Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

If you like lemon, you’re going to love these cookies.

They’re soft, chewy, and packed with bold lemon flavor.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies - Packed with big, bold lemon flavor for all you lemon lovers! They're soft, chewy and not at all cakey!

I have over 100 different cookie recipes on my site but none for lemon cookies until now.

Partially because most lemon cookie recipes look lackluster in the lemon flavoring department, look too cakey for my liking, or look too flat and wimpy.

These cookies pack a powerful lemon punch, they’re soft and dense rather than cakey, they’re thick enough to sink your teeth into, and I love that they’re crinkly.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies - Packed with big, bold lemon flavor for all you lemon lovers! They're soft, chewy and not at all cakey!!

For robust lemon flavor, I used lemon three ways: extract, zest, and juice. If you wanted to intensify that, glaze them and sprinkle with zest like the Lemon Lemonies. I didn’t find it necessary but you may.

Although there’s plenty of intense lemon flavor, the cookies are sweet enough that you’ll keep going back for one more. And one more. Good thing it’s a small batch recipe that makes one dozen.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies - Packed with big, bold lemon flavor for all you lemon lovers! They're soft, chewy and not at all cakey!!

To keep the cookies soft and dense, there’s a tablespoon of honey in the dough. Honey is hydroscopic (attracts water) so it helps the cookies stay softer, moister, and denser without turning cakey.

I used two teaspoons of cornstarch which helps keep cookies softbatch-style soft. I’ve got 20 other cornstarch cookie recipes showcasing what a great little trick it is.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies - Packed with big, bold lemon flavor for all you lemon lovers! They're soft, chewy and not at all cakey!!

My daughter is a lemon fan like no one else. She eats lemon wedges like they’re orange wedges and reaches into water glasses for the lemon and helps herself.

She’s loved these and asked when I’m making them again, high approval from my little lemon connoisseur.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies - Packed with big, bold lemon flavor for all you lemon lovers! They're soft, chewy and not at all cakey!!

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

The cookies pack a powerful lemon punch, they’re soft and dense rather than cakey, and they’re thick enough to sink your teeth into. For robust lemon flavor, I used lemon three ways: extract, zest, and juice. If you wanted to intensify that, glaze and sprinkle with zest like the Lemon Lemonies (linked below). Honey helps keep the cookies moist and cornstarch keeps them soft. Any lemon lover will adore the cookies.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon honey
yellow food coloring, optional and as desired
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon juice
confectioners’ sugar for dusting or lemon glaze + lemon zest, optional

Directions:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, egg, lemon extract, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, light, fluffy, and well combined, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the lemon zest, honey, optional food coloring, and beat on medium-high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. I used 1 teaspoon gel food coloring; add drops or gel to desired shade. One teaspoon gel makes the batter quite yellow but it mellows slightly after adding the dry ingredients.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornstarch, optional salt, and baking soda (keep the baking soda in a nice little mound rather than sprinkling it).
  4. Add the lemon juice directly on top of the baking soda. It will bubble and foam, which means the baking soda has been activated and this is good; if your soda doesn’t bubble it’s old and expired. Beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  5. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 12 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 10 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 on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don’t use a rack.
  8. Optionally, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Or, for increased lemon intensity, make the lemon glaze and then sprinkle with additional lemon zest.
  9. 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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189 comments on “Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies”

  1. We love, love, love these cookies! Soft, tart and sweet. They were gone in no time and I’m making more.

    Rating: 5
  2. I am good at cakes and I never believed that I can make an amazing lemon cookie as a man. This was the best and first cookie I have ever made. It is so soft, it feels like you eat a cotton candy, that much soft. I made the recipe without the lemon extract, I add extra lemon juice instead of extract. And I only used 1 tablespoon lemon zest instead of 2. I also added vanilla powder, it turns out amazing soft, vanilla lemon cookie. It leaves the tart and zest on tongue for about 10 minutes which is amazing. Thank you 5 stars, love from Turkey.

    Rating: 5
  3. These are some of the best cookies I have ever made, and I followed your instructions to the letter. I never would have thought of adding honey and cornstarch. They’re just beautiful! I topped them with an intensely flavored lemon buttercream. Just perfection. You’ve gained a new fan – I’m checking your site now when looking for recipes! Thanks for taking the time to be so particular! :)

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and the lemon buttercream sounds perfect! Thanks for the confidence to come back to my site in the future and for noticing that I am particular. In baking, that is the only way to be :)

  4. I can’t get lemon extract where I live. Any idea on alternative? I really want to make these cookies and the lemon loaf cake.

