Lemon Butter Cookies (Dairy Free Option)

With just a few ingredients, these butter-less lemon butter cookies are full of flavor and make a perfectly sweet dairy free treat.

Lemon Butter Cookies | Cookie Recipe | Lemon Recipe | ateaspoonofhappiness.com

Update: I’ve updated this lemon butter cookie recipe to make it dairy free (by swapping the butter for some Crisco butter-flavor shortening sticks. Feel free to use the butter that was originally called for if you don’t need to make them dairy free.

Now that our oven is working again, I’m ready for some Christmas baking. Last week, I made a batch of thumbprint cookies for our little Christmas party, and this week I thought I would try my hand a new, but very similar cookie. I took a basic thumbprint cookie recipe, tweaked it a little and added some lemon juice and zest to make a simple and buttery cookies.

Lemon Butter Cookies | Cookie Recipe | Lemon Recipe | ateaspoonofhappiness.com

The butter really shines through in these cookies, and the lemon plays the role of sidekick – making a perfect pair. The cookies aren’t overly sweet, but the powdered sugar coating is up to you. Sprinkle them with as much as you want to suit your taste. Personally, I love the texture of the dry powdered sugar against the buttery cookie so I do a few coatings. Don’t worry about adding extra. I won’t tell anyone…

Lemon Butter Cookies | Cookie Recipe | Lemon Recipe | ateaspoonofhappiness.com

Lemon Butter Cookies | Cookie Recipe | Lemon Recipe | ateaspoonofhappiness.com

Lemon Butter Cookies

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 30 cookies 1x


  • 1 cup butter or vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Add lemon zest and lemon juice.
  5. Gradually mix in the flour until incorporated.
  6. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Using the tines of a fork, cross marks in the cookies to slightly flatten them (as pictured).
  8. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until cookies are set on top and slightly golden on bottom.
  9. Transfer to cooling rack and immediately dust with powdered sugar (sugar will melt into cookies from the remaining heat).
  10. Once completely cool, dust cookies again with powdered sugar.


*Optional: Add 1 teaspoon lemon extract for a little extra lemon flavor.


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

If you’re looking for a few more Christmas cookie ideas, check out some of these recipes:

lemon butter cookies | simplywhisked.com

Last Updated on

  • Reply
    gaston hammer (@84__gaston)
    December 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I like the cookies, a sweet tooth I am.

  • Reply
    Carol handorf
    April 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    One stick of butter is. a half cup not one cup, can you let us know which? Thanks

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      April 8, 2014 at 10:12 am

      I’m so sorry. It’s 1 cup.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    You don’t specify where to use the egg in your instructions…??

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      May 4, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Add the egg after you cream the butter and sugar! Thanks for pointing that out 🙂

      • Reply
        May 6, 2014 at 9:25 am

        That was what I assumed and did.

        Thanks for the wonderful recipe. Myself and my children found them deliciously refreshing. I doubled the lemon zest and added a bit more juice as we love a big lemon kick and they were perfect. Definitely a keeper.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Hi I made the cookies last night and they were great! I made some slight modifications, I used less zest and more juice and I added white chocolate chips to the mix. I made them for my sons classes and they were a hit! I also had some for breakfast and I was able to taste the butter and lemon and it was really delicious. Tonight I am making more for my coworkers. Thanks for this recipe. x

  • Reply
    Alisha Marie
    December 28, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    How many calories are in this?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      December 29, 2014 at 10:15 am

      I’m sorry, but I’m not really able to provide nutritional information for my recipes. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I wouldn’t want to provide information that may not be completely accurate.

    • Reply
      September 12, 2016 at 2:55 am

      Roughly, per cookie (in a 30-cookie batch): Calories 116. Fat: 16g. Carbohydrates: 12.5g. Sugar: 5.2g. Protein: 1.3g

      • Reply
        September 12, 2016 at 2:58 am

        Sorry, that’s Fat: 6.9g

  • Reply
    January 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I just made these. I think I should have bumped up the lemon juice, not enough of a lemon taste for me. I also wonder if I should use a touch more flour as mine didn’t hold their shape like yours. Maybe it’s because I use a baking stone to cook them on and not a metal cookie sheet. I will try them again.

