ingredients? These Lemon Sugar Cookies can be made an alternative way and come out just as good and mix up in half the time. Using pre-made boxed cake mix is a super simple way to bake desserts ranging from this Peach Cobbler Delight to this Strawberry Shortcake Muddy Buddy recipe. A box of lemon cake mix from your grocery store will yield delicious lemon sugar cookies in just a few easy steps.

Ingredients

  • Lemon Cake Mix, I like Pillsbury
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg then place all of the ingredients together.  
  3. Using a spoon, fold ingredients together until dough forms and everything is well incorporated.  
  4. Grease a cookie sheet and form 1 inch round balls and flatten slightly.
  5. In a small bowl, roll the top of the cookie in powdered sugar.
  6. Bake for 5-6 minutes, don’t allow to turn golden brown.
  7. Mix glaze together and drizzle over cooled cookies.
Lemon Cookies - Worlds BEST chewy sugar cookies with real lemon. From scratch lemon cookie recipe and an easy cake mix cookie version. Lemon cookies in a stack with icing dripping from them.

For more cookie recipes, try my Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies. These cookies bake up thick and chewy, with just the right about of lemon notes, and remind me of bakery-style cookies.

The ultimate soft and chewy lemon cookies are great for any occasion. You are not done with summer until you have baked a batch of these decadent and cheerful sunshine cookies. Simply add poppy seeds for extra flavor and texture.

Storing Cookies

Do the cookies freeze well?

Yes. To freeze, first allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack. Next stack them with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the cookies. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag with any air removed for up to 3-6 months.

Can I freeze the dough?

The dough freezes well in the freezer. Simply roll the dough into a log, wrap it in plastic wrap then store in an airtight zip lock bag with air removed. The cookie dough should be used within 6-12 months.

How do I store them?

Cookies will store well for 4-5 days. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. To keep them soft, store a slice of bread in the bag as well.

Which recipe tastes better? The homemade lemon cookie recipe or the store bought and doctored up cookie dough version?

Of course, the homemade version. However, the boxed version is great for last minute cravings and parties.

I really like lemon. Can I use lemon juice instead of water in the icing recipe?

Yep. A lot of commenters and even myself have tried it and do enjoy it. To try something new, try using a a teaspoon of fresh orange juice from oranges or lime juice in place of water.

How do I make cookies that don’t spread?

These cookies shouldn’t spread much. However, use a silicone baking mat to have perfectly uniform cookies.

I can't tell you how many times hosts have thanked me for bringing a different cookie flavor. That's right, we've all looked at cookie platters and sampled a few bites of cookies before vowing that we're done with them for the season. This year, intrigue those around you. Bake a batch of these Lemon Sugar Cookies. Lemon desserts are a thing. Especially during the party packed celebration season.

Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies

The BEST soft and chewy Glazed Lemon Sugar Cookies with icing. You'll want to bake these lemon citrus cookies this summer. Each bite is delicately crisp on the outside, soft, chewy, and cakelike inside.
4.41 from 5 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cake mix cookies, lemon sugar cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 122kcal

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

For the Glaze

  • tbsp water
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  • Beat in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  • Slowly stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir well to combine.
  • Roll dough into 1-inch cookie balls.
  • Roll dough in powdered sugar.
  • Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes, or until center is set and crackly.
    After a couple minutes, remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
  • Mix powdered sugar and water until smooth. Drizzle over cookie with a spoon. TIP: Mix in an additional ¼ cup powdered sugar for a thicker glaze.

Notes

EASY LEMON SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE USING LEMON CAKE MIX
An easy alternative to making lemon sugar cookies in half the time using boxed cake mix.
Ingredients
  • Lemon Cake Mix, I like Pillsbury
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  
  2. In a medium bowl, place all of the ingredients together.  
  3. Using a spoon, fold ingredients together until dough forms and everything is well incorporated.  
  4. Grease a cookie sheet and form 1 inch round balls and flatten slightly.
  5. In a small bowl, roll the top of the cookie in powdered sugar.
  6. Bake for 5-6 minutes, don’t allow to turn golden brown.
  7. Mix glaze together and drizzle over cooled cookies.

Nutrition

Calories:122kcal | Carbohydrates:21g | Protein:1g | Fat:4g | Saturated Fat:2g | Trans Fat:1g | Cholesterol:17mg | Sodium:68mg | Potassium:19mg | Fiber:1g | Sugar:14g | Vitamin A:128IU | Vitamin C:1mg | Calcium:6mg | Iron:1mg

updated 3/2022

87 Comments

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
    Reply
    Ginnie
    09/08/2014 at 11:21 am

    These sounds so good to me right now:) Thanks for sharing!

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    Trisha @ Home Sweet Homemade
    09/10/2014 at 12:30 pm

    Hi! Found you on Whatever Goes Wednesday blog hop! Nice blog!

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    Diana Rambles
    09/11/2014 at 1:04 pm

    WOW! I can tell these melt in your mouth! YUM!

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      09/22/2014 at 11:16 am

      Yessss, they melt in the mouth. I love that about lemon cookies. Thanks for stopping by.

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    Erin @ The Speckled Palate
    09/11/2014 at 6:36 pm

    These gorgeous lemon cookies *almost* make me want to wish summer would stick around so we can continue enjoying the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables… but I bet these cookies would be delicious ANY time of year if you could get your hands on a lemon to zest!

    Also, this was one of my favorite links from last week’s #thatsfreshfriday link-up! I’m sharing it on my blog tonight, along with other favorites, and I hope to see you back at the party this week! Keep up the good work!

