In today’s post: These heavenly lemon cookies are just that – heavenly! They’re soft, lemony, and delicious, and only take a few minutes to whip up.
I’ve never been a huge fan of lemon desserts. It’s not that I dislike them, I just don’t usually eat them. I mean, why eat lemon bars if you can eat chocolate ice cream instead? And so for most of my life I’ve gone my merry chocolatey way, avoiding lemon desserts simply because they’re not chocolate.
But I started to wonder if I was missing something. After all, lots of people seem to really like lemony desserts. In the interest of being an equal opportunity dessert-ist I decided to pull my only lemon recipe out of the archives and give it another try (along with new photos). Turns out these heavenly lemon cookies really are heavenly!
Lemon Cake Mix Cookies
So technically these are lemon cake mix cookies. I usually prefer baking from scratch, but let me tell you about my love for cake mixes. I don’t know what kind of witchcraft goes into them, but they consistently turn out moist and light with a minimum amount of effort. I really love cake mix cookies, because they are super fast to mix up and they stay soft for days!
These cake mix cookies are especially soft because they have cream cheese mixed in, which gives them a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Check it out:
That’s good stuff right there. And if you want to take these lemon cake mix cookies over the top, you can dunk or drizzle them with a simple vanilla glaze.
Lemon Cookies Recipe
- 1 Lemon Cake Mix
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
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- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Soften cream cheese and butter. Mix cake mix, cream cheese, egg, and vanilla together until butter and cream cheese and butter are fully incorporated. Dough will be quite thick and sticky.
- Scoop 1.5 tablespoons of dough (size of a medium cookie scoop) and roll into balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar and place onto lightly greased cookies.
- Bake nine to ten until cookies are just puffed and cracked but still soft. Cool completely before glazing or serving.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, then turn off heat. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk (if piping on glaze) or 3 tablespoons (if dunking cookies to completely glaze the tops)
How to make lemon cookies
To begin making your lemon cake mix cookies, make sure that you soften – but do not melt – the butter and cream cheese. If you melt the butter you will need to chill the dough before you bake the cookies, which is lame. Who wants to wait for that? So soften the butter just enough to cream it together with the cream cheese. Then add in the egg, lemon cake mix, and vanilla (if you want your cookies to burst with lemon flavor you can use lemon extract instead of the vanilla).
Scoop out 1.5 tablespoons of dough and gently roll it into a ball with your hands. The dough is thick and sticky, so it’s much easier to do this using a cookie dough scoop. Handle the ball of dough very gently to roll it once or twice, then drop it into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll to coat. Then you can place the balls on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Note: I always use these Nordic Ware Half Sheet Pans for baking cookies – they cook evenly and clean up beautifully!
Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies are puffed and the tops are cracked (as seen above). This takes exactly 10 minutes in my oven, but it may be a minute more or less in yours. They should still be very soft when you take them out – too soft to remove from the cookie sheet right away. Let them cool 10 minutes or so before carefully removing to a cooling rack, where you’ll want to let them cool completely before eating. This gives them time to set up a little and get melt-in-your-mouth-ish.
At this point you can decide whether to sprinkle them with a bit more powdered sugar and eat as-is, or top with the glaze. The cookies are soft enough that dunking them in the glaze can be a bit difficult, so I prefer to put the glaze in a ziplock bag, snip off a corner and “pipe” the glaze onto the cookies.
Lemon Cookies FAQs
What brand of cake mix do you use in lemon cake mix cookies? I’ve tried this recipe with a variety of cake mix brands, and I prefer Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. Any brand of cake mix should work; you just may get slightly different “puffiness” results. I live at high altitude, and cookies made with the Betty Crocker cake mix seem to spread less than other brands.
Why are my lemon cookies flat? If your cookies spread too much and go flat, there are a few things you can try to keep them nice and puffy. First, make sure not to melt the butter – just soften it enough that you can cream it with a mixer. If that’s not the problem, you can also chill your dough for an hour before rolling into balls. Alternately, you can try adding 2 tablespoons of flour to the cake mix.
How long do the lemon cookies stay fresh? Cookies usually don’t last long at our house, but I have noticed that cake mix cookies stay fresh for at least a couple of days, and stay softer longer than other cookies made from scratch.
How should I store lemon cookies? Once the cookies are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. For storing longer than a few days, place them in an airtight container and freeze.
Can I use this recipe with other flavors of cake mix? Absolutely!
Want more cookie recipes? Try these: