Lemon Sugar Cookies

These soft, chewy lemon sugar cookies are perfect for spring! They’re made with lemon zest and lemon oil which gives them perfect amount of lemony flavor.

A plate piled with freshly baked lemon sugar cookies.

I just thought you should know, you need these cookies in your life. Like ASAP!! This recipe comes from my favorite drop sugar cookies (don’t worry, I plan on updating the photos/text for that real soon). Only this time I upped the lemon flavor big time! THEY ARE SOOO GOOD! We couldn’t stop eating them. The entire batch was gone in 2 days… TWO DAYS.

These lemon sugar cookies have a few things going for them:

  1. They’re super easy to make. Like really, so, so easy!
  2. They don’t require any dough chilling.
  3. You don’t have to roll or cut them out.
  4. They bake up beautifully every time.

Have I convinced you that you need to run to your kitchen and make them yet? I hope so! If not, keep reading! ?

A stack of easy lemon sugar cookies.

What special equipment is required for this recipe?

Nothing too “special.” You’ll need either an hand or stand mixer, a microplane zester or a box grater, and a cookie scoop (you can also portion the dough out my measuring 1 ½ tablespoons)

How to make lemon sugar cookies:

To start, you’ll want to cream the butter until it’s nice and smooth. This takes about 1 minute if your butter is nice and soft. It also requires a little less time in a stand mixer. 

Next, you’ll add the sugar and lemon zest and beat until the pale and fluffy. Adding the lemon zest in this step helps release the natural oils from the zest, which helps enhance the flavor.

Add the vanilla extract and lemon oil.

Lemon oil along with lemon zest give these lemon sugar cookies their flavor.

Why use lemon oil?

Lemon oil is more concentrated and pure. It doesn’t have the alcohol that lemon extract does, thus the taste is slightly more appealing (IMHO). You can find it at restaurant supply/baking stores or online at places like King Arthur Flour, Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, or Amazon. If you cannot find it, extract will work, however, you will need to increase the amount as stated in the note section of the recipe below.

Add the milk and egg yolks, mixing well after each addition.

NOTE: this recipe calls for 3 egg yolks. No whites. It helps make the texture of these cookies nice and chewy.

A bowl of lemon sugar cookie dough ready to be scooped into cookies.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Cream of tartar gives these cookies their unique bakery style flavor. It’s an ingredient you don’t want to skip!

Once the thick dough forms, use a standard size cookie scoop to form 24 balls of dough. You can either drop them straight onto the lined pan or smooth them in your hands and place them onto the pan. The cookies in the pictures have been rolled.

A baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat is best for lemon sugar cookies.

Bake for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will look soft but should firm as the cool. Do not overbake!! 

I don’t make sure cookies often, but these will definitely be on repeat this spring. I can totally see us adding some chopped white chocolate to them or drizzling some on top. These lemon sugar cookies are absolutely divine! ?


Need more recipes? Subscribe to my email list! Simply enter your email in a subscription box located on the right hand side of the blog or scroll below the recipe and sign up there. You’ll receive posts, newsletters and so much more!


A plate piled with freshly baked lemon sugar cookies.

Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe

These soft, chewy lemon sugar cookies are perfect for spring! They're made with lemon zest and lemon oil which gives them perfect amount of lemony flavor.
4 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 12 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Cool Time: 3 mins
Total Time: 27 mins
Servings: 24 cookies
Calories: 168kcal
Print Recipe


  • 1 cup unsalted butter - (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon oil - OR 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract*
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt - (I use coarse sea salt)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute on medium speed. Add the sugar and lemon zest, beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon oil (or extract), milk, then one egg. Mix on low until combined, then add remaining eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Gradually pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until a thick dough forms.
  • Using a standard size cookie scoop (#40 or 1.5 tablespoons), scoop to form balls. Roll in hands to smooth or place directly on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 11-12 minutes. Cookies will look soft but will be fully cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


*I prefer using oils over extracts if possible because of their intensity and pure flavor (no alcohol). You may also substitute the oil for 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon paste, a Nielsen-Massey product.


Serving: 24g | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 104mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Like this Recipe?

Pin it now!

Pin It Now0Pin It Now0

Shop Online

Lil' Luna Products

See All Products

Want more inspiration?

More Recipes You'll Love

Potato Rolls

Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
5 from 3 votes

1 Hour Soft & Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Total Time: 1 hour
5 from 2 votes

1 Hour Cinnamon Rolls

Total Time: 1 hour
4.92 from 25 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 4 votes

About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

Join the Conversation

Rate and Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.