Lemon Sugar Cookies

03.18.2013

lemon sugar cookies

I think I could make about 100 flavors of sugar cookies. They have always been one of my favorites and they really are quite versatile. I was hesitant to post this recipe because if I ever open a bakery in the future I want these lemon sugar cookies to be there. And now everyone will already have the recipe =). They are too good not to share. I adapted the recipe for these from my favorite Frosted Sugar Cookie recipe. I felt I finally found my idea of the perfect sugar cookie so now I can use it as the base to make other exciting flavors such as these.

These amazingly soft, frosted sugar cookies are bursting with fresh lemon flavor. They may transport you to summer for just a moment, even in the middle of a cold winters day. Lemon was never one of my favorite flavors growing up but it seems to be the older I get the more I love it. It adds a vibrant and lightly tart flavor, and it balances out the sweetness in many desserts, such as these. Don’t let too many days go by without making these cookies, these thick and fluffy Lemon Sugar Cookies should be on your must try asap list =). Enjoy!

lemon sugar cookies7

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 large lemon (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Lemon Frosting
  • 1/3 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 - 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • yellow food coloring or yellow sprinkles, optional

Directions

  • In a bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and whisk for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip together butter, shortening, sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, occasionally scrapping down the sides of the bowl. Add in egg and mix until combine, then add egg white, lemon extract and vanilla extract and mix until combine. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combine. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.
  • Scoop dough out an even 1/4 cup at a time and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour, then using something flat and smooth (such as the storage container lid), press and evenly flatten dough to 1/2" thick (so you should have about a 2 2/3" - 2 3/4 " circular cookie). Transfer flattened dough to a Silpat lined cookie sheet (fitting 6 cookies per cookie sheet) and repeat process with remaining dough. Bake in preheated oven 9 - 11 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Lemon Frosting.
  • For the lemon frosting:
  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Mix in food coloring if desired or sprinkle cookies with yellow sprinkles.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/03/lemon-sugar-cookies/

102 comments

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: I remember your sugar cookie post so very well & you talking about all the trials and tribulations to get it to where you wanted it and now as you said, voila, you can make versions like these! Love lemon! March 18, 2013 at 11:16pm Reply

  • Patricia @ ButterYum: Well you certainly have me hooked – these sound truly wonderful. March 19, 2013 at 5:11am Reply

  • Anikka: in the frosting ingredients, how much fresh lemon juice is needed? 2 1/2-3 ____ fresh lemon juice?? March 19, 2013 at 11:31am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so sorry! Added just now! It’s Tbsp. March 19, 2013 at 3:44pm Reply

  • Kathy: I just have a question on the amount of lemon juice…you don’t specifiy tsp or Tablespoons. March 19, 2013 at 1:19pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s Tbsp sorry about that, thanks for catching that and asking about it =)! March 19, 2013 at 3:43pm Reply

  • Taylor: These look amazing! In the recipe for the frosting, it says “2 1/2 – 3 fresh lemon juice.” But 2 1/2-3 what of fresh lemon juice? I’m dying to make these!!! March 19, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry it’s Tbsp, hope you enjoy!! March 19, 2013 at 3:43pm Reply

  • humi: Can i substitute cake flour with all purpose flour.where I live cake flour is not easily available March 20, 2013 at 4:52am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Humi – you can make your own cake flour (I prefer not to do this because the results aren’t the exact same but if you can’t find cake flour then I’d recommend it), you simply replace 2 Tbsp per 1 cup of the all purpose flour with 2 Tbsp cornstarch and sift both together. I may also recommend reducing the amount of flour by 1/4 cup. If you are able to find the cake flour I would highly recommend it, it gives these cookies that soft, delicate and fluffy texture if not I hope that suggestion helps! March 20, 2013 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Steph @ SeeStephRun.com: This just screams spring to me! I will have to give this a shot! March 20, 2013 at 10:31am Reply

  • Kimberley: Ahhh, you had me at lemon!! I am so making these cookies very soon :) March 21, 2013 at 6:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Let me know how they turn out for you. :) March 21, 2013 at 10:48pm Reply

  • Colleen: These sound fantastic! I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried these using lime instead of lemon. I’ll definitely make the lemon but may give lime a whirl, too! Thanks for the great recipe! March 23, 2013 at 7:39am Reply

