Lemon Sugar Cookies

filed under: Cookies · Dessert · Sugar Cookies on July 16, 2020

Lemon Sugar Cookies are soft sugar cookies with just a touch of lemon flavor and covered with a lovely pale yellow lemon frosting. For another summertime cookie favorite, be sure to check out my Ooey-Gooey Lemon Cookies!

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Most sugar cookies are known for their ease when it comes to decorating and making shapes. However, I do not recommend this cookie for cut-out sugar cookies. It will spread slightly and there are definitely better recipes for that purpose, like my Sugar Cookie Recipe. These cookies are completely inspired by Lemon Swig Cookies in design. I would like to say they are just as good but I wasn’t able to test one for comparison in the last 6 months… but from memory, they are pretty darn close!

Close up of Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Frosting

Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe

This cookie recipe does have a few untraditional ingredients like confectioners’ sugar (in the cookie!), cream of tartar, and oil. However, it all comes together perfectly to create the best lemon sugar cookie you will try!

Sugar Cookies Ingredients (full recipe below)

  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Lemon extract–If you do not have lemon extract, simply use 1 additional teaspoon of lemon zest.
  • Cream of tartar
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour

Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Sour cream
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Lemon extract-If you do not have lemon extract, use one teaspoon of lemon zest.
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Yellow food coloring

Overhead View of Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Frosting and Lemons

How to Make Lemon Sugar Cookies

I recommend using a stand mixer for this sugar cookie recipe as you really need the ingredients to be evenly incorporated and to be mixed just long enough. I watch my mixer pretty close after all ingredients are added and wait for it to pull away from the sides of the bowl (much like bread dough does).

  1. First, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl and mix until just combined. 
  2. Next, drizzle in the oil and add the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract, mixing well. (Remember, use an additional teaspoon of lemon zest if you do not have any lemon extract.)
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, add the cream of tartar and salt to the flour and roughly sift. (You can use a strainer if you don’t have a flour sifter.)
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and use the stand mixer to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. I like to make sure the cookies are consistent in shape and size. Using a scoop makes this possible! Simply scoop the dough and then level it on the side of the bowl. Drop the dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Once your sheet is full, roll each ball in your clean hands until they are round and smooth.
  6. Then, with a kitchen glass that has granulated sugar on the bottom, press down into the cookie dough ball. Repeat that on all your cookies and they will all come out the same size!
  7. Finally, bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet while you prepare the lemon frosting.

Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Frosting on a White Plate with Cookies around

How to Make Lemon Frosting

Just like the sugar cookie recipe, this frosting recipe has an ingredient that might surprise you! It’s sour cream! I absolutely love what it does to this frosting. I added the smallest amount of yellow food color to the frosting to create this glorious pale yellow color. The combination is truly fabulous!

To make the frosting, use a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. First, combine the butter, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and lemon extract. After the ingredients are fully incorporated, add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Keep an eye on the frosting until it gets to your desired consistency. You may not need all five cups of sugar. Add a drop of yellow food coloring for that soft yellow color.

How to Frost Lemon Sugar Cookies

This frosting is so gloriously smooth and creamy it is really easy to use! I just put a dollop on an offset spatula then smooth it around the center indentation of the cookie. For the final “swoop”, I hold my offset spatula steady, turn the cookie one direction, then turn it back in the other, moving the spatula slightly lower. It sounds complicated, but it’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it. The best part is that practicing is fun and you get to eat any mistakes!

How to Store Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but they are really great chilled in the refrigerator as well! If you want to freeze the cookies, lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer until frozen. Then, store the frozen cookies in an airtight, freezer-safe container or zipped freezer-safe bag. Be sure to label and date the containers. They will last up to a month in the freezer.

Broken Lemon Sugar Cookie Leaning on a Stack of Cookies

Looking for More Lemon Desserts?

Lemonade Pie

The Best Lemon Bars

Lemon Cream Cheese Dump Cake

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Sugar Cookies
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
32 mins
 

Lemon Sugar Cookies are soft sugar cookies with just a touch of lemon flavor and covered with a lovely pale yellow lemon frosting.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Sugar Cookies
Servings: 30
Calories: 350 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke--iambaker.net
Ingredients
LEMON SUGAR COOKIE
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (94g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup (168g) vegetable oil
  • 3 large (6 ounces) eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups (688g) all-purpose flour
LEMON FROSTING
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (173g) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4-5 cups (500-625g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
SUGAR COOKIES
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar, and mix until just combined.

  2. Drizzle in oil and pour in eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract, and mix well.

  3. In a bowl add the cream of tartar and salt to the flour and roughly sift.
  4. Slowly add the flour to the butter mixture and allow the mixer to combine until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl.

  5. Using an ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out golf-ball size portions on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Roll out each cookie dough ball until it is smooth and round.
  7. Using a kitchen glass that has been pressed into granulated sugar, press down on each cookie dough ball until the center of the cookie is pressed flatter than the edges. Repeat this on all cookies.
  8. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until edges are just slightly starting to brown and center no longer appears wet. Allow the cookies to cool as you make the frosting.

  9. NOTE: It is important to not over-bake the cookies. Be sure to check your cookies at 7 minutes. Every oven is different and overbaking can result in a tough, crumbly, tasteless cookie. Let your first batch be a test batch so you can ensure the remaining cookies are perfect and soft!

LEMON FROSTING
  1. In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and lemon extract.

  2. Once ingredients are fully incorporated, start adding the confectioners' sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time. (You may not need all 5 cups. Keep an eye on the frosting to determine when it has reached your desired consistency. If it gets too be too thick you can add some milk to loosen.)

  3. Add in one drop of yellow food coloring for the soft yellow color.

  4. Spread on cooled cookies using an offset spatula.

 

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Comments

  • Diane says:

    How many cookies does the recipe yield

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Diane! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We made about 30 cookies from this recipe. Have a great day!

  • T.J. Leonard says:

    These cookies look absolutely amazing! Would it be all right to substitute the vegetable oil with extra light olive oil? Thanks

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, T.J.! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tested this recipe using olive oil, so I can’t say how it would affect the taste or texture of the cookies. Let us know if you try it, and have a great day!

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