Rating: 3.6 stars
686 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 170
  • 4 star values: 205
  • 3 star values: 199
  • 2 star values: 88
  • 1 star values: 24

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

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Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

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

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

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

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 (78)

686 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 170
  • 4 star values: 205
  • 3 star values: 199
  • 2 star values: 88
  • 1 star values: 24
Rating: 5 stars
08/27/2019
This is a great recipe. I have made it maaany times. I now make a "Trix" version with lemon, lime, and orange zest. I roll the dough balls in yellow, green, and orange sanding sugar and THEN I flatten them with a stainless steel measuring cup.
Rating: 3 stars
07/03/2019
Help! What is going on? I made these and they baked into a giant pancake!
Rating: 3 stars
04/13/2019
I like the cookies, but I added more lemon the listed and still so not taste the lemon any ideas??
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Rating: 5 stars
11/28/2018
These are the best sugar COOKIES I’ve ever tried. They are easy to make and delicious 😋 Great cookies!!! Thanks
Rating: 5 stars
08/24/2018
I am not very “cooking inclined”. I was in the mood for lemon cookies and could not find any that looked good to me at the supermarket so I decided to make my own. There are a bunch of recipes online so I decided to try this one because it was from Martha. I tried it and I LOVED it! The recipe was easy to follow and I loved the fact that I used ingredients that I could pronounce. Thank you and now I’m going to search for more recipes from Martha.
Rating: 5 stars
06/11/2018
I STILL give this recipe 5 stars! I have made them at least a dozen time. Since I had a couple of limes on their last legs, I zested them and made old-fashioned LIME sugar cookies. I rolled them in a combination of green and white sparkling sugar before flattening them. PERFECTION!
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Rating: 5 stars
06/23/2016
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!!!
Rating: 4 stars
05/17/2016
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?
Rating: 3 stars
11/07/2015
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.
Rating: Unrated
04/03/2015
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.
Rating: Unrated
10/04/2014
nice recipe gave a great result for my first successful cookies
Rating: Unrated
08/03/2014
Delicous!
Rating: Unrated
08/03/2014
Great cookies. For those of you that leave out the lemon and zest, substitute baking powder for the baking soda.
Rating: Unrated
06/15/2014
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.
Rating: 5 stars
10/09/2013
Dangerously yummy, decadently rich, delightfully chewy...you 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.
Rating: Unrated
07/31/2013
This is a great recipe! I replaced the lemon ingredients with a little extra vanilla extract and enjoyed a delicious treat!
Rating: Unrated
06/18/2013
I have made these cookies many times and even got a blue ribbon at the county fair with this recipe. Everyone loves the cookies and they disappear fast!
Rating: Unrated
06/11/2013
Best lemon cookie I have found so far...chewy, crispy, lemony, easy. I did change the topping, wanting to make the cookies more lemony instead of adding the sprinkled sugar. When the cookies were cool, I brushed the entire tops with a glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice (medium thick). Wait for the tops to harden and store single layer between wax paper. This recipe is a keeper.
Rating: Unrated
03/04/2013
I made these cookies and substituted lemon extract 1/4 tsp since I had no lemon. Hand rolled them into balls, put them on baking stone and flattened a bit. Didnt add any extra sugar or anything else. Baked them 12 minutes and they were delicious and perfect. Made 3 1/2 dozen.
Rating: 5 stars
01/08/2013
These cookies are great! I put less sugar on mine and we can't stop eating them.
Rating: Unrated
07/07/2012
Easy and excellent! You will never buy sugar cookies from the store again.These chewy cookies have become something we crave every once in a while and only this recipe can deliver.
Rating: Unrated
07/06/2012
Made these today..turned out GREAT! I also substituted the lemon with vanilla and baking them for 14 minutes did make them turn out better. I let mine sit over night in the fridge and the dough was a little stiffer just had to let it warm up a bit.
Rating: Unrated
06/02/2012
Tasty. I substituted lemon juice with vanilla extract and they came out great!
Rating: 5 stars
12/17/2011
These were absolutely delicious! I made three different versions of them for three batches because I made small cookies. I made a vanilla bean version, spice version and lemon version. For the vanilla version, I omitted the zest and added one whole vanilla bean and these were a favourite. For the lemon version I doubled the zest and for the spice I added half the normal zest and one teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Simply delicious, light, chewy and perfect!
Rating: Unrated
12/14/2011
I can't wait to make these - but one question - can I put in fridge and roll out and make cut out cookies???
