Simple Gluten-Free Lemon Cookies topped with a luscious lemon cream cheese frosting. Definitely, a must-make recipe if you love lemons. This simple recipe is made with ingredients you most likely already have in the pantry. The secret to their light and soft texture? Using oil and butter as the fat in the recipe. These lemon cookies taste just like the ones grandma used to make.
- Recipe Ingredient Notes
- How to make Lemon Sugar Cookie Dough
- Note about Baking
- Baking Instructions
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- How to decorate Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
- Storage & Freezing
- FAQ about Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
- Baking in grams
- Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
- Substitutions and Modifications
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I have tested this recipe for gluten-free lemon cookies with my own gluten-free flour blend and Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1. Both flour blends produced lemon cookies with a moist crumb and exceptional flavor. I am not saying other brands will not work in this recipe. I just have not tested them in this application. Flour blends used to develop this great recipe do contain xanthan gum.
Instant Lemon Pudding Mix: Instant pudding mix helps with the texture, moisture, and flavor of gluten-free lemon cookies. A little bit of Lemon Pudding Mix boosts the flavor and keeps the cookies soft. I use Jell-O Instant Lemon Pudding Mix which is gluten-free and vegan. If you do not want to use Instant Pudding mix, substitute with an equal amount of cornstarch or the same gluten-free flour blend you are using in this recipe.
Lemons: You can't make Lemon Cookies without lemons. In this recipe, we are using the zest of the lemons as well as lemon juice. Therefore I recommend using organic lemons (if you can). Make sure to give them a good rinse. I do NOT recommend using bottled lemon juice.
Neutral Oil: Traditionally cookies are made with butter but in this recipe for gluten-free lemon cookies, we are using butter and a neutral oil such as grapeseed oil. This mix keeps the cookies soft but also gives them a buttery taste. The best of both worlds.
Powdered Sugar: Cookies made with powdered sugar have a more delicate crumb. Some people also call it confectionary sugar or icing sugar.
Cream of Tartar: Also known as potassium bitartrate, cream of tartar produces cookies that are softer and chewier.
How to make Lemon Sugar Cookie Dough
The cookie dough for gluten free lemon cookies is very simple to make but it does need to rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour (or up to 3 days). This will not only help reduce the spreading of the dough but also gives the flour time to hydrate. Just like marinating meat, when the cookie dough is allowed to rest, the flavors will intensify.
Make sure to use room temperature eggs to make sure they mix together easily with the oil. To get eggs to room temperature quickly, I like to place them in a bowl with warm (not hot water) while weighing out all my other ingredients.
Step 1: In a small bowl sift together the gluten-free flour, instant pudding mix, baking soda, cream of tartar, and kosher salt.
Step 2: In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated white sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. This will bring out the oils and lemon flavor of the zest and give the lemon cookies a bright lemon flavor without adding lemon extract.
Step 3: Add the powdered sugar and room temperature butter to the lemon sugar and a medium speed mix for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Make sure to stop halfway to scrape down the sides with a flexible spatula.
Step 4: In a separate bowl combine the room temperature egg, egg yolk, fresh lemon juice and oil. Whisk together until smooth and emulsified.
Step 5: With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg-oil mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until smooth. It will have the consistency of a smooth sauce, almost like a hollandaise sauce.
Step 6: Turn off the mixer and scrap down the sides and paddle. Turn the mixer back on and at a medium-low speed mix in the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is fully incorporated. The dough will be soft.
Step 7: With a flexible spatula mix the dough a few times to ensure all the flour is absorbed. Transfer the gluten-free lemon sugar dough to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. This dough MUST rest for at least one hour or it will be impossible to scoop.
Note about Baking
You have 3 options for how to bake the cookie dough: Flatten them after 7 minutes of baking with a flat-bottomed glass, flatten them before baking, or don't flatten them at all. My personal favorite is the first option. Flatten them after 7 minutes of baking and return them to the oven for an additional 1-2 minutes. This gives them a crinkled border and the perfect surface to top with lemon cream cheese frosting.
It is very important not to overbake these cookies. They will barely take on any color as they bake. Slightly underbake them since they will continue to bake on the hot sheet tray. Especially if you flatten these gluten-free lemon cookies before baking, they will be done within 7-8 minutes.
Instructions are written for flattening after 7 minutes of baking.
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F. This recipe makes 22-24 cookies depending on which size of cookie scoop you are using.
Instructions are written for flattening after 7 minutes of baking.
Step 1: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
Step 2: Scoop medium-sized balls of cookie dough (using a Medium Sized Cookie Scooper) and roll them into balls. Place no more than 8 of them on the prepared cookie sheets.
