These Lemon Sugar Cookies with Frosting are soft and chewy with the perfect amount of citrus. The lemon buttercream frosting adds a touch of sweetness to the cookie!
Y’all, these lemon sugar cookies are the BOMB! They’re soft, buttery, chewy and just amazing. This cookie recipe is actually pretty simple and comes together pretty quickly with minimal chill time. You actually don’t even have to chill the dough for this recipe if you don’t want to. I just prefer to, for like 30 minutes, to help slow the spread once they go in the oven. This is the perfect spring dessert recipe!
HOW DO I GET THE PERFECT FROSTING WITHOUT CURDLING?
To overcome the buttercream frosting from curdling, you have to make sure you have a good balance between the powdered sugar and the lemon juice. After making this frosting twice, I’ve learned that the trick is to make sure you’ve added enough powdered sugar. However, be careful not to add too much because you don’t want overly sweet frosting. I usually start with the amounts listed below in the recipe card then if I feel the frosting isn’t “thick” enough I’ll add a pinch or so more of powdered sugar at a time until I reach the consistency I’d like for my cookies. It’s all a matter of preference.
WHAT IS LEMON EXTRACT?
Pure lemon extract is a lemon-flavored liquid made by soaking lemon peels in alcohol or oil. The alcohol absorbs the essential oils of the lemon peels, resulting in a lemon flavor without the bitterness. You can typically find lemon extract in the baking aisle. I love using lemon extract because it adds such a bright lemon flavor without making the final dish super tart or causing the dairy ingredients to curdle with the acid from pure lemon juice.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEMON EXTRACT AND LEMON JUICE?
Lemon extract and lemon juice both come from lemons but have a few key differences to point out:
- Acid content: Since lemon extract has an alcohol base rather than a lemon juice base, its acid content is relatively low, and it won’t curdle dairy products in recipes that combine the two; however, lemon juice is highly acidic and may curdle dairy products.
- Flavor: The flavor of lemon extract is strongly lemony without much tartness or bitterness, which make these cookies delicious, while lemon juice is milder and with a strong tartness.
So, since lemon extract has a strong lemon flavor without the bitterness or acid, it’s a popular ingredient in lemon-flavored desserts or dairy recipes that must omit acid because it can curdle the ingredients. On the other hand, lemon juice is a popular ingredient in recipes that require a tart lemon flavor, like savory dishes, or salad dressings.
- Please make sure you are measuring properly. I recommend spooning your ingredients in the measuring cups and leveling them off with the back of a butter knife, especially the flour.
- Let your cookies cool completely before adding the frosting or your frosting will become runny.
- These cookies last up to a week in an airtight container and kept at room temperature. However, be sure to wait until cookies are completely cooled before adding them to the container.
- Mix the ingredients until just combined. Meaning, just until the flour disappears into the batter. This is really important to prevent over mixing. You can fold in your ingredients with a spatula, stand or hand mixer when adding your dry ingredients.
- Always make sure to cream your butter and sugar well enough. Do not skip this step. Creaming helps give the cookies the perfect dense texture.
- Check to make sure your baking powder and baking soda are both fresh. Expired leavening agents can cause issues when trying to bake.
- Make sure not to over bake these lemon sugar cookies. When you pull them out of the oven, you may think they are not quite ready yet, but they should be perfect that way as they will continue cooking on the sheet tray for a few additional minutes.
HOW DO YOU MAKE PERFECTLY ROUND COOKIES?
The best tip for beautiful, round cookies can be achieved by following these 3 easy steps:
- Immediately after your cookies are done, remove them from the oven, but keep them on the hot baking sheet.
- Take a circle round cookie cutter or a glass similar to the size of your cookies and place the cookie within the cookie cutter or glass on top. You can also use a mug or small bowl, just as long as it’s bigger than the cookie itself. The only downside to using the mug or bowl is you can’t see the cookie.
- In a circular motion, slowly move the cookie cutter around the cookie until it forms a perfect circle. This usually takes me about 5-8 seconds. If the cookie isn’t moving then just leave it because you don’t want your cookie to break in half.
CAN I CHILL THE COOKIE DOUGH OVERNIGHT?
The cookies are best baked right away or after chilling in the fridge for about 30ish minutes. So no need to chill overnight or longer than 30 minutes. I usually scoop the dough first prior to chilling.
CAN I FREEZE THE COOKIE DOUGH?
Sure! I would recommend forming the cookie dough into balls and freezing them solid on a cookie sheet. Then you can freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to a month. You can place the frozen cookie balls directly onto a lined sheet pan, let them sit to come to room temperature for a few minutes then bake.
Need more cookie recipes?
- Easy Brownie Cookies
- Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Holiday Cake Batter Cookies
- Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Strawberry Cream Cookies
Questions about these Lemon Sugar Cookies with Frosting? Did you make this recipe? Let me know in the comments below! Tag me #chefelizabethreese on Instagram, I’d love to see your creations!
Lemon Sugar Cookies with Frosting
For the Cookies
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature (8oz or 1 Cup)
- 2½ Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Lemon Extract
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
For the Frosting
- 1½ Stick Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
- 2¼ Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tablespoon + ½ Teaspoon Lemon Juice
For the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to combine.
- In a large bowl, using a hand or standing mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy (about 3ish minutes or so). Add in egg, egg yolk, lemon extract, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until combined.
- Slowly pour in the dry ingredients and beat just until combined (do not over mix). Scoop the cookie dough onto parchment lined sheet trays and place about 2 inches apart. (Chill for about 30 minutes if desired, not required).
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before adding the frosting.
For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- While the cookies are in the oven, with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy- about 2ish minutes. Add in the sifted powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Increase to high speed and beat for an additional 3ish minutes. Add additional pinches of powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or a tablespoon of heavy cream if frosting is too thick.