    • Jaclyn: That very well may be a future post on cookingclassy.com! Thanks for the great idea Colleen! March 23, 2013 at 9:24pm Reply

  • Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com: I have been making lemon *everything* recently–it’s such a light spring flavor! I think I’ll be adding sugar cookies to the upcoming baking list now, too… March 24, 2013 at 11:16pm Reply

  • Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen: I LOVE sugar cookies, especially the super soft ones from the store. :) These are gorgeous! March 25, 2013 at 10:41am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Monique =)! March 26, 2013 at 8:25pm Reply

  • Allyson: These are so amazing! I made them and my family thought they were bought from a bakery, they turned out perfect!! March 29, 2013 at 5:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed these Allyson, thanks for your comment! April 2, 2013 at 7:39pm Reply

  • Mary Beth: These cookies are absolutely delicious! They bake up crispy on the outside, and so light and fluffy on the inside. I had to hide them away so there will be some left for my Easter feast. Next time I will double the recipe as this recipe only made 2 dozen, not nearly enough for my Easter guests. I followed the ingredients exactly, but used a rolling pin, cookie cutter and my Kitchen Aid calphalon cookie sheets, instead of storage tops and silpat. Done to perfection in 9 minutes! The only complaint I have is that I couldn’t get my frosting to look as perfect as yours! Thank you for sharing this delectable recipe; they are better than I’ve found at any bakery. Please keep Pinning! March 30, 2013 at 4:35pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you enjoyed these cookies Mary Beth! Thanks so much for your comment =)! March 30, 2013 at 8:52pm Reply

  • Amy: These cookies are amazing! Very addicting too! I used some leftover buttercream frosting and added raspberry puree…awesome combination. Definitely didn’t last long :)
    Thanks for the recipe! March 31, 2013 at 10:39am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Amy! Your addition sounds delicious! I love lemon and raspberry. April 2, 2013 at 7:37pm Reply

  • jeanne: I only got 9 cookies. did I d something wrong? March 31, 2013 at 3:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Unless you left out an ingredient on accident or didn’t whip the butter shortening sugar mixture very long then no you probably made them just how you’re supposed to. I measured almost a scant 1/4 cup not heaping when I did these. Hope that helps! April 2, 2013 at 6:48pm Reply

    • Mary Beth: I got 2 dozen, Jeanne. I scooped out a full, not heaping, 1/4 cup of the refrigerated dough, rolled it into a ball, flattened it with a rolling pin and used a round cookie cutter. Each one made a 2 1/4 inch round cookie. I can’t imagine how you only got 9 unless you were distracted and used the smaller amounts of flour, shortening and butter. How did they taste? You’ve got to try it again, they really are scrumptious! April 2, 2013 at 7:02pm Reply

  • Kobi: Hey, I made 2 batches of these a couple of days ago and just now made the frosting and frosted them. Out of each batch I got one dozen and they cooked up to about 4.5″ across. I like the idea of just rolling the dough out and using cookie cutters, but how will that affect cooking time? Also, the cookies without frosting treated a little off to me…a little bitter or salty or something. I was wondering if that could be me using too much flour? I used your measurements, but I measured packed flour and thought maybe I should sift it or something before I measure it? The flavor seems to be much better with the frosting, but in the past couple of days I’ve gotten sick and my sense of smell/ taste is mostly gone, so I can’t be sure. So I guess my question is are the cookies themselves supposed to be on the slightly bitter side? Or might I have done something wrong? April 12, 2013 at 7:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: They shouldn’t be really bitter rather a bit tart from the lemon. The cookies themselves aren’t very good on there own and they really do need the frosting I think. I’ve posted a very similar recipe to this (just the plain version) in roll and cut out form here is the link and you could do the same with these:
      http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/01/lofthouse-style-sugar-cookies-rolled-version/ April 18, 2013 at 6:02pm Reply

    • Heather: Never,never pack flour when measuring!! January 9, 2014 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Gina: Making these for the SECOND time this week! (Should I admit that?) These are to die for! April 16, 2013 at 7:10pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: That is awesome, and yes you totally should admit that because I’m so happy to hear it and it sounds like something I always do :)! I find a new dessert I love then I will make it like three times that week. I’m so glad you liked these cookies, they are one of my latest faves. Thanks for your comment Gina! April 16, 2013 at 10:51pm Reply

