Chewy Lemon Cookies

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This chewy lemon cookie recipe bakes up soft and delicious cookies which are packed with bold lemon flavor! They are crisp and chewy and bursting with flavor.

Lemon cookies on wire rack.

I don’t generally subscribe to the idea that desserts are seasonal. I mean, of course, I like when my baked treats use fresh seasonal ingredients, like strawberry shortcakes in June and blood orange bars in the late winter or early spring. But I’m not averse to a pumpkin cheesecake outside of the fall, or a key lime pie in the dead of winter.

There are just some desserts that are too good to limit when you eat them!

These super lemony cookies are a perfect example. Given their burst of lemon flavor, one might think they’re strictly a summer cookie. But don’t fall into that trap. Whether you make these cookies in August, October, February or April, you’ll be glad you did.

Unlike my glazed lemon cookies, these cookies are soft and chewy like a perfect sugar cookie, but they are loaded with lemon flavor. They have the flavor of lemon bread but in cookie form.

I like to offer these cookies on a dessert tray alongside a chocolate dessert (maybe these cosmic brownies), a vanilla dessert (mini creme brulees would be so good), and a fruity offering (strawberry pound cake).

The lemon flavor of these cookies, thanks to the lemon juice, the zest, and the extract, is nothing short of shocking. They are the perfect complement to other dessert offerings, though equally delicious just on their own.

My second favorite thing about these cookies (flavor being the first) is that these cookies are so easy to make. No making the dough in advance and letting it chill for hours. These are mix, drop, and bake. You can go from craving to eating in just about half an hour!

A couple of key techniques help to make these cookies flat and soft and chewy. First, using melted butter, still slightly warm, along with oil, cream cheese, and egg, helps to soften the dough and also weigh it down, so it won’t puff much when cooking.

Second, after dropping the balls of dough on the parchment paper, press them down with a measuring cup so they spread more evenly in the baking process. You should end up with a uniform batch of flat cookies.

A final tip – I like to add a touch of lemon extract to the dough for an extra punch of lemon flavor. It’s not always easy to find lemon extract though, so if you want to use extra lemon zest in its place, it will add almost as much flavor.

Try these cookies – they are among our favorites – and let me know what you think of them!


Recipe Snapshot

  • TASTE: Bursting with citrus flavor
  • TEXTURE: Soft and chewy
  • EASE: Easy
  • TIME: Under half an hour

What You’ll Need

Ingredients

  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour, you can also use gluten-free flour.
  • Leavening: This recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda.
  • Salt: Just a touch of kosher salt to balance the flavors.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar works great in this recipe.
  • Cream cheese: Just a bit adds tang and softness to the cookies.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter. It needs to be melted and kept slightly warm
  • Vegetable oil: Or other neutral flavored oil – for softness and moisture.
  • Egg: At room temperature
  • Lemon juice and zest: Fresh squeezed juice and zest from a lemon.
  • Lemon extract: For an extra burst of lemon flavor.
  • Yellow food coloring: COMPLETELY optional, adds color, obviously.

Recommended Tools

  • A whisk (affiliate link) – no electric or stand mixer is required here!
  • Bowls (affiliate link)
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie scoop (affiliate link)
  • Baking sheet (affiliate link)
Lemon cookies stacked on wire rack.

How to Make Lemon Cookies

These soft and chewy lemon cookies are simple to make and don’t require any chilling, so from craving to eating is less than half an hour. To start, preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

  1. Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk the flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. Cream sugar, butter, and cream cheese. Place the sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl. Whisk in the melted butter. It’s ok if it is lumpy.
  3. Add liquids. Whisk in the oil until incorporated. Whisk in the egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and food coloring until smooth.
  4. Add in the flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until a soft, homogenous dough forms.
  5. Prepare the dough. Scoop the dough into 1.5-tablespoon sized balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the bottom of a greased measuring up, press the dough balls until 2 inches in diameter.
  6. Bake. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 11-13 minutes, until the edges are set. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Handy tip:

Lemon extract: If you don’t have lemon extract, or would prefer not to use it, you can replace it with an additional ½ to 1 tablespoon lemon zest.

Tips For Success

  • Lemon juice and zest: 1 medium lemon will yield about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.
  • Keep some of these cookies on hand in your freezer to bake one at a time when the craving strikes. Raw cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month. Bake frozen cookies in 350°F oven for 17-22 minutes.
  • If you want to make these cookies extra lemony, drizzle the cookies with a lemon glaze, which you can make by combining powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice
Close up of lemon cookies stacked on wire rack.

Storage & Freezing

  1. Cookies will keep for up to 1 week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  2. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature before serving.
Lemon cookies stacked on wire rack.

Chewy Lemon Cookies

Yield: 27 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

These chewy lemon cookies are packed with bold lemon flavor! They are crisp and chewy without being cakey!

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups (292 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces (56 g) cream cheese, softened & cut into 8 pieces
  • ⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2-3 drops yellow food coloring, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl. Whisk in the melted butter (some lumps of cream cheese will remain).
  4. Whisk in the oil until incorporated. Whisk in the egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and food coloring until smooth.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until a soft, homogenous dough forms.
  6. Scoop the dough into 1.5-tablespoon sized balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the bottom of a greased measuring up, press the dough balls until 2 inches in diameter.
  7. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, for 11-13 minutes, until the edges are set.
  8. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Lemon juice and zest: 1 medium lemon will yield about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest.

Lemon extract: If you don't have lemon extract, you can replace it with an additional ½ to 1 tablespoon lemon zest.

Make ahead tip:

  1. Cookies will keep for up to 1 week stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  2. Baked cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature before serving.
  3. Raw cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month. Bake frozen cookies in 350°F oven for 17-22 minutes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 27 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 136Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 91mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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2 Comments

  1. Paulette Morgan says:

    I just tried this recipe and really like the flavor and texture – as advertised, very lemony and both crunchy and chewy. The only thing I did notice is that they were a little greasy. Is that how they are supposed to be or did I do something wrong? I’d definitely make them again though.

    1. The cookies shouldn’t be greasy. I didn’t experience this when testing the recipe. The dough feels greasy from the oil and butter but the baked cookies shouldn’t feel this way.