These soft iced lemon cookies have lemon juice and lemon zest stirred in to the cookie dough, making these a hit with everyone. Drizzle a fresh lemon glaze over them for an extra punch of citrus and sweetness. This lemon cookie recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes!
I’m so excited to share a brand new recipe that is a sneak peak to my upcoming cookbook, Dessert Cookbook For Beginners, that is now available for pre-order and I’m so excited about this one. Iced lemon cookies friend!! I also shared with you, in case you missed it, these carrot walnut cupcakes with a whipped cream cheese frosting and this sour cream cinnamon coffee cake recipe. Both are so wonderfully easy for a beginner baker to try out.
But back to these this lemon cookie recipe…
When I was younger I used to skip past the lemon desserts on the table, but now they are the first thing I gravitate towards. What is that? Age? Sophistication? Wisdom? Let’s go with the last two – I’m more sophisticated and wiser.
And these glazed lemon cookies were definitely a wise choice when I was creating new recipes for the book. A soft lemon sugar cookie that has a sweet lemon icing on top? Yes please. And if you’ve made any kind of drop sugar cookie too, then you are going to master these easy lemon cookies in no time.
Basically you start by making a lemon sugar cookie dough (there’s lemon zest and lemon juice in the dough!) and then dip them in the lemon icing after they bake. The lemon cookies bake up thick, soft, and slightly chewy. Irrestible basically.
The soft lemon cookies aren’t overly lemony, but once you dip them in the icing the lemon really shines through…so don’t skip the glaze! Yes these are the BEST lemon cookies in the world if I do say so myself.
Why You Will Love This Lemon Cookie Recipe
- Simple To Make – This lemon cookie dough is super simple, it takes about 15 minutes to mix. And the icing is just a few simple ingredients.
- Perfect For Summer – This cookie screams summer! This cookie is perfect to bring to all your summer get togethers.
- Lots Of Lemon Flavor – The cookie dough and icing is made with real lemon juice and lemon zest.
Here is what you are going to need:
- Flour -This recipes calls for regular all-purpose flour so they have the perfect texture and chewiness factor. Make sure to measure your flour properly by spooning it into your cup and leveling it off. Do not pack it down.
- Baking Powder
- Egg Yolk
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon Zest
- Unsalted Butter – I used unsalted butter, but I’m sure salted butter would work but you would want to reduce the salt then in the recipe as I would think it would make it too salty and not let the lemon shine through. And make sure you’re using real butter – not butter that is in a tub, or margarine as it will affect the flavor and results of the cookie texture in the end.
How To Make Iced Lemon Cookies
You want to start by combining your dry ingredients together. For this, I simply just whisk together in a medium bowl, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then just set aside.
Heather’s Baking Tip
Make sure you measure your flour correctly otherwise you may end up with a very dry, cakey cookie that doesn’t spread at all. I recommend measuring by weight but if measuring by volume then stir your flour first. Then spoon the flour into your cup and level it off. Do not pack it down or you will end up with up 25% more flour.
Then you want to use cream your butter and sugar together. Make sure you butter is properly softened to room temperature so it can be easily creamed with the sugar.
I use my stand mixer or my hand mixer for this step. If you use your hand mixer it will take a bit longer. You want the mixture to be light and fluffy, so cream for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high speed.
What Is The Creaming Method?
The creaming method involves beating together the fat (usually butter, but also could be margarine or shortening) with the sugar called for the in the recipe. By using softened butter, the sugar is able to basically punch holes into the butter creating air pockets. The air pockets will fill with bubbles from the leavening agent and expand in the oven. This will help your baked goods rise in the oven.
Having properly softened butter (or other fat) is important with the creaming method step so that the sugar can properly aerate the butter. If your butter is too cold the sugar will not be able to properly aerate the butter mixture. Your cakes will end up denser and not as tall and fluffy.
You can read more here about the creaming method!
Then add your room temperature egg and beat to combine. Make sure it’s room temperature so it blends easily into the butter/sugar mixture. If it’s cold it will cause your butter to seize up and your dough to break or become curdled looking.
Next, stir in the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. And beat to combine. Make sure you scrape down bowl as needed to make sure there aren’t pockets of unincorporated ingredients as you go.
Then stir in the flour mixture, and mix at low to medium speed just until no flour streaks remain. You don’t want to overmix at this point or it will cause your cookies to become too chewy and tough.
I like to use a cookie scoop, or tablespoon to portion into about 1 ½ inch balls. I like to roll them into a smooth ball so they bake up with perfectly round edges. Then place on prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them, so they have room to spread.
You will bake these for about 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are set and bottoms will be lightly golden brown. The tops will be soft but set.
Every oven is different so make sure to look for lightly golden brown edges and a center that is still slightly soft looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.
Make The Lemon Cookie Icing
Here is what you need to grab to make your lemon icing – vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Once the lemon cookies have cooled, go ahead and make your lemon icing. This icing is so simple to make and adds that extra punch of lemon flavor to this lemon cookie recipe.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, milk, and powdered sugar and whisk until it’s smooth. If you are finding the icing is too thick add a touch more liquid to thin it our. Or if it’s too thin, add a a little more powdered sugar.
You can ice these lemon cookies with an offset spatula or simply give them a dunk into your icing which is my preferred method, letting the excess drip off.
Heather’s Baking Tips
- Measure Your Flour Correctly. Too much flour will result in a crumbly cookie dough and a tough, cakey, crumbly cookie. I recommend measuring by weight for best accuracy, but if you’re measuring by volume (aka measuring cups) then measure by stirring your flour first, then spooning it into your cup and leveling it off. Do not pack it down into the cup which can pack too much flour into it.
- Use a cookie scoop for accuracy. You can portion out with a measuring spoon but for even scooping and cookies I recommend using a cookie scoop.
- Make sure your eggs and butter are at room temperature. You need them to both be room temperature so they blend easily into the batter and incorporate air properly so you cookies don’t end up as flat puddles. Take them out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to bake with them.
Keep stored at room temperature, covered for up to 5 days.
You can freeze the cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.
Yes you can make the dough up to 2 days ahead of time, and keep covered in the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for several minutes before scooping.
This probably means you added too much flour to the dough. Over-measuring is easy to do! Be sure to fluff up your flour first, then spoon into your cup and level it off. Do not pack it down. Or use a scale and weigh your flour for 100% accuracy.
More Recipes To Try
If you loved this iced lemon cookie recipe, here are more recipes I think you might like:
Iced Lemon Cookies
For The Cookies:
- 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg room temperature
For The Icing:
- 2 cups (228 g) confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat and prepare cooking sheets. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookies with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Whisk dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add remaining wet ingredients. Add egg and beat to combine. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Scrape down bowl as needed.
- Add dry ingredients. Add flour mixture, and mix at low to medium speed just until no flour streaks remain.
- Scoop cookie dough. Using a cookie scoop, or tablespoon to portion into 1 ½ inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them.
- Bake and cool the cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The edges will look done, but the center will still look slightly soft. Remove from the oven and cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling completely.
- Make icing. In a small mixing bowl, combine icing ingredients. With an offset spatula, ice the top of each cookie.
- Make ahead/Storage: You can make the dough up to 2 days ahead of time, and keep covered in the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for several minutes before scooping. Keep stored at room temperature, covered for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: You can freeze the cookies for up to 3 months in an airtight container. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying.