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!!
Lemon Cream Cheese Cookie Recipe
My daughter adores lemon desserts and I surprised her with these super soft, 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.
They’re a hybrid of a few recipes starting with cream cheese in cookie dough. Cream cheese keeps the lemon 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.
However, I am a fan of lemon juice in glazes because it brings a bold intensity of flavor. The soft lemon 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.
What’s in Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies?
To make the soft lemon cookies, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon extract
- Yellow food coloring
- Lemon zest
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda
And to make the lemon glaze for the cookies, you’ll need:
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Lemon juice and zest
How to Make Glazed Lemon Cookies
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, make the lemon cookie dough. Once the cookie dough comes together, form approximately 18 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly.
Place the cookie dough balls on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 3 hours before baking the cookies.
Once the cookies are done baking, let them cool completely before topping with the lemon glaze.
Do I Have to Chill the Cookie Dough?
Yes, you MUST chill the cookie dough. Do not bake with unchilled dough because the lemon cream cheese cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
Can I Omit the Food Coloring?
Yes, you’re welcome to omit the food coloring if you don’t have any on hand or prefer not to use it. Just note that your lemon cream cheese cookies won’t be as vibrantly yellow as mine.
Tips for Making the Best Lemon Cookies
Pin This Recipe
Softbatch Glazed Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
Big, bold lemon flavor packed into super soft lemon cream cheese cookies!! Tangy-sweet perfection! Lemon lovers are going to adore these easy cookies!!
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup 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 all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency
- lemon zest, for garnishing
- 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.
- 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.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and optionally add the yellow 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sprinkle a small pinch of lemon zest over all cookies before the glaze sets and before serving.
Make the Cookies
Make the Glaze
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 145mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g
More Lemon Dessert Recipes:
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!
The Best Lemon Loaf (Better-Than-Starbucks Copycat) — Took years but I finally recreated it! Easy, no mixer, no cake mix, dangerously good!!
Lemon Lemonies – Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!
The Best Lemon Bars – Truly the best lemon bars I’ve ever had!
Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, fluffy, moist, very lemony cupcakes from scratch! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe for cupcakes that taste like they’re from a bakery!
Lightened Up Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake – No BUTTER in this healthier cake with big juicy blueberries and refreshing lemon! It’s a keeper!
Blueberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Glaze – Almost more berries than cake in this soft, fluffy cake!
Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze — An easy little cake with big lemon flavor!! Soft, fluffy, and foolproof if you like puckering up!
Originally posted June 12, 2015 and reposted March 26, 2021 with updated text.
I made these cookies in late December of 2022. I never got around to putting the glaze on because my husband got Covid so I put the whole batch in the freezer because I didn’t want him breathing on my cookies. I did eat a couple before freezing the cookies and they are the BEST lemon cookies I have ever had. I now just take out a couple of cookies when I want something lemony. Still haven’t put any glaze on any of them. They are GREAT!!!
Thanks for the 5 star review and what a story you have surrounding them! Glad your husband is ok and that they cookies are the best lemon cookies you’ve ever had!
These Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies are just DELICIOUS! I was pleasantly surprised by the density of the cookies! It FEELS good to eat them! However 10 minutes prep time?! It takes that long just to zest the lemons! But it’s worth every minute of labor!
I am glad they turned out delicious and you enjoy the density!
As for the prep time, I am pretty fast in the kitchen I guess!
By mistake, I added 8oz of cream cheese. What do I need to do to fix this?
Remove three-quarters of it so you’re left with 2 ounces (1/4 cup).
Otherwise you need to quadruple the recipe.
Or just start over.
Made these because I had a couple lemons to use up, and brought them into work today. They were a smash hit at the office- the simple glaze blew people away, they’re soft and cakey, and people said they have the perfect balance of flavors. It’s a good thing I made a double batch, because after one day, there’s only like six left. They’re an awesome summer-y cookie.
Thank you for the 5 star review and glad that these were a huge hit and that a double batch is almost history!
