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Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

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

The ultimate soft and chewy cream cheese lemon cookie made with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. These cookies bake up soft and thick and have plenty of sweet lemon citrus flavor.

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 tablespoons lemon zest then chop the zest.  Squeeze fresh lemons and reserve 3 tablespoons 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 refrigerate 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

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.

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.

Glazed Cream Cheese Lemon Cookies

The ultimate soft and chewy lemon butter cookies with cream cheese with a VIDEO. Fresh lemon juice and zest make these cookies sinfully flavorful and delicious. These cookies bake up thick and feature a quick lemon glaze.
5 from 1 vote
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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
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52 Comments

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Stacey
    05/30/2016 at 1:23 pm

    I love EVERYTHING lemon and I’m excited to make…well EAT…them! But, I don’t have a stand mixer. I REALLY wish that recipies that do use them would give alternate (hand mixer) directions. I can’t imagine holding a hand mixer for 7 min. As in your recipe but I will if necessary!
    But I assume the directions might vary from hand to stand. Can u help.. I DESPERATELY want to make these cookies!!!

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      06/01/2016 at 3:00 pm

      Hi Stacey, you could try mixing them for less time

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Stephanie
    07/17/2016 at 4:59 pm

    Delicious! Can I make ahead and freeze either the unbaked dough balls or the baked cookies?

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      07/19/2016 at 10:41 pm

      yes to both, just allow to slightly thaw before baking.

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      07/19/2016 at 10:41 pm

      yes to both, just allow to slightly thaw before baking.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Rachel
    08/30/2016 at 3:54 pm

    Made these today with my daughter, delicious! Will definitely make again. Thanks!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Daria
    10/19/2016 at 2:26 am

    I made these with Grapefruit zest in the dough and i made the glaze with Grapefruit juice instead of water! ❤️

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Anisa
    10/25/2016 at 1:57 am

    Hey, your cookies looks incredible!! Gonna try them.. Could you please tell me what temperature to bake them ? 160 or 180 degree Celsius? Thanks !

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      10/28/2016 at 2:17 pm

      I believe around 175 degrees C. Let me know how they turn out!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Ana
    12/28/2016 at 5:24 am

    Jessica,
    I followed all your instructions, but they dont come out as pretty as yours. The middle isnt like yours. ):
    There is some special trick?

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      01/06/2017 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Ana, can you tell me a little more about it? How did the middle turn out? Was it soft or too hard?

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Anna
    02/02/2017 at 10:08 pm

    These look delicious! Would you recommend storing them in the refrigerator or is a counter top fine? Thanks! 🙂

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      02/12/2017 at 11:47 pm

      While I never had any issues with leaving them on the counter top, I’d suggest the refrigerator.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Kate
    12/23/2017 at 11:35 pm

    I’m making these cookies but I’m confused on the amount of flour? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      12/24/2017 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Kate, use 2 1/2 cups to 2 3/4 cup. Start with 2 + 1/2 cups flour and if it’s too sticky, add another 1/4 cup flour. Hope that helps.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Hiromi
    01/04/2018 at 12:39 am

    4 stars
    Tastes great, but it’s more like scones… Not chewy at all. Maybe I added too much flour? Or maybe because I cut sugar in half?

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      01/08/2018 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Hiromi, it sounds like too much flour and possibly baking it too long. Hope that helps. Sugar amount should not alter it besides taste.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Leslie
    05/28/2018 at 8:12 pm

    Yum! Pinned, my boyfriend and I are going to love these.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Carme
    07/18/2018 at 9:14 pm

    1 star
    There is nothing to active the baking soda. I don’t get this, the science of baking is not applied, its not correct, logical or scientifically accurate. Its easy to learn the basics of baking science and apply it it, instead of just writing up anything and posting it.

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Carmen
      07/18/2018 at 9:17 pm

      5 stars
      My mistake! The lemon should activate it

    • Avatar for Jessica Knott
      Reply
      Jessica Knott
      07/19/2018 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Carme, I will go ahead and publish this comment as suggested because we all make mistakes when it comes to baking. Lemon juice IS acidic and for baking soda to work, it requires an acid, which perhaps you missed. Baking soda reacts to an acid, such as the lemon juice used in this recipe. It creates gas bubbles that enlarge the cookie batter bubbles. The result is more rise to these LEMON cookies. A simple test to display this science is to combine baking soda and lemon juice. It makes a great bubbly scrub in the kitchen to clean pots and pans. Hope that helps!

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Kara
    11/14/2018 at 7:56 am

    2 stars
    Followed directions. Didn’t taste lemon. Very chewy. Felt raw in texture at the 10 min mark at 375. Will tweak

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Michelle Hart
    02/04/2019 at 6:25 am

    3 stars
    I also followed the directions and didn’t really like them. I felt like they didn’t really bake and they were not lemony enough. For the icing, I ended up adding lemon zest and using lemon juice instead of water.

  • Avatar for Jessica Knott
    Reply
    Bree
    04/14/2020 at 10:51 am

    5 stars
    The kids and I made the dough to these scrumptious-lemony-delights yesterday and baked them this morning …. They are delish! I didn’t quite have enough lemon zest to do 3 Tbsp in the dough so I just went with the 2 and then did the lemon juice instead of water in the frosting and they were perfect for our taste. These cookies will definitely go in our recipe stock pile!

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