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Zesty Lemon Cookies

by Laura

Why not enjoy that refreshing Summer flavor – lemon –  but in cookie form?  I saw this zesty lemon cookie recipe in my newspaper last week.  Lesli Neilson was on a mission to duplicate Paradise Bakery and Cafe’s Lemon Zester Cookies and this is the recipe she came up with.

Now I have only been to Paradise Bakery twice, but absolutely love it.  I also have never tried their lemon cookie but I know how fabulous the chocolate chips cookies are.  So I figure the lemon cookie must be equally as good.  Not sure how this version compares but it was delicious.  It’s kind of like a lemon bar without that lemon curd type layer.

The cookie is also made from simple ingredients.  We are talking butter, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, baking powder, and flour.  The zest is what really makes the lemon flavor pop in this cookie.  These cookies turn out soft and you finish them off with a light dusting of powdered sugar, just like lemon bars.  You could even top them with a drizzle of lemon glaze if you prefer.  Yummy.  Tastes like summer.

You could even make a lime or orange version just by changing the juice and zest.  These would also be perfect cookies to make a lemon whoopie pie with.  You could fill them with lemon cream cheese filling.  Oh yum!  I love these zesty lemon cookies, the possibilities are endless with what you could do with them.
Zesty Lemon Cookies | realmomkitchen.com

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Zesty Lemon Cookies


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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add lemon juice and zest, mixing until blended.
  3. Add salt, baking powder and flour and mix until blended.
  4. Drop by rounded scoopfuls onto prepared baking sheets and bake until edges are firm with no color, 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.  Servings » Makes 2 1/2 dozen (I used my cookie scoop and got 3 dozen cookies)

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This is the original picture from this post. The above picture was updated in July 2018.

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78 comments

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Stacy May 30, 2013 - 9:14 pm

I made these cookies…instead of the zest I used 2 TSPs of Lemon Emulsion…added dried blue berries and a sugar glaze. They did come out like little scones…but I love that!
I will def make these again!

Reply
Stacy May 30, 2013 - 9:14 pm

I made these cookies…instead of the zest I used 2 TSPs of Lemon Emulsion…added dried blue berries and a sugar glaze. They did come out like little scones…but I love that!
I will def make these again!

Reply
lemon cookies | The Beautiful Details March 16, 2013 - 11:58 pm

[…] obsession with all things lemon continues!  I found this great lemon cookie recipe that one of my friends posted on facebook.  They sounded like the perfect summer […]

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lemon cookies | The Beautiful Details March 16, 2013 - 11:58 pm

[…] obsession with all things lemon continues!  I found this great lemon cookie recipe that one of my friends posted on facebook.  They sounded like the perfect summer […]

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Lemon Indulgence | July 3, 2012 - 10:20 pm

[…] via Real Mom Kitchen as seen in The Salt Lake Tribune 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cup […]

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Lemon Indulgence | July 3, 2012 - 10:20 pm

[…] via Real Mom Kitchen as seen in The Salt Lake Tribune 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cup […]

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Lemon Indulgence | July 3, 2012 - 10:20 pm

[…] via Real Mom Kitchen as seen in The Salt Lake Tribune 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cup […]

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Lemon Desserts | July 3, 2012 - 5:26 am

[…] via Real Mom Kitchen as seen in The Salt Lake […]

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Lemon Desserts | July 3, 2012 - 5:26 am

[…] via Real Mom Kitchen as seen in The Salt Lake […]

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Lemon Desserts | July 3, 2012 - 5:26 am

[…] via Real Mom Kitchen as seen in The Salt Lake […]

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Melissa May 17, 2012 - 6:43 pm

My family loves these cookies. The first time I made them w/fresh squeezed lemon juice and the zest it was great. This time I made them w/Sicilian Lemon Juice and they were even better. The Sicilian lemon juice packs such a punch that I didn’t even bother with the zest. Everyone loved them. Thank you for the recipe.
I get my lemon juice at Costco.
As some have said they are a little cakey, but I love them that way. If you are looking for a crisp lemon cookie you will need to look elsewhere. 🙂

Reply
Melissa May 17, 2012 - 6:43 pm

My family loves these cookies. The first time I made them w/fresh squeezed lemon juice and the zest it was great. This time I made them w/Sicilian Lemon Juice and they were even better. The Sicilian lemon juice packs such a punch that I didn’t even bother with the zest. Everyone loved them. Thank you for the recipe.
I get my lemon juice at Costco.
As some have said they are a little cakey, but I love them that way. If you are looking for a crisp lemon cookie you will need to look elsewhere. 🙂