Rating: Unrated
12/06/2011
When I made these, I used granulated sugar instead of sanding sugar, and I didn't do the wash and extra sanding sugar before baking. I did, however, make buttercream icing using fresh lemon juice and whipping cream and made sandwich cookies out of them ... a little messy, but well worth it!
Rating: Unrated
09/15/2011
Watched you make this cookie on your television show. When I saw the new apps and the gorgeous cookies I couldn't wait to make a batch! They were the BEST sugar cookies I or my family have ever tasted! Tried a test taste with a packaged mix and your "Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies" recipe and hands down yours is by far the winner! I did try one thing different, instead of the sugar, I used strawberry frosting YUM! My Grandchildren think I'm the best cookie maker! Thanks Martha:-)
Rating: Unrated
02/21/2011
I just made these cookies this afternoon and everything went out great. My nephew just loved them. They?Ǭ
Rating: Unrated
12/20/2010
I just finished cooking my first batch, and I must say: Boy, oh boy! They are extraordinarily soft with a slight crunchy top. One of my favorites ever by Martha. So excited to share them at work tomorrow!
Rating: Unrated
12/13/2010
So delicious! I will definitely be sharing these over the holidays! Thanks!
Rating: Unrated
11/19/2010
I used a smaller scoop sized for 2 3/4 " diameter cookies. The cookies were thinner with crisp edges and chewy center. Also, produced a larger batch using smaller scoop. I will keep this and use again. I used hand mixer and it worked just fine.
Rating: Unrated
11/14/2010
THESE TURNED OUT GREAT!! USED 11/3 GRANULATED SUGAR SINCE MY HUSBAND IS DIABETIC. THE LAST BATCH I PUT CINAMMON SUGAR ON TOP INSTEAD OF PLAIN. GOOD!! GOT "34 " THREE INCH COOKIES. I WILL KEEP THIS ONE. IT IS SOOOOO EASY. THANKS!!!
Rating: Unrated
11/09/2010
I made these last week, they were fabulous! We gobbled them up quickly. They were chewy and flavorful...no subs needed. I gently flattened the tops prior to baking.Will certainly make these regularly!
Rating: Unrated
11/09/2010
The M stands for margaine. I never use margarine. Butter - unsalted. If you used salted butter that my be why Iknowhuh' were too salty. I can't wait to try them. I wanted to read the comments first.
Rating: Unrated
11/05/2010
i want to use this sugar cookie recipe to put my favorite candy in-- Ritter Sport white chocolate w/rice crispies
Rating: Unrated
10/23/2010
perfect! mine are way thicker than the photo but they are superb! Great recipe!
Rating: Unrated
07/03/2010
I'm not an expert at cookies (I'm more of a cupcake person) and so I am not really good at this. The first batch I put in the oven had too much butter and the cookies got runny. For the second batch, I added more flour (a bit too much I think but they are still in the oven). Theu have been baking for over 15 minutes and they are still uncooked at the bottom. I took the out and flattened them, and I am hoping for good results. If those don't work, I'm gonna try a splash of milk.
Rating: Unrated
06/30/2010
this is great! i am new and luv harry potter! martha can u please make a harry potter cake?
Rating: Unrated
06/28/2010
there not very sweet
Rating: Unrated
05/16/2010
Oh, I wanted to add..do NOT overbake these. They are meant to be chewy. I really like the fact they they call for brown sugar in this recipe. It makes them even more chewy. Once again, an EXCELLENT recipe and cookie!
Rating: Unrated
05/16/2010
Wow..MS has one other sugar cookie recipe that I really like, but I think this is my FAVORITE one to date. The first time I made them, I did everything as is, and yesterday I made them again and wanted only a SUBTLE lemon flavor, so I used only the zest and substituted a teaspoon of vanilla for the lemon juice. I love my cookies big, so I use a medium scooper. I also used rainbow sprinkles instead of sugar. I have both but like the jimmies better. LOVE these cookies!!!
Rating: Unrated
05/14/2010
My cookies really spread out! Used a small scoop but they came out the size of a saucer. Wasn't impressed by them.
Rating: Unrated
04/21/2010
love these, what is sanding sugar?
Rating: Unrated
09/03/2009
Forget it................never print it anyway
Rating: Unrated
09/03/2009
Sanding sugar is larger crystals than regular sugar.
Rating: Unrated
09/02/2009
2 sticks of butter is 8 ounces
Rating: Unrated
09/02/2009
What is Sanding Sugar?
Rating: Unrated
06/09/2009
Just made these cookies. They are very good:) I didn't have any lemon zest so I put Madagasgar Vanilla and they came out great.
Rating: Unrated
01/12/2009
Sub 2 tablespoons of vanilla for the lemon. Very good. Better 24 hours after making them.
Rating: Unrated
01/10/2009
Just made a batch, and they are delicious! I bought my sanding sugar at Sur la Table
Rating: Unrated
01/10/2009
i also wanted to say that i made well over 20 cookies, more than twice the amount.
Rating: Unrated
01/10/2009
i just made these and they turned out great. not as crackly as the picture, i should have baked them longer. they taste delicious though (: i think it would work fine without lemon, and if you want to substitute it, maybe just put 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. something like that.
Rating: Unrated
12/23/2008
I made these last week and used granulated suger. Turned out fine.
Rating: Unrated
12/23/2008
I am trying to make these cookies but do not have sanding sugar..is it ok to just use granulted?? for the top
