Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

My daughter adores lemon desserts and I surprised her with these super soft cookies and very lemony cookies.

The cookies are topped with a lemon glaze that adds to the pucker-up power and we couldn’t get enough of them.

Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, bold lemon flavor packed into super soft cookies thanks to the cream cheese!! Tangy-sweet perfection! Lemon lovers are going to adore these easy cookies!!

They’re a hybrid of a few recipes starting with cream cheese in cookie dough. Cream cheese keeps the cookies soft, moist, tender, and ironically it doesn’t make them taste like cream cheese. Rather it makes them taste more buttery.

Rather than adding lemon juice to the dough for lemon flavor, I use lemon extract and lemon zest. I’ve learned through trial and error that you get a bolder lemon flavor with extract, you don’t thin out or water down the batter, and without the possible complications that can come from incorporating a hefty dose of an acidic ingredient like lemon juice into sensitive dough.

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Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, bold lemon flavor packed into super soft cookies thanks to the cream cheese!! Tangy-sweet perfection! Lemon lovers are going to adore these easy cookies!!

However, I am a fan of lemon juice in glazes because it brings a bold intensity of flavor. The cookies have a nice pop of lemon flavor on their own but the lemon glaze and finishing sprinkle of lemon zest take them over the lemon edge.

Between the soft, slightly chewy cookies that are perfectly thick and ridiculously tender without being cakey courtesy of the cornstarch, and the wonderfully tangy-sweet glaze, the cookies are boldly lemony and lemon fans are going to be in lemon love.

Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies - Big, bold lemon flavor packed into super soft cookies thanks to the cream cheese!! Tangy-sweet perfection! Lemon lovers are going to adore these easy cookies!!
 

 

Print Recipe

Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

These super soft, very lemony cookies are topped with a lemon glaze that adds to the pucker-up power. Cream cheese keeps the cookies soft, moist, tender, and makes them taste more buttery. Lemon extract and lemon zest are used for flavor in the dough while a lemon juice glaze and more zest top the cookies. Between the soft, slightly chewy cookies that are perfectly thick and ridiculously tender without being cakey courtesy of the cornstarch, and the wonderfully tangy-sweet glaze, the cookies are boldly lemony and lemon fans are going to be in lemon love.

Yield: about 18 medium cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 4+ hours, for dough chilling and cooling time

Ingredients:

  • Cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened (use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese not 'spreadable' or whipped cream cheese)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract (do not substitute with lemon juice)
  • yellow food coloring, optional and as desired
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (or 2 tablespoons if you want cookies very lemony)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency
  • lemon zest, for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Cookies - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) add the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, light, fluffy, and well combined, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, lemon extract, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and optionally add the lemon food coloring (as many drops as necessary until desired shade is achieved), the lemon zest, and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute; don't overmix.
  5. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or your hands, form approximately 18 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly.
  6. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 8 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don't overbake or undersides could become too browned. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool completely before glazing. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don't use a rack.
  8. Glaze - To a medium bowl, add the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and whisk until smooth and combined. Depending on preference and desired glaze consistency, you may have to play with the sugar and lemon juice ratios slightly.
  9. Using a small spoon, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of glaze over each cookie, and spread glazeout using the back of the spoon. Repeat until all cookies are glazed.
  10. Sprinkle a small pinch of lemon zest over all cookies before the glaze sets and before serving.
  11. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
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48 comments

  1. Wow. These are the softest, fluffiest cookies I’ve seen in quite a while. And I’ve never done the whole cream cheese in cookies thing, so it’s time to start! Why have I waited so long? :)

  2. I am wanting to bake a treat of some kind this weekend to celebrate the conclusion of our big landscaping project. Unfortunately it hasn’t actually concluded but should be by tomorrow…weather permitting. Any of your recipes would be amazing but something about these jumps out at me this morning. It’s getting pretty humid and temps are going up so lemon just sounds good.

    • Something about lemon is always a nice change of pace from chocolate, PB, caramel, etc. type of things…it’s just so refreshing! Congrats on your almost-done project!

  3. Hi, I’m Taylor and I am a lemon ADDICT.  I could eat it forever and always, especially in these supah soft cream cheese cookies! Looks amazing Averie  – pinned!

  4. Love making cookies with cream cheese. They always come out perfectly soft! They look scrumptious!

  5. I’ve tried your cream cheese chocolate chip cookies and they were absolutely incredible! I love lemon desserts, too, so these are definitely on my to-make list :)

  6. Yum! I’m definitely going to be making these soon!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  7. I love lemon almost if not more than pineapple so you are really killing it this week with your recipes.  These cookies look amazing…I can’t wait to make them…and I’m so happy I’m the only one that likes lemon in the house because they are going to be all mine…I just saw a pineapple recipe round up on Delish and I eye spied  your pineapple upside down cake right away.

    • I honestly didn’t plan to have both of these yellow/citrusy/desserts back to back but the pineapple cake had a date I needed to have it go out on and then these cookies were not getting bumped around :) So glad that you’re happy and LMK what you make and how it goes!

      Thanks for spying my cake on Delish, too!

  8. I have always thought I didn’t like lemon desserts until recently and now I’m obsessed! I want to make these ASAP! You take the best pictures of cookies too..they always look perfect!

