Bright and citrusy lemon meltaway cookies will truly melt in your mouth! My recipe is simple yet so flavorful. Just seven ingredients! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Classic & Simple Lemon Meltaways
This is a super simple shortbread recipe made with just seven ingredients (including the icing!). Don’t let its simplicity fool you though; these lemon meltaway cookies are bursting with flavor and taste so good, especially considering how few ingredients are needed. Plus, there’s no chilling required!
Fresh lemons are a must here. The lemon flavor is bright and perfectly balanced; it’s present in the cookie but really pops in the lemon icing (which is just two ingredients!).
This recipe is very similar to my whipped shortbread cookies, which is another simple, yet so flavorful cookie recipe (and requires no chilling as well). So many of you loved that recipe, so I have a feeling you will love this one too 💛
What You Need
We’ll use just seven ingredients for these lemon meltaway cookies (for both the cookies and the icing!).
- Flour. As with all of my recipes, it is very important to measure your flour properly. It can be very easy to over-measure your flour, which can cause your cookie dough to be dry and crumbly.
- Butter. When making recipes with so few ingredients, it’s helpful to use good quality ingredients. While not mandatory, a pricier, European butter works especially well with this recipe to elevate the flavor even further. If you only have salted butter available to you, you can use that and skip the salt (note that this doesn’t work for all recipes; read my post on salted vs. unsalted butter to learn more).
- Lemons. Fresh lemons are essential here! We’ll be using both the zest and the juice from our lemons. Make sure to zest your lemons before juicing them; I typically need two lemons here, but this will vary depending on the exact size of yours.
- Sugar. We’ll use regular granulated sugar in the cookies themselves and powdered sugar in the lemon icing.
- Cornstarch. This is key to the melt-in-your-mouth texture that is characteristic to lemon meltaway cookies (and also in my snowball cookies)!
SAM’S TIP: Do not add vanilla extract! Vanilla doesn’t always pair well with fresh fruit flavor (which is why I also don’t use it in my orange cranberry cookies or lemon muffins) and can in fact bully the fresh flavor, so I leave it out here.
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Lemon Meltaway Cookies
Make the Cookie Dough
- Cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together with an electric mixer.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients until completely combined.
- Scoop and roll into balls between your palms. I keep these cookies small, bite or two-bite sized. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake.
- Gently flatten the cookies with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass immediately after baking. This will give you a flat surface for adding the icing, and slightly compressing the cookie like this makes for a super soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Check for the proper consistency: the icing should ribbon off the whisk and hold its shape in the bowl for several seconds before dissolving.
- Spread the icing over the cooled cookies and garnish with lemon zest. Once the glaze has set, enjoy!
SAM’S TIP: Add more sugar if your icing is too thin or add more juice if the icing is too thick. It’s impossible to mess it up!
Frequently Asked Questions
Sure! You can skip the lemon zest in the dough and use a splash of vanilla instead (same with the icing too!). Peppermint would be a fun flavor (maybe sprinkle some crushed peppermint candies on top of the icing?) and almond would be tasty too. I’d love to hear what you come up with!
Yes you can! I would freeze the cookies before adding the icing, though, to help keep it from becoming sticky as it thaws. They should keep for several months in an airtight container in the freezer.
These cookies are called lemon meltaways because they truly melt in your mouth! They are incredibly tender and light, so the name is very fitting.
Lemon Meltaway Cookies
- 1 ¾ cups (220 g) powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Lemon zest for garnish optional
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, and lemon zest and use an electric mixer to cream until light and fluffy.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
- In a separate, medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt.2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until completely combined.
- Scoop dough into 1 Tablespoon-sized balls, rolling gently between your palms to create a smooth ball. Place on baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 2 inches apart.
- Transfer to center rack of 350F (175C) oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- When cookies are finished baking, immediately use a clean, flat surface to lightly flatten the surface of each cookie (a measuring cup or glass works well). Allow cookies to cool completely before adding lemon icing.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until completely combined and smooth. Mixture should be slightly thick and, when the whisk is lifted, should ribbon back into the bowl and hold its shape for several seconds before dissolving back into the bowl. If your icing is too thick, add more lemon juice. If it’s too thin, add more sugar.1 ¾ cups (220 g) powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Spoon a small amount of glaze onto the completely cooled cookie, and use the back of the spoon to spread evenly over the top. If desired, garnish with lemon zest.Lemon zest for garnish
- Allow cookies to sit until glaze is firm before enjoying.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.