Lemon sugar cookies recipe taste like you’ve taken a big bite out of summer! So fresh and delicious, it’ll become a favorite!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Recipe from addapinch.com

I always love bright, citrus flavors, especially in the summertime. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, I can’t seem to get enough of them! Add them to a cookie and you better believe I’m all about it!

I’ve been making this lemon version of my sugar cookie recipe for years and years and every time I take them to an event or to friends, I’m asked for the recipe and how to make them. They are packed full of so much lemon flavor!

So, if you love citrus flavors and sugar cookies, then this recipe is definitely one you are going to love! They are perfect for summer entertaining or enjoying with your family.

The secret really comes down to the lemon in the cookie and then rolling them in lemon sugar. It makes for the perfect citrus-y cookies in my opinion!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Recipe from addapinch.com

Here’s my Lemon Sugar Cookies recipe. I hope you love them!

Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe

Lemon sugar cookies recipe taste like you've taken a big bite out of summer! So fresh and delicious, it'll become a favorite!
4.66 from 50 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Servings: 24 cookies
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of two large lemons
  • juice of one large lemon about 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup lemon sugar recipe for rolling cookies


  • Preheat oven to 350º F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  • Cream together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and mix until well-combined.
  • Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Allow to sit for about 3 minutes to allow lemon flavor to develop.
  • Scoop cookie dough by the tablespoon full and roll into a ball.
  • Add lemon sugar to a large bowl for rolling cookie dough in before baking. Place each ball of cookie dough into the bowl of lemon sugar and roll to coat well. Place cookie dough onto baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/2-inches to 2 inches apart. Lightly press each cookie down. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
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Robyn xo

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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149 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. This was the first and last recipe for lemon cookies I tried, they were that good. If you’re a citrus fan, this is where it’s at! Even those that I know, that don’t seem to like liking things, couldn’t deny the awesomeness! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  2. Not lemony at all. They taste like vanilla sugar cookies. I used zest of two large lemons and juice of one lg lemon, as directed, but still not enough lemon flavor. Also, I rolled them in lemon sugar, but the sugar was absorbed into the cookies, therefore the tops were just smooth. Nothing like the picture on the website. Also, they never turned light brown. I baked them for 14 minutes instead o 10-12. Don’t think I’ll make these again.

  3. I made these today, they taste amazing but they are super flat…do not look like the pics you posted, and I don’t know why. Made 2 separate batches and same with both. That being said, they are thin and a bit crunchy on the edges and really good. Contemplating making a lemony filling and sandwiching them together but either way I will definitely make them again because they are really good. Thanks! 🙂

    1. I’m not sure why they are flat – sometimes that happens when the dough is beaten too much after adding the butter. I am glad you enjoy them though! They are so good! Thanks!

      1. If you use a lemon extract, that will boost the lemon flavor, and add about 1/4 tsp of cream of tarter. This will help keep them from not getting so flat. I thought they were delicious!

  4. I love everything about the recipe, except for me I had to add 1/2 cup more flour because they weren’t thick enough to roll into a ball. It was my first time zesting properly and the zest is really cool. I hope I followed the instructions properly, if you don’t think they’re lemony enough just squeeze more or a BIGGER lemon (duh)! 🙂

  5. Sounds like sugar not creamed with butter enough. Flat maybe too much butter too short and spread. Hope this helps. Doreen Martin

  6. My cookies came out flat as I don’t know what I did wrong but they taste good. I eooo try this recipe again a later time when I have more zest.

  7. The cookies turned out flat and super chewy . I added more flour and refrigerated the dough and that helped. It just seems like the recipe is not complete. The flavor was good. 

