These easy lemon bar cookies are made with soft cream cheese cookie dough, filled with sweet and tart lemon curd, and dusted with powdered sugar. They taste just like classic lemon bars!

lemon bar cookies on parchment paper.

If you love my lemon bar cake, you will love these cookies because they taste just like a classic lemon bar but in cookie form! They are made with a cream cheese cookie base that is soft and melts in your mouth. It pairs perfectly with the tart and citrusy homemade lemon curd.

Inspired by Butternut Bakery’s lemon butter cookies; I love this recipe because it’s an easy-to-make recipe that turns out perfect every time. It’s perfect for summer or any time of year like holiday cookie exchanges!

Why We Love Lemon Bar Cookies

  • Easy lemon sugar cookies: These cookies are a mix of lemon sugar cookies and lemon bars! This recipe is very easy to make with minimal equipment required.
  • Homemade lemon curd: The curd gives them a tart and citrusy flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet cream cheese cookie.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

ingredients needed to make this recipe.

Fresh lemons: Like in my lemon poppy seed cake, I recommend fresh lemons for the best and freshest flavor. You can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch but I highly recommend fresh!

Egg yolk: You will need egg yolks for both the dough and the lemon curd.

Cream cheese: This recipe has the best results with full-fat cream cheese.

Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card below!

Recipe Instructions

Here is how to make these homemade lemon curd cookies! Although a mixer makes it easier, you do not need one to make the dough. You will need a large bowl, a small pot, and two large baking trays lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C before you start.

Step 1: Make the lemon curd. In a small pot, combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Cook the curd over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 12 minutes.

You will know when the curd is thick enough when the spatula or whisk leaves tracks on the bottom of the pot and it coats the back of a spoon.

Step 2: Stir in the butter. Transfer the curd to a bowl and stir in the butter. Set aside to cool completely in the fridge.

a process collage of the steps for making lemon curd cookies.

Step 3: Cream the butter and sugar. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese until combined.

Then add the granulated sugar and cream until combined and fluffy. Mix in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until combined.

Step 4: Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.

Step 5: Scoop the dough. Use a standard (roughly two tablespoons) cookie scoop to scoop the dough directly into a bowl of powdered sugar.

a process collage of the steps for making lemon curd cookies.

Step 6: Roll them in powdered sugar. Roll the dough to completely coat it in the powdered sugar. Place each one on the prepped baking tray.

Step 7: Make a well in each ball. Use the back of a tablespoon to make a well in the center of each dough ball.

Step 8: Fill with lemon curd. Spoon one teaspoon of the cooled lemon curd into the well. Space the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart so they have room to spread.

Freeze for 1-2 hours until frozen solid before baking. Let the tray cool completely on a wire cooling rack for at least 15-20 minutes!

Expert Baking Tips

Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is much more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the “metric” button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

The best tip for making lemon curd is to make sure you stir it constantly when it’s on the heat. This will keep the eggs from scrambling.

Do not let the lemon curd boil! You should cook it over low heat.

Let the lemon curd cool completely before using. You can place the bowl in the fridge to chill it quickly or leave it out at room temperature for 1 hour before using it.

Drop each dough ball directly into the powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to your hands.

Storage and Freezing

Store the baked cookies at room temperature in an airtight container or on a baking tray wrapped in plastic wrap. They will stay soft and fresh for 3-4 days.

I don’t recommend freezing the baked cookies, but you can freeze the dough balls! Place the tray of assembled cookie dough in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer them to an airtight container.

Place a sheet of parchment paper in between layers to keep them from sticking. The powdered sugar melts a little in the freezer so it may need to be dusted before baking.

FAQs

Can I use lemon extract instead of lemon juice?

Unfortunately no, the juice is needed for the curd to have the proper texture.

Can I use store-bought lemon curd?

I have not tried them with store-bought curd, but I would love to hear how they turn out!

Do I need to chill the dough before baking?

I recommend chilling the dough until they are completely frozen solid, this may take 1-2 hours!

How do I make them extra lemony?

You can add extra lemon zest to the cookie dough for more lemon flavor.

lemon bar cookies stacked on top of each other.

