For a soft and chewy cookie with a ton of flavor, you can’t beat this lemon cream cheese cookies recipe. It’s easy to make and looks pretty on a Christmas cookie tray, too!
This lemon cream cheese cookies recipe is one of my all time favorite Christmas recipes.
The cream cheese makes the cookies soft and tender while the lemon adds just enough flavor to be tasty without overwhelming.
And the green and red candied cherries make them look really festive.
Even better? These are super fast and easy to make. No chilling time or rolling out dough required.
They even turn out well using gluten-free flour.
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Here’s your shopping list:
- dairy – ½ cup butter, 4 ounces cream cheese
- baking supplies – 1 cup sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1½ cups powdered sugar (optional, only for the glaze)
- eggs – 1 large
- fruit – 1 lemon, 1 dozen each candied red and green cherries
- For gluten-free cookies, substitute measure-for-measure gluten-free flour (I tested it with King Arthur’s*) instead of all-purpose flour
- Replace the candied cherries with dried fruit (apricots, cranberries, etc.), half a walnut or pecan, M&M’s or jam. To keep the jam in the center of the cookie, make an imprint in the center of the cookie using your finger and put the jam in it.
How To Make Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
The Prep Work
Take the butter, cream cheese and the egg out of the refrigerator a couple of hours ahead of time to let them warm up.
Separate the egg – you’ll only need the yolk for this recipe.
To do this, crack the egg. Then pass the yolk back and forth between the egg shell halves while letting the egg white fall into a small below.
Grate 1 teaspoon of lemon rind.
Juice the lemon.
Chop 12 red and 12 green candied cherries in half.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Make sure that your oven rack is in the center position.
Pre-heat the oven to 350℉.
Mix The Ingredients
Add 4 ounces (half of a regular-sized package) of cream cheese and ½ cup (1 stick) butter to the mixing bowl and beat until creamy.
Gradually add in 1 cup sugar and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Beat in the egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Save the remaining lemon juice for the glaze.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour slowly in batches.
Beat just until combined. Mixing too much at this stage will cause the cookies to be tough.
Make The Cookies
Scoop out enough dough to make a 1 inch ball. Using a melon baller or a very small cookie scoop is the easiest way to do this.
Roll the dough between your hands to make a round ball.
Then place the cookie dough balls about 2 inches apart on the parchment-covered cookie sheet.
Using parchment paper prevents the bottoms from browning too much, keeps the cookies from spreading and makes sure they don’t stick.
If you don’t have parchment paper, you can bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet, but they will spread more if you do this.
Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies into a round disc that is about half an inch thick.
To keep the glass from sticking to the cookies, wrap a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper over the bottom of it.
Press half a candied cherry into the center of each cookie.
Bake The Cookies
Bake at 350℉ for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are barely brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet.
Then move the cookies to a wire cooling rack to let cool completely.
How To Make Lemon Glaze
Before we go on, I will say that this step is optional.
The cookies taste delicious whether they have glaze on them or not.
But the glaze does add a little “extra” to both the look and the taste of the cookies.
And it only takes 2 ingredients – powdered sugar and the leftover lemon juice from making the cookies.
Start by sifting the powdered sugar. This will get rid of any lumps.
Then stir together 1½ cups of the sifted powdered sugar with 1 to 2 Tablespoons of the lemon juice you squeezed for the cookies.
The glaze should be thick, but easy to pour.
Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and let stand until it sets.
How to store
These lemon cream cheese cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Other Christmas Cookie Recipes You Might Like
- Peppermint cookies
- Holiday thimble cookies
- Cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies
- Old fashioned cherry winks
- Christmas tree sugar cookies
Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies With Lemon Glaze
- Mixer with a mixing bowl
- measuring spoons and cups
- cookie sheet
- parchment paper
- (optional) melon baller or size 100 cookie scoop
- flat-bottom glass
- wire cooling rack
- mixing bowl (for the glaze)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- 4 ounces (½ regular-sized package) cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour or measure-for-measure gluten-free flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 12 candied red cherries
- 12 candied green cherries
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 350℉.
- Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and ½ cup butter to the mixing bowl and beat until creamy.
- Gradually add in 1 cup sugar and beat until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Beat in the egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour slowly. Beat just until combined.
- Scoop out enough dough to make a 1 inch ball.
- Place the cookie dough balls 2 inches apart on the parchment-covered cookie sheet.
- Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the cookies into a 1½” disc that is about ½” thick.
- Press half a candied cherry into the center of each cookie.
- Bake at 350℉ for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are barely brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet.
- Move the cookies to a wire cooling rack to let cool completely.
How To Make Lemon Glaze
- Stir together 1½ cups sifted powdered sugar with 1 to 2 Tablespoons lemon juice adding enough of the juice until the glaze is thick, but still easy to pour.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and let stand until it sets.
- Don’t beat the cookie dough too much once the flour has been added. This will prevent the cookies from being too tough.
- Using a melon baller or a very small cookie scoop is the easiest way to scoop the right amount of dough for each cookie.
- Using parchment paper on the cookie sheet prevents the bottoms of the cookies from browning too much, keeps the cookies from spreading and makes sure they don’t stick to the pan.
- If you don’t have parchment paper, you can bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. After you have all of the cookies arranged on the sheet, put it in the refrigerator for about an hour before baking to prevent them from spreading too much.
- These cream cheese cookies can be stored in an airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
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This post was originally published on December 11, 2020 but was updated with new content on February 20, 2023.