  • Kristen: I was just wondering how many cookies a batch makes? I’m thinking about making them for work and I want there to be enough, these look wonderful! April 18, 2013 at 8:44pm Reply

  • Robin: I just finished making these for my sister-in-law for her birthday. They are perfect. A beautiful and delicious cookie. I can’t wait to give them to her. I really think she’s going to love them. Many thanks for the post, you’re making me look really good. April 19, 2013 at 12:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Robin! I’m so glad you think they are perfect :). Thanks so much for returning to leave a comment! April 22, 2013 at 6:32pm Reply

  • Beth: Awesome cookies! I made a batch a few weeks ago and brought a couple to work with me to share with a coworker. She requested a batch for her birthday and when I brought them in for her, I was getting “threats” of being ambushed as soon as I walked in the door! These are definitely going to be a staple in my house!! Thanks for posting this recipe! April 24, 2013 at 5:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Haha that’s awesome :). Thanks for your comment Beth I’m so glad to hear good things about one of my recipes it keeps me wanting to make more recipes :). April 25, 2013 at 7:07pm Reply

  • marla: Girl, these cookies look great! April 24, 2013 at 7:29pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Marla :)! April 24, 2013 at 7:52pm Reply

  • Teresa: With the cookies frosted can you store them for some days? Or it’s best to put the frosting just before eating them? April 25, 2013 at 3:25am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d probably frost them the next day if you are going to be eating them the next day, but if you’ve already made and frosted them they’d be fine for a day that way. April 25, 2013 at 7:48pm Reply

  • maria: hi
    is there a substiture fr the vegetable shortening?rgds,maria May 1, 2013 at 8:21am Reply

    • Jaclyn: You could replace it with butter and should be fine. I used shortening for textural purposes so it will alter the cookies texture slightly but not much since it’s only 1/4 cup. May 1, 2013 at 9:35am Reply

      • Ellie: Hi!
        Will the frosting be dry enough after a few hours for me to stack the cookies on top of one another? September 2, 2013 at 4:50am Reply

        • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend stacking them because even though the frosting will slightly set it would still smudge if stacked. September 6, 2013 at 1:14pm Reply

        • Linda: I stacked them just fine, with a layer of wax paper in between and in an airtight container. September 7, 2013 at 7:22am Reply

  • Kelsea: Has anyone tried to substitute the cornstarch from this recipe? I try to avoid it as much as possible. May 1, 2013 at 9:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You can just leave it out. I added it for texture but it’s really not a must. May 1, 2013 at 9:23pm Reply

  • Bakery Style Lemon Sugar Cookies | Real Mom KitchenReal Mom Kitchen: […] Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy. […] May 9, 2013 at 5:15am Reply

  • Megan: I’m helping out a friend with prepping for a bake sale, would these freeze well May 9, 2013 at 11:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: They probably would but you are asking the wrong person :) I like fresh baked goods best. If you do decide to freeze them I’d freeze them without the frosting then frost after thawing. May 14, 2013 at 3:29pm Reply

  • Jen: Hi! I plan to make these for a coworker’s birthday. I need to bring them to work on Wednesday. How far in advance can I make them? Would they be fine if I made them Sunday night or should I make them Tuesday night?
    Thanks May 16, 2013 at 11:28am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I would definitely recommend going with Tuesday night, I always think freshest baked goods are best. Youre so nice to make them for a coworker, I hope you both love them! May 16, 2013 at 10:04pm Reply

  • Nancy: How do you get the sugar to look yellow? Did you use yellow sugar??? May 21, 2013 at 9:53pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yeah they are the yellow sugar sprinkles :). May 21, 2013 at 10:11pm Reply

