Easy Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Your Family Will Love

When you imagine your perfect cookie, what does it look like? Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside? Sweet but balanced in flavor? If that description is ticking all of your dream cookie boxes, then this easy lemon cream cheese cookie is the recipe for you.

This easy lemon cream cheese cookie recipe from Laura Sampson of Little House Big Alaska is a riff on a simple sugar cookie with two important additions: lemon (both juice and zest) and cream cheese. "The cream cheese adds its classic tang to these cookies, making them less on the sweet side," she says. It also gives them a light, tender texture that's positively heavenly.

"The texture of the cookies when they're not over-baked is just like the perfect cookie," says Sampson. "Set on the outside and just firm enough on the inside. SO DELISH!" And best of all? With Sampson as your guide, they're a cinch to make. What are you waiting for?

Gather the ingredients for these easy lemon cream cheese cookies

To make these easy lemon cream cheese cookies, you'll start with the usual sugar cookie suspects: sugar, egg, flour, baking powder, salt. You'll also need butter (make sure it's softened at room temperature before getting started!) as well as the two stars of this show: cream cheese and lemon, both juice and zest. 

As always when you're using lemon zest in a recipe, it's a good idea to choose organic and to wash the lemon well before starting to keep your cookies pesticide- and chemical-free.

Mix the wet ingredients for these easy lemon cream cheese cookies

To make the dough for these easy lemon cream cheese cookies, first cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar together until light and fluffy, about two to three minutes. This is easiest to do in a stand mixer or with an electric beater. If you're making the dough by hand, though, you'll need a bit more time (and a bit more elbow grease!).

When the texture is nice and airy, mix in first the lemon zest, then the lemon juice, and finally the egg.

Add the dry ingredients to the dough for your easy lemon cream cheese cookies

When the wet ingredients for these easy lemon cream cheese cookies are combined, it's time to turn your attention to the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl, then fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. As always, when working flour into cookie dough, be careful not to over-mix, which can lead to the formation of too much gluten and thus to a cookie that's tough rather than tender.

Once the mixture has come together, cover the bowl with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

"I like to chill the dough before baking so that the cookies don't spread in the oven when I'm baking them," explains Sampson. "You can chill it for longer than called for, but I'd make sure the dough is wrapped tightly before leaving it in the fridge for too long."

Coat the easy lemon cream cheese cookies in sugar

When you're ready to bake the easy lemon cream cheese cookies, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While it heats, line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats, which will allow you to remove the cookies easily later on.

Next, roll the chilled dough into one-inch balls and place them on the baking sheets, spacing them out well so that they don't spread into one another.

For the finishing touch, sprinkle the remaining sugar in a saucer, and dip a glass into it before pressing the cookies down slightly. This will give the cookies an added shimmer and crunch on the outside when baked.

Bake your easy lemon cream cheese cookies

Once the easy lemon cream cheese cookies are arranged on the baking sheet, it's time to pop them in the oven! Just nine minutes will ensure they're perfectly set.

"You don't want to cook them so long that they're brown on the bottom and hard," says Sampson. "So if you cook them just long enough and then let them rest, they will be set but still soft."

They'll emerge shimmery and slightly golden, but resist the urge to dig in right away! "They are delicate when they first come out of the oven," says Sampson. Let them sit for two to three minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. When they're cool enough to handle, they're ready to enjoy.

Easy Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Your Family Will Love
5 from 31 ratings
This easy lemon cream cheese cookie recipe is a riff on a simple sugar cookie with two important additions: lemon (both juice and zest) and cream cheese.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
10
minutes
Servings
36
cookies
easy lemon cream cheese cookies served
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar + extra for tops of cookies
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy, two to three minutes.
  2. Mix in the lemon zest, then beat in the lemon juice.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.
  5. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets.
  7. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet.
  8. Put extra sugar in a saucer, and use a glass dipped in sugar to press the cookies down slightly before baking.
  9. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until just set.
  10. Cool the cookies for 2 to 3 minutes on a baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 88
Total Fat 3.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 14.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Total Sugars 7.1 g
Sodium 27.9 mg
Protein 1.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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