  • Reply
    January 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    These came out wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Lemon Butter Cookies
    January 7, 2015 at 8:45 am

    […] kind of all sugared out from the holidays. I decided to go with a lemon butter cookie recipe from A Teaspoon of Happiness for that reason. I find that butter cookies are the perfect mix between a shortbread and a sugar […]

  • Reply
    Lynda Salley
    January 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I have never used all purpose flour where I didn’t add at least salt and baking powder or soda. Just wanted to make sure before I do make these. They look delicious and I am a lemon recipe junkie!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 15, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      You’re right you don’t need baking powder or soda for this recipe! I hope you like them 🙂

  • Reply
    January 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I tried this recipe last night. The dough (after adding the flour) was INCREDIBLY thick. My KitchenAid electric mixer (which is practically brand new) struggled to mix the flour in (even on the highest setting).
    Once I had baked the cookies, they looked delicious but all I tasted was flour. I ended up throwing them all out. 🙁 I double & triple checked to make sure I added the appropriate amounts of everything (I’m pretty meticulous…) & I did.
    Are they meant to be that “floury”? I was SO hoping for these to turn out & was bummed when they ended up in the trash.

    • Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Mine came out great with 2 and 1/4 cups of flour. I added 1.75 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and still thought they could have used more lemon flavor. Next time I’ll add 3 tablespoons.

  • Reply
    Rana khairi
    January 16, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Orange instead of lemon is possible?

  • Reply
    February 3, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Too much flour . It took away the taste of butter not enough lemon.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Mine turned out like two others. They tasted like flour and were hard. I tried adding more lemon to enhance the flavor to no avail. I tried cutting baking time as well. Nothing helped. I will try again and try less flour.

  • Reply
    Lawnrence @ justpressurecooker
    February 16, 2015 at 5:49 am

    I think I should have bumped up the lemon juice, not enough of a lemon taste for me. I also wonder if I should use a touch more flour as mine didn’t hold their shape like yours. Maybe it’s because I use a baking stone to cook them on and not a metal cookie sheet. I will try them again.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I’m wondering if I can use lemon curd in lieu of the juice and zest? I have the curd on hand…

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      February 18, 2015 at 2:33 am

      It might work, but I would not count on it. You may have to adjust the amount of flour to account for the change in liquids. I wouldn’t try it if the cookies were for others to eat, but if you’re just making them at home for yourself, I would give it a try!

  • Reply
    Lemon Butter Cookies | Foodqik
    February 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    […] The butter really shines through in these cookies, and the lemon plays the role of sidekick – making a perfect pair. The cookies aren’t overly sweet, but the powdered sugar coating is up to you. Sprinkle them with as much as you want to suit your taste. Personally, I love the texture of the dry powdered sugar against the buttery cookie so I do a few coatings. Don’t worry about adding extra. I won’t tell anyone Find the recipe at: http://www.ateaspoonofhappiness.com […]

  • Reply
    Alison West
    February 22, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I love to cook, but baking is a big challenge for me(especially in Colorado). My cookies turned out tasting great, but melted in to large, flat, silver dollar shaped crispy cookies. I’m thinking it is a high Altitude thing. Can anyone help with the alterations I need to make for next time? Thanks for the recipe! We decorated ours with a simple lemon cream cheese frosting, and everyone LOVED them!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      February 23, 2015 at 1:52 am

      I wish I could help, but I’ve never had experience with high altitude baking. I’m glad they at least taste good though!

