This post needs a disclaimer: if you haven’t fallen in love with the combination of lemon and lavender, prepare to be enamored.
The love of this flavor combination started with our reader-favorite lemon lavender scones and expanded to a whole range of lavender recipes — from iced lattes to lavender simple syrup, and more. It’s kind of a thing around here.
So when lemon sugar cookies made their hit debut, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I had to share the lavender cookie version with you. They are just as soft, tender, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious as the original old-fashioned sugar cookie recipe.
They’re infused with bright, fresh lemon juice and zest, along with fragrant, floral lavender that is delicate and soothing. They’re a sweet escape guaranteed to leave a lasting impression!
Let’s go over a few of the basic ingredients for this recipe – many are just simply baking ingredients you already have in your pantry! We’ll also cover all the details about the lavender to use.
- Unsalted Butter: you’ll need to be sure it’s softened to room temperature before you begin. Here are some tips for doing this quickly, if you forget to set it out. The egg will also need to be at room temperature in order to incorporate without chilling the butter.
- Sugars: both granulated sugar and powdered sugar are used in this recipe to create the perfect texture of the cookie — if it was all granulated sugar, we’d have crisp cookies. The powdered sugar helps the texture stay soft.
- Vegetable Oil: added for additional moisture. You can use canola oil or another neutral oil, too.
- Vanilla Extract: definitely use 100% extract for the best flavor – you could use vanilla bean paste, too!
- Dry Ingredients: we’ve got all-purpose flour, baking soda to keep them light and fluffy, and salt to enhance the flavors. Cream of Tartar is a traditional ingredient in sugar cookies for a little tang.
- Lemon: using both the lemon zest and lemon juice in this recipe really rounds out the bright citrus notes. Please use fresh lemon for this recipe!
And if you really want more lemon flavor, use some lemon extract in place of half of the fresh juice. It’s quite a vibrant lemon flavor addition if you’re looking for more of a pow of lemon flavor.
Dried Culinary Lavender
You didn’t think I’d forget the star of the show, did you? When baking with lavender, you want to use culinary-grade dried lavender. You can find it on Amazon, or check your local Whole Foods or natural foods store. I have seen it in both the bulk section and packaged in the spice area.
A little goes a long way when it comes to baking with lavender, so be cautious if you’re tempted to add more.
Let’s Make Lavender Cookies!
This lemon lavender cookie is a “drop cookie” recipe because they don’t require any rolling or cutting out of the dough. It’s as simple as dropping the dough, and baking. They are not cut-out sugar cookies, and they are not shortbread cookies. They’re easy-enough-to-make-daily cookies and are irresistibly soft.
Lemon and Sugar Mixture
The first step is to rub the lemon zest and granulated sugar together. Toss the lavender buds in there too, for good measure.
To do this put the zest and sugar in a bowl (you can do this in the bowl of the stand mixer for ease) and rub the two between your fingers until a sand-like mixture forms. This releases the oil from the zest, infusing the sugars with even more lemon flavor.
Cream the Butter & Sugars
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar mixture, plus the powdered sugar, together. You’ll know it’s ready when it forms into a paste-like substance and you can no longer see any chunks of butter. It will be light and fluffy.
Finish the Batter
In goes the rest of the wet ingredients: the oil, egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Mix together until fully combined. It will appear smooth and silky.
Then, add the dry ingredients: flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. It is truly helpful if you mix these in a bowl before adding them to the wet batter. This helps to make sure they’re combined, without overmixing the batter itself.
Stir in until combined. There’s no need to overdo it, or you’ll have tough cookies. The dough will be on the softer side.
A note on flour: please make sure you are either weighing your flour or very carefully measuring the flour. If you use traditional scoops and the flour is too tightly packed, too much will be added to the cookies which will result in a more crumbly texture.
Time to Chill
Have I made lemon lavender cookies without chilling before? Yes. And they’re ok…but the magic really happens when they chill, because it gives the dough time to lose excess water because it both evaporates and is absorbed into the flour.
This means the cookies will cook better, too, remaining fluffy with a slightly crisp exterior and a super soft, melt-in-your-mouth interior.
I recommend at least 30 minutes, and more if you can manage. To make the process go more quickly, dollop the dough onto the baking sheet (more on this next) before chilling.
Time to Bake!