    • I was honestly the same until a year or so ago. I started making them for my daughter b/c she has always adored them but lately, I’ve been bitten by the lemon bug too :)

      Thanks for the cookie photo compliments. I think after 6+ years of mostly blogging about desserts and 2 cookbooks, the easiest thing for me is cookies. My savory stuff is still a work in progress!

  9. You can never go wrong with lemon!! Love these!

    • The entire time I was making them (and eating them!!) I was thinking of you b/c you are such a lemon lover! Omg these were good. Like…whoa. And I didnt think I was that into lemon :)

  10. Lemon desserts are super awesome as you get both that lovely tang and dose of sweetness! Growing up lemon bars were always my favorite (and it still is one of my favorites). It’s no wonder that your daughter adores lemon dessert :) I haven’t really thought of adding cream cheese to the batter, and am surprised to hear that it gives it a buttery flavor! Now I’ll definitely have to try adding some to my next batch of cookies.

  11. You know me – I love me some lemon desserts! They’re easily one of my favorite dessert flavors. Mm! These cream cheese cookies sound so awesome. I can’t wait to try them! The texture sounds incredible, and of course, the lemon flavor is a bonus! 

  12. Can you use lemon oil instead of lemon extract?

  13. Hi Averie,

    I love your collection of lemon deserts as I am a lover of all things lemons.  I am wondering, however, if you have any lemon treats that are vegan?

  14. These look like the perfect lemon cookie. I love the flavor of lemon extract!!!

  15. Lemon cookies are my favorite, too. I love how soft and chewy these look. Nothing better than this! :)

  16. I`ve had lemon cookies once and that was because my cousin try to past off the m&m cookies she mistakenly put lemon pudding instead of vanilla. But these cookies actually sound good. I can`t wait to make a bunch of lemon desserts this summer. 

  17. I’m yet to make cream cheese cookies. These look amazing! :)

  18. Wow, these cookies look right up my alley!! The chewy lemon cookie with that glaze!! Especially in this nasty summer heat I don’t know about SD but damn the OC is getting so hot so fast :( And just in time for my oven to actually start working again ;) Making a cheesecake tonight but with my leftover cream cheese I see these in my future!! Hope you are well :)  

  19. I made these gorgeous, delicious cookies last week. They are excellent!  I love lemon ANYTHING and these were great. Thanks for the recipe. I also love your Starbuck’s Copycat Lemon Loaf. I’ve made that several times since you posted it. I really like the use of lemon extract – seems to work really well. I am a huge fan of a lemon poppyseed combo – loaf, muffins, cake. I’ve even made lemon poppyseed biscotti. I think poppy seeds might be a nice addition to these cookies – suggestions for quantity? 1- 2 tbsp would probably be enough. 

    • Thanks for trying this recipe and the Starbucks Copycat Lemon Loaf I’m glad both came out great for you! I would start with 1-2 tbsp of poppy seeds, stir them in, and see how it looks…and if you need more, you can always sprinkle in a few more. Enjoy!

  20. Those lemon cream cheese cookies look so good!

  21. Bonnie Williams-Barrucci Reply

    They look delicious! I can’t wait to try them,thanks for sharing the recipe!  ☺

  22. I would like to make these for my daughters spring wedding. Could you please tell me if the store well? Maybe a few days in the fridge or longer in the freezer?

    • Considering you’d be making them for such an extremely special event, I highly recommend doing a test batch and then see how the storage works out and what you’re comfortable with as I wouldn’t want to tell you one thing and you think another. Any other event than a wedding, I’d be more casual in my reply but that’s a huge event! Good luck and best wishes!

  23. I made the batter (delicious) and formed them into shapes and then froze them for a couple days to bake on Easter Sunday – do you think I should I bake them from frozen or let them thaw first? 

  24. I made these today and they taste like nail polish remover!  My lemon extract must be bad – it smells like nail polish remover – wish I would have paid attention to the smell before I wasted all of these ingredients!   Has anyone ever had an extract go bad?  It is not very old and it is Watkins brand.   I will try this recipe again – the cookies look amazing – but I’ll replace the extract first  :)

    • Yes extracts, like anything, can go bad. If it smelled like nail polish, there was definitely something wrong with it. Best of luck re-trying with another product!

  25. I made these a few weeks ago for my son (who may have been switched at birth, since he is somehow not a chocolate fan – his 4 year old words!) when he requested lemon blueberry cookies. I made a few plain lemon then added blueberries in to the rest. I liked the plain lemon better, but used small wild blueberries (thawed from frozen). I think if I made them again I would stick with plain lemon or use fresh big juicy blueberries. But they were definitely delicious and easy (and fine subbing gluten free flour). Thanks, I wasn’t even sure where to start with a lemon blueberry cookie request, then realized you had to have something! (And I saw how similar this was to the soft batch cream cheese chocolate chip cookies and knew it could handle some mix ins.)

  26. I love lemon desserts and am always looking for new ones. These cookies had good texture but had a strangely medicinal taste which I assume is from the 1 Tbsp of lemon extract. It was really strong and I could not enjoy the cookies for this reason.

  27. Hello,
    I am super excited to try to bake these, lemon is one of my favorite flavors! I am entering a 4-H drop cookie competition and I wanted to make these cookies. however I only have a half hour to prepare them to get them in the oven, could I cook them without chilling the cookie dough?

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