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

lemon bar cookies on parchment paper.

Lemon Bar Cookies

4.99 from 85 votes
– by Cambrea Gordon

These easy lemon bar cookies are made with a soft cream cheese cookie dough, filled with sweet and tart lemon curd, and dusted with powdered sugar. They taste just like classic lemon bars!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 cookies
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Lemon Curd

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Cream Cheese Dough

  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3.5 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • powdered sugar, for rolling

Instructions

  • In a small pot, combine the sugar, lemon juice, yolk, and lemon juice.
    1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 3 (54 g) egg yolks, 1/4 cup (48 g) fresh lemon juice
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly until the curd looks vibrant yellow and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Pour the curd into a bowl and stir in the butter.
    4 tbsp (56 g) unsalted butter
  • Set aside to cool completely before using. Place it in the fridge to chill quickly!
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until combined.
    7 tbsp (100 g) unsalted butter, 3.5 ounces (100 g) full-fat cream cheese
  • Pour in the sugar and mix until fully combined and fluffy.
    1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • Mix in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
    1 (54 g) whole large egg, 1 (18 g) large egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
    1 3/4 cup (210 g) all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt
  • Scoop with a standard cookie scoop (roughly two tablespoons) and drop each one into a bowl of powdered sugar.
    powdered sugar
  • Toss the ball in the powdered sugar until fully coated.
  • Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Use the bottom of a tablespoon to press down the top of the dough to create a well, then fill it with one teaspoon of the lemon curd.
  • Freeze the cookies for 1-2 hours or until frozen solid. Then bake them 2-3 inches apart on a parchment lined tray at 350 F/180 C for 12-13 minutes.
  • Let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack then dust with more powdered sugar and enjoy!

Notes

Step-by-step process photos are provided above, in the body of this post.
  • Use a kitchen scale for the best results. Baking by weight is much more accurate than cup measurements!
  • The best tip for making lemon curd is to make sure you stir it constantly when it’s on the heat. This will keep the eggs from scrambling.
  • Do not let the lemon curd boil! You should cook it over low heat.
  • Let the lemon curd cool completely before using. You can place the bowl in the fridge to chill it quickly or leave it out at room temperature for 1 hour before using it.
  • Drop each dough ball directly into the powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to your hands.
  • Fresh lemons: I recommend fresh lemons for the best and freshest flavor. You can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch but I highly recommend fresh!
  • Egg yolk: You will need egg yolks for the dough and the lemon curd.
  • Cream cheese: This recipe has the best results with full-fat cream cheese.
 
Storage & Freezing
  • Room temperature: Store the baked cookies at room temperature in an airtight container or on a baking tray wrapped in plastic wrap. They will stay soft and fresh for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing the baked cookies: I don’t recommend freezing the baked cookies.
  • Freezing the dough: You can freeze them before baking! Place the tray of assembled cookie dough in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer them to an airtight container. Place a sheet of parchment paper in between layers to keep them from sticking. The powdered sugar melts a little in the freezer so it may need to be dusted before baking.
  •  
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




60 Comments

  1. Such tasty and refreshingly lemony cookies! Served them on a spring-themed dessert board for Easter. I drizzled a glaze of lemon juice and confectionery sugar over the top for extra lemon flavour.5 stars

  2. They don’t look perfect but they sure tasted perfect! Absolute hit at Easter brunch – 10/10 reccomend you make these yourself!5 stars

  3. Amazing cookies everyone loved !!5 stars

  4. I’ve made these cookies twice now and they are sooo incredibly tasty but both times they spread almost completely flat after baking (and I made sure they were frozen solid before baking). Do you have any tips to prevent this happening in the future? I do live in high altitude so I’m wondering if that plays a role?5 stars

    1. Hi Rebecca, I had this issue as well and I had some success with using a mini muffin pan and spraying the pan with butter flavored cooking spray first. It made bite sized cookies which were delicious. I think I remember that I was able to bake them without freezing them first, by using this type of setup. The curd boiled up and over the cookie so there was kind of a hole left in the cookie but they were delicious.
      Pam

  5. They were delicious!! Definitely a recipe I’d make again5 stars