Are you on the search for the best soft lemon cookies? These cookies are incredibly soft and chewy, with the perfect amount of lemon zing! The dough is rolled in confectioners' sugar for a pretty crinkled top and a little extra sweetness.
There are two types of people in this world: lemon dessert people and non-lemon dessert people.
Curiously, I find that the older one gets, the more they become a lemon dessert person. This is certainly true for me! I still love and often prefer chocolate, but as I get older, I prefer lemon flavors more and more.
I enjoy lemon cookies in all forms, but have had some trouble finding a recipe for cookies with the perfect texture. I wanted them to be incredibly soft; almost melt-in-your-mouth soft.
So, I created my own recipe for soft lemon cookies that are everything I dreamed about. Every single bite of these cookies makes me so happy.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
If you dream of soft, cloud-like lemon cookies, you'll fall in love with this recipe, too.
They're essentially lemon crinkle cookies and have the perfect burst of lemon flavor that's not too overpowering, but definitely present. The confectioners' sugar gives them a little extra sweetness, but not too much.
The balance of these cookies is fabulous and the soft and chewy consistency is even better!
They're also very easy to make and once you know the basic recipe, you can substitute the lemon flavor with the flavor of your choice!
The ingredients for these cookies are pretty basic cookie ingredients and there's a chance you already have all of them in your pantry and fridge.
Here's what you need:
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Large egg + egg yolk
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Fresh lemon zest
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Yellow food coloring (optional)
- Confectioners' sugar
🍋 How to make soft lemon cookies
And making the cookies is very easy, too! You make the dough for crinkle cookies like any other cookie, but then you roll it into balls and coat it in confectioners' sugar before baking.
To start, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Add egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the butter mixture.
It already feels like sunshine and happiness in this mixing bowl!
And mix until combined.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour dry ingredients into wet mixture and mix until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.
Fold in yellow food coloring until well combined, if desired. You don't have to use any food coloring, but I added a few drops to give the cookies a more vibrantly yellow appearance.
Now to turn this dough into crinkle cookie dough and get it baking! Place remaining 3 Tbsp sugar in a small bowl and place confectioners’ sugar in a separate small bowl.
Using about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll dough into balls. Roll each ball into granulated sugar, followed by confectioners’ sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
In case you're wondering why I roll the cookie dough in confectioners' sugar AND granulated sugar, I find that the granulated sugar helps the confectioners' sugar stick. It also dries out the tops of the cookies a bit, so fine cracks can form.
Bake the cookies for 15-17 minutes, until they're set. But obviously you will want them to be soft!
Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes before moving to rack to cool.
You can eat these soft lemon cookies warm just out of the oven or let them cool completely before diving in.
Either way, they're going to be incredibly soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You'll feel like you're taking little bites of sunshine!
If you opt out of using the food coloring, your cookies won't be quite as vibrantly yellow, but they will still be just as delicious!
I initially planned to drizzle the cookies with an icing, but after I tried one, I determined that they needed nothing more and an icing would only take away from the soft consistency and lemony sweet flavor.
⏲ How to store
Once cookies are cooled, I recommend keeping them in an airtight container at room temperature.
When stored properly, they should keep fresh for about 5-6 days.
You can refrigerate them to keep them fresh longer, but they maintain the best soft consistency when left at room temperature.
👩🍳 Can I use extract instead of juice?
I don't recommend using lemon extract for these cookies since fresh lemon juice has a much different flavor. Plus, you'll definitely want to add the zest, as well!
Also, the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda in these cookies and using extract will change the consistency of them a bit.
If you don't have fresh lemons, you could substitute with freshly squeezed lime juice, orange juice, or grapefruit juice.
🍪 More soft cookie recipes
While I believe crispy cookies have a time and place and can be quite delicious (especially really good shortbread!), I almost always want a soft cookie. Here are some of my favorite soft cookie recipes:
- Grapefruit Crinkle Cookies with Campari Icing
- Strawberry Shortcake Cookies
- Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies
- Cookies with Pancake Mix
- Molasses Ginger Cookies
- Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies
- Muffin Mix Cookies
- Strawberry Milk White Chocolate Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Pinch of Yum)
Though lemon makes me think of bright sunny days in the summer, lemons are actually more of a winter citrus. Which means these soft lemon cookies are appropriate all year long!
Are you a lemon dessert person?
Soft Lemon Cookies
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup + 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2-3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
- ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix until just combined.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour dry ingredients into wet mixture and mix until just combined, taking care not to over-mix. Fold in yellow food coloring until well combined, if desired.
- Place remaining 3 Tbsp granulated sugar in a small bowl and place confectioners’ sugar in a separate small bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll dough into balls. Roll each ball into granulated sugar, followed by confectioners’ sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake cookies for 15-17 minutes, until set. They should still be soft. Let cookies cool in pan for a couple minutes before moving to rack to cool completely.
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I made these cookies and they are amaaazing! Like soft and chewy sugar cookies but moist (not dry like some sugar cookies can be!) they are a hit with my family. I used a bit more lemon zest and a bit more fresh squeezed lemon juice (just a tad more since we like it extra lemony!) and I didn’t add yellow food coloring. But my word are these the best cookies ever! I’ve saved this recipe to my top 3 cookies to make. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing, Marianne! That makes me so happy!