These are THE BEST lemon sugar cookies! They’re super soft and doughy in the middle and slightly chewy around those cute cracked edges. They’re finished with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a swirl of silky lemon cream cheese buttercream.
What makes these THE BEST lemon sugar cookies
- THE TEXTURE. These lemon sugar cookies are so soft and stay doughy in the middle for days, but have chewy crinkly edges. The secret ingredients responsible for that to-die-for texture are the cream of tartar, oil, and sour cream.
- REAL Lemon Flavor. The tart and sweet lemon flavor in these cookies are 100% from real lemon zest and juice, both in the cookie AND the cream cheese frosting.
- Easy to make. There’s nothing better than a recipe that’s simple to make but knocks it out of the park in terms of WOW factor. These cookies come together in 20 minutes plus 10 minutes of bake time and are sure to be a recipe you keep coming back to.
How to make these soft and chewy lemon sugar cookies
Make the lemon sugar cookie dough
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and powdered sugar for 3 minutes. Then, with the mixer running on low, slowly stream in the oil and let mix until well combined. Add the vanilla, egg, egg yolk, sour cream, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Then, add the dry ingredients to the mixer 1/2 at a time until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes while you make the lemon cream cheese buttercream.
Make the lemon cream cheese buttercream
You can do this in a stand mixer, or with an electric hand mixer. It’s a relatively small amount of buttercream so I tend to grab the hand mixer. Start by beating the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time, then mix in the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cover the buttercream with a towel and set aside.
Bake and frost the cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a large 3 TBSP cookie scoop to portion the dough, then roll it into a ball in your palms. Then, place 5-6 cookies on twp parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake both sheets together at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven, they won’t have spread hardly at all. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass to flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick while it is still hot. This will create those cute crinkled edges. Allow cookies to cool completely.
Once the cookies have cooled, dust the cookies with powdered sugar. Then, use a 1 TBSP scoop with a trigger to top each cookie with the cream cheese buttercream. Use an offset spatula to spread the buttercream out almost to the edge, then finish with a swirl. Optional, but recommended – add a little extra lemon zest to the tops.
- Electric Stand Mixer and/or Hand Mixer. I prefer to make the cookie dough in the stand mixer and the buttercream with the hand mixer. But, if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do both with a hand mixer, just be careful not to overmix the dough.
- Kitchen Scale. Weighing your ingredients when it comes to baking recipes is the best way to make sure that the dessert will turn out how you hope. If you don’t have a kitchen scale and want to use measuring cups – make sure to properly measure your flour. Do this by spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a flat edge rather than using the measuring cup to scoop the flour.
- Parchment Paper. I always bake my cookies on parchment. It ensures they won’t stick and makes for easy clean up. I love these precut parchment sheets from Amazon and always keep them stocked in my kitchen.
Soft and Chewy Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 11 Large Cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
THE BEST lemon sugar cookies that are thick, soft, chewy, and topped with silky lemon cream cheese buttercream.
Soft Sugar Cookies
- 3 1/2 C Flour (All Purpose)
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 C Salted Butter (Room Temp)
- 1/2 C Sugar
- 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
- 1/3 C Canola Oil (Or vegetable oil)
- 1 Lg Egg (+ 1 Egg Yolk)
- 2 TBSP Sour Cream (Room Temp)
- 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces(1/2 Block) Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 4 TBSP Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
For the Cookies
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
- in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars for 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, stream in the oil until combined.
- Add the vanilla, egg, egg yolk, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix until combined.
- Mix in the dry ingredients 1/2 at a time until just combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Use a large 3 TBSP cookie scoop to portion the dough and roll it into a ball in your hands.
- Bake 5-6 cookies per sheet at 350 for 10 minutes.
- While the cookies are still hot use a measuring cup or a flat bottomed glass to flatten the cookies to 1/2″ thick creating the crinkled edges. Allow cookies to cool completely on the hot cookie sheet.
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Use a hand mixer to cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar 1/2 at a time and mix until smooth.
- Mix in the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Once cookies are cooled, dust with powdered sugar.
- Then, use a 1 TBSP scoop to top the cookies with the frosting and use an offset spatula to spread almost to the edges of the cookies, leaving the crinkled edges exposed.
*Cookies will be doughy coming out of the oven, but allow them to cool completely on the hot cookie sheet and they will set up.
Keywords: lemon sugar cookies, frosted lemon sugar cookies, lemon cream cheese frosting, soft lemon sugar cookies
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Hey Judy! Thanks so much!
Hands down…. The best lemon cookie I’ve ever made! I didn’t change a thing to the recipe and they turned out beautifully! Thank you for bringing a burst of lemony sunshine into my day! I look forward to making your strawberry cookies when strawberries are ready for picking!
Hey Missy! YAY! Thrilled to hear that you love this recipe!
Found that I needed 15 minutes to bake these. At 10 minutes they were still very “doughy.”
Other than that, delicious!
Hey Mary! I’m glad they worked out for you in the end! I usually bake for 10 and then leave on the hot cookie sheet to set up and finish baking!
I agree with the person who said they need 15 minutes to bake. Also the lemon frosting was too runny and too lemony. Next time I will use less lemon juice
Any chance I could make the cookies smaller? Has anyone tried and can share amount per cookie,oven temp and cook time?
Hey Elissa! I haven’t tested them smaller, but I would think you could do 2 TBSP of dough per cookie and bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Let me know if you try it!
I love lemon and can’t wait to try this cookie. Do you have any idea how many calories are in each one with the frosting?
Does the frosting harden up at all or stay soft? Trying to figure out if I can stack these for travel without creating a mess! Thank you!
Hey Alyssa! The frosting will form a slight crust, but stay mostly soft. You could probably stack in two layers and be ok but I wouldn’t stack them too high.
My husband made these and they were fantastic! Thinking about using the cookie base with almond frosting. Would you leave the lemon ingredients in the cookie dough or sub something else? I didn’t feel like I could taste lemon in the cookie part, but maybe I just couldn’t tell with the icing! I loved the texture and softness of them!
Hey Tonya! Glad you loved them! If you do an almond version you could just do a bit of vanilla in the frosting instead of lemon!
Is there supposed to be 1/4 teaspoon of salt in the frosting? I see it listed in the ingredients, but not in the directions.
Yes thank you I will update that!
How many cookies does this make?
11 big ones!
These we’re delicious!! I love lemon and this recipe is a keeper, thank you!!
Super lemony cookies! I agree with other about baking for 15 minutes. I also only added half a lemon of juice to the frosting and it was perfect. Still did full zest though.
I have been eyeing these cookies for a while now!! I love lemon and these did not disappoint!! The lemon flavor in both the cookie and icing were AWESOME!! The icing was a little runny but I should have added the lemon juice a little at a time. Also, I would have liked the icing to harden up a bit more but that didn’t stop me from eating them!! Side Note: Salt in the icing?? Wasn’t sure if that was suppose to be in there. LOL
Great recipe!! On to the next yummy creation you have!!!
Hi Sherry! So glad you liked this recipe! Yes always a pinch of salt in the frosting! You need it to balance out the sweetness.
How long can you store these. Would love to put them in a wedding bag for the hotel guests
Hey there! If you sealed them individually I’d think they would stay fresh for 3-5 days. I’d recommend putting them in plastic cookie bags, heat sealing them, and then storing in the fridge until you are ready to give them out. Once outside of the fridge they should keep at least 24 hours.