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  • Kathryn: How many cookies does this recipe make? Also could you roll the dough out and use cookie cutters? May 27, 2013 at 5:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It makes about 12 fairly large cookies. You could get more if you made them smaller (and reduced the baking time) and yes you can roll the dough out and use cookie cutters. May 27, 2013 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Kelly: I can already tell your site is going to be very dangerous for me, haha. :) These cookies look heavenly and I’m excited to try to make them! Do you think it would be simple to make them taste like other fruits, too? Like strawberry? I wonder if strawberry extract even exists. June 1, 2013 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ve actually made these in a strawberry version (because I’m obsessed with sugar cookies :), here is the link:
      http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/05/strawberry-sugar-cookies/
      And yes there is a strawberry extract but it’s an imitation version so I don’t like it as much as the real extracts. I liked it in some meringue cookies I made a while ago but other than that the flavor of strawberry extract just really seems to fade in baked goods. I love the raspberry extract though, and coconut, orange and lemon are some other favorites. I think a coconut version of these cookies would be amazing! I did coconut sugar cookies bars but not yet just cookies. June 4, 2013 at 10:57pm Reply

  • Anna: Hey, sorry to ask, but I’m not very used to the American ingredients (I’m from the UK). I did a bit of research online and i have a question: why use both shortening and butter? June 3, 2013 at 8:28pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Shortening offers cookies less spread and a good texture (at least that is how I feel) but butter of course tastes better which is why I used both. You’d be okay to use only butter if that’s what you have. June 3, 2013 at 9:22pm Reply

  • Quinn: Can I roll this chilled dough out and use a cookie cutter? I’m making these for a baby shower and wanted to make duck shape. I wasn’t sure if it would work the same way? Thank you! June 5, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

  • Linda: I found this recipe last night on your site and made the cookies today. Oh my…I am in love.
    This will be my go to sugar cookie recipe from now on. I am already thinking of different flavors and combos I could use. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. June 7, 2013 at 1:45pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re very welcome Linda! I’m so happy you are in love :), thanks so much for your comment! June 8, 2013 at 6:30pm Reply

  • Heather: does this frosting get hard? I am thinking of making these for a bunch of bachelorette weekend gift baskets, which mean I will need to put a few together in a celaphane (sp?) bag. I only want to do this if the frosting get a bit hard and wont smush or go on to the other cookies. Thanks! June 12, 2013 at 6:10pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It doesn’t really get hard, it does sort of set on the exterior of the frosting but if you want one that is hard I would recommend using a lemon icing. Hope that helps! June 12, 2013 at 9:21pm Reply

  • Whitney: Love these!!! I ate them all by myself. Good thing it only made a little over a dozen. How would I alter this recipe to make sugar cookies? June 15, 2013 at 8:50am Reply

  • Ashley: I rarely bake, but I would really like to try this recipe. I have an electric hand mixer but not a stand mixer. Is it essential to have a stand mixer? What might I do instead? June 20, 2013 at 7:06pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I always recommend to people to use an electric hand mixer until it starts to sound heavy, you don’t want to burn your motor up so I’d start adding the dry ingredients then switch to a wooden spoon to mix. Hopefully that helps! June 26, 2013 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Rebecca: This recipe is fantastic! I had to make a few chances because I didn’t have all the materials (like using more butter instead than all vegetable shortening, and yeast instead than baking soda), but they still turned out delicious!
    A suggestion for those who will bake them during summer months… keep the cookies in the fridge, so when you’ll eat them the frosting will be cool and refreshing! :) June 23, 2013 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you thought they were good! And I’m glad you were able to sub some things and have them turn out delicious. I always hate when I’m out of something, but it’s so nice when I can substitute something and it still turns out just as good – one less trip to the store. Thanks for your comment Rebecca! June 23, 2013 at 10:02pm Reply

  • High Five for Friday: July 5th | While I'm Waiting: […] found this recipe for lemon sugar cookies on Pinterest and decided to make them on a whim the other night. They’re […] July 5, 2013 at 7:56pm Reply

  • KayleneP: Thanks for sharing this great recipe, I just love lemon biscuits/cookies! July 8, 2013 at 2:56am Reply

  • Jen: Can I replace the lemon extract with lemon juice? July 25, 2013 at 2:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend it simply because it’s not nearly as strong in flavor. I LOVE lemon extract, I use it all the time and add it to recipes that call for lemon zest/juice – I’ll add those and then the extract to up the lemon flavor. You can usually find it by the vanilla extract in the grocery store. July 25, 2013 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Kayla: Can we refrigerate the dough longer than 2 hours? Like make the dough the night before? July 31, 2013 at 8:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes that would be fine but you may need to let it rest at room temperature for a bit so it’s not too firm to roll. August 3, 2013 at 8:57am Reply

