These delightful 2-bite Lemon Butter Cookies are light and refreshing. After just one bite this simple recipe will move to the top of your list of favorite lemon desserts and cookie recipes.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Great Texture: These cookies have a light and airy texture that almost melt in your mouth when you bite into them.
Bright Flavor: That light texture balances perfectly with the amazing lemon flavor. They are the perfect treat on a hot summer day and also fit right in on a holiday cookie tray. Another cookie with a bright flavor is this Orange Cardmom Shortbread, which is worth a try as well!
Simple Ingredients: This recipe is made with pantry ingredients and fresh lemon juice, so you may not even have to make a trip to the grocery store!
Bite-Sized Treat: Since these are 2-bite cookies you can eat a few without feeling terribly guilty!
- Flour - This recipe uses all-purpose flour to make cookies that are soft and tender, while still having good structure. It is important to either weigh your flour or measure the flour by scooping it into the measuring cup and leveling it off so that you get an accurate amount.
- Butter - It is great to use unsalted butter is great when you bake because it has lower water content, so you are able to control both the texture and the amount of salt a little better. If you only have salted butter, you can omit the additional salt in the recipe.
- Powdered Sugar - Confectioner's sugar (also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar) is what makes the cookies light in texture, whereas using granulated sugar would make them denser. Powdered sugar is also used to make the glaze.
- Lemons - Fresh lemon zest and juice are used in this recipe. Zest the lemons first, then roll the lemons on a hard surface before you cut into them so that you get the most juice from each lemon.
Step One: Mix Dry Ingredients
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then set the bowl aside.
Step Two: Cream Wet Ingredients
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar.
- Mix them for at least 2 minutes so that they are really light and fluffy. This is important for the texture of your cookies.
- Add the egg and beat it for an additional minute.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then mix in the lemon zest and juice.
Step Three: Stir in Flour Mixture
- Add the flour and mix on low speed just until the flour is no longer visible.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
Step Four: Bake
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
- Portion the dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls and place them on the baking sheet with at least 3-inches between each ball.
- Use the palm of your hand or a glass, and press firmly to flatten each ball of cookie dough.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be just starting to turn brown,
- Remove from the oven and cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet. Then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Step Five: Prepare Lemon Glaze
- Whisk the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
- Transfer to a Ziploc bag and snip the tip off of a bag corner, then drizzle a little bit of icing on top of each cookie.
- Alternatively, you can spread the glaze over the cookies. If you plan to frost the entire cookie then you need to double the glaze ingredients.
- Do not overbake lemon butter cookies. They should just barely be golden brown when you remove them. They may look a little bit glossy in the middle. It is important to let them stay on the hot baking sheet for another five minutes to finish baking through before you move them to a cooling rack.
- Chilling this dough is required for the best results. If the dough is not chilled then the cookies spread flat.
- A teaspoon of almond extract or vanilla extract could be added to this cookie dough if you like those flavors in your butter cookies. Be aware that the addition of these flavors will mellow the lemon flavor.
- The dough can be made up to 3 days prior to baking. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.
- The best way to get a consistent size and shape is to use a small cookie scoop to portion, then roll the dough in your hands to form smooth balls.
- Instead of using lemon zest and juice, replace it with orange or lime zest and juice for a different flavor.
Store the soft lemon cookies in an airtight container and they will keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to a week. The cookies can also be frozen for up to six months. Allow them to thaw completely before eating.
Shortbread cookies only have butter, flour, and sugar as the ingredients. They are more dense and solid, and they do not rise when they bake. Butter cookies have additional ingredients, including baking powder, which allows them to puff up and become light and airy in texture. There is more sugar in butter cookies, and the baking temperature is higher.
Yes, these cookies can also be made using a 2-tablespoon scoop. They will bake for 12-15 minutes.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Lemon Butter CookiesRecipe by:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, softened (226 grams)
- 1 cup powdered confectioners' sugar (120 grams)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (finely grated)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 egg
- 1 cup powdered confectioners' sugar (120 grams)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- Stir the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Using an electric stand or hand mixer, mix the butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl on low speed until they are combined. Then increase to medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides.
- Add the egg and beat for an additional minute. Mix in the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice using medium speed.
- Add the flour mixture and stir at low speed until the dough comes together and no flour is visible. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to portion the dough into 1-inch balls. You can roll them in your hands if you want them to be uniform. Place the dough on a cookie sheet with 3 inches between each ball and gently press with your hand or a spatula to flatten.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown. The middle of the cookie may still look wet. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies have cooled, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and butter in a small bowl. Spread or drizzle the cookies.