Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (2024)

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (1)

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies are delicious. They are like a little slice of heaven baked into a soft cookie that can be savored.It’s one of my favorite flavors to experiential with and when you try these cookies, you’ll understand why.If you’re a lemon fan, this cookie recipe is for you. If you love soft and chewy cookies, this recipe is for you and finally, if youenjoy simple recipes, this is the one for you!

Icebox cookies are a must in my household. I can bake cupcakes, pies, dessert bars and cake but nothing compares to the cookies we go through here. For years, my cookies turned out flat, crispy and crunchy but after learning to tweak the recipes, I have finally mastered the art of cookie baking.

Using Cream Cheese in Lemon Cookie Dough

Adding cream cheese to cookies is nothing new. Many bakers much like myself enjoy cookies that use a mixture of cream cheese and butter.Using real butter adds an incredible amount of flavor to cookies and that is something that remains in this soft dough recipe.Using cream cheese helps to thicken the cookie dough. It results in a more intense soft, chewy and pillowy cookie with the same richness and flavor that many crave.

It’s important to thaw the cream cheese and butter to room temperature before continuing to make the dough.

TIP: To quickly soften, cut butter or cream cheese by the tablespoon and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Be sure that it doesn’t melt, though.Cream together the butter and cream cheese for about a minute or two. This step ensures the dough bakes up thick and soft. Continue mixing on medium speed and slowly add in the sugar, egg and vanilla extract and then return the mixer to beat the dough ingredients.

Cookie dough batter should be light and fluffy. Meanwhile, zest 1-2 lemons and reserve 2-3 tbsp lemon zest then chop the zest.Squeeze fresh lemons and reserve 3 tbsp of lemon juice.

Mixing the Cookie Dough

This recipe is adapted from my Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I posted a few weeks ago. The dessert cookies are super easy to make but do require a chill time in the refrigerator so the cream cheese and butter have a chance to become more solid. It also works by allowing the oil in the lemon zest to relax and leads the dough to have more of that lemon flavor.

After 5-7 minutes of beating batter, add half the flour mixture to the batter. Next, measure and add all of the baking soda, cornstarch, salt, and chopped lemon zest. Pour in lemon juice and continue beating on medium speed.Add the remainder of the flour to the dough and mix.

TIP: The dough should start to form a ball if mixed right. If no ball is forming, add a little more flour until ball forms. If the dough is too dry, add just a little lemon juice. Next, chill cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Cookies Baking Tips

  • CHILL DOUGH: Once the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  • PERFECT SIZE COOKIES: Use a cookie scoop to scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons dough. Roll dough between hands to form a nice ball and place on a prepared cookie sheet.
  • BAKING TIP: Place in the oven and bake for 9-15 minutes. This recipe is incredibly popular and has been made by thousands. While this recipe works for 90 percent of readers, another 10% it appears raw. If the cookies appear raw after baking and undercooked, continue to cook an extra 5-15 minutes. Every oven is different so use your best judgment on this recipe. NOTE that different size cookies will require more or less baking time to cook them.
  • COOKIES WILL CONTINUE TO HARDEN AFTER BAKING: Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely before transferring. Cookies will harden within a few hours to overnight.
  • MAKING THE GLAZE: To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and water in a small bowl and whisk until icing is smooth. Dunk cookies in upside down or drizzle icing over cookies. Zest extra lemon for the icing if desired.
Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (5)

For more COOKIE RECIPES, try these Lemon Sugar Cookies. Thousands have made this recipe and just love it! Another classic, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. A must for Christmas cookie baking, everyone loves the soft rich texture of these cookies along with classic Snickerdoodles. For an easy summer flavor, these Strawberry Cookies are quick and delicious. For a twist, try these Strawberry Lemonade Cookies. An all-time favorite, these Mexican Wedding Cookies are to die for delicious!

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (6)

Soft Cream Cheese Lemon Cookies

Favorite Recipe

The ultimate chewy and Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies made with lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. These buttery lemon cookies bake up soft and thick and have plenty of sweet lemon citrus flavor.

4.22 from 41 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 9 minutes mins

Total Time 19 minutes mins


  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp to 3 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • cup to 2¾ cup all-purpose flour if the dough is super soft, add more flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt

Lemon Icing

  • tbsp lemon juice or water use any extra lemon zest, too
  • ¾ cup to 1 cup powdered sugar


  • Combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl fit with a paddle attachment of a mixer. Cream together for about 1 minute.

  • Add granulated sugar and continue to mix. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

  • Add half the flour, all the baking soda, salt, cornstarch and lemon zest. Add lemon juice and the remaining flour.

