Chewy Lemon Cookies

I’m practically laid out on the couch, cosying up to an ice pack right now (Thank god for laptops.) having done something again to my back. Stretch, ice, advil, repeat. Needless to say, the weekend has not been very active. One errand yesterday and brunch with a friend today before I had to make nice with my back and hang out on the living room floor staring at the ceiling. You know what lying on the floor shows me? That I really need to vacuum more.

So, no baking or cooking today, but luckily I have saved up this little chewy lemon cookie recipe for a rainy day (of sorts). If you’ve been on this blog long enough, you know how much I love lemon. In fact, some may say it’s an addiction.

And that means when I see a good-looking lemon-centric recipe, like this one for Chewy Lemon Cookies, it isn’t long before I’m making it. I was also intrigued by the idea because I absolutely adore the Lime Sugar Cookies I often make. There are very few things these two recipes have in common, other than a citrus focus. But they’re both fantastic in their own way.

I loved these cookies for the chew and crackled top. Plus, of course, the lemon-y flavour.

I baked them off on a Saturday and shipped about a dozen off to the Sunday crew at the Herald because even though I’m not there on the weekends anymore, it doesn’t mean I can’t take care of my girls. Their grateful tweets made it totally worthwhile.

As some of you know, I’m a terrible procrastinator and have been sitting on this recipe for two weeks. A friend has been gently reminding me to get it up because she wants to make them herself — that’s how good they are.

Lemon Sugar Cookies - process

Rolling in sugar

Lemon Sugar Cookies I

Lemon Sugar Cookies II

Chewy Lemon Cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a larger bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.

Add in dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Roll rounded spoonfuls of dough into balls and then roll in sugar. Place on lined cookie sheets, about 1 or 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (Mine needed barely 8 minutes; they were not yet golden but I wanted them still pale and tender.) Remove from oven and let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cook on wire racks.

Makes 24 – 36 cookies.

You may also like


  1. Hooray! And hooray for “gentle” reminders, haha. Just doing my part to spread the lemony goodness to the world.
    Can’t wait to try them.

  2. These look delicious! I, like you, love all things lemon.
    Have you ever made them then frozen them? I’m trying to make holiday stuff ahead of time (so we won’t eat it all!) and if these freeze then that would be great! If not, I’ll be making them anyway! Hope you feel better!

    1. Jane, I haven’t tried freezing them, so I don’t know if that will work. Let me know if you try it because I’m curious!

  3. hi there and thanks for the little bits of pleasure i occassionally find in my inbox.
    i am still in the process of making these cookies. they are DELICIOUS, but raw???? i’m still cooking them —way past the 8 minutes in the recipe. i can’t even take them off the baking sheet because they are falling apart they are so raw. do you have some super bionic oven?

    the few that are finally done are simply divine. next time i make them i’ll adjust the oven temp and cooking time (and increase the space between them.) but i’ll definitely be making these again.


    1. Christina, I’m sorry they were taking longer for you to bake! I made my cookies quite small, so that’s probably why they were done in 8 minutes. It sounds like you’ve found the solution, though. Hopefully you’ll give it another go with greater success next time!

        1. Hi Riley, I think you could get away without the zest (though they will be far less lemon-y as a result), but you can’t skip the baking soda, since leavening is key in baking cookies. I hope that helps!

    2. just leave them for 20 minutes and let them cool down a bit. they will get hard and chewy and not raw anymore. if you use alu foil, make sure u use some olive oil on top of the foil before baking them. Oh and regarding olive oil…use it instead of butter, it is much healther and tasty as wel!!! Good luck,x

  4. Generally I lurk, but I had to tell you how wonderful these cookies are. They’re THAT good.

    I love a recipe that claims to be “chewy” and delivers. I added a teensy bit more lemon juice to offset the sweetness of the white chocolate chips I threw in.
    (However, I did purposely leave some “chip-less” to get an accurate test and your original recipe is wonderful.)

    Thank you so much for providing an excellent addition to my Christmas Cookie Exchange.

  5. Wow. I made these cookies for my mother because she is on a lemon-kick right now. I didn’t expect much because I, unlike my mother, was not aching for anything lemon-like. When I made the dough, I was not impressed with the taste, but I still expected the resulting cookies to taste good. Well, they tasted BETTER than good; they were AMAZINGLY good, soft, with just the right amount of sweetness. Next time I will add more lemon juice so that they can be more sour, but they are actually amazing as is. I ended up eating an embarrassing amount of cookies before my mother’s arrival (she still isn’t back yet). I am locking myself in my room to avoid eating the whole lot so that she can have some hahaha. Thank you for a fantastic, unforgettable recipe.

    P.S. Oh! About the baking time – I had to bake mine for an average of 9:30-10 minutes, and my cookies were small- to medium-sized. I also made sure to leave the cookies on the hot baking sheet for 2-4 minutes before placing them on the wire rack. I’m grateful for that tip.

  6. I have made these twice just this week! Once for a cookie exchange, the second time for me! For the second batch I took half of the dough and added a cup or so of chopped cranberries. Uhm, yeah, so yummy!