  • Carole: I added some cream cheese to the frosting and it was so yummy. These were a hit in my house. I yeilded 2 dozen and still had some dough left so I froze it. August 9, 2013 at 8:47am Reply

  • Julie K.: These cookies are absolutely perfect. Just heavenly. Thank you so much for sharing! August 16, 2013 at 10:15am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you think so Julie! Thanks so much for your comment and your welcome :)! August 19, 2013 at 4:15pm Reply

  • Marie: These turned out great! Everyone in my family loves them. Going to try to make smaller ones so I can take them to more people. Don’t have an electric mixer so did everything with a whisk. Saved me a trip to the gym! Thanks so much for the recipe! September 15, 2013 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you and your family liked them Marie – and got a good workout making them :). Thanks for your comment! September 15, 2013 at 2:50pm Reply

  • Beth: I’ve made these cookies a few times now and they don’t last long! They are a hit with my family and coworkers beg me to make another batch all the time! I was thinking about putting a fall twist in the recipe and switching out the lemon for orange. Do you think orange zest and orange juice would work with this recipe in place of lemon? September 28, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’ve been wanting to make them in orange too – thanks for the reminder :)! I think they should definitely work as long as you use orange extract in place of lemon and like you said the zest and juice. I’m so happy to hear everyones enjoyed them! October 7, 2013 at 7:45pm Reply

  • amber: I tried the recipe but my cookies taste too dry! Any suggestions in how to fix this or where I went wrong? September 30, 2013 at 6:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d reduce the baking time a bit next time and also maybe reduce the amount of flour by 1/4 cup and hopefully that helps. Sorry yours were dry! October 1, 2013 at 5:00pm Reply

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  • Liz: I love both the lemon and orange cookies. Thank you. October 20, 2013 at 2:16pm Reply

  • Misty: I made these tonight and they were soooooo good. Something that I thought I would pass along…. like some of the others that commented, I wanted a pretty cookie cutter-looking cookie. I found a great alternative! I have a Pampered Chef measurer- forget the name but you measure solids on one end and liquid in the other… Well, I set the solid side to 1/4 cup and sprinkled a tiny bit of flour in there and put my dough even with the top and sprinkled on a bit more flour, Then I just popped it out and put it on my cookie sheet. Perfect size!
    Also, next time I will probably cut the lemon juice back to 2 T. I used 2 1/2 and it was way too lemony for my taste.
    I didn’t have a Silpat, but I just baked them on a baking stone and they turned out great. I did have to bake them for about 16 minutes though, but things normally take longer on my stone.
    Thanks for a great recipe. They’re the first cookies I’ve ever made that turned out so wonderful :) December 1, 2013 at 5:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear you liked these Misty! Thanks for the tips too! December 1, 2013 at 7:18pm Reply

  • Katie: I cannot believe how wonderful these cookies turned out! My husband was thrilled to find one in his lunch today. Since I didn’t have any lemon zest or juice, I decided to use the lemon extract I made instead. It was just the right amount of oomph the cookies needed.
    Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe. (I won’t be sharing these with my sil for fear of them one day appearing in her bake shop.) December 18, 2013 at 11:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you and your husband liked these cookies Katie! December 28, 2013 at 4:47pm Reply

  • Sophie: Ok, I REALLY want to make these! They sound amazing! The only problem is I am absolutely horrible at frosting or decorating… do you have any tips or strategies on how to frost them? Thanks! December 20, 2013 at 5:32pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I just put a blob of the frosting on (nice way to put it right :) then using an icing spatula or butter knife I spread it outward leaving a rim of cookie showing around the edge, then if you want the circular shape I rotate (or spin) the cookie while slightly moving the spatula outward. Hope that makes sense! December 22, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Janet: Awesome! Everyone loved them! Next time I will make them smaller though. February 14, 2014 at 6:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for leaving a review Janet! Glad these were enjoyed! February 25, 2014 at 11:16pm Reply

  • KeriJane: what if I do not have the stand up mixer? October 15, 2014 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: If you have a hand mixer you can use that, then when adding the dry ingredients once it’s too much for the mixer to handle I’d stir in the rest by hand so it doesn’t burn up the motor on the hand mixer. Just make sure it’s well incorporated. October 15, 2014 at 11:06pm Reply

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