Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

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Do you need a cookie to take to a summer barbecue? What about a baby shower? Birthday party? Family dinner? The couch? Have I got the cookie for you! Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies are soft, the perfect snacking size, and have a lemony flavor that will have you reaching for seconds. We’re talking lemon cream cheese frosting, people! Buckle up.

I was talking to my mom about the better than Swig sugar cookies I posted a little while ago, and she had the brilliant idea to add lemon to them. Thus the lemon cream cheese sugar cookie was born!

The Dough

The cookie dough recipe is the same as it was in the other post about soft sugar cookies adapted from the swig cookies from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, only before you add the granulated sugar to the mixer, you rub the lemon zest into it with your fingers. Rub until the sugar smells very lemony and is slightly wet and sandy. Rubbing the zest into the sugar releases the oils in the lemon peel, making the sugar smell and taste strongly of lemon. Don’t skip this step. It makes the cookies that much more lemony, and it’s fun to do.

The Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

The frosting is made of butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and just enough powdered sugar for the perfect amount of sweetness. I’m not sure how to convey to you how delicious this lemon cream cheese frosting is. It tastes like lemon cheesecake sitting atop a soft, perfectly crumbly lemon cookie. It’s insane. If you like lemon desserts even a little bit, you need to make these immediately.


You may find these tools helpful for this recipe:

  1. Microplane lemon zester

2. Medium cookie scoop

3. Silicone baking mat

4. My favorite type of cookie sheet (a half sheet pan)

5. Wire cooling racks

Your New Favorite Cookie

These cookies have been a huge hit everywhere we’ve taken them. For instance, I brought 2 dozen Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies to a barbecue with some friends, and they were all happily gobbled up. My mom has given a few dozen away, and people loved them every time. Mark brought some over to a game night, again, a hit. Guys, this recipe is just a winner. I’m very confident that these will be your new favorite cookies in no time.

When you make these, will you please tag me in a picture? I’m very excited to see them! Also, please share this recipe with your friends! Everyone needs these cookies in their life.

Lemon Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Gracious Cooking
Say hello to your new favorite cookie! Lemony and sweet, these are perfect for any get-together.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 36 cookies


For the Cookies

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil any neutral oil will work.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 cups all purpose flour be sure to not pack the flour. To avoid this, fluff the flour in the container before scooping.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 or 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar for pressing the cookies

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • juice of 1 lemon


For the Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Zest 1 lemon. Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until very fragrant and slightly moist and sandy.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, oil, vanilla, granulated sugar and lemon zest mixture, and powdered sugar. Beat until very creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and sour cream. I do this all in one addition. Mix well until completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine 5 cups flour, and 1/2 teaspoon each of baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the mixer in one addition and mix on low speed until combined with no floury pockets. This only takes about 10 seconds in my mixer. Do not over mix. If your mixer bowl does not have a lid, cover the top of the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel so you do not spray flour everywhere. Be careful not to put your fingers anywhere near the mixing mechanism.
  • On your lined baking sheets, scoop out cookies with a volume of 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons. I use a #40 (medium) cookie scoop to do this. Leave about an inch and a half of space in all directions between cookies.
  • Spray the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass with cooking spray, or rub with a little vegetable oil. Dip the bottom of the glass in granulated sugar (I put my sugar in a small bowl), and lightly press each cookie until it is between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch in thickness, dipping the glass in sugar again in between each cookie. No need to re-spray the glass.
  • Bake the cookies for between 7 and 9 minutes until set, but not browned. 7 minutes and 30 seconds is perfect in my oven. If overcooked, the cookies will be dry and not nearly as soft.
  • Remove cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

For the Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I use the cookie paddles on my Bosch), add the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and zest of one lemon. Beat until combined and smooth.
  • Add the heavy cream and beat until smooth.
  • Add the salt, and powdered sugar. Beat until very smooth and voluminous, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, and mix to combine.
  • If the frosting looks too thick, add a little more cream and mix.
  • Frost your cookies, add sprinkles if you like, and enjoy!


Store covered. I store my cookies in a cake saver. They can stay out at room temperature for about a day, but after that should go in the fridge. You can eat them chilled (yum) or let them come back to room temperature before enjoying.
To freeze after frosting, lay out cookies in one layer on a baking tray. Freeze until solid, then you can put them in Ziplock freezer bags. 
To freeze the cookie dough, press out cookies as outlined above. Freeze in a single layer on a lined baking tray until solid. Store in Ziplock freezer bags. To bake, Put cookies on a lined baking tray and bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check them at 8. Proceed with frosting after they are cool.
Keyword Cookies, Cream Cheese, Lemon

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