Reply
Melissa May 17, 2012 - 6:43 pm

My family loves these cookies. The first time I made them w/fresh squeezed lemon juice and the zest it was great. This time I made them w/Sicilian Lemon Juice and they were even better. The Sicilian lemon juice packs such a punch that I didn’t even bother with the zest. Everyone loved them. Thank you for the recipe.
I get my lemon juice at Costco.
As some have said they are a little cakey, but I love them that way. If you are looking for a crisp lemon cookie you will need to look elsewhere. 🙂

Reply
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mel April 13, 2012 - 4:56 pm

I made the recipe word for word and the batter was definitely not cookie-esque. I made a small test batch to see if was I right, and upon tasting them, I wasn’t impressed. They didn’t taste like cookies; they tasted more like a weird, sweet muffin. I added quite a bit more flour and kept mixing until I found a better batter texture, then tried cooking these and the results weren’t much better.
tldr; I don’t recommend these.

Reply
mel April 13, 2012 - 4:56 pm

I made the recipe word for word and the batter was definitely not cookie-esque. I made a small test batch to see if was I right, and upon tasting them, I wasn’t impressed. They didn’t taste like cookies; they tasted more like a weird, sweet muffin. I added quite a bit more flour and kept mixing until I found a better batter texture, then tried cooking these and the results weren’t much better.
tldr; I don’t recommend these.

Reply
mel April 13, 2012 - 4:56 pm

I made the recipe word for word and the batter was definitely not cookie-esque. I made a small test batch to see if was I right, and upon tasting them, I wasn’t impressed. They didn’t taste like cookies; they tasted more like a weird, sweet muffin. I added quite a bit more flour and kept mixing until I found a better batter texture, then tried cooking these and the results weren’t much better.
tldr; I don’t recommend these.

Reply
altitudemama December 16, 2011 - 10:34 am

Not impressed. I didn’t mind the cakey consistency, but they were boring white cookies (with a slightly lemon-flavor) with a white sugar dusting. Not very imaginative or interesting. Wouldn’t bother making again.

Reply
cookiequeen July 24, 2012 - 11:02 am

I have to disagree. I just made these cookies, and they were fabulous. The lemon flavor was very distinct, and they weren’t as cakey as everyone claims they are. I didn’t change a thing and they turned out wonderful. So great job whoever created the recipe. i would definitely make these again.

Reply
altitudemama December 16, 2011 - 10:34 am

Not impressed. I didn’t mind the cakey consistency, but they were boring white cookies (with a slightly lemon-flavor) with a white sugar dusting. Not very imaginative or interesting. Wouldn’t bother making again.

Reply
altitudemama December 16, 2011 - 10:34 am

Not impressed. I didn’t mind the cakey consistency, but they were boring white cookies (with a slightly lemon-flavor) with a white sugar dusting. Not very imaginative or interesting. Wouldn’t bother making again.

Reply
cookiequeen July 24, 2012 - 11:02 am

I have to disagree. I just made these cookies, and they were fabulous. The lemon flavor was very distinct, and they weren’t as cakey as everyone claims they are. I didn’t change a thing and they turned out wonderful. So great job whoever created the recipe. i would definitely make these again.

Reply
Barbara November 26, 2011 - 6:16 pm

What every recipe that tries to copy the Paradise Bakery Lemon Zester cookie misses, is something I have seen them do at the Paradise Bakery. After they pull the cookies out of the oven, the cool them a few minutes, then they brush the top of each cookie with Minute Maid concentrated lemonade. I think that is what gives the cookies such a strong and tasty lemon flavor.

Reply
Barbara November 26, 2011 - 6:16 pm

What every recipe that tries to copy the Paradise Bakery Lemon Zester cookie misses, is something I have seen them do at the Paradise Bakery. After they pull the cookies out of the oven, the cool them a few minutes, then they brush the top of each cookie with Minute Maid concentrated lemonade. I think that is what gives the cookies such a strong and tasty lemon flavor.

Reply
Barbara November 26, 2011 - 6:16 pm

What every recipe that tries to copy the Paradise Bakery Lemon Zester cookie misses, is something I have seen them do at the Paradise Bakery. After they pull the cookies out of the oven, the cool them a few minutes, then they brush the top of each cookie with Minute Maid concentrated lemonade. I think that is what gives the cookies such a strong and tasty lemon flavor.

