Meet the Lemon Cookies of my dreams

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I’m curious to know: how many people here actually like lemony baked goods? When I say that, I mean those that have the REAL lemon feels. As a huge lemon-pastry lover it’s important to me that when a certain pastry is heralded as “lemon”, the lemon flavour isn’t just an afterthought, or worse, merely for scenting up the pastry. Lord knows I’ve been disappointed by labels many times.

If you’re going to sell me a lemon pastry, make it something that actually has the zingy tang of a lemon, am I right? This is one of my pet peeves especially when it comes to lemon bars. Lemon bars HAVE to be tangy, otherwise what would be the point?

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I must admit I find it frustrating that I’ve never encountered any store-bought lemon cookie that goes beyond being just sweet with a very mild lemon essence. Most cookies I’ve eaten just rely on the lemon scent to kind of flavour it. Are they afraid that people would shy away from a bit of sour citrusy tang? Then I guess these people have no business eating any lemon pastries… Luckily in my world, cookie problems are really easy to solve. You just get into the kitchen and experiment of course! And after trying out several different versions, I finally found the one recipe that I love.

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These cookies aren’t shy about their identity. Lemon cookies through and through, they really mean business. And that’s why I adore them to bits.

When I initially planned to find myself a good recipe for lemon cookies, I wasn’t really thinking about the texture of them. They can be soft, they can be crunchy, as long as they hit me with good lemon flavour, all would be good. But I got lucky with this one. My favourite form of cookies are the chewy ones, and these are close to that texture but are a bit more tender than the usual chewy chocolate chip. Still doesn’t change the fact that this Tangy Lemon Cookies recipe is a keeper.

Actually it’s fan-freaking-tabulous!

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And because these cookies are rolled into sugar before they are baked, they also have that slightly crackling-to-the-bite crust. I’m not a fan of purely sweet sugar cookies, but even I have to admit that there are cookies that benefit from being rolled in extra sugar. This is certainly one of them. The crunchy sugar provides a nice sweet contrast against the tanginess of the lemon and the chewy texture as well.

Fellow lemon-lovers, this is definitely for you!

Chewy Lemon Cookies - Meet the Lemon Cookies of my dreams
Tangy Lemon Cookies
Chewy Lemon Cookies - Meet the Lemon Cookies of my dreams
Deliciously chewy lemon cookies with a delightful zzzzzing! These may very well be the lemon cookies of my dreams!

Makes 24 to 36 cookies
  1. 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  6. 1½ cups white sugar
  7. 1 egg
  8. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 lemon's zest
  10. 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  11. ½ cup sugar, for rolling
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and place rack in center of the oven. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. 3. In a large bowl (using a mixer, a hand mixer, or a whisk), beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.
  4. 18580946463 d900b2ce6b b - Meet the Lemon Cookies of my dreams
  5. 4. Add in dry ingredients to the larger bowl. Using a spatula, fold dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined.
  6. 19201485175 875832035b b - Meet the Lemon Cookies of my dreams
  7. 5. Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, take out rounded portions of dough and then roll in the sugar. Place on lined cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. These cookies expand nicely.
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  9. 6. Bake one tray at a time for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges of the cookies feel firm. The center of the cookies will still be a bit soft. Remove from oven and let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving cookies to a wire rack. The cookies will firm up and become chewy once cool.
  10. 7. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Adapted from Crustabakes blog
Adapted from Crustabakes blog
The Tummy Train
The cookies are a nice light yellow colour in person, which is yet another reason why I adore them. Yellow just happens to be my favourite colour. My love for the lemon flavour has nothing to do with my love for the colour yellow though. I just really like sour-tangy things. 🙂 Gosh I can’t believe I stored these cookies in my drafts folder for so long. They definitely deserve to be shared!

18579021664 4c2f739475 b - Meet the Lemon Cookies of my dreams

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  1. Nina Alviar
    4 February, 2017

    YES they are finally actually lemony! Thank you. FYI I added 1/2 tsp citric acid to it, and my son had the brilliant idea of adding white chocolate chips. Divine.

    1. Clarisse
      4 February, 2017

      Oooh I bet they were!

    2. Jay
      15 June, 2018

      GREAT tip re: citric acid. I’ve been using the stuff to tart up my beverages and have been wondering whether it would have a similar effect in baked goods (these cookies sound fantastic). Thanks for the confirmation.

  2. Joy
    22 June, 2018

    My hats off to you. This is an amazing lemon cookie. It’s hard to find one that actually tastes lemony instead of overly sweet. Thanks for sharing your genius.

    1. Clarisse
      22 June, 2018

      Hi Joy! So glad you enjoyed this! I can’t take credit for the recipe itself since it’s not my original. However I will say that I did end up writing about this particular recipe after trying out so many that don’t really have lemon flavor. It was a long journey to find this and it deserves to be shared!

  3. Jay
    27 November, 2018

    I’ve made these cookies three or four times now, with continually improving results. The last batch was the best. I used about a half cup of lemon juice and, per Nina Alviar’s inspiration, around 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid (I add this stuff to my lemonade, too). Chopped walnuts are likewise a terrific addition. They impart a wonderful texture. This excellent recipe is now one of my go-to’s. If you are serious about lemony goodness, you’ll love it.

    Thanks for sharing, Clarisse!

  4. Rebecca Ann Keller
    1 December, 2018

    These are just another kinda lemony sugar cookie–and i even added a healthy dose of citric acid. They are fine…but they did not live up to the promise of being tart, and lemony.

    1. Clarisse
      1 December, 2018

      Hmm that’s strange. They were nicely tart when I made them though.

    2. Jay
      25 June, 2019

      So tweak the recipe and add additional lemon juice. I use a half-cup plus a healthy amount of zest. This is the best recipe for lemon cookies that I’ve found.

      Separately, these are also fantastic when you add chopped candied ginger. I also fantasize about using the recipe as a pie crust.

      1. Clarisse
        25 June, 2019

        Ohh I love that pie crust idea!


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