16 Best Recipes for Lemon Cookies

Zingy, Zesty Treats Everyone Will Love

lemon butter cookies, snowballs

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

When the mercury rises, we all crave light and fresh foods and that includes at the end of a meal. Citrus-forward treats hit the spot for warm weather desserts or for those who don't care for chocolate or more decadent presentations. Lemon cookies work great for bake sales, baby or wedding showers, or an elegant tea that calls for a pretty cookie plate. Try several of these delightfully tart treats, whatever the occasion.

  • 01 of 16

    Cream Cheese Lemon Cookies

    Lemon cookies on a plate

    The Spruce / Chosen Posture

    The addition of cream cheese gives these citrus-forward cookies a soft, tender texture and the lemon icing adds a lovely sweetness. They have a light, bright flavor that complements richer cookies well on a platter or as part of a bake sale spread. The recipe scales well if you need to feed a crowd.

  • 02 of 16

    Easy Lemonade Cookies

    drop cookies lemon

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Try these simple lemonade cookies to bring the roadside stand to the dessert table. They use frozen lemonade concentrate to give them a burst of assertive citrus flavor. Top them with the icing or leave them bare and they'll taste just as good. This recipe makes about three to four dozen, so you will end up with plenty to share.

  • 03 of 16

    Lemon Butter Cookies

    lemon butter cookies, snowballs

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    These powdered sugar-coated lemon cookies taste similar to classic snowballs, except with a bright hint of citrus from grated lemon zest and fresh juice. Add walnuts for crunch or leave them out if you don't care for nuts. They scale up and freeze well if you need a large batch for a bake sale or cookie exchange.

  • 04 of 16

    Lemon Icebox Cookies

    Lemon Cookies
    Iain Bagwell / Getty Images

    These simple icebox cookies make a great option for a busy afternoon since the dough gets refrigerated until hard, then sliced and baked. Faster than drop cookies, you can also freeze the roll of dough to slice and bake later. Because they come out uniform in size, they look especially nice on a tray and stack easily for transportation or gifting.

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  • 05 of 16

    Classic Lemon Bars

    Lemon Squares

     Nadine Greeff/Stocksy United

    A classic lemon bar needs a buttery crust and a smooth, fluffy filling with lots of citrus flavor. This recipe calls for more lemon juice than the recipes your grandma may have used, giving the filling a tender texture and a very lemony taste. Measure all of the ingredients carefully, to ensure proper proportions.

  • 06 of 16

    Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

    lemon poppy cookies

    Charlotte Tolhurst / StockFood Creative / Getty Images

    Fans of lemon poppyseed muffins will love these cookies that have a similar flavor, but in a light, crispy-edged treat. For even more lemon flavor, use lemon vegan yogurt, but plain or vanilla works as well. This recipe results in heavily poppyseed-studded cookies, so feel free to skimp on the seeds if you want less poppyseed flavor.

  • 07 of 16

    Black and White Cookies

    Black and White Cookies

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

    With just a hint of lemon, black and white cookies are fun to bake. The cookie batter is flavored with lemon and vanilla extracts, while a combination of all-purpose and cake flours ensures a soft, cake-like texture. To give them that signature look, you'll make vanilla and chocolate frostings to spread on top.

  • 08 of 16

    Giant Ginger Lemon Cookies

    Gluten-Free Giant Lemon Ginger Crisp Cookies Image Teri Gruss

    The Spruce / Teri Lee Gruss

    These saucer-like cookies spread significantly during baking, so follow the directions to avoid a mess in your oven. They have a nice, slightly spicy ginger and lemon flavor, as well as a chewy texture due to plenty of lemon zest, candied ginger, and of course, butter. Because they have no gluten, they will also satisfy those with allergies or sensitivities.

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  • 09 of 16

    Lemon Poppyseed Hamantaschen

    Lemon Poppyseed Hamantaschen

    The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

    For your Purim dessert table, try these light and spring-like lemon poppyseed hamantaschen cookies. Lemon curd perfectly complements the tender, shortbread-like dough that can be made both dairy or pareve, depending on whether you use a curd that includes butter or cream.

  • 10 of 16

    Zucchini Lemon Cookies

    zucchini cookies

    Sheri L Giblin / Getty Images

    If you have extra zucchini on your hands, whip up a batch of these delicious and versatile cookies. They taste great filled with walnuts and lemon zest, then topped with a lemon icing. You can also toss in some chocolate chips, replace the lemon zest with vanilla extract, or forego the icing too.

  • 11 of 16

    Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

    Thumbprint Cookies

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Many of us love these jam or lemon curd-filled cookies at holiday time, but they taste great any time of year. Roll them in sugar for that crackly coating, and fill them with lemon curd, any flavor of jam, or simply drizzle with chocolate icing for a different look and taste.

  • 12 of 16

    Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies

    Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies

    joshblake / Getty Images

    Vegans won't miss the butter in these sweet treats that taste just like a classic sugar cookie without any animal products. Silken tofu helps give them the right texture and fresh lemon juice adds that bright note. Use fresh lemon juice for the best results.

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  • 13 of 16

    Lemon Coconut Cream Cheese Bars

    Lemon Coconut Bars

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    A yellow or white cake mix serves as the base for these simple bar cookies that taste like lemon bars and coconut cream pie came together into one delicious package. Cream cheese gives them a luxurious texture and the coconut adds a tropical element your guests will love.

  • 14 of 16

    Lemon Spritz Cookies

    Spritz Cookies

    Dana Hoff / StockFood Creative / Getty Images

    Grab your spritz press for these pretty shaped cookies that taste like sunshine, thanks to both lemon juice and fresh lemon zest. Bake just until golden brown, and watch them carefully. Because they come out fairly small, these cookies can go quickly.

  • 15 of 16

    Lemon Shortbread Bar Cookies

    Lemon Squares With Shortbread Crust

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    These bar cookies have a buttery, crumbly shortbread crust to give the classic lemon bar a slightly different twist. They make a perfect ending to a summery BBQ or an easy contribution to any get-together. Because they bake in a 9 x 13-inch pan instead of requiring shaping like individual cookies, you can make them quickly on a busy day.

  • 16 of 16

    Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

    Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    The addition of cream cheese gives these lemon bars a tender, creamy texture that makes the classic lemon bar taste just a little more special. A brown sugar and nut crust has a slightly deeper flavor that complements the not-too-sweet filling perfectly.