Reply
soph October 27, 2011 - 2:03 pm

i was sooo excited to do them… and nope, they are faaaar too caky. I did not put to much baking powder and I followed the recipe to the letter. There is just something really wrong with the recipe, too much eggs, I guess you shouldnt put eggs at all in these types of cookies or maybe half an egg for this amount of flour. and I wouldnt put baking powder in these, whats the point?
Sorry about that, very disappointed also!

Reply
soph October 27, 2011 - 2:03 pm

i was sooo excited to do them… and nope, they are faaaar too caky. I did not put to much baking powder and I followed the recipe to the letter. There is just something really wrong with the recipe, too much eggs, I guess you shouldnt put eggs at all in these types of cookies or maybe half an egg for this amount of flour. and I wouldnt put baking powder in these, whats the point?
Sorry about that, very disappointed also!

Reply
Tammy October 13, 2011 - 4:40 am

The texture turned out like muffins instead of cookies. Dissapointed.

Reply
Tammy October 13, 2011 - 4:40 am

The texture turned out like muffins instead of cookies. Dissapointed.

Reply
Tammy October 13, 2011 - 4:40 am

The texture turned out like muffins instead of cookies. Dissapointed.

Reply
Christine September 5, 2011 - 4:25 pm

Great recipe — thanks for posting! I tried baking these today, and they turned out very well.
I went a bit heavier on the zest (close to 2tsp, one medium lemon’s worth) because other lemon cookie recipes I’ve tried usually did not taste lemony enough. These cookies definitely taste lemony — and close to lemon bars in flavor — just like you described.
This will be my go-to lemon cookie recipe. Happy to finally have found a lemony cookie (instead of sugar cookies with slight hints of lemon, which have been my experience with most recipes) … Thanks!

Reply
Christine September 5, 2011 - 4:25 pm

Great recipe — thanks for posting! I tried baking these today, and they turned out very well.
I went a bit heavier on the zest (close to 2tsp, one medium lemon’s worth) because other lemon cookie recipes I’ve tried usually did not taste lemony enough. These cookies definitely taste lemony — and close to lemon bars in flavor — just like you described.
This will be my go-to lemon cookie recipe. Happy to finally have found a lemony cookie (instead of sugar cookies with slight hints of lemon, which have been my experience with most recipes) … Thanks!

Reply
Aramae June 18, 2011 - 6:24 pm

These cookies are delicious! I’ve made them twice and my dad LOVES them. Thanks for posting!

Reply
Aramae June 18, 2011 - 6:24 pm

These cookies are delicious! I’ve made them twice and my dad LOVES them. Thanks for posting!

Reply
Aramae June 18, 2011 - 6:24 pm

These cookies are delicious! I’ve made them twice and my dad LOVES them. Thanks for posting!

Reply
Chewy Lemon Cookies | Lesley Eats June 5, 2011 - 9:02 am

[…] it–if it’s lemon, I probably love it. So I was looking for a lemon cookie to make and this recipe popped up. I’ve made a few changes, most notably the name. Yes, they are zesty, but the thing […]

Reply
Chewy Lemon Cookies | Lesley Eats June 5, 2011 - 9:02 am

[…] it–if it’s lemon, I probably love it. So I was looking for a lemon cookie to make and this recipe popped up. I’ve made a few changes, most notably the name. Yes, they are zesty, but the thing […]

Reply
Chewy Lemon Cookies | Lesley Eats June 5, 2011 - 9:02 am

[…] it–if it’s lemon, I probably love it. So I was looking for a lemon cookie to make and this recipe popped up. I’ve made a few changes, most notably the name. Yes, they are zesty, but the thing […]

Reply
Jill May 31, 2011 - 5:03 pm

How much cream are you suppose to put in the mix? I can not see that in the ingredients.

Reply
lyredragon June 21, 2011 - 7:41 pm

if you add cream to cookie dough, you get cake batter. . .creaming refers to the blending of sugar, egg and fat until the sugar crystals begin to break down

Reply
Jill May 31, 2011 - 5:03 pm

How much cream are you suppose to put in the mix? I can not see that in the ingredients.

Reply
lyredragon June 21, 2011 - 7:41 pm

if you add cream to cookie dough, you get cake batter. . .creaming refers to the blending of sugar, egg and fat until the sugar crystals begin to break down

Reply
Jill May 31, 2011 - 5:03 pm

How much cream are you suppose to put in the mix? I can not see that in the ingredients.

