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

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.
3.65 from 14 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

90 Comments

  • Avatar for Swankyrecipes
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    flourbouquet
    12/10/2022 at 1:11 am

    4 stars
    I doubled the recipe (love that easy feature on the website) and brought these to an event, and they were a hit. I used fresh meyer lemons I picked off my tree minutes before using them. Even with that supreme lemon quality, the flavor was still mild. Meyer lemons do lack the “punch” of regular lemons, so perhaps regular lemons would be better here. Next time I would consider adding a drop or two of lemon extract. The cream cheese adds a barely perceptable tang – I suspect it works most in the texture dept rather than flavor. I baked a scant 8 minutes using convection at 350 and the bake on it was perfect. I did lightly smash with a glass and definitely would do that again. I used lemon juice for the icing, and drizzled instead of dunking and also preferred that since I felt like the cookies were sweet enough already. The final texture was so nice – the tiniest thinnest crispy layer on the outside, the dry tangy icing, and the crumbly soft interior. An addicting quality for sure. The cookies got gobbled up and I got many compliments. Thanks for the recipe!

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