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Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Scrumptious lemon sugar cookies with a tangy, lemony cream cheese frosting! A family favorite.
Scrumptious lemon sugar cookies with a tangy, lemony cream cheese frosting! A family favorite.

Last week, I asked my 4-year-old if she wanted to help me make chocolate chip cookies. She looked at me and said, “Mom, I’d rather have lemon cheesecake.” Such a funny girl! I would have been more than happy to oblige her, except for the fact that it was already mid-afternoon, and this was to be dessert for the same evening. This recipe is the resulting compromise: Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. The cookies are buttery and crisp on the edges at first, and then soften after being smothered with tart and tangy frosting.

There’s a mix of old and new photos in this post, but one thing is constant: these tangy, citrus-flavored cookies are always delicious!!

Scrumptious lemon sugar cookies with a tangy, lemony cream cheese frosting! A family favorite.
Scrumptious lemon sugar cookies with a tangy, lemony cream cheese frosting! A family favorite.
Scrumptious lemon sugar cookies with a tangy, lemony cream cheese frosting! A family favorite.

Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
These buttery, lemon-scented cookies are crispy on the edges and tender in the middle. Smothered with a tangy lemon-cream cheese frosting, they are an all-time favorite!
Recipe type: Dessert
for the cookies
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup crisco
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
for the frosting
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ lb. powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, crisco, and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, and lemon zest; mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to mixer and combine.
  4. Add milk and lemon juice, and stir until completely incorporated.
  5. Roll dough into Tablespoon-sized balls and place on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are just beginning to turn golden on the edges. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and well mixed. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar and salt. Stir. Mix in fresh lemon juice until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.
  8. When the cookies are completely cool, frost and serve.

60 thoughts on “Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

    1. Hi Melodie. The cookies will probably turn out fine if you use butter instead of Crisco, but the texture will be slightly different, and they’ll be more buttery! I don’t love using Crisco, but lots of my “heritage” cookie recipes call for it, so I usually keep a little on-hand in the back of the cupboard.

  1. 1/2 lb powdered sugar? Is this a typo? Should it be 1/2 cup.
    These look and sound wonderful. I love to bake but I am ashamed to say I actually have never made a sugar cookie, I can’t wait to have these though.

    1. Hi Tabitha! Nope, not a typo. It should be 1/2 lb, which is somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 cups. I’d start with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and then add more until the consistency is right. These sugar cookies are so easy–a great starter recipe!

    2. Thank you. And they were sooo good. Everyone loved them. My husband said the cookie was so Good by itself, it didn’t even need the frosting.

  2. How many does this recipe make? I would like to make some for my employees and want to make sure I have enough for everyone.:)

    1. If you’re going to be storing them for a few days, yes, I would put them in the fridge in an air-tight container. But allow them to come to room temperature for serving. Buttercream frosting always tastes better at room temp.

  3. I just made these cookies and they didn’t flatten at all in the oven! Did I do something wrong? They still taste amazing, but don’t look like your picture.

  4. Can these be chilled and roll out? I want to make these instead of the traditional sugar cookie and decorate them. We are having a cookie swap and these would be an instant hit at our Christmas part!

    1. Sorry I never got back to you about this! The world went bonkers on Friday.

      If you still need an answer to your question, I would think chilling and rolling them out would work, but I’ve never tried. Good Luck!

  5. Lulu! You super genius! Thank you so much. I just made these and they look gorgeous and taste delicious! Love them. Very easy to follow 🙂

  6. Fabulous! I made these for friends this past weekend and they were very well received! Delicious and I will definitely make again!

  7. Hi! Can we use lemon juice instead of lemon zest? And what about margarine instead of crisco? Do you also know if we change the flour to wheat flour will it affect the recipe?

    1. Hi! I haven’t tried varying this recipe at all, but here are my thoughts on the changes you have in mind:

      The cookies call for both lemon juice AND lemon zest. If you don’t have lemon zest, I’d either leave it out altogether (in which case the cookies won’t be as lemony), or add maybe 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract. I wouldn’t increase the lemon juice at all because that would change the wetness of the dough. As for margarine vs. crisco, I’m sure you can substitute one for the other. The texture of the cookies will be slightly different, but they should still be good. And finally, the flour changes. I think using whole wheat flour instead of white flour will give them a heartier, denser texture and a more earthy flavor.

      Good luck!

  8. Just made these, so delicious! I used a total of 2 lemons for both the frosting and the cookies and it was perfect.

  9. I made these cookies for Thanksgiving last year and they were a big hit. So many people wanted the recipe (and, of course, I credited LuLu Baker and sent them this link :). I absolutely love these cookies! Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Mine didn’t flatten either but they are really cute and makes me feel less guilty eating them because of their non-intimidating size. Danger! I was curious though – do you know the nutritional information for one cookie?

  11. This is a great recipe, really delicious. My first batch didn’t flatten much, so I flattened the second batch slightly before baking. I like lemon baked goods to be pretty tart, so I added a bit of Tru Lemon powder to both the cookies and the frosting so I wouldn’t have to increase the amount of lemon juice and alter the texture.

  12. First time on yog blog. You are so cute I can hardly stand it! We all love lemon so I will be trying your recipe soon. Georgia Owens

  13. First time making the cookies I had no lemon zest so I did add an extra tablespoon of lemon juice did not affect the texture thank goodness they were excellent and I will try them again

  14. Oh my GOODNESS!! These are the best cookies I’ve ever tasted!! Everyone that was lucky enough to get one, agreed! Making another batch right now 🙂

  15. I made the cookies exactly as directed. They didn’t flatten but they were delicious. I don’t think I have ever gotten so many compliments on one recipe

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