  • Mix to combine until the dough starts to form like a ball. Add a little more flour until slight ball starts to form.

  • Cover and refrigerate dough at least 2-3 hours or up to a few days.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheet and spray with cooking spray or parchment paper.

  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop about 1½ tablespoon cookie dough. Roll cookie dough between hands to get a nice round ball and place on prepared cookie sheet.

  • Bake for 8-15 minutes.

  • TIP: This recipe is incredibly popular and has been made by thousands. While this recipe works for 90 percent of readers, another 10% it appears raw. If the cookies appear raw after baking and undercooked, continue to cook an extra 5-15 minutes. Every oven is different so use your best judgment on this recipe.

  • Removed from oven and while still hot, slightly press down if desired.

  • Allow cookies to cool down completely before transferring. Cookies will slightly harden overnight a little more so don't bake them much longer.

  • To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar and water together in a small bowl. Whisk fast until ingredients are combined with no lumps.

  • Dip cookies upside down into icing or drizzle icing over the top and allow to harden.



Calories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 84mgPotassium: 21mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 153IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

Save This Recipe To Your Favorites

Create an account on our website and save your favorite recipes. You’ll be able to access your favorite recipes on any device!

Favorite Recipe

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (7)

updated 2021

78 Responses

    1. For the Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies, storing them in an airtight container at room temperature is usually sufficient for short-term storage (a few days to a week). However, due to the cream cheese in the dough, if you plan to keep them longer or if you’re in a very warm climate, refrigerating them can help maintain their freshness. In the fridge, they should last up to two weeks. If you’re making them well in advance for gifts, you can also freeze the cookies. Just ensure they’re well-wrapped or in a sealed container to prevent freezer burn. Thaw them at room temperature before serving or gifting.


  1. Do you let them cool on the cookie sheet when they come out of the oven?


    1. Yes, Cathi, it’s generally a good practice to let the Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes after they come out of the oven. This allows them to set and firm up slightly, making them easier to transfer to a cooling rack without breaking. After a few minutes on the cookie sheet, you can then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool down completely. This process ensures that your cookies maintain their shape and texture.


  2. Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (10)
    I just made these. I’ve had the recipe saved for so long on Pinterest and I finally did it! These are so good!!! I think the only thing I did differently was add cream cheese to the icing and did a little bit less powdered sugar. Otherwise, fantastic recipe! I baked the cookies for ten minutes, then pressed them down with a fork a bit and let them cool. They are the perfect soft, gooey I was hoping to get! Thanks for sharing your recipe!


    1. I am so glad you were able to enjoy these. Thank you for you comment.


  3. I haven’t actually made these yet, but definitely plan to. Wondering if I can freeze them. We have planned our girls baking day quite early this year, lol


    1. Yes, you can freeze these Soft Cream Cheese Lemon Cookies as dough and baked cookies. Freezing is a great way to prepare for your baking day well in advance. Enjoy your baking and your cookies!


      1. Swanky recipes what do you mean when you say 7.5 cup to 2/34 cup of flour or 2.25 cup to 1 cup of powder sugar please


        1. The recipe gives a range for flour (2½ to 2¾ cups) and powdered sugar (¾ to 1 cup) to allow for adjustments. Start with the lower amount; if the dough is too sticky, add more flour up to 2¾ cups. For the sugar, use more or less based on desired sweetness.


  4. How would the recipe yield a yellow lemony color without food coloring? The photo appears to be misleading.


    1. The yellow lemony color in the Soft Cream Cheese Lemon Cookies comes from the natural ingredients used, such as the lemon zest and the egg yolk. Lemon zest, which contains the lemon peel’s essential oils, can give the dough a natural pale-yellow hue. The egg yolk also contributes to the color, albeit subtly.

      I should mention that even though many online images of food are enhanced, I can capture a naturally vibrant yellow color in my cookies with proper lighting and by using ingredients that are rich in color, like fresh lemon zest. If I aim to get that same vivid color in my cookies, I make sure to use a generous amount of fresh lemon zest and consider the natural color variations of the ingredients I’m using.

      Thank you for your question and happy baking =)


  5. I had these at a recent party and I would describe them as a soft shortbread with lemon icing. Has anyone tried this recipe with Vegan Cream Cheese product (like Toffuti) ? Dairy intolerant person in our family, but loves lemon.


  6. Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (11)
    They taste fine but do not look like the photos at all! I was expecting them to be creamy but they were cake like.