Step 3: Bake at 350F for 7 minutes, until puffy and fluffy looking.
Step 4: After 7 minutes carefully remove the sheet tray from the oven. With a flat bottom glass press the lemon cookies down until they are around ½" tall. This will give them a crinkled border.
Step 5: Return the cookies to the oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes. Please be aware baking times do depend on the oven you are using.
Step 5: Remove the gluten free lemon cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet tray for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Step 6: Repeat with all the cookie dough.
The cookies must be completely cool before frosting them with the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
While the lemon cookies are cooling, it's time to make the lemon cream cheese frosting. This is a small batch recipe and makes enough to frost 2 dozen cookies.
To make the cream cheese frosting, combine butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla extract and kosher salt and with an electric hand mixer mix to combine. You may also do this in your stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Mix until light and fluffy.
Carefully add the powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar) – I recommend doing this in two steps (powdered sugar has a mind on its own). Remember you can always add more sugar if the frosting is not sweet enough to your liking. Mix until light and fluffy.
If you like, you can add some additional lemon zest or lemon juice to the frosting. Make sure to taste it before topping the gluten-free lemon cookies with this luscious cream cheese frosting (quality control).
Store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to decorate Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
To decorate the lemon cookies, dust the cookies with some powdered sugar. Top each cookie with a dollop of lemon cream cheese frosting and with an offset spatula spread it out evenly.
As a garnish, I kept it simple and used some lemon sugar. To make lemon sugar, combine some lemon zest and granulated white sugar in a small bowl and rub the zest into the sugar. Allow for it to sit at room temperature for it to dry out a bit.
Storage & Freezing
Store the frosted gluten-free lemon cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Because of the cream cheese frosting, these cookies should only sit at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
While I do not recommend freezing the frosted cookies, unfrosted lemon cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.
FAQ about Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
To make this recipe dairy free, replace the butter with your favorite non-dairy butter. As for the frosting, you can replace the cream cheese and butter with a non dairy option or finish the cookies with a simple lemon glaze.
No. These are classic sugar cookies. Similar to Lofthouse Style Cookies found at the grocery store.
Yes. To freeze the dough, scoop the cookies on a sheet tray. Place the sheet tray in the freezer and allow the cookies to freeze. Once fully frozen transfer the cookie dough balls to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake you can either thaw the cookie dough overnight in the fridge (make sure to arrange them first on a parchment-lined sheet tray). You can also bake them from frozen and add an additional 1-2 minutes of baking time.
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
- 320 grams gluten free multi purpose flour
- 20 grams Instant Lemon Pudding Mix
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, 2 lemons (5 grams)
- 100 granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
- 60 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 60 powdered sugar
- 90 grams vegetable oil
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 25 grams freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 113 grams cream cheese, room temperature
- 45 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 60 grams powdered sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- additional lemon zest
How to make Gluten Free Lemon Cookie Dough
- In a small bowl sift together the gluten-free flour, instant pudding mix, baking soda, cream of tartar, and kosher salt.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated white sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar.
- Add the powdered sugar and room temperature butter to the lemon sugar and a medium-speed mix for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl combine the room temperature egg, egg yolk, lemon juice, and oil. Whisk together until smooth and emulsified.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly add the egg-oil mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until smooth.
- Turn off the mixer and scrap down the sides and paddle. Turn the mixer back on and at a medium-low speed mix in the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is fully incorporated. The dough will be soft.
- Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2hrs
How to bake Gluten Free Lemon Cookies
- See blog post for detailed instructions how to bake.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F.
- Scoop medium-sized balls of cookie dough (using a Medium Sized Cookie Scooper) and place no more than 8 of them on the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350F for 7 minutes, until puffy and fluffy looking.
- After 7 minutes carefully remove the sheet tray from the oven. With a flat bottom glass press the lemon cookies down until they are around ½″ tall.
- Return the cookies to the oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove the gluten-free lemon cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet tray for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl. With an electric hand mixer mix to combine. Alternatively, you can also make this with a stand mixer.
- Carefully add the powdered sugar. Mix until light and fluffy.
- Store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
How to frost Lemon Cookies
- To decorate the lemon cookies, dust the cookies with some powdered sugar. Top each cookie with a dollop of lemon cream cheese frosting and with an offset spatula spread it out evenly.
- As a garnish, I kept it simple and used some lemon sugar. To make lemon sugar, combine some lemon zest and granulated white sugar in a small bowl and rub the zest into the sugar. Allow for it to sit at room temperature for it to dry out a bit.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150qProtein: 2g
Calories are a guestimate and randomly generated.