    1. For those whose cookies come out flat and/or tough and crunchy, when mixing the butter and flour mixture, don’t run a mixer on high speed or even medium. It would be better to hand mix these and make sure you don’t mix it to the point the butter melts. The idea is a fluffy and light mix, not a runny oily mess. Adding flour to this will only compound the mischief. Also make sure the baking powder is fresh as well as the flour. The flavor is enhanced by letting it sit, I had the best luck putting it into the fridge for 10 min to let the zest leech. This also allows it to rise a bit. When rolling the balls, it’s the same idea, LIGHTLY roll into a ball, don’t roll it tight. Gently mash it down a bit. It doesn’t have to be mashed into finished shape, just a  little bit of flattening. Hope it comes out well for you all. It really is about the technique more than the recipe being defective. The author has made these for years and has a subconscious “feel” for it. It’s hard to convey that in the recipe.

      1. Thanks so much for adding your tips on what works for you too! I’m happy you enjoy them and appreciate you taking the time to share your method so that might help someone else. xo

  8. First time I made them I forgot to take the butter out the night before and ended up using melted instead of softened. The batch rolled in the zest sugar can out very crunchy even if i took them out after 8min.

    The other batch I mixed real honey with lemon juice and brushed them, they came out sooooo soft and nice. I sprinkled them with powdered sugar after.

  9. I had high hopes for these cookies as I made the sugar version last week and they were the most perfect sugar cookies I’ve probably every made. These came out really greasy and stuck to the pan, and I guess flat like others were saying. When I made the sugar cookies, I didn’t beat them anywhere near the 3 minutes in the recipe but I tried it this time so maybe that was the problem. They tasted pretty good.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the sugar cookies and sorry these didn’t turn out for you Sherrie. I can’t be sure what happened unless your butter got too warm. I’ve never had an issue with these cookies. Thanks!

  10. I made mine dye free and they were a huge hit… Even with my all natural friends. They were easy to make and since I was hurrying I made my lemon sugar with lemon juice instead of zest and added sugar until you could roll cookies in it. I also add 1/4 tsp of lemon extract as I didn’t zest and people have been raving over these cookies. The down side. I am requested to bring cookies 2x month to church lol. Thank you! I did notice the first time when I microwave softened butter they were flatter than when I softened the butter by leaving it out. This recipe is the best!!! I also made them with just sugar to be rolled in and they were still awesome!!

  11. Theese are perfect! I made them for the first time on a gloomy winter day, added a pinhead of yellow color paste. They lit up the whole table and everybody loves them. I have made my lemonsugar with ground, dried lemon peel, and i make lime-, orange- ang strawberry sugar which i great in plain cookies.

  12. Based on comments, i did doctor up…1) added extra 1/4 c flour, 2) in addition to juice of one lemon (which was ~3tbs), I added 1/2tsp lemon extract (i also only had 1 lemon, so didnt hv zest of 2), 3) used baking soda instead of powder. Results: still flatter cookies than expected; but really good…crisp edges, chewy middle good lemon flavor.

  13. Robyn,
    Bravo! Wonderful recipe. I baked these lemon cookies with my son tonight who loves all things lemon. We followed the directions exactly and they baked perfectly.  These will be a staple in our cookie recipe war chest. Many thanks!

  14. These cookies are a favorite of all who have tried them. The lemon flavor is so refreshing and tasty. Quick and easy to make.  The lemon sugar is a must to add more flavor.  

  15. How much butter do you use for 1 batch, 1 cup or 2 cups? I am confuse ’cause saiys 1 cup 2 sticks (knowing 2 sticks is a cup). Just clarifying, do not want to mess up my recipe,
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Marcela,
      You are correct in that the recipe will use 1 cup of butter, which equals 2 sticks. I am sorry for any confusion – there should have been parentheses around (2 sticks), but I’ve corrected that now. I hope you enjoy the cookies – they are delicious! Thanks!

  16. I cannot believe I haven’t rated this recipe!!
    It is REALLY good! Have been making them for a few years now!
    The recipe, as written, works for me. I have never had to make any adjustments, except adding more lemon zest when I have smaller lemons. Other than, delicious and perfect!
    I am looming at a heap of lemons right now, that will be zested and juiced to make these!