  7. Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (12)
    amazing recipe! thanks for sharing


  8. Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (13)
    These turn out well. I just thought they would spread more in baking. I actually had to press them down a bit. I ended up making a cream cheese lemon icing which was yummy! I would definitely add more lemon next time. I like a strong lemon flavor.


  9. When you say paddle attachment do you mean the dough hook to mix everything?


    1. No. I mean the standard paddle attachment. That is what it is called.


  10. You can use a wire whisk in place of mixer for the butter and cream cheese. Whisk until fluffy.


  11. Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (14)
    Love lemon! These turned out perfect! The freshly squeezed lemon juice along with zest (I went with 3 tbsp for full lemon flavor) gave it the lemon tang combined with melt in the mouth buttery goodness. Thank you for sharing!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies | Swanky Recipes (2024)


Do cookies with cream cheese need to be refrigerated? ›

Do they need to be refrigerated? This type of cookie can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for two days. Things with lots of cream cheese like cheesecakes and baked goods with cream cheese frosting should definitely be refrigerated.

Can you substitute cream cheese for butter? ›

Cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta and even cottage cheese can replace the butter in many recipes. Use high-quality whole milk cheeses in a 1:1 ratio for butter and consider straining ricotta or cottage cheeses through cheesecloth to help ensure they aren't adding too much liquid to your recipe.

What does cornstarch do in cookies? ›

“The result is added tenderness with more structure.” You don't need much of the ingredient to notice significant changes in your favorite recipe. Add a teaspoon or two to your dry ingredient mix and it will drastically change the texture. It's also fun to experiment until you get the exact finish you desire.

Can you leave cookies with cream cheese out overnight? ›

Cream cheese should not be left out longer than two hours at room temp (or higher than 40 degrees F) because it then becomes a playground for nasty bacteria like salmonella. No one wants a trip to the emergency room over the carrot cake. If it's been out for longer than two hours, toss it—better safe than sorry.

What happens if you don't refrigerate cookies before baking? ›

As she says, not chilling the cookie and baking at 350 degrees can result in a more crackly cookie, since the dough hasn't had enough time to absorb the flour. Chilling it for half an hour, however, gives you thicker, chewier dough.

Is cream cheese healthier then butter? ›

Cream cheese is generally a healthier option due to its lower calorie and fat content and higher protein levels. It can be an ideal spread or dip for those on a calorie-restricted or high-protein diet. If you prefer butter's flavor but want less fat, light butter is a tasty alternative.

What is a good substitute for cream cheese in cookies? ›

Some work better as a spread or in a dip, and others perform best in baked goods. Ten tried-and-true cream cheese swaps are thick strained yogurt, sour cream, Neufchâtel cheese, vegan cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, cottage cheese, fresh goat cheese, butter, and silken tofu.

What is the secret ingredient to keep cookies soft? ›

Light corn syrup is another ingredient that you can add to cookie dough that will help it stay softer longer. The corn syrup you buy at the grocery store is not the high-fructose corn syrup that soft drinks are made with; it's a sugar that is liquid at room temperature and helps other sugars say liquid at high heat.

What does adding an extra egg yolk do to cookies? ›

Egg yolks are high in fat in relation to the egg white which is high in protein so often acts as a binder. Adding egg yolks to the cookies yields a super tender, chewy cookie. Egg Yolk Cookies are slightly richer in flavour from the additional fat from the yolk.

Can you store cream cheese cookies at room temperature? ›

Store cream cheese cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. While desserts that have a lot of cream cheese (think: cheesecake and cheese pie) should be refrigerated, cookies contain a relatively small amount of cream cheese and are safe to be kept at room temperature.

Do desserts with cream cheese need to be refrigerated? ›

Food Network Kitchens: Yes, you should always refrigerate any cake or cupcake that has cream cheese frosting.

How long can cookies with cream cheese frosting sit out? ›

Cream cheese is a perishable food, and per, perishable foods should not sit in room temperatures for longer than two hours.

How do you store baked goods with cream cheese? ›

While most baked goods can be left out at room temperature, there are some exceptions. Always store cakes with fresh fruit, whipped cream or cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator along with breads featuring meat or hard-boiled eggs.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kelle Weber

Last Updated:

Views: 6218

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kelle Weber

Birthday: 2000-08-05

Address: 6796 Juan Square, Markfort, MN 58988

Phone: +8215934114615

Job: Hospitality Director

Hobby: tabletop games, Foreign language learning, Leather crafting, Horseback riding, Swimming, Knapping, Handball

Introduction: My name is Kelle Weber, I am a magnificent, enchanting, fair, joyous, light, determined, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.