Lemon Tea Cookies

Lemon Tea Cookies are an easy lemon cookie made with a few ingredients and fresh lemon juice and zest. They require less than 15 minutes of prep before baking in the oven.

a tea cookie with a bite taken out of it sitting on top of another cookie

Lemon cookies are a lovely little cookie. They are the perfect cookie to enjoy while sipping afternoon tea. They are great for serving at special events like Mother’s Day brunch, bridal showers and baby showers. But really, these cookies are for anyone that loves lemon. Kids and adults love them!

mixing ingredients together for tea cookies and then final raw cookies sitting on a baking sheet

These cookies are made from scratch with a few simple cookie ingredients like butter and flour. Fresh lemon zest and juice gives these cookies the perfect amount of lemon flavor.

How to make lemon tea cookies

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Mix together butter, confectioners’ sugar, egg, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. You can use any type of lemon, but Meyer lemons are preferred since they are sweeter in flavor.
  3. Roll the dough into 1″ sized balls. Place on a prepared cookie sheet and bake.
  4. Coat the cookies by rolling the still warm cookies in a large bowl of confectioners’ sugar. Move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

rolling a ball of cookie dough in a bowl with powdered sugar

These cookies are sometimes called “cooler cookies.” They are also similar to Byrd’s famous cookies in the key lime flavor from Savannah. No matter what you call them, they are tasty little bites for snack or dessert.

Tips for making these cookies

  • Use fresh ingredients for the best texture and flavor.
  • The recipe requires baking powder. Do not use baking soda in this recipe.
  • Roll them while they are still slightly warm. This helps the sugar stick to them.
  • These cookies should not taste bitter. If you end up with bitter cookies, try switching out the brand of confectioners’ sugar. Some brands are bitter. We use the standard store brand or Domino brand.
  • Store these cookies in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.

Shipping cookies

These cookies are perfect for shipping. They are stable and last for at least 2 weeks. For shipping, store them in a sealed container. We use a large mason jar.

two lemon tea cookies stacked on top of each other with a yellow napkin in the background

What other cookies go well with tea?

Tea cookies are the perfect little treat. You probably already have all of the ingredients you need to make them. If you try these little cookies, let us know what you think!

a tea cookie with a bite taken out of it sitting on top of another cookie

Lemon Tea Cookies

Yield: 48 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Little tea cookies made with fresh lemon flavor!
5 from 19 votes


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter,, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 more cups for rolling
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the egg yolk, lemon juice, zest and vanilla until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed just until combined. If the dough is crumbly, use your hands to kneed the dough gently until it comes together and forms a ball. Roll the dough into 1" sized balls and place 1" apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in the remaining 2 cups confectioners' sugar and place on a wire baking rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


adapted from Flavor the Moments


Serving: 0g, Calories: 64kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 0g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 13mg, Potassium: 15mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 0g, Vitamin A: 125IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Ashley C.
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.

Recipe originally published April 2014, updated June 2020.

30 comments on “Lemon Tea Cookies”

  1. Can these cookies be frozen? I want to make them for a friend who is going through chemo but she may need to freeze whatever I make for her. Thank you.

    • You can freeze them, however it’s best to freeze them without the confectioners sugar, then thaw when you are ready and roll in the confectioners sugar. They might not freeze well with the confectioners sugar.

  2. Delicious cookies! Made them today to serve after having my family over for dinner and everyone loved them. Very melt in your mouth lemony delights. I might experiment next time and add a bit more juice or zest to amp the lemon flavor up a bit more. Any suggestions? Thanks for a great recipe! Will definitely make again. 

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Thanks so much for your feedback. You can definitely add more zest. I love lemon and always add more. More juice may affect the consistency of the dough, so I would only add a tablespoon or two more of the juice. Enjoy!

  3. YUM! This recipe was simple flavorful and nostalgic. I wanted lemon cookies that reminded me of these lemon cookies we would get from an old coffee shop I use to work for called Seattle’s Best Coffee. They were exactly this!! My daughter(7yo) loves them too! Careful! They are addicting! Thanks for sharing this recipe! One note, I totally uses a cup of granulated sugar for the dough I stead of powdered sugar. I didn’t read the whole line. Anyway, if anyone makes that same mistake it really doesn’t matter. They came out great!

  4. Amazing recipe. Melt in your mouth cookies, perfect for the summer.

  5. These were FABULOUS! I love how it is such a light lemon flavor and the perfect touch of sweetness! 

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