  • Reply
    Lemon Butter Cookies
    February 24, 2015 at 10:49 am

    […] Find the recipe at ateaspoonofhappiness.com […]

  • Reply
    Payton Rice
    February 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    These cookie sound wonderful!
    Alison, I would try adding an extra tablespoon of flour to help the cookies keep their shape. This has worked for cookies I have made in the past. I hope this helps!

  • Reply
    March 1, 2015 at 8:13 am

    These were delicious! I made them last-minute when I learned my in-laws were coming over for tea. I didn’t have any lemons so I used the zest and juice of an orange instead. A big hit!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      March 1, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Awesome! It’s really great to know that orange works as well. I think I’ll have to try that soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 4, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I am in the process of making these now. Your recipe at the top, says baking time is 30 minutes, but in the steps it says 15. As mine are in the oven now, I am starting at 15 and will see form there. Just thought I would mention if it was a typo. They look great and so far are not spreading with the recipe as is. 🙂

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      March 4, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      You are right with 15. The 30 minutes is for 2 batches. I was assuming all the cookies can’t bake at once. If you can get them all in your oven that’s great! I just couldn’t fit them in mine.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Melissa,
    Thanks, yes that makes sense and yes did take two batches. 🙂 I think they are great! Mine turned out just fine. I think for those who like them really lemony, a bit of lemon extract might be the trick. I will try that next time and see how they are, but I like them like this as well. It’s a keeper!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      March 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Lemon extract would be a perfect addition! Thanks for the idea!

  • Reply
    Jill T.
    March 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    These cookies are wonderful. I made some tonight to take to my sister for a treat. Instead of using a fork to form the pattern on top, I found a rosette iron that I haven’t used in years and used that to add the pattern on top. It looks nice, like a flower or a sun with rays. Good recipe! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      March 20, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Oh what a great idea! I bet they were so pretty. Thanks for sharing that tip 🙂

  • Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 7:20 am


    I’ve never had a lemon butter cookie, but when I saw one of these pics at Pinterest I had to come here and read the recipe, and trust me, this a recipe to keep.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I just got done baking these cookies and enjoy them!! The only substitute I made was using 4 tsp of lemon juice in place of the lemon zest–I didn’t have any lemons or oranges on hand. As a side note: If you are expecting these cookies to come out with the texture of a basic sugar cookie, you’re going to disappoint yourself. For me, these cookies almost have a tea-cookie-like consistency; melt-in-your-mouth and creamy/thick.

  • Reply
    75 Lemon Dessert Recipes
    May 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    […] Lemon Butter Cookies  |  A Teaspoon of Happiness […]

  • Reply
    You Can’t Really Go Wrong With Those Ingredients… | Eat, Read, and Be Mommy
    May 27, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    […] meant that I went with these Lemon Butter Cookies instead (and I only THOUGHT I had lemons, which meant a last minute run to the grocery store).  I […]

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

    True butter cookies have no baking soda and baking pwrd. If you had Italian butter cookies that crumbled in your mouth, that is the real butter cookies supposed taste like. Few ingredients big on flavor .

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    The dough is thick, even when I added 6TBSP lemon juice and 6 drops of lemon essential oil to it, but the taste was great!! Ramp up the lemon flavor. I think you’ll like them better.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2015 at 5:01 am

    These taste “flat”. I’m going to make them again but will add a little salt and a bit more lemon.

  • Reply
    deb w.
    June 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    i just finished making these tonight for a baby shower this weekend. i started out following the recipe exactly BUT made some changes as i went along. i used almost all the juce of one lemon…maybe 4 tsps total. i also ended up adding 2 pinches of salt to it as well. when it was time to make the marks with the fork I wet the tines in lemon juice water. figured it would add a little something. I’ve got them in a tupperware and I’m going to freeze them till saturday and then thaw them out for the shower.

    i do like the flavor of the cookie and if i make them again l’ll find another way to really punch up the lemon flavor. but i do like them 🙂

  • Reply
    July 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I made the lemon cookie today for my Grandchildren, they loved them. I found the recipe easy to follow, I did add extra lemon juice, and they turned out great. I will make them again in the future. Thank you for a great recipe.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I made these for my Grandchildren and the only thing I did different was add more lemon juice than called for. Really easy and good. Thank you for three recipe,

  • Reply
    July 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Here in Colorado it’s especially important not to let your butter get too warm. I barely let mine sit for a few minutes before I start creaming it and once I have one cookie sheet in the dough goes in the fridge until I am ready to do another sheet.