Reply
lyredragon June 21, 2011 - 7:41 pm

if you add cream to cookie dough, you get cake batter. . .creaming refers to the blending of sugar, egg and fat until the sugar crystals begin to break down

Reply
MakeupZombie May 25, 2011 - 4:39 pm

I just made these today and they are SO delicious!!

Reply
MakeupZombie May 25, 2011 - 4:39 pm

I just made these today and they are SO delicious!!

Reply
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Carley April 14, 2011 - 1:34 pm

These cookies were really easy and tasty! I made a batch to share with my friends and they really liked them. I think next time I may try them with a lemon glaze?

Reply
Carley April 14, 2011 - 1:34 pm

These cookies were really easy and tasty! I made a batch to share with my friends and they really liked them. I think next time I may try them with a lemon glaze?

Reply
Carley April 14, 2011 - 1:34 pm

These cookies were really easy and tasty! I made a batch to share with my friends and they really liked them. I think next time I may try them with a lemon glaze?

Reply
Lizzy February 14, 2011 - 2:45 pm

I had to add about 3/4 cup more flour in order to get these to be the right “doughy” consistency and less of a “batter.”

Reply
Lizzy February 14, 2011 - 2:45 pm

I had to add about 3/4 cup more flour in order to get these to be the right “doughy” consistency and less of a “batter.”

Reply
Lizzy February 14, 2011 - 2:45 pm

I had to add about 3/4 cup more flour in order to get these to be the right “doughy” consistency and less of a “batter.”

Reply
Julie June 28, 2010 - 8:57 pm

These look scrumptious and wonderful!

Reply
Julie June 28, 2010 - 8:57 pm

These look scrumptious and wonderful!

Reply
KeriAnne June 28, 2010 - 8:57 am

Mmmmmm….these look and sound delicious! Now, if it only weren’t so dang hot so I could turn the oven on!

Reply
KeriAnne June 28, 2010 - 8:57 am

Mmmmmm….these look and sound delicious! Now, if it only weren’t so dang hot so I could turn the oven on!

Reply
Leigh [email protected] Homebased Mom June 28, 2010 - 8:02 am

Yum! I can’t resist anything lemon. Can’t wait to try them. Now I just need a recipe for Paradise Bakeries chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips – love those too!

Reply
Terri August 28, 2010 - 7:15 am

Could you please let me know if you were ever able to get the recipe for the Paradise Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Thank you!

Reply
Leigh [email protected] Homebased Mom June 28, 2010 - 8:02 am

Yum! I can’t resist anything lemon. Can’t wait to try them. Now I just need a recipe for Paradise Bakeries chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips – love those too!

Reply
Terri August 28, 2010 - 7:15 am

Could you please let me know if you were ever able to get the recipe for the Paradise Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Thank you!

Reply
Kristen June 28, 2010 - 7:34 am

Those cookies look delicious! I was just looking at a couple of lemons in my bowl and thinking I need to do something with them quick!

Reply
Kristen June 28, 2010 - 7:34 am

Those cookies look delicious! I was just looking at a couple of lemons in my bowl and thinking I need to do something with them quick!

Reply
fittingbackin June 28, 2010 - 7:14 am

oooh these look so soft and chewy – thanks for the recipe!

Reply
Sharon June 9, 2011 - 12:02 pm

I am making a double batch of these cookies right now for a fundraising bake sale, and they are fabulous! I wanted to figure out an easy way for my buyers to identify them as lemony – so I zested another lemon, a bit more juice, powdered sugar and a splash of water – and now have a shiny, zesty glaze on top, so everyone will know these are no ordinary sugar cookies.

Reply
fittingbackin June 28, 2010 - 7:14 am

oooh these look so soft and chewy – thanks for the recipe!

Reply
Sharon June 9, 2011 - 12:02 pm

I am making a double batch of these cookies right now for a fundraising bake sale, and they are fabulous! I wanted to figure out an easy way for my buyers to identify them as lemony – so I zested another lemon, a bit more juice, powdered sugar and a splash of water – and now have a shiny, zesty glaze on top, so everyone will know these are no ordinary sugar cookies.

Reply
fittingbackin June 28, 2010 - 7:14 am

oooh these look so soft and chewy – thanks for the recipe!

Reply
Sharon June 9, 2011 - 12:02 pm

I am making a double batch of these cookies right now for a fundraising bake sale, and they are fabulous! I wanted to figure out an easy way for my buyers to identify them as lemony – so I zested another lemon, a bit more juice, powdered sugar and a splash of water – and now have a shiny, zesty glaze on top, so everyone will know these are no ordinary sugar cookies.

Reply

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