  7. OH MY GOD! This is what my son and husband said upon tasting these cookies. We love lemon bars. we love sugar cookies. These are like a great cross between the two. Totally great. Thanks.

  8. Holy cow, these are on my short list for sure! Everyone seems to LOVE them so I can not wait to try them!!!! When I do, I’ll let you know how they turn out. That is, if I can keep my fingers off of them long enough to type. (I kind of have a lemon addiction myself)

  9. Hi, found this site through Google while looking for lemon recipes. These turned out easy and quick to make, looking nice and quite pleasant to eat, too. Perfect for family gatherings and coffee parties!

    I wouldn’t call mine chewy, though – they’re a bit crispy on the edges and crust, and nice and soft in the middle. Lemon flavor is quite mild, perhaps because I only had a small lemon to use. Baking time was about 13 minutes in a fan forced oven at about 175 Celsius, I took mine out just before they started getting brownish. I got 43 of these to have and share.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I came across your blog by looking for lemon cookie recipes. The recipe looked pretty simple, and I’m not much of a baker, so anything that has too many steps I’ll either not want to attempt, or I’ll mess it up somewhere.

    I was a little worried when I tasted the batter. It was terrible! I thought it tasted like play-doh (if childhood memory serves), but I went on anyway just hoping the baked product would be better.

    It definitely was! These are really good, I sprinkled some extra sugar on the top (the leftover from what they were rolled in), and made them really big, so the baking time took a lot longer. Pulled them out before they were browned since I always think cookies taste better that way. The lemon taste isn’t as strong as I was expecting/hoping, so I’ll add more zest next time.

    I saved your recipe since I plan on making them again. I put some of the leftovers in the freezer and they taste great that way too. I was thinking they would make delicious ice cream sandwiches!

    Thanks so much for sharing! :)

  11. turned out perfect!!! Love the light yellow color they turn and soft texture. I baked off a dozen right away then portioned out the rest of the dough- froze that and have been baking out a dozen or so at a time. Just pop them out of the freezer roll in sugar and bake- they turn out perfect!

  12. I came across your site through another site which I found through StumbleUpon. It must have been fate lol. I immediately made these cookies and they are so amazing! I made most of them regularly and added dried cranberries to a portion of the cookie dough as one of the other readers did. Either way these cookies are delish! The only problem I have is trying not to eat them all and make myself give them away. :)

  13. Tried there, was they came out perfect!! Loved the flavor and texture. I halved all the quantities and used a small sized egg – made 15 big round cookies. Will definitely be making these again & again.

    Many thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. I don’t have a fresh lemon so I am wondering would it be ok to use lemon juice from the bottle, and if so what would the measurements be? Thanks in advance :)

    1. Hi Ashley, you can use bottled lemon, but I really recommend going for fresh if at all possible. The taste is much better and, of course, the zest adds a ton of lemon flavour. If that’s just not an option, you’ll need about the same amount of juice. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons.
      As for the shoes, thanks! I got them at Winners, actually. They were an excellent find.
      Good luck with the cookies!

      1. So far we’ve made fresh lemon verbena mint tea. Which was fantastic and I could drink it every day if I had a bigger plant. :-) I’m making your lemon cookies right now…just trying to figure out what to do if I don’t have parchment paper…I’m guessing just put them on the sheet ungreased, but we will see.

  15. i just made them and they taste delicious, although i did decrease the amount of sugar used to 1 cup and used lemon sugar instead in addition to the zest (basically the same thing as making vanilla sugar, where you put the pod of the vanilla bean into the sugar and seal it, letting the oil seep into the sugar, only we use lemon zest instead) The result was a cookie that was not too sweet and perfectly lemony and zesty :D

  16. I just want to say this is a great recipe. I just baked this lemon cookie and it is chewy and yummy! I usually like my sweets not much sweet, so I plan to make mine with less sugar and more lemon zest to add more lemon flavor next time. Maybe lemon icing instead of rolling on sugar. This is what I will bring to my Christmas party this year! THX much!

  17. I just tried these cookies and couldn’t be happier… a little crisp on the outside, a little chewy on the inside, lemony, light, and pretty. Perfect.

    Next time I’ll decide either to be very very careful when adding the sugar, or maybe cut it down just a bit.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. This recipe is superb! I was a bit in doubt of the ‘chewy’ part, until the inside of the cookie amazed me. Had a blast making them and sharing them with friends. I even took the liberty of making star-shaped ones with regular cookie cutters and well.. they are a bit overpuffed (Is that a word?). I see that the dough isn’t meant to be made into delicate shapes, but not bad, not bad at all.

    Here’s the link to my blog post regarding your recipe :
    It’s mostly in Korean so you can just scroll down to get to the pictures.

    Thanks a bunch! :)

    – Hyewon from Korea

  19. Hello! I made these on a whim, at 10.30pm last night (they’d been gnawing at my mind). I’d never had lemon cookies! I love them – so buttery and light. Thank ye, thank ye.

  20. I chose your recipe for my lemon craving :) I added dried lavender to both the cookie and the sugar. They turned out just as i imagined!