    I’ve also seen a recommendation to increase the temp by 20° F and reduce cooking time.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      July 23, 2015 at 2:38 am

      Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for the tips. I know baking can be so fickle, especially depending on where you live, so it’s always good to hear tips like that. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 21, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I’d love to try this recipe , but I only have salted butter in the house. Any idea what will happen if I make them using the salted butter?

  • Reply
    July 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    These are delicious. I made a double batch, gave some to a neighbor and used the rest to make raspberry lemon ice cream sandwiches. Lovely!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      July 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      That is a fantastic idea! I bet they were delicious!

  • Reply
    anne/ 52weeksofdeliciousness
    August 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

    These were really great! I added some cardamom and it works well with lemon in these cookies 🙂 thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      August 9, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Oh! Cardamom is a great idea 🙂 I will have to try that next time!

  • Reply
    December 20, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Just made these today for the first time. Followed the recipe, except as suggested by others, I added 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to increase the lemon flavor. Kept the same amount of zest. I also found the dough to be a bit sticky and difficult to work with so I put the dough in the fridge for a few hours first. I absolutely love these cookies! A keeper for me! Nice and citrusy and delicious! Would be even better with a citrus glaze on top!

  • Reply
    Michelle Rittler @ Taste As You Go
    January 19, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I just shared a recipe for Almond Butter Cookies on my blog and included your Lemon Butter Cookies in a mini round-up of butter cookie recipes at the end. Thanks so much, Melissa!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Can the dough be made an frozen for later use?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      February 5, 2016 at 9:40 am

      Yes! You can definitely freeze this dough.

      • Reply
        February 5, 2016 at 10:01 am

        Thank you for the reply! I’m going to make them tonight. Very excited. 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda Ford
    March 23, 2016 at 1:29 am

    I have been looking for a good hand-shaped butter cookie recipe, and I think this is it. I was trying to create Naan Berenji, so I replaced the lemon and zest with rose water and cardamom, and I used rice flour instead of wheat flour. I was very pleased with the results.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    These look delicious! Can’t wait to try them. I was wondering if you think white chocolate chips would be good in these cookies?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      May 31, 2016 at 8:19 am

      I don’t know. I’ve never tried them, but I think it sounds like it would be good!

  • Reply
    Lemon Butter Cookies - Allurelle.com
    June 5, 2016 at 11:36 am

    […] Source: Lemon Butter Cookies – Simply Whisked […]

  • Reply
    plasterers bristol
    July 20, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Just delcious. Amything lemon, one of my faves this. Thanks .

  • Reply
    When Life Gives You Lemons | The Brooklyn Fig
    August 4, 2016 at 7:34 am

    […] Lemon Butter Cookies (source) […]

  • Reply
    cookie baking weekend – gabrielle elise
    September 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    […] water in the mornings) – i picked out these recipes for chocolate chip nutella cookies and lemon butter […]

  • Reply
    September 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Even after following the directions exactly, these did not turn out well. I read all the comments and there was no consistency with the issues or responses for help to solve them. Do you have an answer for when the dough is not able to be formed in a ball because it is too wet/sticky? I never had an issue with it being too thick. Thx as I’d like these to be good.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      September 11, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      I haven’t had that problem before, but I would suggest two things. The first would be chilling the dough for about 1 hour. If that doesn’t work, try adding a tiny bit of flour, maybe 1 tablespoon at a time, until it seems better. I hope that works out for you.

