Calling all lemon lovers! Satisfy your craving for something sweet and tangy with our delightful sour cream lemon cookies. Bursting with bright lemon flavor and with a soft, cake-like texture, these easy lemon cookies are sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you're a lemon fan or simply seeking a new lemon cookie recipe to add to your dessert collection, these cookies are sure to impress.
Moist and delicious sour cream lemon cookies are the perfect sweet and sour combination. With or without the lemon frosting, these cookies are a show-stopper.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Perfect balance of tangy lemon and creamy sour cream.
- Soft, cake-like texture that melts in your mouth.
- These cookies require just a few ingredients. Simple ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen.
- Great for any occasion, from casual gatherings to elegant dessert tables.
- Whether you are just craving that sour or sweet goodness or want to make cookies your guests have never had before, this recipe is a perfect choice.
- These lemon cookies are light and crisp with a delicate lemon flavor.
- They have a lovely buttercream frosting that is perfect!
- You can easily change up the shapes with cookie cutters for this recipe to suit any occasion.
Ingredients for lemon sour cream cookies
Ingredients for the dough:
- Unsalted butter. Bring it to room temperature before you are ready to bake.
- Granulated Sugar. Use your favorite brand or generic.
- Lemon Zest. This is the outer skin of the lemon scraped off. Do not include the white underlayer called pith, as it is excessively bitter.
- Vanilla Extract. Use your favorite brand
- Large Egg. Make sure you set it out with the butter so it is room temperature.
- Full Fat Sour Cream. Don't try to skimp on the fat content here.
- Baking Powder. If you haven't replaced your baking powder in the last six months, now is a good time to do so.
- Kosher Salt. Regular table salt works just fine too.
- All-Purpose Flour. This recipe calls for the scoop and level method of measuring explained below.
Ingredients for the frosting:
- Unsalted Butter. Set it out early to bring it to room temperature, or barely soften it in the microwave. Do not melt.
- Powdered sugar. Buy name-brand to avoid fillers and failed frosting.
- Vanilla Extract. Did you know you can make your own?
- Fresh Lemon Juice.
Equipment and kitchen tools
- Stand Mixer. Nothing compares to a stand mixer for baking desserts and making frosting. If you don't have one though, you can use a hand mixer.
- Rolling Pin. For rolling out the dough before cutting the shapes.
How to make lemon sour cream sugar cookies
The full directions are below, but the basic steps are:
- Cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. You want light and fluffy. It will take about five minutes.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and sour cream and mix again.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt until a firmer dough results.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out each half between two pieces of parchment paper until it is about ¼' thick. I like to go in between ¼" and ½" thick to keep the cookies super soft. Freeze for 10–15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up the dough. This will help you eliminate having to use extra flour when cutting out the cookies.
Transfer the cut-out cookie onto the parchment-lined baking sheets and bake.
Bake for 6–8 minutes, until the edges are firm and lightly browned. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
What It Means to Scoop and Level
The scoop and level process means using a different cup to pour the flour into the measuring cup. Tap the top or the side of the measuring cup to release any air bubbles. Scrape the excess flour off the top. This is not the same as scooping up a cup of flour. The weight of the two is different, and it will change your results if you do not follow these instructions.
Instructions for the Frosting
Use an electric mixer to combine the softened butter and powdered sugar until they are thoroughly combined.
Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and milk, and beat until smooth.
Tips for the Best Results
- Chill the dough before rolling it out to prevent it from sticking.
- Use parchment paper to roll out the dough to avoid excess flour.
- Dip cookie cutters in flour to prevent sticking.
- Don't overbake the cookies to keep them soft and tender.
- The dough should not be wet or really sticky. If it is, check to see if you followed the scoop and level method of measuring.
- The cookies will not turn golden brown. The center will be set, but it will not caramelize on top. Don't overbake.
- Add sprinkles, lemon glaze, or icing for a finishing touch.
- When it comes time to freeze or refrigerate the rolled-out dough, slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place it on a rack in the freezer to chill. This will give the dough support and keep it nice and flat as it firms up.
Substitutions and Variations
- Substitute lime or orange zest for a different citrus flavor.
- Experiment with different shapes and sizes of cookie cutters.
- Add a sprinkle of powdered sugar or lemon zest on top of the frosting for extra flavor and decoration.
- For even more lemon flavor, add a bit of lemon extract to the mix.
FAQs about this Recipe
Yes, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month before baking.
Full-fat sour cream is recommended for the best texture and flavor, but low-fat sour cream can be used as a substitute.
Warm cookie dough will need more flour to be cut into shapes. Chilling the dough prevents the addition of flour, which would make your cookies tough and dry.
Sour Cream Lemon Cookies can be stored for up to five days in an airtight container on the kitchen counter or frozen for up to six months in an airtight container. If you want to freeze unbaked cookies, you can do that too! Just cut them out, layer between pieces of parchment, and freeze in an airtight freezer-quality zipper bag until you are ready to bake them. Frozen, unbaked cookies will need to bake slightly longer and may require a temperature adjustment.
Don't forget to bookmark this recipe.
More great lemon desserts
Brown Butter Cookies. The barely-there caramel flavor and drizzled glaze make these cookies divine.
Hot Chocolate Cookies. Serve in place of hot chocolate or with hot chocolate to wow your family.
Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies. If you love chocolate chip cookies and you love M&M cookies, why not combine the two? That's what I did and we love them.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - These are a wonderful combination - soft and chewy!
Confetti Cookies - Colorful shortbread cookies with sprinkles.
Sour Cream Lemon Cookies Recipe
Sour Cream Lemon Cookies
- Stand Mixer
For the Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour use the scoop and level method of measuring per the notes section.
For the Frosting
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- Cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest for 5 mins until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg, vanilla, and sour cream and mix until well incorporated.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Divide the dough in half and transfer each half onto a piece of parchment paper.
- Top each half of the dough with another piece of parchment paper.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out between the parchment to a little thicker about ¼" thick.
- I like to go in between ¼" and ½" thick to keep the cookies super soft.
- Transfer the rolled-out dough into the freezer for 10-15 minutes or the fridge for 30 mins until firm.
- This will help you eliminate having to use extra flour when cutting out the cookies.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Dip cookie cutters in flour and stamp out cookies in your desired shape.
- Transfer the cut-out cookie onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Press the scraps together and chill and cut out again.
- You can only do this once, as the cookies can become tough.
- Bake for 6-8 mins until the edges are firm and lightly browned.
- Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets
- Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
The cookies will not turn golden brown, the center will be set but not caramelize on top.
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