James Carrier
Makes about 36 4-inch cookies

These Lemon Sugar Cookies feature traditional sugar cookie dough dressed up with tart lemon juice and grated lemon peel. For more delicious cookies, see our complete cookie recipe collection.

How to Make It

Step 1

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and light. Beat in eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice, milk, and vanilla until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.

Step 2

In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture until blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Step 3

Unwrap dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out, a portion at a time, to about 3/8 inch thick. Cut with a 3- or 4-inch round cutter and place cookies slightly apart on buttered or cooking parchment-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

Step 4

Bake cookies in a 350° oven until edges are golden, 10 to 14 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Step 5

Powdered sugar icing. Controlling consistency of icing is simple. If it's too thick, add a few drops of water; if it's too thin, gradually add more powdered sugar. To tint, add food coloring a few drops at a time.

Step 6

For spreading: In a bowl, stir 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Tint with food coloring as desired. Spread icing onto cool cookies with a metal spatula. Let stand until icing is firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Makes about 1 cup.

Step 7

For piping: In a bowl, stir 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water until smooth. Tint with food coloring as desired. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch tip or a heavy 1-quart zip-lock plastic bag. Seal plastic bag and squeeze icing into a corner; cut a tiny opening at corner of bag to squeeze icing out. Let cookies stand until icing is firm, about 5 minutes. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Step 8

Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

Chef's Notes

Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour, plus at least 2 hours to chill. Notes: Decorate these thick, soft sugar cookies with powdered sugar icing (recipe below) and chopped candied peel, or, before baking, sprinkle them with large crystal sugar, available at baking supply stores. You can store the cookies airtight for up to 1 week.

Ratings & Reviews

Voila2u's Review

December 08, 2014

karenfromboston's Review

December 25, 2013
This is my go to recipe for sugar cookies. The lemon makes them a winner with adults. You can get buy with a thin royal icing dip , the flavor of the cookie doesn't really warrant a lot of frosting. This recipe makes a lot of cookies.

portland's Review

December 24, 2013
pretty, nice flavor, but the dough was a little stiff and difficult to handle when chilled. maybe next time i will roll out right away. i think the frosting needed a dash of lemon juice and zest

SuperAmanda's Review

December 09, 2013
This is definitely a recipe TO be toyed with. It simply would taste too bland as is. The results of mine are lemony and light. This is not a great icing classic sugar cookie or base for Christmas cookies which is what I'd been looking for, what it is, is a light lemon cookie recipe perfect with a cup of tea or a person who likes a lemon cookie without a lot of sugar. Here are my changes: 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 7 teaspoons (not table) lemon juice ( 1 tablespoon milk 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder (ONLY ONE!) 1/2 teaspoon salt White sugar or crystal sugar to press on top Important to wait 24 hours before baking. I waited 3 hours initially and they came out edible bland even with my adjustments. After 24 hours and some white sugar pressed into the tops at baking they were spectacular. I did 375 and larger cookies sliced from a roll. Bk sheet can be ungreased

saintinlight's Review

November 18, 2013
This recipe is BUNK! Beware.The amount of baking soda in this recipe is too much it will ruin the batch. A teaspoon should be enough Either this is intentional or a mistake.

charmainia's Review

March 12, 2013
I added twice as much lemon rind and there was only a very subtle flavour. Also, I found the cookie to be very tough...it was hard in an unpleasant way. Maybe it's the butter to flour ratio. Disappointing since lemon cookies sound really good.

knitprincesse's Review

January 01, 2013
Rather bland. Could use more lemon.

ayomidejpw's Review

December 25, 2012

Cl1ffsM0m's Review

December 22, 2012

ChrisBellaire's Review

December 24, 2011