Frosted Lemon Sugar Cookies

March 18, 2013

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:

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

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

Instructions

  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

Categorized:

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110 Comments

  • Gwen

    Your lemon cookie is by far the ABSOLUTE BEST I have ever had in my life! The recipe was fantastic and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing it with all of us…now excuse me while I go mix up another batch because my husband, 5 and 3 year old just snuck the last three cookies left!

  • Dixie C

    These are so yummy! I am picky about sugar cookies, and this recipe nailed it! Plus my whole family loves lemon anything. The frosting is spoon worthy (eating it by the spoonful).

    Not a shortening fan, substituted solid coconut oil. I’m trying your peppermint version of this cookie ASAP!
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      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.

  • 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!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      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!

  • 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.)

  • 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 :)