Scoop the dough onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. I like to use a cookie scoop to make this process really efficient.
You can leave them like this, roll the balls in lavender sugar, or, my favorite: press with a sugar-dipped glass. To do this, gently press a flat-bottomed glass that has been dipped in sugar on top of each dollop of dough. Don’t press too hard, you’ll be able to feel once the dough is pressed to the right amount – don’t force it further.
Then, because these cookies deserve something special, another sprinkle of lavender sugar on top before baking.
The Key to Soft Sugar Cookies
The key to soft cookies is slightly underbaking them. Bake these cookies until the edges are set and only ever so slightly turning golden. If the edges look like they’re beginning to turn golden brown, take them out.
If you cook them too long, the edges will be crispy…which is totally delicious, too, just a different texture than soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies.
Once they’re out, let them cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. This gives them time to continue setting up before you move them. If they’re already pretty set from baking (i.e. you can tell they’re definitely golden brown), I do recommend removing them immediately so they don’t overbake.
Are you a fan of frosted sugar cookies? Try our lemon buttercream frosting on top of these!
Tips for Success
- Use a digital scale to weigh the flour. Too much and your cookies will be crumbly and dry (albeit, still delicious).
- Room-temperature butter will cream together beautifully. You’ll know it’s ready when you can indent a fingerprint in it – not too easily but not with all your might, either.
- Don’t overbake the cookies or they’ll be more crisp than soft.
- Chill the dough so the flavor can truly develop and the texture will be *spot on*.
Storage and Freezing Tips
- Storage: place cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4-5 days.
- Freeze Baked Cookies: cool completely, then place in an airtight container like a silicone bag or freezer-safe bag. You can wrap them, too, if you’re worried about freezer burn or if they’ll be stored next to any pungent-smelling foods.
- Freeze Cookie Dough: using a Souper Cubes cookie tray makes this really easy! Otherwise, dollop the dough on a baking sheet and gently press down as you would before baking, but freeze the pucks. Once frozen through, transfer to a storage bag and place back in the freezer.
- To bake dough from frozen, add an additional minute or two to the baking time.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Lemon Lavender Sugar Cookies
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons dried culinary grade lavender flowers
- ½ cup (110 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (55 g) powdered sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ¼ cups (275 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
Lavender Sugar for Rolling (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried culinary grade lavender flowers
- 3-4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- In a small bowl (or your mixing bowl) rub together the lemon zest, lavender flowers, and granulated sugar until a sand-like mixture forms. This releases the oil in the zest to infuse the lemon flavor throughout.1 Tablespoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoons dried culinary grade lavender flowers, ½ cup granulated sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the lemon zest and sugar mixture, powdered sugar, and room temperature butter. Cream together butter and sugars until pale in color and fully combined (like a paste). Add oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon juice, mixing until combined.½ cup powdered sugar, ½ cup unsalted butter, ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Mix the combined dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. This helps the flavor and texture develop – I highly recommend this!
- 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. If making the lavender sugar, combine granulated sugar and lavender into a small bowl for later.1 teaspoon dried culinary grade lavender flowers, 3-4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- Dollop a scoop (#40 scoop) or about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Dampen a flat-bottomed glass with water, then dip in a small bowl of granulated sugar. Gently press each cookie dough ball with the bottom of the glass approximately halfway down, about 1/2 inch thick. Dip the glass back in the sugar between each cookie to recoat. I also like to add a sprinkle of the sugar mixture on top for good measure.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to barely turn golden brown around the edges. See notes below about baking sheet type.
- Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet until set up enough to transfer to a cooling rack. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Flour: use a kitchen scale or ensure you fluff and spoon your flour into the measuring cup to get the most accurate amount; too much flour really impacts these cookies!
- Lemon Extract: replace half of the lemon juice with lemon extract for an even brighter lemon flavor.
- Baking Sheet: A light-colored (aluminum) sheet pan will require more cooking time than a darker-colored sheet pan, around 10-13 minutes. If using a darker-colored baking sheet, you will likely want to only bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them through the door as ovens and pans do vary!
Do you think these could be made with a sugar substitute for diabetics?
Hi Mary – unfortunately I’m not sure since I haven’t tried it. Sugar is key for the chemical reactions in baking so the result likely won’t be the same, but I’m not sure if it will be close enough. Sorry I can’t be more help!