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 Ingredients

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!

Overhead View of Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Frosting and Lemons

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!

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

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
4.50 from 4 votes

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Lemon Sugar Cookies are soft sugar cookies with just a touch of lemon flavor and covered with a lovely pale yellow lemon frosting.



  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (94 g) confectioners' sugar
  • ¾ cup (168 g) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ½ cups (688 g) all-purpose flour


  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (173 g) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4-5 cups (500 g-625 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 drop yellow food coloring


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar, and mix until just combined.
  • Drizzle in oil and pour in eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract, and mix well.
  • In a bowl add the cream of tartar and salt to the flour and roughly sift.
  • 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.
  • Using an ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out golf-ball size portions on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Roll out each cookie dough ball until it is smooth and round.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!


  • In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and lemon extract.
  • 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.)
  • Add in one drop of yellow food coloring for the soft yellow color.
  • Spread on cooled cookies using an offset spatula.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

    1. In case it helps… lemon juice is the liquid squeezed from the lemon, it has lots of flavor and is acidic and sour. Lemon extract is a flavoring that is sold in small bottles. Lemon zest is the yellow rind of the lemon; you can use a grater with small holes to get small pieces of zest. You can also remove strips of the rind using a vegetable peeler or knife, then chop the strips into very small pieces. Lemon zest will add lemon flavor but does not add strong sour flavors like the juice does.

  2. Looks wonderful and I will give it this a try. A video tutorial on how to frost the cookie would be most helpful.

  3. I love the sounds of all your cakes and cookies recipes!! I love to bake!! I will be trying your recipes as soon as I recover from my surgery I just had! You have made me sooo hungry for something sweet!
    Thank you so very much!! I needed this!!

  4. Does the icing harden? I am going to make a cookie tin with cookies for my friends for Christmas. Need to know answer so I will know if I can stack a few?

  5. With the amounts given in the recipe, I should have guessed how many cookies it would make BUT I was totally surprised when I baked 60 cookes with only using one half of the recipe and had to freeze the rest of the dough for another time, same goes with the icing.
    Did not get much of the lemon taste, will use more lemon the next time in both dough and icing.

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