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Lemon Drop Cookies

Who can resist sweet and zesty lemon drop cookies? They’ll melt in your mouth and make any occasion extra special.

It doesn’t matter what you call them. Lemon drop cookies, anginetti, Italian cookies, lemon sugar cookies, lemon crinkle cookies.

Lemon Glazed Cookies
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Either way, one thing’s certain: they’re like little drops of heaven.

No wonder they’re a staple at parties! It’s not a true celebration without these light, airy, and lemony munchies.

So, if you want your next party to be a sure hit, you know what to make! Don’t worry, these lemon drop cookies are insanely easy to whip up.

Lemon Drop Cookies

Lemon drop cookies are known for their terrific taste and texture. They’re crisp on the edges, super soft and chewy on the inside, and lemony all over.

The cookie itself is already phenomenal, but the icing takes it over the top! Not only does it add flavor, but a mild crunch as well.

They’re called such because basically, you drop spoonfuls of batter onto the cookie sheet to form the cookies.

Dropping them instead of rolling them makes them super tender and moist.

Like I said, these cookies are a cinch to make. You need not even chill the dough before baking, meaning you get to enjoy them sooner.

Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour. It’s what gives your cookies structure. Be sure to measure this ingredient properly. Don’t simply scoop it with your measuring cup. You’ll get too much, and the cookies will be too cakey. Instead, transfer the flour from the container into the measuring cup with a spoon. Then level with the back of a knife.
  • Unsalted butter. For richer, creamier cookies, use unsalted butter so you get to control how much salt goes into your batter.
  • Powdered sugar. Most cookie recipes call for brown sugar because of its deeper flavor. In this case, you’ll use powdered sugar so the lemon flavor will shine.
  • Cornstarch. Most recipes require baking powder and baking soda, but you’ll use cornstarch instead. It’s what gives the cookies that melt-in-your-mouth softness.
  • Lemon juice and zest. Lemons give the cookies their distinct flavor, so you’ll want to use fresh ones. As with many things, fresh is always best. Don’t settle for the bottled kind.

How to Make Lemon Drop Cookies

Like most homemade baking recipes, this one requires a few steps. Still, they aren’t difficult steps.

1. Prepare. Set out your ingredients, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Make the batter. Combine the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed.

Then, stir in the flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix well.

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3. Bake. Place 3/4-inch dough balls on the cookie sheet, leaving 1-1/2 inches between each. Gently and slightly flatten them with your hands.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, then let the cookies rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

4. Make the icing. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a medium bowl. Whisk briskly until well combined.

5. Ice the cookies. After the cookies have cooled, dip the tops in the icing. Return them to the parchment paper and let them rest for 15 to 30 minutes. (That gives the icing time to set.)

After 30 minutes, you can serve the cookies, but the icing will still be slightly wet. If you want the icing to set firmly, leave the cookies for 24 hours before eating.

Tips for Making the Best Drop Cookies

A few tips:

  • Use a microplane to zest your lemons. Also, zest gently. Don’t go so deep that you hit the white pith underneath.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. They blend easier that way. However, make sure your butter is softened, not melted. Melted butter will cause your cookies to spread.
  • Use unsalted butter. Otherwise, the cookies will be too salty.
  • Chill the dough if it’s too wet. If your cookie dough balls are too wet, chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will prevent them from spreading too thinly as they bake.
  • Let the cookies cool completely before icing them. Otherwise, your icing won’t set properly.
  • Store leftovers properly. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for up to 3 days. If you want them to last longer, refrigerate for 4 to 5 days.

What Can You Add to the Cookies?

Lemon drop cookies are pretty amazing as is, but you can definitely add more to suit your preferences. Here are a few ideas on things to add:

  • Chocolate. Lemon and chocolate, whether dark, milk, or white, always make a great pair!
  • Nuts. To add some crunch to your melt-in-your-mouth cookies, add some chopped nuts. Walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds are all fine choices.
  • Berries. Berries will give your cookies an even tarter, fruitier flavor. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries work. Just be sure you use frozen berries.
Homemade Cookies With Lemon Glaze

Can I Freeze Lemon Drop Cookies?

Absolutely! Lemon drop cookies freeze beautifully, in fact. Here’s how:

  1. Let the cookies cool to room temperature.
  2. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, foil, or freezer paper.
  3. Freeze for up to 2 months.

You can also freeze the cookie dough!

Shape the dough into balls and place them on a baking sheet. Flash freeze until solid, around 30-40 minutes, and then transfer into a freezer bag.

Squeeze out as much excess air as you can, then seal. Label the bag and freeze. Frozen cookie dough will last for up to 2 months.

Alternatively, you can also form the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap or foil, and freeze.

When ready to bake, slice the log to make discs and bake straight away. Yep, no need to thaw! Just be sure to add a few more minutes to the baking time.

Lemon Drop Cookies

Servings

20

servings

Ingredients

  • Cookie:
  • 2 cups butter, softened

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 3 lemons)

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • juice 1/2 lemon, optional (about 2 tablespoons)

  • Icing:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix well. If the dough is dry, add the lemon juice.
  • Form the dough into 3/4-inch balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Flatten them a little with your palm.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Allow the cookies to rest for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the icing, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a separate bowl. If the mixture is too thick, add more lemon juice. If it’s too thin, add powdered sugar to thicken.
  • Once cookies have cooled, dip the tops in icing and place back on the parchment paper. Give the icing 15 to 30 minutes to set. The cookies will need to set for at least 24 hours for the icing to fully dry. But if you’re not too worried about the icing being a little wet, feel free to enjoy right away!
Lemon Drop Cookies

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

4 thoughts on “Lemon Drop Cookies”

  1. I was so excited to make these for a cookie exchange at work. I made them exactly as written, and they were so dry I had to toss them. They looked nothing like the picture. I'm thinking there may be a missing ingredient that didn't get listed? The directions said if the dough was too wet, we should refrigerate it for 30 minutes. My dough was very, very dry. Please help. I'd love to try these again. Not trying to be negative..just asking for assistance. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Darlene!
      Sorry to hear this didn't work for you.

      This recipe is essentially lemon shortbread, which usually only calls for butter, sugar, and flour.

      It's important to start with soft butter, which you'll beat with the powdered sugar until it's very smooth and fluffy. It should look like paste.

      Then, add the flour, cornstarch, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until the dough forms.
      This is easiest in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low, and it may take a few minutes for the flour to hydrate.

      If you don't have a stand mixer, you can rub the butter paste into the flour with your fingers. It takes longer, but it will come together. You should be able to press it into the dough and then lightly knead it on the counter.

      Another option is to use a food processor. Pulse the dough until it comes together.

      If all else fails, you can add a bit of moisture (1-2 tablespoons lemon juice or an egg yolk). But you shouldn't need it.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. They were delicious as written. Because I live in a humid climate, I used a pastry brush to “paint” the frosting on thinly. It dried in no time.

    Reply

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