Lemon Butter Cookies

lemon butter cookies, snowballs

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
130 Calories
8g Fat
13g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 130
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 161mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 3g
Calcium 28mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These lemon butter cookies are delicious little snowballs full of vibrant lemon flavor. Fresh finely grated lemon zest and lemon juice flavor the cookies perfectly, and the powdered sugar coating makes them extra special. We add chopped walnuts to the cookies but they may be made with chopped pecans or no nuts at all.

Bake these easy lemon butter cookies for a special occasion or family treat. They're perfect for a party or holiday. Bake them for Easter or a spring or summer event. 

The recipe is easily scaled up for a party or bake sale event. See the tips and variations for a few more ideas and tips for freezing cookies.


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (unsalted, softened)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 2 teaspoon lemon peel (finely grated)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease the pan lightly.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Blend thoroughly with a spoon or whisk. Set aside.

  4. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. 

  5. Beat the egg and lemon zest into the creamed mixture, and then add the lemon juice. 

  6. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the first mixture until well blended.

  7. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

  8. With floured hands, shape the dough into small balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. The cookies will spread just slightly.

  9. Bake the lemon cookies for about 12 to 16 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned on the bottoms.

  10. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet to a rack and let them cool.

  11. Using a mesh sieve or sifter, sprinkle the cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar. 

Recipe Variations

  • If you'll be freezing the cookies, omit the powdered sugar coating. Put the cookies in containers separated with sheets of wax paper and freeze for up to 4 months. Defrost the cookies and place them on a rack. Sift powdered sugar over them.
  • Omit the chopped walnuts or replace them with chopped pecans or toasted coconut.
  • Add a teaspoon of dried ground lavender flowers to the flour mixture.
  • If you are using salted butter, reduce the salt slightly to a scant 1/2 teaspoon.