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!

Lemon Tea Cookies

Yield: 48 cookies
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Little tea cookies made with fresh lemon flavor!
a tea cookie with a bite taken out of it sitting on top of another cookie
5 from 5 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Nutrition Information

Calories: 64, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 13mg, Potassium: 15mg, Carbohydrates: 6g, Vitamin A: 125%, Vitamin C: 0.5%, Calcium: 5%, Iron: 0.4%

*Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist for the most accurate nutritional info.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
All images and text ©Spoonful of Flavor

If you try this recipe, don't forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @Spoonfulflavor on Instagram.

Recipe originally published April 2014, updated June 2020.

22 comments on “Lemon Tea Cookies”

  1. 5 stars
    These lemon cookies are like a little bite of summer! Delicious!

  2. My daughter and I are making these for a girl scout cookie exchange but rolling them into 1 inch balls we made way more than 2 dozen! Not sure how that happened but can’t wait to taste them.

  3. Hi Ashley, is there any particular type of lemon that you use? I know that Meyer lemons tend to be sweet, and I feel like those should go well with these? Or does it not matter what kind I use? Thanks!

    • Hi, Anisha! I use whatever type of lemon I have available. Both meyer and regular lemons will work well for these cookies.

  4. Thank you for the recipe for the lemon tea cookies. We used to buy a similar commercial product that was perfect for a hot summer day. But I did have to laugh! You said I could keep them in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks, but that’s not true! Fact is, my family loves these so much I’ll be lucky to have ONE left for me by the time I’m done baking! 😉

  5. I pinned this recipe a few weeks ago, and finally made them for my mom for Mother’s Day. They were so pretty and so tasty! She loved it!! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.