Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies


The best Lemon Sugar Cookies! You get a cake-like, soft sugar cookie that’s just like the Lofthouse sugar cookies. These cookies are flavored with bright lemon extract and are finished with a sweet, creamy lemon frosting. Everyone will love these fun summery cookies!

lemon sugar cookies on yellow plate

The Best 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 soft sugar cookie 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 winter 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 Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies should be on your must try asap list!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Ingredients

For the lemon cookies, you’ll need:

  • Cake flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon zest
  • Eggs
  • Lemon and vanilla extracts

And for the creamy lemon frosting, you’ll need:

  • Salted butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Lemon extract
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Yellow food coloring and sprinkles (optional)

close up shot of lemon sugar cookies

How to Make Sugar Cookies

  • Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Whip together butter, shortening, sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in egg, egg white, lemon and vanilla extracts and mix until combined.
  • Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Refrigerate dough for 2 hours. Preheat the oven during the last 10 minutes of chilling.
  • Roll dough into balls, then flatten then with something flat and smooth.
  • Bake 9 – 11 minutes. Once cooled, top with lemon frosting.

Can I Use Extra Butter Instead of Shortening?

The shortening is vital in this soft sugar cookie recipe. It helps give the cookies their pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Do I Have to Refrigerate the Dough?

Yes, refrigerating the sugar cookie dough is crucial. If you don’t chill the dough, the lemon sugar cookies will spread in the oven and the texture won’t come out right.

Tips for the Best Lemon Sugar Cookies

  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting them. If you frost them while warm, the lemon frosting will melt.
  • Unlike vanilla extract, you really can’t eyeball lemon extract. If you accidentally add more lemon extract than the recipe calls for, these lemon cookies will be too strong.
  • Make sure your shortening is unflavored (some are butter flavored, which isn’t what you want!).

More Frosted Sugar Cookies You’ll Love:

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Lemon Sugar Cookies

5 from 1 vote
The best Lemon Cookies! You get a soft, cake like, lofthouse style sugar cookie that's flavored with bright lemon and finished with a sweet creamy frosting. Everyone will love these fun summery cookies!
Servings: 12
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 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


  1. 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. 
  2. Add in egg and mix until combine, then add egg white, lemon extract and vanilla extract and mix until combined. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. 

  3. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375ºF during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.

  4. 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). 
  5. Transfer flattened dough to a Silpat lined cookie sheet (fitting 6 cookies per cookie sheet) and repeat process with remaining dough. 
  6. 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.

  7. 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 Notes

  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting them. If you frost them while warm, the lemon frosting will melt. 
  • Unlike vanilla extract, you really can't eyeball lemon extract. If you accidentally add more lemon extract than the recipe calls for, these lemon cookies will be too strong. 
  • Make sure your shortening is unflavored (some are butter flavored, which isn't what you want!). 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cookies, sugar cookies
Author: Jaclyn


  • Shirley: Made your lemon sugar cookies. Liked that it didn’t have a lot of butter and the lemon zest was great. Cut hearts and they baked wonderfully. Very happy with them keeping their shape June 29, 2018 at 11:06am Reply

  • Ara: I just made these for our Easter celebration. They are WONDERFUL. I will be making them again.
    Thank you so much,
    Ara March 29, 2018 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much for the great review! March 29, 2018 at 4:37pm Reply

  • Kathleen Grace: I tried this recipe yesterday and can honestly say these are some of the best sugar cookies I have ever tasted. My husband agrees. Thank you for the recipe, it’s going in the regular rotation at our house! February 12, 2016 at 8:15am Reply

  • Lemon Sugar Cookies | Penny's Food Blog: […] tasted divine!  Not hard to make, a little time consuming but not too bad.  The recipe comes from “Cooking Classy”.  The next time I make these I will probably double the amount of lemon extract in both the […] May 17, 2015 at 9:28am Reply

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