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      09/11/2014 at 9:58 pm

      I’m very honored to be featured on That’s Fresh Friday, thank you! Have a good weekend, Erin

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    Suzanne
    09/13/2014 at 9:36 am

    Your cookies look so tempting! Thanks for linking up to Saturday Sparks. You have been featured.
    Have a Great Day,
    Suzanne
    Pieced Pastimes

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      Jessica Knott
      09/13/2014 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the feature, have a good weekend!

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    LAURA
    09/15/2014 at 7:35 am

    hi Jessica- these look great! This is a Tickle My Tastebuds feature tomorrow at http://imnotatrophywife.com. Thanks for linking up and would love a social media shout out tomorrow to help grow this party! Hope to see you again! Your photos are amazing and the “models” are perfect!!! laura

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      Jessica Knott
      09/22/2014 at 11:29 am

      I added you to the link party list and will give a shout out on twitter tomorrow, thanks!

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    LAURA
    09/15/2014 at 7:39 am

    hi Jessica
    PS: Who designed your social media buttons at the bottom of your post and your categories shaded in gray? Love those! laura

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    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness
    09/19/2014 at 9:10 am

    I LOVE these! Thanks for linking up with Show Stopper Saturday! Pinned!

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    Karly
    09/21/2014 at 10:17 am

    Totally craving these now! Thanks for linking up with What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      09/22/2014 at 11:30 am

      Thanks, Karly 🙂

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        Judy
        08/13/2015 at 9:26 pm

        How far in advance can you make these cookies… and how would you store them?

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          Jessica Knott
          02/15/2016 at 11:59 pm

          Just getting this message now, sorry! Yes, go ahead and make in advance and they store well in an air tight container for about 5-7 days. The dough can be made ahead of time and put in teh freezer until ready to use.

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    Nancy
    10/08/2014 at 7:43 pm

    I just made the lemon cookies from scratch. Oh my gosh are they yummy. I love lemon anything. Because I love lemon I substituted the water in the glaze with lemon juice and also added extra lemon zest to the cookie. I will make them again and passing on the recipe to a friend who loves lemon as much as I do. Thank you for sharing your recipe,

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      Daphne
      10/11/2014 at 3:42 am

      Hi Nancy,
      This recipe is pretty much identical to the lemon cookies on the Duncan Hines website. I use DH Lemon Supreme and like you, I add zest of a WHOLE lemon along with 1 tsp lemon extract. Oh my word, crisp bite, slight chew and the sweetness and tartness are perfection! Give a try, they won’t disappoint! 🙂

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    Marisa
    10/11/2014 at 6:37 pm

    How do these freeze?

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      Jessica Knott
      10/12/2014 at 6:05 pm

      Hi Marisa, I haven’t tried, but it should freeze just fine. I’d wrap them in plastic/cling wrap a few times, then place in a ziploc bag. Thanks!

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    Renee @ Awesome on $20
    10/19/2014 at 9:47 pm

    Wow, these look simple and packed with flavor.

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      10/20/2014 at 11:24 pm

      Thanks, Renee. They are one of my favorite cookies!

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    anna
    11/29/2014 at 12:13 pm

    5 stars
    If I triple this recipe should I triple each ingredient. They look delishes

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    kim
    12/03/2014 at 10:02 am

    3 stars
    I have to say, I “cheated” ,and made the box recipe first. I didn’t like at all, and neither did my family. So I decided to make from scratch. So much better! Actually delicious. The box cake recipe has such a fake lemon taste. It is nasty! And a fake yellow color too. Two very important reasons why I say, don’t waste time, or money with the box cake recipe.

    I give this recipe 3 stars, and say omit the box cake recipe altogether…which would haven you 5 shining stars!!!!! Happy Holidays!!!!

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    Alison Johnson
    12/15/2014 at 9:24 am

    Do you know if they will turn out the same way if a butter substitute is used, like Smart balance Olive Oil spread?

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      Jessica Knott
      12/20/2014 at 2:03 pm

      I have not tried, but it should be fine. If the olive oil butter is has more liquid than reg. butter maybe try adding a little extra flour. Let me know how it goes!

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    Michelle
    03/08/2015 at 9:12 pm

    These are delicious and I even used lemons from our own backyard. Thank you for the recipe!

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    Anonymous
    06/03/2015 at 11:32 pm

    Wow, this post is good.

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      donna
      06/04/2015 at 4:46 pm

      5 stars
      These are the best lemon cookies I have ever tasted and I have been around long enough to know when I have found a winner and this is it baby. I am on my second batch. I finishedt the first batch 2 day ago and I was having withdrawals, so welcome again to my tummy.

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    Kendra
    10/06/2015 at 7:23 pm

    4 stars
    Made these last night. Added a ton of extra lemon zest. The texture of the cookie was perfect, but I found them a bit too sweet. If I make them again, I would halve the amount of sugar.

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    Becca
    10/25/2015 at 10:51 pm

    5 stars
    Made the Glazed Lemon Sugar cookies today and they were fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!!!

    Becca

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    Cathleen
    12/13/2015 at 9:46 pm

    What type of butter is used, salted OR unsalted?

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      Jessica Knott
      12/13/2015 at 10:55 pm

      Hi Cathleen, unsalted butter for the recipe

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        Christine
        12/16/2016 at 10:44 pm

        The recipe just states “butter”

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          Reply
          Jessica Knott
          12/17/2016 at 7:14 pm

          Hi Christine, I’ve updated it to include that it should be softened. It doesn’t really matter if it’s unsalted or not. However, I prefer unsalted. Hope that helps!

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