Lemon Powdered Sugar Cookies
These Lemon Powdered Sugar Cookies are soft, packed with bold lemon flavor, and are rolled in powdered sugar for a fun crinkle cookie look!
OK my lemon lovers! The spring is such a fun time for all the delicious lemon recipes. Whether you are craving salty or sweet, I have the best lemon recipes for you! My lemon pasta and lemon honey glazed salmon are great ways to utilize lemon in savory dishes. Then round off you meal with my Lemon Bar Cake recipe that tastes just like lemon bars or a delicious Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake!
Why This Recipe Works
- Uses simple ingredients. This lemon powdered sugar cookie recipe uses ingredients that are commonly found in your fridge or pantry! And even if you don’t have fresh lemons, I give a few suggestions for substitutions in my post.
- Punchy lemon flavor. These powdered lemon cookies have a bright lemon flavor thanks to using two forms of lemon: the zest and the juice. Using both the fresh lemon juice and the fresh lemon zest really bring out a strong and delicious lemony cookie flavor!
- Unsalted Butter: If using salted butter instead of unsalted, reduce the amount of salt 1/4 of a teaspoon per 1/2 cup of butter in the recipe.
- Vanilla Extract: The vanilla won’t conflict with the lemon flavor. Vanilla acts as a flavor enhancer in sweets (like salt in savory dishes). If you are using lemon extract, however, I would consider reducing or omitting the vanilla extract.
- Egg: The egg binds the ingredients together.
- Lemon Zest & Juice: You’ll notice that these lemon powdered sugar cookies don’t use lemon extract. Using the juice and plenty of lemon zest brigs a nicely fresh lemon flavor that you really don’t need any lemon extract!
- Baking Powder: Using baking powder in addition to baking soda will provide a fluffier and lighter texture in the powdered lemon cookies.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda is a base that reacts with the acid (lemon juice) to create rise in the cookies.
- Powdered Sugar: You’ll roll the dough in the powdered sugar prior to baking. This makes them have the lemon crinkle cookies effect.
- Cream butter and sugar. Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add remaining wet ingredients. Add the vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix again.
- Add the dry ingredients. Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour and mix until just combined.
- Portion into dough balls. Using a cookie scoop or measuring cup, form into 1 1/2 inch cookie dough balls.
- Roll dough in powdered sugar. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Roll each dough ball in the powdered sugar and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake. Bake the lemon powdered sugar cookies at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the centers appear slightly underdone. They’ll continue cooking on the sheet as they cool.
- Let cool. Remove the powdered lemon cookies from the oven and let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
When adding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix until just combined. Over mixing the dough at this stage can cause the cookie dough to go tough, which affects the bake.
Rolling the dough in the sugar accentuates the crinkle appearance.
Make sure you spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray. These cookies are more apt to stick to the tray. You can also use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat in lieu of the cooking spray.
Lemon zest provides a stronger lemon flavor. Substitutes for lemon zest includes additional fresh lemon juice, lemon extract, or dried lemon peel.
If you want the cookies to have a sharper yellow color, you can add a bit of yellow food coloring to the dough.
This lemon cookie recipe does not call for a lemon glaze due to being rolled in powdered sugar prior to baking. The powdered sugar on the outside of the cookie bakes into a type of glazed coating so you don’t need an official lemon glaze.
For a more prominent powdered sugar coating you can double roll the cookie dough in powdered sugar prior to baking. You can also sprinkle some powdered sugar on the cookies once you remove them from the oven.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
To make the dough ahead of time, follow the recipe until the dough is made. Do not roll into dough balls yet. Transfer the lemon cookie dough into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Remove and let come to room temperature. Continue with the directions starting with rolling the dough into dough balls.
Store the lemon cookies in an airtight container or Ziplock bag at room temperature for 3-4 days.
To freeze the dough, roll into dough balls and roll in the powdered sugar. Flash freeze on a baking sheet until firm. Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for 1-2 months. Remove and bake from frozen. You may need to add an additional minute to the bake time.
To freeze the lemon cookies, let cool completely and then wrap each cookie in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the freezer for 1-2 months. Remove and let thaw.
You don’t have to. It just provides the crinkle appearance. You can even roll them in granulated sugar if you’d like. I didn’t want the crunchiness of the sugar so I decided to use powdered sugar.
Yes you can. These cookies already have a really nice lemon flavor to them, but if you want them to be extra lemony the addition of lemon extract will up that flavor. Alternatively, you can add more lemon zest to get a more pungent lemon flavor. If adding lemon extract, you can forgo the vanilla extract in this recipe.
Yes you can. I feel like the juice of a fresh lemon is a bit punchier, but you are welcome to use store bought if that’s what you have. However, if you don’t have a fresh lemon, you’ll miss out on the lemon zest! It makes a huge difference!
If you don’t lemon zest, there are few things you can do to up the lemon flavor. First, you can add lemon extract. Second, you can add more lemon juice. Third, you can use dried lemon peel!
You don’t need to. However, if you’d like to make these cookies in advance, you can make the dough ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Remove and let come to room temperature to school into balls and bake according to the recipe instructions.
More Lemon Desserts
- Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Sour Cream
- Lemon Jello Cake
- Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
Lemon Powdered Sugar Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter - at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest - ~zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until combined, about 1 more minute.
- Add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour. Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Place the powdered sugar in a bowl.
- Scoop the cookie dough into 1 ½ inch sized balls. Roll the dough balls in the powdered sugar then place on the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each ball.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.