New This Month

Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies


These large cookies have a classic lemony flavor, a chewy texture, and glistening, crackly tops created with a double sprinkling of sanding sugar.

  • Yield: Makes about 20 (3 1/2-inch) cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2005


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside.

  2. Put sugars and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed 30 seconds. Add butter; mix until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and then the lemon juice. Reduce speed; gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

  3. Scoop dough using a 2-inch ice cream scoop; space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly with a spatula. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar, then lightly brush with a wet pastry brush; sprinkle with more sanding sugar.

  4. Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • travelbugderek
    23 JUN, 2016
    I use A LOT of Martha's recipes and I'm getting skilled enough to alter many of them to make them healthier (i.e. whole wheat flour, some rolled oats for flour, applesauce for oil, etc.). These cookies are PERFECT. Instead of slightly flattening them, I rolled them in balls and rolled them in granulated sugar. Again, PERFECT!!!
  • capturedghosts
    17 MAY, 2016
    I've made these cookies twice now, and they're incredible fresh out of the oven. However, both times, as soon as the cookies cooled completely, they became very hard/crisp. They don't seem to retain their chewiness. All ingredients were room temp, I didn't overmix, and I even underbaked them a bit this time, with no success. Has anyone else had this problem? This doesn't happen with any of my other cookie recipes. Could it be the high flour content?
  • tchicklingmail
    7 NOV, 2015
    I changed the recipe a little bit by using equal amounts of brown & white sugar. I also, added 1 Tbls. chopped crystallized ginger, 1 Tbls. Vanilla Extract, & 1 tsp. baking power. Also, it needs to be refrigerated before baking. Otherwise, it will look like a mess. I refrigerated my second batch, and rolled each cookie in sugar before baking. The family loved the taste, but this is a very thin cookie. I will probably make it again.
  • natashalu7777
    3 APR, 2015
    I was so excited to make these and I am not disappointed. One word...delicious!!! I used 3/4 cup less sugar. It is perfect. Thank you.
  • seaprincess112
    4 OCT, 2014
    nice recipe gave a great result for my first successful cookies
  • -Mary-
    3 AUG, 2014
  • 1Tink
    3 AUG, 2014
    Great cookies. For those of you that leave out the lemon and zest, substitute baking powder for the baking soda.
  • LindaChef 55
    15 JUN, 2014
    I'm wondering if the baking soda should have been baking powder. These cookies were very thin and flat. I'm replacing the soda for baking powder next time and see what happens.
  • limeyg
    9 OCT, 2013
    Dangerously yummy, decadently rich, delightfully NEED to make these! My only complaint is the size/yield; with a 2-inch scoop I only got 16 MONSTER cookies. I would make them at least half the size next time (all the more to enjoy!). I also played a bit with the white/brown sugar ratio, but only to a negligible degree (also, I omitted the sugar topping, as these were plenty sweet and textural without). This is a store-away-pass-on-to-children sort of recipe.
  • Gingersnap
    31 JUL, 2013
    This is a great recipe! I replaced the lemon ingredients with a little extra vanilla extract and enjoyed a delicious treat!