Lemon Cloud Cookies

published Mar 1, 2024
Lemon Cloud Cookies Recipe

Sugar-dusted, soft lemon cookies that are as light as clouds.

Makes36 (1 1/2-inch) cookies

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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overhead shot of a pile of lemon cloud cookies on a white plate with one bitten into.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

Cookies are my kryptonite. I love them all, from crisp and buttery shortbread cookies to nutty, chewy peanut butter cookies, and especially these light-as-air lemon cloud cookies. 

These lemon cookies have a bright lemony flavor and a super-soft and cakey (in a good way) texture, thanks to the addition of sour cream. They’re so good that I could eat an entire batch myself.

Why You’ll Love These Cookies

  • These two-bite cookies are plush and light as clouds, thanks to the sour cream in the dough.
  • Fresh lemon zest and juice (and lemon extract, if you have it) give these soft, cake-like cookies their bright, citrusy flavor.

Key Ingredients in Lemon Cloud Cookies

  • Lemon: Use every bit of that fresh lemon — finely grate the zest on a rasp grater, then squeeze the juice. (This is my go-to citrus juicer.)
  • Lemon extract: A little bit of lemon extract gives these cookies an extra boost of lemony flavor.
  • Sour cream: Adds moisture and richness without thinning the dough so that the cookies bake up plump and tender. 
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

How to Make Lemon Cloud Cookies

  1. Combine dry ingredients. Lightly scoop all-purpose flour into the measuring cup and use the flat side of a butter knife to swipe off any excess. (Packing flour into the measuring cup can result in dense cookies.)
  2. Mix wet ingredients. Mix the lemon zest, softened butter, and sugar until creamy before adding the rest of the wet ingredients to lighten the dough.
  3. Scoop the dough. A cookie scoop makes quick work of portioning the dough into tablespoons. 
  4. Bake. These two-bite cookies will have a puffed shape and just begin to turn golden around the bottom.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar. These cookies need just a dusting of powdered sugar before they’re ready to serve. (Cookies must be cool to the touch so the sugar doesn’t melt.)

More Super-Soft Cookies Worth a Bake

Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Kelli Foster

Lemon Cloud Cookies Recipe

Sugar-dusted, soft lemon cookies that are as light as clouds.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Makes 36 (1 1/2-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info


  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    lemon or vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons

    powdered sugar


  1. Place 1 stick unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Place 1 large egg and 1/2 cup sour cream on the counter. Let everything sit at room temperature until the butter is softened.

  2. Meanwhile, place 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  3. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  4. Finely grate the zest from 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon) and juice the lemon until you have 2 tablespoons.

  5. Add the lemon zest and 3/4 cup granulated sugar to the butter. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl down with a flexible spatula as needed.

  6. Add the egg, sour cream, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon or vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. The mixture may look curdled. Add the flour mixture and beat on the lowest speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

  7. Scoop the dough out into level tablespoon-sized portions (about 36) and place 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheet, 12 cookies per baking sheet.

  8. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and the centers are puffed, about 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat baking with the remaining dough; you can reuse the hot baking sheets and parchment or baking mats. Lightly dust the cookies with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The dough can be made, formed into balls, and frozen directly on the baking sheet. Store the frozen cookie dough balls in freezer zip-top bags or an airtight container for up to 3 months. Bake frozen, adding 1 minute to the bake time.

Storage: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.