Rating: Unrated
12/22/2008
My son is allergic to lemon. Have you tried this recipe without the lemon, or maybe substituted something else?
Rating: Unrated
11/25/2008
I have made these cookies many times over with fantastic results. My one challenge is that no matter how small I seem to scoop them they always come out HUGE! But I've had nothing but compliments on this recipe-it's wonderful and fun to make!
Rating: Unrated
10/19/2008
I think the lemon zest and lemon juice give this cookie that extra touch. I brought these to work for a halloween celebration and they ate those bad boys up like they have not eaten in days. This a definite favorite of mine. I love sugar cookies and the sanding sugar which you can find a michaels is what makes the cookie special as well.
Rating: Unrated
10/17/2008
M for margarine??
Rating: Unrated
10/02/2008
I want to make these cookies for my son, but I too would like to omit the lemon juice and zest. Can anyone tell me what M stands for.
Rating: Unrated
08/08/2008
I didn't add the lemon juice or zest and instead added 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Then I added two cups of M
Rating: Unrated
08/08/2008
I switched the lemon juice and zest for two teaspoons of vanilla, then added two cups of m
Rating: Unrated
06/23/2008
These were just right for hot summer day-the lemon is so refreshing and they contrast of the inner chewiness with the outer crunch was great. My husband really loved them. I took them out of the oven at between 13-14 minutes. 15 minutes was just a little too long and the chewiness disappeared. They stored nicely but I can't vouch for 3 days; the half batch I made didn't last that long!
Rating: Unrated
06/23/2008
These were just right for hot summer day-the lemon is so refreshing and they contrast of the inner chewiness with the outer crunch was great. My husband really loved them. I took them out of the oven at between 13-14 minutes. 15 minutes was just a little too long and the chewiness disappeared. They stored nicely but I can't vouch for 3 days; the half batch I made didn't last that long!
Rating: Unrated
04/03/2008
even if you skip the lemon, these are easily the best sugar cookies I've ever had.
Rating: Unrated
04/02/2008
These were easy and delicious.
Rating: Unrated
04/01/2008
After a wind storm blew all the lemons down from our tree, we've been baking many lemon recipes. This recipe is one of the best. They are great for after school snacks! They will become a mainstay in our home.
Rating: Unrated
03/28/2008
My 12 year old granddaughter and I made these delicious cookies during her spring break. They disappeared so quickly. We added the sprinkling of raw sugar at the end. It really adds a great crunch. We will make them again.
Rating: Unrated
03/28/2008
When my dad was in the army during WWII, I used to bake lemon sugar cookies to send to him. They were his favorite cookies. I was so proud to bake and pack and take the packages to the post office. I was twelve, and it was a really big deal. I lost track of the recipe and am so happy to find it again. Thank you!!
Rating: Unrated
03/23/2008
I baked these cookies for Easter and they are simply divine. They have crispy edges and wonderful chewy centres. Will continue baking these cookies every year as an Easter tradition!
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2008
I made these with four young girls and we had so much fun! They were the prefiect beginner cookie lesson. The girls were surprised by the lemon addition and they turned out delish!! I love the second sugar sprinkle and the combination of crisp and chewy. Even though my all-time favorite sugar cookie is more cakelike. BTW the new COOKIE book by MS is fabulous!!!
Rating: Unrated
02/26/2008
I thought these were good, but not the best I have ever had. I think they are best if not cooked the entire 15 minutes...they are much better taken out of the oven a little early. The get crispy on the outside as they cool, so if you don't want a super crispy cookie TAKE THEM OUT A LITTLE EARLY. I don't like my cookies that crispy.
Rating: Unrated
02/13/2008
I substituted orange zest for lack of lemons, they turned out fantastic!
Rating: Unrated
01/31/2008
I did not care for these at first but this morning they tasted better with my coffee. They almost had a too salty or too buttery taste. My grandma thinks it could be because we used Meyer lemons off her tree. They are delicious with coffee though. The texture of the cookie seems great for snickedoodles so next time I think I will modify the recipe for that.
Rating: Unrated
01/28/2008
My family LOVES these cookies! I found this recipe when it was a cookie of the month in a MS magazine a few years ago, and have made it ever since. I always use is as the "crust" to my fruit pizzas now too. so gooood!
Rating: Unrated
01/27/2008
These cookies are fabulous. I made them with whole wheat pastry flour and reduced the white sugar a bit -- very good with coffee in the morning!
Rating: Unrated
01/19/2008
I did the same recipe but changing the lemon for orange zest and juice and the result was excellent as well.
Rating: Unrated
01/06/2008
This recipe is just so yummy! The small hint of lemon is so addictive and the sugary, sparkly tops are so very gorgeous. Definitely a must-try for those of you that haven't made them already.
Rating: Unrated
12/29/2007
this recipe makes great cookies, love the mild lemon flavor.