Lemon Cookies

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My easy Lemon Cookie recipe features a secret pantry staple that makes them chewy and flavor-packed: instant pudding mix. These slice-and-bake cookies are one of the best make-ahead dessert ideas I’ve ever created.

Lemon cookies on a plate.


 

Sure, you could buy a package of those break-and-bake cookies. But when it’s this easy to make a batch of semi-homemade Lemon Cookies in advance to store in the freezer for a rainy (okay, hungry) day, why would you want to?

These sweet-tart and totally tasty Lemon Cookie recipe is exploding with citrus flavor thanks to a box of instant pudding mix. That also lends a delightfully soft and chewy texture; yes, even after freezing or chilling the cookie dough.

Don’t love lemon? You have so many more options to choose from! Ahead, an overview of how to make these easy slice-and-bake cookies in any flavor you like.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for lemon cookies.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Instant lemon pudding mix: Look for this (from brands like Jell-O) sold in boxes in the baking aisle of the supermarket, or order online. Instant pudding mix is simply a blend of cornstarch, sugar, flavorings, and colorings that mimic the flavor of the real thing. I love lemon’s sweet-tart tang, but have listed more flavor options below in the “Recipe FAQs.”

Step by step instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or by hand, cream together the butter, pudding mix, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
A mixing bowl of lemon cookie dough.
  1. With the mixer on low speed, add egg and milk and mix until incorporated. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix!
A mixing bowl of lemon cookie dough.
  1. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a log, making a 6″ long roll. Place each half on a piece of parchment or waxed paper, and securely wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 3 hours.
Logs of lemon cookie dough on a baking sheet.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ thick slices. Place the slices 1″ apart on ungreased sheet pans.
Lemon cookie dough being cut into circles.
  1. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
Lemon cookies on a cooling rack.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, adding more lemon juice as needed to reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies.
Lemon cookies being iced on a cooling rack.
  1. Let stand until icing is set.
Lemon cookies on a cooling rack.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Lemon Cookie recipe makes about 24 cookies.
  • Storage: Store extra Lemon Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Make ahead: Lemon Cookie dough can be made up to 2 days in advance. Wrap in parchment or waxed paper, place in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to slice and bake.
  • Freezer: Transfer wrapped logs of cookie dough to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, slice frozen logs and bake as directed, adding 1 to 2 minutes of additional baking time. 
Lemon cookies on a plate.

Recipe FAQs

Could I try other flavors with this same slice-and-bake cookie dough?

Absolutely. The versatility is one of the many reasons why I love this easy cookie recipe. Instead of instant lemon pudding mix, try cheesecake, chocolate, vanilla, white chocolate, pistachio, butterscotch, or any other pudding mix you like. Feel free to also get creative with the glaze. Consider lime juice, orange juice, or 3 teaspoons milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

How do I soften butter?

Refrigerated butter generally softens up in about 30 minutes when left out at room temperature. To soften butter in the microwave, unwrap, and place on a microwave-safe plate. Then cook the butter at 10% power for 1 minute. Gently press on the butter with your finger. Still too firm? Cook for another 40 seconds at 10% power. Otherwise proceed with the Lemon Cookie recipe.

Does the egg really need to be at room temperature?

I highly recommend it. Compared to chilled eggs, room temperature eggs cream together with the rest of the cookie dough much more easily. Chilled eggs may yield a lumpy batter and often mean your bake time will need to be longer.

To bring eggs to room temperature, place them out on the counter 1 to 2 hours before you plan to mix up this recipe. Or to speed up the process, fill a bowl with warm tap water, gently add the eggs, and within 5 minutes, the eggs should be ready.

More lemony sweets

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Lemon cookies on a gray plate.

Lemon Cookies

My easy Lemon Cookie recipe features a secret pantry staple that makes them chewy and flavor-packed: instant pudding mix. These slice-and-bake cookies are one of the best make-ahead dessert ideas I've ever created.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 109
5 from 12 votes

Ingredients 

For the cookies:

For the icing:

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, or by hand, cream together the butter, pudding mix, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add egg and milk and mix until incorporated. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix!
  • Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a log, making a 6" long roll. Place each half on a piece of parchment or waxed paper, and securely wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 3 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2″ thick slices. Place the slices 1″ apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, adding more lemon juice as needed to reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Let stand until icing is set.

Notes

  1. Instant lemon pudding mix: Look for this (from brands like Jell-O) sold in boxes in the baking aisle of the supermarket, or order online. Instant pudding mix is simply a blend of cornstarch, sugar, flavorings, and colorings that mimic the flavor of the real thing. I love lemon’s sweet-tart tang, but have listed more flavor options below in the “Recipe FAQs.”
  2. Yield: This Lemon Cookie recipe makes about 24 cookies.
  3. Storage: Store extra Lemon Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  4. Make ahead: Lemon Cookie dough can be made up to 2 days in advance. Wrap in parchment or waxed paper, place in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to slice and bake.
  5. Freezer: Transfer wrapped logs of cookie dough to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, slice frozen logs and bake as directed, adding 1 to 2 minutes additional baking time. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 96mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 130IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. These are the first cookie I’ve made with pudding in the mix. I added some lemon zest too. Made this and rate as a good cookie recipe, even size, and lightly lemony flavor, good. Will make a double batch next time. Thank u!5 stars

  2. I’ve not made a cookie with pudding before, so I had to try these. Easy recipe makes uniform cookies, soft and very tasty, lightly lemon flavor. Ill be making a double batch next time. Thank you.5 stars

  3. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

    If I wanted a real lemony punch, could I add some zest to the batter?

  4. I made the lemon cookies the other day, they were very easy and tasty! My husband loved them. The lemon glaze really finishes the cookies nicely. LOL he thought they looked very “professional”. After, baking mine started out a little crispy, then softened as they sat in the cookie jar.. but they didn’t sit around very long! Can’t wait to try other variations .. Thank you for the fun, tasty recipe Meggan!5 stars