Easy & Soft Lemon Cookies with Glaze (no lemons needed)

These easy and soft lemon cookies are moist, chewy and covered in a yummy lemon glaze. They’re super easy because the recipe calls for lemon extract. No need to buy lemons or juice and zest them.

Sometimes you just don’t have time to deal with lemons…juicing them or zesting them. These cookies are a quick and delicious way to get lemon cookies without all the fuss because you’ll be using lemon extract instead of lemons…that’s what makes these so quick and easy.

Lemon cookies on a white plate with text overlay.

These iced lemon cookies are super soft and melt-in-your-mouth good. They remind me a bit of a teacake, but they’re really just a soft lemon cream cheese cookie you’ll adore.

Hey there! Before you scroll, there are lots of helpful things in this post…including an FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!

Table of Contents:

Ingredient Notes:

Let’s talk a little bit about just some of the ingredients in these cookies. The full list of ingredients will be in the recipe card below.

Lemon extract: These cookies are super easy because they only rely on lemon extract for their lemon flavor. There’s no worrying about being out of lemons, juicing lemons, or zesting lemons.

Make sure to use actual lemon extract and not just lemon juice as the extract is much stronger.

Unsalted butter: This recipe calls for unsalted butter. It’s easier to predict the amount of salt added to a recipe when using it, rather than salted butter. Make sure to let this come to room temperature before mixing the dough.

Cream Cheese: Everything is better with cream cheese, right? This will give the cookie flavor and softness. Make sure to let the cream cheese come to room temperature before mixing.

Close up lemon cookie with dripping glaze.

Mixing Notes:

The full instructions will be in the recipe card below.

These lemon cookies are easy to mix up and since you’re not having to juice lemons or zest them, it should go really fast.

The important thing is to go ahead and set out the butter and cream cheese several hours ahead of time because you want them to be at room temperature. You can go ahead and set out the egg as well since it will mix better if it’s not cold.

To mix this cookie dough, you’ll cream the butter, sugar and cream cheese together until fluffy. Next, you’ll add the liquid ingredients, mix, then add the dry ingredients.

The dough will be thick at this point.

Lemon cookie dough in bowl.

Once the dough is mixed, let it chill in the fridge for about an hour. This will help the cookies to spread less, which will then make for a thick and soft cookie.

Once the dough is chilled, use a tablespoon or cookie scoop to add the dough to the baking sheets. The cookies should be about ping pong ball size.

Top view of cookie dough mounds on a cookie sheet.

Then bake them in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

After the cookies have baked, add them to a rack and let them cool fully.

Top view of cookies cooling on a rack.

Once the cookies have baked and cooled, you can mix up the glaze.

Top down view of cookie glaze in a bowl.

Then just spoon the glaze onto the top of each cooled cookie.

Add glaze to the top of each cookie.

Tips & FAQs:

I can’t get unsalted butter, can I use salted butter?

Unsalted butter is best, but if you cannot get it, use salted, but omit any other salt that the recipe calls for.

Tip for the butter and cream cheese:

Make sure to set these out early so they can come to room temperature before mixing. It’s also helpful to set the egg out as well.

Can I use lemon juice instead of the lemon extract?

This recipe is written specifically for lemon extract as it is much stronger than lemon juice. If you use juice instead, it won’t have enough lemon taste.

Do I have to add the food coloring?

No, you can omit it if you don’t have it. The food coloring just gives it a nice lemon yellow color.

I don’t have corn syrup, do I have to use it?

No, but it’s really good if you can get it as it will help firm up the glaze.

Can you freeze these cookies and if so, how do you freeze them?

You can freeze either the cookie dough or baked cookies. Make sure to cover the dough with plastic wrap, then add to a freezer bag.
To freeze the baked cookies, add to a freezer bag or an airtight container and freeze. Allow to fully defrost before serving. It’s best to freeze without the glaze and add it after the cookies have defrosted.

How do you store these cookies? Can they be left out?

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-6 days.

What’s the best time to make these cookies?

These cookies are perfect for a nice spring or summer treat.

Lemon cookies on a white plate with glaze.

Supplies used for these cookies:

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

White plate of lemon cookies with glaze.

Easy & Soft Lemon Cookies with Glaze

These easy and soft lemon cookies are moist, chewy and covered in a yummy lemon glaze. They’re super easy because the recipe calls for lemon extract. No need to buy lemons or zest them.
4.67 from 3 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Servings: 28 cookies
Calories: 140kcal
Author: Kara @ Quick and Easy Baking

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature (1/2 of an 8 oz. block)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract (not juice…extract is stronger)
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-5 drops liquid yellow food coloring or a small amount of gel food coloring (optional)

For the glaze:

  • 2 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional, but will allow the glaze to firm up)

Instructions

For the cookies:

  • In a large bowl, cream the sugar, butter and cream cheese on medium high for two minutes.
  • Add the egg, lemon extract, milk, vanilla extract and optional yellow food coloring and mix until well combined. If dough clumps up, it’s okay.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again, until well combined. Dough will be thick.
  • Cover the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • After dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking pan with parchement paper.
  • Use a cookie scoop or spoon to measure out the cookie dough and add to the cookie sheet. Cookies should be about the size of ping pong balls. No need to flatten out cookies.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven for 12 minutes. Place cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes, then take the cookies off the baking sheet and let them cool completely on a rack before adding the glaze.

For the glaze:

  • Add all of the glaze ingredients and mix well. It will be thick at first, but keep mixing until well combined before adding any additional milk as that could make it too thin. If once mixed, it’s still very thick, add in another teaspoon to tablespoon of milk. You want the glaze a thicker consistency though, so that it doesn’t run off of the cookies.
  • Add glaze to the cookies, once they’re completely cooled. The glaze can be added using a spoon or just dip the top of the cookie into the glaze.

Notes

Store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 6 days.
Nutritional values are an estimate.
Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions you may have.
This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 219IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
DislaimersTo see food safety, allergy & nutrition disclaimers, go here: Disclaimers!

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Cookies with lemon glaze on a baking rack with text overlay.

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