  21. Oh My God. I am as obsessed with lemon and vanilla, and I made these really hoping they would turn out as wonderful as they sounded/looked. when I tasted one before handing them out to my family, I thought I would cry. I’ve never tasted a recipe this wonderful, this savory, this sweet and tangy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I WILL be making this again, and from today, following your blog for more recipes.

  22. We’re in the process of opening a Coffee Shop/Gallery where we live in the little town of San Pancho, Mexico. It will be called Cafe Manana. Our test kitchen has flour every where, we’ve been testing and testing and testing goodies to serve. These cookies were a huge hit and you can bet they’ll be on the menu! Thanks, Caf Mananana at Casita Cielo Azul in San Pancho, Mexico.

  23. These cookies are abSOULutely delicious! I love lemon cookies, especially when they are buttery and chewy. Thank-you so much for posting this amazing recipe. You have made a lot of people very happy, and I am one of them! :-)

  24. These look sooo yummy. I have been looking for all kinds of lemon recipes, since I have a meyer lemon tree that yeilded quarts of juice. Froze it in plastic ice trays. Now have bags of lemon cubes that need to show their creative side. Thanks for the beautiful cookie recipe. Will try it for the family Christmas.

  25. Hi, I found you through Google for lemon cookies. I made these last night and found I had to bake them for about 14 minutes (I used a 1″ ice cream scoop). They are really lovely. I will be blogging about them in the future and will link back to this page. Thanks for sharing a very nice lemon cookie reciep.

  26. Thanks so much for posting this great recipe. I just love them! I REALLY like lemon so I bumped up the flavor a little by putting True Lemon in the sugar that the cookies are rolled in before baking. I also took the extra step of rotating my pan about halfway through baking so they would cook evenly. Fabulous!

  27. Very good – thanks. On the second time of making these, I pounded the grated lemon rind together with about 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves. Squished the balls down a fraction and made a shallow crater in the middle using thumb. gave a more even disc shape. 8 minutes fine but then a second bake of 3 – 4 minutes helped a lot to get what I wanted.

  28. I love these cookies!!!! omg! it is surprisingly chewy! I will cut down some sugar though as it is a bit too sweet for me.

    My cookies are very thin.. how about yours??

  29. silly question, but once the balls are rolled into the sugar do you then flatten them out or leave in a ball for them to cook? ta

  30. These cookies turned out absolutely amazing. I cannot thank you enough for this recipe! :) I made them this morning and they turned out exactly as I had hoped. THANKS AGAIN!

  31. These cookies are perfect!!! I added 2 Tablespoons of Cornstarch to the flour mixture. I also used half shortening. I rolled then in “raw” sugar, which is much coarser that regular sugar and adds to the crispness. I used the small end of my “Mellon ball” scoop. I baked them for 10 min. I made 100

  32. WHAT A DELIGHT!!! I am not the best at baking but these turned out absolutely fabulous. My mother says they are the best cookies she has ever tried. They looked a little uncooked but brown around the edges, but don’t worry! Take them out anyway and they turn into the most amazing chewable delicious cookie. I am telling both my sisters about this recipe. Thanks for making my rainy day better :) !!!!!

  33. Hi there, I came across your blog and this recipe while looking for a simple lemon recipe that uses lemon juice as well instead of just the rind.

    I can’t wait to try these. I LOVE anything with lemon. I was just wondering though if it would be ok if I were to add a little more lemon juice to make it tangier? Will it make the dough too wet and not work? Can I also not roll them in sugar?

    Thanks so much and I can’t wait to try making them. My boy love lemons too, so much so that he loves to suck on them just like that.

    1. Hi Michelle, I’m so glad you found this recipe as it is nice and lemony. I’m going to suggest you resist adding in more juice, though, as they will flatten out too much. But, if you really want to amp up the lemon, you can add more zest.

  34. These are simply amazing! This is one of the best recipes I have ever came across! I am putting on my blog, to go live 5/16, but don’t worry I am crediting you and the link to your recipe! OH MY GOSH! Seriously these are soooooo good!!!!

  35. Hi there!
    I’ve made these cookies several times now- always delicious. I make mine gluten-free, and this recipe really holds up to the changes. I just use my cup4cup gluten free flour mix, 1tsp of baking powder instead of half, and 1/2 a tsp of xanthum gum. I can’t compare them to normal ones, but my friends and family tell me they can’t even tell they are gluten free as these cookies come out so chewy :)

  36. Great cookies, lovely flavour, soft and chewy. However, one thing I found was that the dough was very sticky to handle, did anyone else have this problem? I weighed out the ingredients very carefully too.

  37. I tend not to drop many responses, but I browsed through a few responses on this page
    Chewy Lemon Cookies – Patent & the Pantry. I actually
    do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be simply me or do a few of the
    comments come across like they are coming from brain dead
    individuals? :-P And, if you are writing on other online sites, I’d like to follow
    anything new you have to post. Would you post a list of every one of all your public sites like your twitter feed,
    Facebook page or linkedin profile?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *