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Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

The ultimate chewy and Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies made with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. These buttery lemon cookies bake up soft and thick and have plenty of sweet lemon citrus flavor. Now featuring a video.

Lemon Cookies with cream cheese. Classic lemon butter cookies that bake up soft and chewy.

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies are delicious. They are like a little slice of heaven baked into a soft cookie that can be savored. It’s one of my favorite flavors to experiential with and when you try these cookies, you’ll understand why. If you’re a lemon fan, this cookie recipe is for you. If you love soft and chewy cookies, this recipe is for you and finally, if you enjoy simple recipes, this is the one for you!

Icebox cookies are a must in my household. I can bake cupcakes, pies, dessert bars and cake but nothing compares to the cookies we go through here. For years, my cookies turned out flat, crispy and crunchy but after learning to tweak the recipes, I have finally mastered the art of cookie baking.

Soft Lemon Butter Cookies - Thick and chewy lemon cream cheese cookies.

Using Cream Cheese in Lemon Cookie Dough

Adding cream cheese to cookies is nothing new. Many bakers much like myself enjoy cookies that use a mixture of cream cheese and butter. Using real butter adds an incredible amount of flavor to cookies and that is something that remains in this soft dough recipe. Using cream cheese helps to thicken the cookie dough. It results in a more intense soft, chewy and pillowy cookie with the same richness and flavor that many crave.

It’s important to thaw the cream cheese and butter to room temperature before continuing to make the dough.

TIP: To quickly soften, cut butter or cream cheese by the tablespoon and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Be sure that it doesn’t melt, though. Cream together the butter and cream cheese for about a minute or two. This step ensures the dough bakes up thick and soft. Continue mixing on medium speed and slowly add in the sugar, egg and vanilla extract and then return the mixer to beat the dough ingredients.

Cookie dough batter should be light and fluffy. Meanwhile, zest 1-2 lemons and reserve 2-3 tbsp lemon zest then chop the zest. Squeeze fresh lemons and reserve 3 tbsp of lemon juice.

Lemon Cookies bake up thick with cream cheese and real butter. Fresh lemon juice and zest gives it flavor.

Mixing the Cookie Dough

This recipe is adapted from my Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I posted a few weeks ago. The dessert cookies are super easy to make but do require a chill time in the refrigerator so the cream cheese and butter have a chance to become more solid. It also works by allowing the oil in the lemon zest to relax and leads the dough to have more of that lemon flavor.

After 5-7 minutes of beating batter, add half the flour mixture to the batter.  Next, measure and add all of the baking soda, cornstarch, salt, and chopped lemon zest. Pour in lemon juice and continue beating on medium speed. Add the remainder of the flour to the dough and mix.  

TIP: The dough should start to form a ball if mixed right.  If no ball is forming, add a little more flour until ball forms.  If the dough is too dry, add just a little lemon juice.  Next, chill cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 3  hours.

Lemon-Cookies

Cookies Baking Tips

  • CHILL DOUGH: Once the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  
  • PERFECT SIZE COOKIES: Use a cookie scoop to scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons dough. Roll dough between hands to form a nice ball and place on a prepared cookie sheet.
  • BAKING TIP:  Place in the oven and bake for 9-15 minutes. This recipe is incredibly popular and has been made by thousands. While this recipe works for 90 percent of readers, another 10% it appears raw. If the cookies appear raw after baking and undercooked, continue to cook an extra 5-15 minutes. Every oven is different so use your best judgment on this recipe. NOTE that different size cookies will require more or less baking time to cook them.
  • COOKIES WILL CONTINUE TO HARDEN AFTER BAKING: Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely before transferring.  Cookies will harden within a few hours to overnight.  
  • MAKING THE GLAZE: To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and water in a small bowl and whisk until icing is smooth.  Dunk cookies in upside down or drizzle icing over cookies.  Zest extra lemon for the icing if desired.
Chewy Lemon Cookies - A stack of lemon cream cheese cookies with the center of the cookies exposed. Glazed with a white icing.
Text in center reads chewy lemon cream cheese cookies.
Second image is a stack of lemon cookies with pink and white twine wrapped around them.

For more COOKIE RECIPES, try these Lemon Sugar Cookies. Thousands have made this recipe and just love it! Another classic, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. A must for Christmas cookie baking, everyone loves the soft rich texture of these cookies along with classic Snickerdoodles. For an easy summer flavor, these Strawberry Cookies are quick and delicious. For a twist, try these Strawberry Lemonade Cookies. An all-time favorite, these Mexican Wedding Cookies are to die for delicious!

Lemon Cookies with cream cheese. Classic lemon butter cookies that bake up soft and chewy.