    • I’m not sure what to tell you other than to order it on Amazon or some other type of website that you can get it from because for both the cookies and the bread it’s imperative and necessary. Lemon juice just will not work, it’s too acidic and will throw off the bacon chemistry.

  5. It must be 12 coockies or can i make them smaller? Will they keep the texture if they r smaller?

  6. Just wanted to say I love this recipe. As a person with food issues; I doubled the recipe, made with GF flour, alternative sugars and added an extra egg (to balance out the dryness of GF flour). Sometimes all these changes don’t turn out well, but these cookies turned out perfect. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad the recipe works well for you given your food challenges and the substitutions. I agree, sometimes lots of changes just, well, change a recipe for the worse but glad to hear that did not happen with this one!

  7. My daughter, the lemon dessert lover, absolutely raved about these cookies! We used a 2 Tbsp cookie scoop for smaller cookies, and they were great. I didn’t get the cute crinkly effect, but I think it’s because I didn’t flatten the cookies enough. This is now a required cookie recipe in this house!

    Rating: 5
  8. Wonderful.

    Rating: 5
  9. This is an absolutely amazing recipe! The honey and cornstarch give them just the right consistency, the advice to take them out a minute too soon rather than a minute too late is spot on, and the food coloring (something I use so rarely I had to go buy it) really ties it all together. The only thing I would change is, when flattening the dough balls make the cookies lemon shaped instead of just round. Because, lemons!

    Rating: 5
  10. These cookies are so lemony and fresh tasting! I will make these again and again!

    Rating: 5
  11. These are the BEST lemon cookies I’ve ever tried! Thanks for the great recipe. It was a winner with all the crew here at home! The best part is learning about the use of Cornstarch!!

  12. Do you know if these freeze well, either before or after baking? Thanks!

  13. These are AMAZING! I always love and appreciate your precise instructions. Perfect results every time!Such epic lemony flavour!!! omg! Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5
  14. This has become my favorite! I have to give them away so I don’t eat entire batch. Substitute orange for lemons and added lightly chopped craisins for an orange cranberry cookie that’s just as wonderful!

    Rating: 5
  15. I made them and they were delicious, however, they ended up being cakey, rather than chewy. What could I have done wrong?

    • Over-added the baking soda and/or flour; overbaked. Those would be my guesses. Use a lighter hand next time when measuring and bake a minute or two less and that should do the trick I am guessing.

  16. W-w-wow! These are a-MAZ-zing! The cornstarch and honey? Genius! Thank you for sharing the recipe and for your attention to detail. We L♡VE them!

    Rating: 5
  17. Wow, these were so gooey and flavorful! I followed it exactly but I used bread flour instead cuz I ran out of normal flour. But everyone in my family loved them, even my picky mom!

    Rating: 5
  18. I’m going to try this. Can I double the recipe? Or should I just play safe and bake one batch at a time because if I double I would be adding a lot of cornstarch. I would love to bake some for our family reunion. Thanks

  19. Does this recipe make only 12 cookies?

  20. Having trouble finding how long to cook them. At 350, I did for 13 minutes and they still look like dough- not just the middle: on the edges! I’m turning up to 400 and going to try another 4 mins. Do they continue to cook on the tray?
    Any idea if I did something wrong? I didn’t sub anything! Usually our oven runs hot and I have to reduce the time for other cookie recipes I have.

    • I wouldn’t have increased the temp, would have simply baked longer. An increased temp will cause exterior burning, whereas extra time at a lower temp will provide a more even doneness. All ovens vary, bake until done in yours.

      • Thanks. They did get a big browned around the edges, so next time I’ll just bake longer as you suggested. They turned out delicious and our guests enjoyed them too! I especially loved them with the lemon glaze on top!! Thanks for the nice, chewy, lemony recipe! :)

      • Ok glad that your guests still enjoyed them and that you will make them again! Just bake them a bit longer, as necessary until done, that’s all :)

  21. Make them without the glaze and they’re awesome! Next time I’ll make the glaze for sure to give them that extra zing. May even make a key lime glaze to see how that goes.
    This will be made again, 100%

  22. What type of flour? Cake or all purpose? Sorry I’m new to baking

  23. Just wondering…are these cookies better freshly made or baked a day ahead? Everybody seems so excited to try this recipe so they eat them right away and enjoy them immensely. Opinions? My dough is made and chilled. Just an FYI: The Chunky Chef gave credit to your recipes for an awesome lemon square recipe. I thought the squares were extra super perfect the day after and the day after that which is why I ask.

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