I just baked these this morning. When I scooped the dough yesterday I used a 2 tbsp. scoop and got 28 rather than 18 cookies, probably because I leveled off the scoop of dough and got just 2 tbsp. per cookie. I figured that was okay. I baked them this morning the 8 minutes in the recipe and glazed them when they cooled. They taste great but the dough is almost raw! Can I do anything to save these? I’ve made a lot of other cookies over the past year, so I don’t think it’s an oven issue. Help!
If they are almost raw, then well, sorry to saw they are almost raw. I would say toss since you’re dealing with raw egg at this point.
When baking, always keep an eye on your particular item rather than going strictly by the time estimates provided since all ovens bake differently, climates, cookie sheet pans, etc are always a bit different.
i read the reveiw of your cream cheese lemon cookies that the woman thought something was missing but ate a lot anyway. i believe an egg yolk added would work and leave the cornstarch out. I’m pretty sure of this. they look very good. ktb
I felt like these were lacking something and yet I couldn’t stop eating them. They are nice and light and very binge-worthy. I will definitely make them again.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you will definitely make them again. Try additional salt next time. Lots of times, that is the culprit if someone feels like you’re missing something but not sure what.
These are excellent. Super soft with a nice lemon flavor.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad they are excellent!
I should add that I used margarine (don’t like the taste of butter) and it worked very well. I chilled the dough overnight.
Good to know that margarine worked!
I made these according to the recipe but rolled the chilled dough in icing sugar. It was missing that lemony flavor even though I used all the zest of one lemon. I made a glaze of icing sugar and the juice of 1/2 lemon. It picked it up very nicely. Will make again.
I’m glad that you were able to get the punch of lemon flavor that you wanted with your extra stop.
You could also try adding extra lemon extract to the dough. That may perk it up for your taste buds as well.
Made exactly as directed and they turned out beautifully! I left off the icing so they could be packaged for Easter goody bags. Great lemony recipe!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad they turned out beautifully! I am glad you were able to put them into goodie bags – how nice of you!
Made these lemon beauties tonight, and yum yum! They didn’t look pudgy like yours, but didn’t really care. Still tender, moist, and my family was impressed. I think I need to add a little more lemon extract to the cookie dough next time, but the glaze with the zest gave them a nice fresh taste. This is another winner, thank you!!!!
I made these with 1 to 1 gluten free flour and lemon juice instead of lemon extract and they turned out beautifully. I didn’t press the cookies down and they naturally flatten slightly. I’ll definitely make again.
Glad to hear that they worked well with both GF flour 1:1 as well as lemon juice vs. extract and that you’ll make them again.
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?
I would experiment at home first and see how it goes without chilling the dough. Good luck!
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.
You can cut down on the amt of extract or switch brands in the future. Some are more potent than others. Thanks for trying the recipe.
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.)
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Nice touch with the blueberries and glad that you were able to make them GF as well!
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!
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?
I do it either way – if baking from straight frozen, add a minute or two to the baking time. Enjoy!
They turned out wonderful and delicious – I baked them from frozen for about 10 minutes. Thanks!
Glad they came out great – and that baking straight from frozen worked just fine!
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!
They look delicious! I can’t wait to try them,thanks for sharing the recipe! ☺
Those lemon cream cheese cookies look so good!
Thanks, Kevin! Have a great weekend!
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!
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 :)
Hope you’re doing great, too! Leave it to Mother Nature to heat up only as your oven is working again. I bet your cheesecake will be amazing!!
I’m yet to make cream cheese cookies. These look amazing! :)
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.
Lemon cookies are my favorite, too. I love how soft and chewy these look. Nothing better than this! :)
These look like the perfect lemon cookie. I love the flavor of lemon extract!!!
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?
Not as written but if you know how to veganize things, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Can you use lemon oil instead of lemon extract?
I haven’t tried it that way and recommend sticking to the recipe so you know it turns out just right!
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!
Some of the best cookies I’ve made in ages! So refreshing…if a cookie can be refreshing :)
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.
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 :)
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!
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!
Yum! I’m definitely going to be making these soon!
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 :)
Thanks for trying the other cookies and if you love lemon, you’re going to love these just as much as those!
Love making cookies with cream cheese. They always come out perfectly soft! They look scrumptious!
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!
Thanks for pinning! :)
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!
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? :)
You’re going to love the texture!