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
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    Jennifer
    12/21/2015 at 9:28 am

    5 stars
    These are so yummy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      01/16/2016 at 5:47 pm

      We make them all the time. It’s def a delicious cookie, thanks Jennifer!

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Melanie
    12/21/2015 at 10:51 am

    These look delicious! How should the cookies be stored? Is room temperature ok?

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      12/21/2015 at 5:26 pm

      Room temperature is fine. I’d place them in an air tight container for up to 5 days for the best flavor. They also freeze well, too, if needed!

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      01/16/2016 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Melanie, room temp is good. Store them in an air tight container to prevent them from getting stale or in a bag.

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Hannah
    01/17/2016 at 12:19 am

    Yum! These lemon sugar cookies look delish! I’m always looking for another awesome cookie recipe

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    Rose Sahetapy
    01/17/2016 at 2:16 pm

    This looks yum and cute. It’s easy to make, and with the lemon taste, nothing can go wrong.

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    maria @ close to home
    01/17/2016 at 3:03 pm

    I just love the flavor of citrus in the winter time.

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    laura londergan
    01/18/2016 at 12:28 am

    these look so amazing! I will have to make these soon as we love lemon anything lemon in this house! 😉

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Eileen
    01/18/2016 at 2:14 am

    5 stars
    These are so delicious! I make a similiar recipe with yogurt instead of the oil and they are fantatic. Thank you for the recipe

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    jill conyers
    01/18/2016 at 7:28 am

    My husband loves lemon. Maybe I’ll surprise him.

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Eva /Kid Minds
    01/18/2016 at 9:02 am

    My favorite cookies are actually lemon cookies. We have a family recipe that is very popular. When I bring my lemon cookies to parties, they are gone in a flash. I think the secret is lots of lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

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    Heather
    01/18/2016 at 6:32 pm

    Oh my gosh! These look to die for! When I was little, there was a bakery that made cookies similar to these, and I loved them. I will have to try my hand at making them.

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    CourtneyLynne
    01/18/2016 at 8:04 pm

    Omg these cookies sound amazing!!! Definitely giving this a pin to try myself. Yummy!

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    MaryJane
    01/26/2016 at 12:02 pm

    5 stars
    These cookies are absolutely delicious. I’m making another batch right now because the other batch were gobbled up last week. I added lemon extract instead of vanilla into the batter and added lime juice into the glaze instead of lemon juice. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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    JoAnna
    02/01/2016 at 9:28 pm

    I love these cookies! Just made the from-scratch version tonight. Great fresh lemon flavor, and soft chewy cookies. I used lemon juice and water for the glaze, but otherwise didn’t change a thing. So glad I found this recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      02/15/2016 at 11:48 pm

      They are one of my favorites, thanks, JoAnna. Glad you liked them!

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    Tiffany
    02/05/2016 at 12:29 am

    5 stars
    I found this recipe on Pinterest when I was looking for something to bake. I bake so much when I’m pregnant and nesting. Anyways, I loved this recipe and so did everyone that tasted them. The few things that I changed was that I used a whole lemons zest, I doubled the lemon juice, and I made a lemon icing. I was really craving something very lemony and these hit just the spot. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      02/15/2016 at 11:46 pm

      Thanks, Tiffany. Yes a lot of people love using the lemon in the icing but I love it without. Glad it liked it!

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    Natalie
    05/03/2016 at 5:04 pm

    5 stars
    Lemon taste is awesome for Cookies. Thank you

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Emily
    12/03/2016 at 4:20 am

    these look delicious – i love lemon! question though…the recipe states that it makes 2. that can’t be right – is it??

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      12/03/2016 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Emily, it makes about 24 or 2 dozen. I’ve updated the recipe. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

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    Laurel
    12/17/2016 at 2:21 pm

    I made the from scratch recipe and love the taste of the dough and the cookie, but they spread out way more than yours look and did not keep a crinkle. They are also crumbly? I chilled the dough for pans 3 and 4 ( 9 small cookies to a pan) Same result. They do not look at all like your picture-are those from the box cake recipe? Wondering if I should try again as a pretty treat for my Mom or not waste the ingredients.??

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Jessica Knott
      12/17/2016 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Laurel, Id keep what you have as they are pretty good. If you want cookies like the photo, try the boxed mix, although If the taste is alright with the first batch, I usually get the best review of those cookies.

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    Christine
    12/20/2016 at 10:23 pm

    Should the cookies be a little brown on the bottom or not brown at all?

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    Julia Kruz
    07/13/2017 at 12:38 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Jessica! All your recipes look super. The first thing I cook for my husband from your list will be Snickers Cookies. On your pictures it looks amazing. Hope I will do same! Thanks for sharing!

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    Tara
    12/16/2017 at 1:36 pm

    1 star
    For the cake mix version, 5-6 minutes is NOT ENOUGH! Ugh I hate wasting time and I effort on recipes like this. Fail.

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