Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies

Published March 18, 2013. Updated March 18, 2020

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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

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)

Soft frosted 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!).

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5 from 1 vote

Lemon Sugar Cookies

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
Prep30 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes


Lemon Frosting


  • 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 combined. With mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. 
  • Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375ºF 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.
  • 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.


  • 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!). 
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Sugar Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 417 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 221mg10%
Potassium 105mg3%
Carbohydrates 62g21%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 41g46%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 414IU8%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 37mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.


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    […] back when I was teaching my mom about Pinterest I ran across this recipe for Frosted Lemon Cookies from Cooking Classy. When I lost my mind decided to do this 31 Days of Cookies, I knew this was one […]

  • amber

    I tried the recipe but my cookies taste too dry! Any suggestions in how to fix this or where I went wrong?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      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!

  • 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?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      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!

  • 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!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you and your family liked them Marie – and got a good workout making them :). Thanks for your comment!

  • Julie K.

    These cookies are absolutely perfect. Just heavenly. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you think so Julie! Thanks so much for your comment and your welcome :)!

  • 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.

  • Kayla

    Can we refrigerate the dough longer than 2 hours? Like make the dough the night before?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      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.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      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.