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Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Royal Icing

Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Royal Icing

Daisy sugar cookies piled on a plate pinit
Daisy lemon sugar cookies on a plate

This past weekend we celebrated our niece Daisy’s fourth birthday. Daisy was here on Valentine’s Day when I made my small batch sugar cookies with raspberry royal icing and she devoured 3/4 of the plate of cookies by herself. Knowing that she is a fan of sugar cookies I decided to whip up a full batch of lemon sugar cookies for her. Given her name is Daisy I thought it was only fitting that I shape the cookies like daisies.

Little girl holding daisy sugar cookie

Tips for making lemon sugar cookies

  • Use a kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients. This will ensure the correct ratio of ingredients are used. Volume measurements (measuring cups) can be inconsistent and may vary up to 20-30 grams. This can impact the end result of the cookie structure.
  • Flattening the dough into a disk prior to chilling the dough will make the rolling process easier.
  • Chill the dough for at least two hours prior to rolling and baking. Your cookies will not hold their shape if the dough is not chilled.
Two disks of lemon sugar cookie dough wrapped in plastic wrap
  • When rolling out the dough have some extra flour nearby so you can easily add more to the work surface or rolling pin as needed.
  • Roll the dough to 1/4″ thickness. If you roll the dough thinner than this the cookies will not be as soft in the center. I love using my Wilton guide rings on my rolling pin to help ensure the thickness of the dough is consistent
  • Freezing the cut dough on the cookie sheet for two to five minutes before baking will give you that extra insurance the cookies will hold their shape.
  • If your oven has hot spots, rotate your cookie sheet at the six minute mark. This will help ensure an even bake across the cookies.
  • This recipe will make approximately 36 2.5″ cookies depending on their shape. Do not re-roll the dough any more than three times.
Lemon sugar cookie dough rolled out and cut with daisy cutter

Making the royal icing

Royal icing is reasonably easy to make using meringue powder. Start by adding the meringue powder, light corn syrup, lemon extract and water to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix these ingredients with a hand whisk until well combined.

Meringue powder, corn syrup and water in bowl with whisk

Add the powdered sugar and mix again with a hand mix until combined. You want to make sure the ingredients are well combined before you start beating the royal icing with stand mixer so the powdered sugar does not fly out all over the place.

Royal icing ingredients in bowl with whisk

Beat the mixture on medium-high using the paddle attachment for four to five minutes. The mixture will be thick and white and will form stiff peaks.

Stiff royal icing

Once the royal icing is mixed separate it into bowls to color. Use gel food coloring rather than liquid coloring to color your royal icing.

Royal icing in three bowls colored yellow, pink and purple

Finally, add water a small amount at a time to reach the desired consistency for decorating. Getting the right consistency can take some practice. Mike at Semi Sweet designs has a great illustrated guide to royal icing consistency on his blog that I referenced multiple times when I first started decorating cookies. It is a great resource.

Close up of plate of decorated daisy shaped sugar cookies

Did you make these lemon sugar cookies?

We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to tag us in your photos on social media @mandy.macc.bakes!

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Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Royal Icing

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 12 min Rest Time 2 min Total Time 29 mins Servings: 36


These thick sugar cookies have a delightfully soft texture and a wonderful lemon flavor. This recipe is perfect for making cut-out cookies to decorate with royal icing.


Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Royal Icing


Lemon Sugar Cookies

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy

  2. Add egg, vanilla and lemon zest to creamed butter and sugar and beat until well combined

  3. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder

  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until combined

  5. Dumb the dough onto a lightly floured surface and split into two even portions

  6. Shape the two dough portions into flat disks and wrap in plastic wrap

  7. Chill the dough for at least two hours or up to two days

  8. When ready to bake the cookies preheat the oven to 350F

  9. Roll the disks of cookie dough on a lightly flour surface to a 1/4" thickness

  10. Cut the dough into the desired shape and place on a parchment lined baking sheet 

  11. Place the cut cookie dough on the cookie sheet into the freezer for two to five minutes

  12. Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes or until golden. Larger cookies may take slightly longer to bake.

  13. Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling

  14. Decorate completely cooled cookies with royal icing

Lemon Royal Icing

  1. Add meringue powder, corn starch, lemon extract and water to the bowl of a stand mixer 

  2. Using a hand whisk mix the ingredients until combined

  3. Add the powdered sugar and mix again with the hand whisk

  4. Using the paddle attachment beat on medium-high speed for four to five minutes until thick white peaks form

  5. Separate the royal icing into bowls and add colors as desired 

  6. Add water until desired consistency is reached for decorating

Keywords: Sugar Cookies, Royal Icing, Lemon

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