These lemon sugar cookies are so soft and light and topped with zesty lemon buttercream and lemon sugar! They taste bakery-quality but are so easy to make. The dough is no chill and the frosting is just four ingredients. It’s the perfect fresh and bright treat to bake this spring!
What makes these the BEST lemon sugar cookies?
For starters, these are like the lemon version of the soft frosted Lofthouse sugar cookies. In other words…they’re super soft and so so good! Let’s dive into the ingredients that makes this recipe so special:
- Danish Creamery Butter – This rich butter is full of flavor! More-so than standard butter because it’s slow churned with high quality cream from pasture-raised cows. You can taste the quality, as it’s what makes these cookies bakery-quality. Using Danish Creamery sea salted butter also ensures these cookies aren’t too sweet.
- Cornstarch – Just two tablespoons is enough to create a super soft and tender texture. These cookies aren’t too heavy, but still flavorful and moist.
- Lemon Zest – Between the cookies and the frosting, both the zest and juice of two whole lemons goes into these cookies…and then some with the lemon sugar on top! In other words, these cookies are bursting with fresh lemon flavor without any artificial flavors.
- Egg Yolk – An extra egg yolk is added to the dough to further the rich flavor. This extra fat creates an extra moist consistency.
- No Chill – On top of that, this dough requires zero time in the refrigerator. The dough just has to rest at room temp for about 15 minutes before baking so it’s a really quick recipe as well.
Tips for making lemon sugar cookies
To ensure these lemon cookies turn out just right, here are my top baking tips:
- Flour – I say this in every post, and for good reason. It’s the number one reason why most recipes fail, especially for cookies. If there’s too much flour, the cookies will turn out dry and they will not spread. If possible, measure the flour with a food scale. Otherwise, to ensure the exact amount, gently spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level if off with a flat edge. If scooped directly into the flour container, the flour will pack down into the cup which could leave you with 1/4 cup or more of added flour.
- Quality Butter – Butter plays a huge roll in the richness and flavor of these cookies, so I highly recommend sticking with Danish Creamery salted butter. Not only does it boost the flavor of these cookies, but the added sea salt is just enough to balance out both the cookies and the buttercream.
- Mixing – Once the dry ingredients are added, be careful not to over work the dough! Right when the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, stop mixing. Over working can lead to a tough cookie.
- Shaping – For the best results, use a large cookie scoop that holds 3 tablespoons of dough. Roll the dough into a smooth ball and then lightly press the tops with your palm. This gives the cookie a head start when spreading, so they bake into perfectly level cookies that are ready for frosting.
- Baking – Don’t over bake! The cookies are done when the edges have a hint of color and the center looks pale and puffed. The cookies will flatten and darken a bit as they cool, so it’s best to pull them when they’re slightly underdone.
How to make lemon buttercream
This might just be my new flavor buttercream recipe. Not only is it really easy to make, but it also has the best balance of sweet and tart.
The lemon buttercream is made up of just 4 ingredients:
- Danish Creamery Salted Butter – This rich butter creates a super soft and smooth buttercream and the added sea salt balances out the flavors.
- Powdered Sugar – This is mixed with the butter to create a sturdy and sweet buttercream (but not TOO sweet)!
- Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is what gives this buttercream a bright and fresh flavor.
- Milk – Milk is added to create the perfect silky smooth and spreadable consistency.
All four ingredients are mixed together until smooth.
How to frost lemon cookies
To achieve a look of perfectly rounded swirls, these are the steps to follow. Of course you can frost however you like, but this is the exact method I used:
- Fit a piping bag with a large round tip and fill the bag with the buttercream.
- Hold the tip in the center of the cookie and apply pressure to the bag. Keep the tip in place, but pipe out a mound of buttercream right in the center of the cookie.
- Use an offset spatula to work that mound out towards the edges, creating a soft ridge on the outside.
- Gently smooth and swirl the center.
- Top with lemon sugar (1 tbsp lemon zest + 1 tbsp coarse sugar).
The lemon sugar is decorative but also adds so much fresh lemon flavor. Definitely don’t skip it!
How to store frosted lemon sugar cookies
Once frosted, these cookies can sit at room temperature for a few hours. Any more than that, and they will need to chill in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
They will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
Can these cookies be made gluten free?
I have not tested it, but I would try swapping out the all purpose flour with a good quality 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour. Also omit 1 tablespoon of cornstarch as the gluten free flour will create a tender texture on its own.
For more lemon dessert recipes, check out my:
- Gooey Lemon Butter Cake
- Lemon Bar Butter Cookies
- Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- Gluten Free Lemon Zucchini Bread
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make these lemon sugar cookies. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print