  • Reply
    Samantha M.
    September 15, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Very, very disappointed with this recipe. The cookies came out so dry and bland. I had to make some homemade frosting to put on top of the cookies so they would actually have flavour and be less dry.

    I followed the recipe exactly and was so disappointed with how they came out. Definitely not making these ever again.

  • Reply
    Chantel V.
    September 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I was craving tea cake cookies but realized that I didn’t have vanilla. I did, however, have fresh lemons. I found your recipe and thought these would fare and that they did! My cookies came out very similar to teacakes with a hint of lemon. I love them.

  • Reply
    Almond Crescents + Cookies for Kids Cancer - Simply Whisked
    September 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    […] from Dorie Greenspan’s newest cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies. They remind me a little of lemon butter cookies, both in flavor and ingredients, except almond. It’s a super easy recipe. There are no […]

  • Reply
    Cathy W
    October 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Do you think this dough would be suitable to put through a cookie press?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      October 2, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      I’m really not sure. I’ve only ever used one type of dough in the cookie press. This might be too thick. If you do try it, I’d love to know how it turns out 🙂

  • Reply
    Catherine F Michal
    October 5, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Can the sugar be substituted for Stevia or another type sugar substitute? And the egg be substituted with fake eggs? I am diabetic and these changes would help me be able to enjoy them also.

    Thank you.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      October 7, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Since there aren’t too many ingredients, I would imagine it could have a huge impact. I’ve never used fake eggs before, so I don’t know how they work. If you try it, I would love to know how it goes!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2016 at 3:49 am

    […] You can find complete recipes of this LEMON BUTTER COOKIES in simplywhisked.com […]

  • Reply
    Rhonda Bantsimba
    January 13, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    My daughter and I made these for her girl scout meeting and they were wonderful. We added more lemon juice and a pinch more zest for a more intense lemon flavor and topped it off with a lemon glaze. It was magnificent! Thanks. This is a keeper.

  • Reply
    Sharon D.
    July 18, 2017 at 9:56 am

    This recipe is a keeper! Love the light, airy cookie– not too sweet! The kids now ask for me to bake “the beach cookies”, as they have come to be referred to! They hold up & don’t melt in the heat, the way many other cookies do! Thank you🏖

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      July 18, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I love the nickname! So glad you like them 🙂

  • Reply
    July 29, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Hi Melissa,
    Tried the lemon cookies n it’s just simply delishus taking some for my friends this evening 😊. I’m sure they will love it much as I did. 😍💞.

    This will be much go to recipe for always. Thanks a ton.

  • Reply
    Dan Stevens
    October 26, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Looks very good

  • Reply
    November 25, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    I made these today and they are delicious! I am going to make them again tomorrow and use lime zest and juice and another batch with orange zest and juice. I just love the citrus flavor in them. Very refreshing compared to a lot of cookies that I make during the holidays that are either chocolate or mint or a little more heavy. These will be a wonderful addition to my gift baskets for coworkers this year! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Happy baking!!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      November 26, 2017 at 10:35 am

      I’m so glad you liked them! Happy baking to you too!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I would recommend adding lemon extract. I did this and it really made them taste great although it’s uo to you. Also I’m guessing you meant dairy free butter because it wasn’t specified lol. Overall amazing recipe 🙂

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      December 20, 2017 at 11:01 am

      This recipe is actually super old, from before we went dairy free. I have made it with dairy free butter, but I never updated the recipe! I should probably update it to reflect that though.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2017 at 1:32 am

    Just made them. They are awesome. Used 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and zest of two whole lemons. My daughter and husband can’t stop eating them! Thank you

  • Reply
    Lemon Butter Cookies – Castellon's Kitchen
    April 8, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    […] ~30 cookies Slightly adapted recipe by Simply Whisked 1 cup butter, room temperature 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1 tsp lemon zest 1 Tbsp lemon juice […]

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