    Thanks for sharing!

    From a beautiful, sunny, Cape Town, South Africa
    Sa-eeda 👍🤗😚

  17. First time making lemon cookies but not the last. Yum. I made an icing that I use on my butter cookies and used lemon juice and a hint of vanilla. Great finish to these if you’re looking for a tart lemon flavor. I ate 6 today and killed my diet. Grandkids finished them all off after school. Left a few un-iced and they loved those also. Thanks for sharing this recipe

  18. Made these with Gluten Free flour (King Arthur brand) and little Meyer lemons we had grown on our little indoor tree.  Was generous with the lemon juice, and since they have such a thin skin and can’t be zested, simply finely chopped the peel and added in place of the zest.  Was a little generous with the lemon juice, and let the batter sit a few minutes before rolling (since GF flour is slower to absorb moisture) but otherwise no changes.  Cooked for 15 minutes (GF flour doesn’t tend to golden up the way wheat flour does) and they were incredible.  Crisp on the outside and slightly chewy in the center – everyone loved them.  Thanks for such a great recipe!

  19. Hi Robyn,
    I made this recipe yesterday and I have to say, I read the comments above and I was a bit nervous about trying it. I am not what you would call a professional baker by any means but I do pretty well. With that said, I dove right in because I thought to myself that I don’t usually have issues with cookie dough. And boy am I glad that I went for it because they came out perfect and incredibly delicious. I added a cup of White Chocolate, 1/4 teaspoon of Lemon Extract to the dough and a little bit more of the Lemon Zest to both the dough and the Lemon Sugar. I plan on making these cookies for our family reunion end of June but I might make them again sooner because my husband loved them !! Thank you for sharing ✌

    1. Hi Esther,
      I’m so glad you tried this recipe and loved it. It is one of my family’s favorites, too. Sounds delicious with the additions you made. Thanks.

    1. These cookies do freeze well, Susan. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into a ball and place onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Cover and place in the freezer for 1 hour or until the dough is frozen. Remove from the freezer and place the cookie mounds into airtight containers or freezer bags. Label the bag with the date and name of the cookies.

      When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove the container from the freezer. Remove the number of cookies from the container that you wish to bake and place them in the refrigerator to thaw. Once the dough has thawed, roll the balls in the lemon sugar and place them at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake as directed in your recipe but you will probably need to add a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.

  20. I’m a chocolate girl, so OF COURSE my husband is a fruit guy! 😉 & since it’s Xmas, I thought I’d make a dessert for him. He loves lemon cakes (& Joffrey). I have the added complication of him being GF. So I did have to used my own flour blend & b/c it’s GF dough, let it sit in the fridge for 30 mins B4 shaping & this recipe turned out really well! I was surprised by the amount of flavor. The fresh lemon zest gives the cookie a brightness. We’ll definitely B adding it to the rotation. Thx!

  21. Absolutely love this recipe! One of my new favourites. So much flavour. Don’t be afraid to add more lemon than you might think. There really is no such thing as too much lemon in my opinion.

  22. Made these cookies and they turned out wonderfully!! Not flat, full of flavor and simple. The lemon sugar gives the cookie a nice crisp to the outside too. So yum!

  23. Hi I made these today they are delicious tho they could be a little more lemony but I could add extract to fix that they turned out perfect and I even forgot to add the vanilla

  24. Hello Robyn. I’ve been reviewing lemon sugar cookie recipes on the web and yours is the best one out of at least 20 that I have reviewed. I like that you use lemon and zest, not extract. I can already tell these will be delicious. Your lemon sugar recipe is not only going to be a yummy finish for the cookies but a beautiful addition to brewed sweet-tea when I rim the glasses and add a sprig of mint. I love recipes with history, so thank you for sharing yours. These will be dessert after Sunday dinner tomorrow and I can’t wait!

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