Lemon Sugar Cookies Recipe

To me, nothing is more refreshing in the summer than citrus, and so I’ve been drinking ginger-lemon iced tea nonstop, along with orange-pineapple seltzer, and making lime cocktails with my husband. We’ve also been cooking with citrus as much as possible (read: lemon chicken, orange chicken, sriracha-lime chicken) and while chicken is all fine and dandy, sometimes all I want is some dessert.

A few weeks ago, I was craving lemon bars. But when I set out to make them, I didn’t realize that the Pinterest preview lumped the ingredients for the shortbread crust together along with the lemon custard filling. After I’d mixed two cups of sugar into the butter and it remained crumbly rather than becoming creamy, I started to have a hunch that maybe something was wrong. (It was.) Apparently when the recipe said cream the sugar with the butter, it only meant some of it, not all of it. (Oops!)

Anyway, the lemon bar idea quickly was replaced with brainstorming of what the heck I could do with a 2:1 sugar-to-butter-ratio. The obvious answer was cookies. I adapted this sugar cookie recipe to make a refreshingly lemon version. I’ve never been more grateful for a mistake in my life! (I don’t think you will be, either!)


Lemon Sugar Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 2-3/4  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • juice of half a lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon

Icing Ingredients:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • about 1 cup powdered sugar


In a large stand-mixer, cream together flour and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder to combine. Add to butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Chill dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a 1-1/2 inch cookie dough scoop, measure out (2 tablespoons) chilled dough, roll in sugar, and place on baking sheets at least two inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes until cookies are flat and begin to crackle on the top. Cool completely on pans.

For icing:

In a medium bowl, slowly add powdered sugar to the remaining lemon juice until you reach the desired consistency. [The icing should be thin enough to drizzle, but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without being transparent.]

Drizzle icing over cooled cookies and allow to harden completely before serving (about 15 minutes).


I really enjoy baking, but I used to have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with it. When I was struggling in my relationship with food, I’d find myself craving sweets all the time. Because of this, I believed that sugar was addictive, and I was afraid that if I ever were to eat dessert, I’d end up bingeing on it. (I often did!) However, I came to learn that my binges weren’t the result of an addiction or lack of will power, but because I was forcing myself to follow unnecessarily restrictive rules, creating a powerful allure over sweets.

When I surrendered my obsession with dieting/weight loss and gave myself permission to eat dessert whenever I wanted, I was amazed that the preoccupation with dessert lessened too. The binge eating tendencies went away completely, and I found that I could be satisfied by a single cookie, or sometimes even half! (But sometimes I eat two or three, and that’s okay too!) Overall, my the relationship I have today with dessert and all other food is balanced and healthy, and I’ve never felt more free. How about you?


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