Soft Cream Cheese Lemon Cookies

The ultimate chewy and Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies made with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. These buttery lemon cookies bake up soft and thick and have plenty of sweet lemon citrus flavor.
3.62 from 13 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Servings: 25
Calories: 135kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp to 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • cup to 2¾ cup all-purpose flour (if the dough is super soft, add more flour)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Lemon Icing

  • tbsp lemon juice or water (use any extra lemon zest, too)
  • ¾ cup to 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl fit with a paddle attachment of a mixer. Cream together for about 1 minute.
  • Add granulated sugar and continue to mix. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add half the flour, all the baking soda, salt, cornstarch and lemon zest. Add lemon juice and the remaining flour.
  • Mix to combine until the dough starts to form like a ball. Add a little more flour until slight ball starts to form.
  • Cover and refrigerate dough at least 2-3 hours or up to a few days.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheet and spray with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop about 1½ tablespoon cookie dough. Roll cookie dough between hands to get a nice round ball and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 8-15 minutes.
  • TIP: This recipe is incredibly popular and has been made by thousands. While this recipe works for 90 percent of readers, another 10% it appears raw. If the cookies appear raw after baking and undercooked, continue to cook an extra 5-15 minutes. Every oven is different so use your best judgment on this recipe.
  • Removed from oven and while still hot, slightly press down if desired.
  • Allow cookies to cool down completely before transferring. Cookies will slightly harden overnight a little more so don't bake them much longer.
  • To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and water together in a small bowl. Whisk fast until ingredients are combined with no lumps.
  • Dip cookies upside down into icing or drizzle icing over the top and allow to harden.

Video

Nutrition

Calories:135kcal | Carbohydrates:22g | Protein:2g | Fat:5g | Saturated Fat:3g | Cholesterol:19mg | Sodium:84mg | Potassium:21mg | Fiber:1g | Sugar:12g | Vitamin A:153IU | Vitamin C:2mg | Calcium:7mg | Iron:1mg
Irresistible Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies - BEST thick and chewy lemon cookies I've tried and I've tried a lot. These cookies are nice and thick with cream cheese with tastes delicious with sweet citrus lemons in a cookie recipe and in the glaze.
Cream-Cheese-Lemon-Cookies

updated 2021

88 Comments

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Janet
    01/06/2021 at 10:09 pm

    When baking the cookies , do you want them brown around the edges or light brown cookie

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    Candice Ray
    07/25/2021 at 12:39 pm

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! Came out perfectly. We baked ours 10 min, bottoms were just starting to brown and the centers were tender. We glazed using the lemon juice and sugar and topped with zest.

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Asha
    08/29/2021 at 4:10 pm

    These cookies were a hit but they did not look like the picture or super chewy in the middle.

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Shauna Wagner
    10/27/2021 at 4:01 pm

    4 stars
    Love lemon! These turned out perfect! The freshly squeezed lemon juice along with zest (I went with 3 tbsp for full lemon flavor) gave it the lemon tang combined with melt in the mouth buttery goodness. Thank you for sharing!

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Nancy Shackelford
    11/28/2021 at 5:22 pm

    You can use a wire whisk in place of mixer for the butter and cream cheese. Whisk until fluffy.

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    Liz
    12/02/2021 at 6:13 am

    When you say paddle attachment do you mean the dough hook to mix everything?

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Andrea
    12/11/2021 at 9:10 am

    4 stars
    These turn out well. I just thought they would spread more in baking. I actually had to press them down a bit. I ended up making a cream cheese lemon icing which was yummy! I would definitely add more lemon next time. I like a strong lemon flavor.

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    Rosemari
    12/16/2021 at 9:03 pm

    5 stars
    amazing recipe! thanks for sharing

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Gretchen
    12/18/2021 at 7:18 pm

    3 stars
    They taste fine but do not look like the photos at all! I was expecting them to be creamy but they were cake like.

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    Brooke
    12/20/2021 at 9:06 pm

    2 stars
    We didn’t love these. We did get them to look like the photo but overall I found them to be pretty bland. The glaze jazzed them up a bit. But I’d still say they look much better than they taste. I’d likely try a lemon shortbread cookie for a richer more complex taste next time.

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    Amy Smith
    12/22/2021 at 11:15 am

    I had these at a recent party and I would describe them as a soft shortbread with lemon icing. Has anyone tried this recipe with Vegan Cream Cheese product (like Toffuti) ? Dairy intolerant person in our family, but loves lemon.

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    Sonia Kaser
    02/06/2022 at 6:43 am

    4 stars
    The cookies taste great, the glaze makes the cookies! The helpful hints of room temp butter and cream cheeses and blending them. But the photo is VERY deceiving, they are not yellow in the middle. You should change your photo.

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    Jordyn
    03/04/2022 at 7:51 pm

    Hey! Do you think the dough is freezable to thaw later and bake?

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    Angela
    03/06/2022 at 1:59 am

    Has anyone tried this without egg using a substitute (flax, chia, etc)?

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    sherri
    07/07/2022 at 11:10 am

    2 stars
    I didn’t find these very lemony. I would definitely suggest adding way more lemon zest. These didn’t look like the pictures and weren’t that ‘soft’ or had that ‘cream cheese’ creamy texture.
    Perhaps a cream cheese icing with lots of zest would make the less than memorable cookie way more tasty.

    Sorry for less than stellar comments, but thought I’d add my experience.

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    Suzanne
    07/12/2022 at 9:45 pm

    This looks so good! Can I make with other flavorings?

    • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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      Swankyrecipes
      07/14/2022 at 1:53 pm

      Sure! Be sure to replace the lemon juice with water or milk on in the cookie recipe. Use flavorings like cherry, almond, chocolate, raspberry, or red velvet. Or try making them with other citrus juices like orange, lime, or grapefruit.

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    Suzanne
    07/12/2022 at 9:46 pm

    This looks so good! Can I make with other flavors?

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    Vanessa
    07/12/2022 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    Vanessa
    07/12/2022 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing! How far ahead of time can I make it?

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    Kathy Austin
    08/09/2022 at 1:32 pm

    Can you substitute almond flour?

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