The name says it all! These lemon meltaway cookies are so soft that they practically melt in your mouth when you bite into them. They’re also topped with a simple lemon glaze that brings the whole recipe together!

A stack of four lemon meltaways, surrounded by more cookies.

Soft, tender, and full of lemon flavor, these lemon meltaways are guaranteed to be your new favorite cookie this spring and summer.

Lemon is infused into every bite by using a combination of lemon juice, zest, and extract in the cookie dough. There’s also lemon juice in the glaze, which adds even more fresh lemon flavor to the finished cookies.

They’re made super soft by using powdered sugar in the dough instead of granulated sugar. There’s 1/4 cup of cornstarch in the cookies as well, which acts as a tenderizer and makes them even softer.

Prepare a big batch of these lemon meltaway cookies for your next spring or summer gathering. They’re an unexpected twist on classic lemon cookies that everyone will love!

An overhead view of the ingredients needed for lemon meltaway cookies.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter for these cookies because it allows you to control the amount of salt. My post on salted vs. unsalted butter explains more about why I only use unsalted butter for baking.
  • Powdered Sugar: Is used instead of granulated sugar to keep the cookies tender.
  • Egg Yolk: This helps to keep the cookies soft, so that they melt in your mouth. You can discard the egg white, use it in an omelette, or use it to make candied pecans or candied almonds.
  • Lemons: You will need at least 2 medium lemons to have enough lemon juice and zest for these cookies. When zesting the lemons, make sure to only use the outer yellow part. The white part (known as the pith) is extremely bitter and you don’t want that in your cookie dough.
  • Lemon Extract: Adds even more lemon flavor! If you don’t have any, you may replace it with an extra teaspoon or two of lemon zest.
  • All- Purpose Flour: This is a thick cookie dough, so it’s important to spoon and level your flour into the measuring cup so you don’t end up with too much. I have a blog post that explains more about how to measure flour correctly.
  • Cornstarch: Sometimes called cornflour in other countries. You’ll need 1/4 cup for this recipe, and there’s no substitute for it. It’s what makes these cookies super soft!

How To Make Lemon Meltaways

  1. Mix together the wet ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar together until well combined. Then, mix in the egg yolk, lemon juice, zest, and extract.
  2. Add the dry ingredients: To the wet ingredients, mix in the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
  1. Scoop the cookie dough and flatten: Scoop the cookie dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls (a small cookie scoop works well for this). Place onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and gently press the dough down to slightly flatten it.
  2. Bake and ice the cookies: Bake the cookies just until set. Allow to cool completely before topping with the lemon icing (a simple combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice!).
A lemon meltaway cookie propped up on a small jug of milk.

Recipe Variations

These lemon meltaway cookies are perfect as is, but there are a few ways to customize this recipe:

  • Skip the icing. You may omit the lemon icing and replace it with a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired.
  • Make it even more lemony. You can amp up the lemon flavor by adding an extra teaspoon or two of lemon zest.
  • Mix and match citrus fruits. I made these as lemon meltaways, but I’m sure you could replace the lemon juice and zest with orange, lime, or grapefruit juice and zest.
An overhead view of lemon meltaways stacked on their sides to show the texture inside.

Storage Instructions

The baked cookies will last up to 1 week on your counter if stored in an airtight container. The cookies remain soft for many days, so they’re a great make-ahead dessert to keep on hand.

You can also freeze the cookies with or without the lemon icing. The raw cookie dough balls can also be frozen for up to 3 months, thawed overnight in the fridge, and baked when you’re ready to enjoy the cookies.

An overhead view of a stack of lemon meltaway cookies with icing on a white speckled plate.

Baking Tips

  • Don’t omit or substitute the cornstarch in this recipe! It’s crucial to creating that melt-in-your-mouth texture the cookies are named for.
  • These cookies have a good amount of lemon flavor. If you want to add more, you can achieve that by using additional lemon zest. Don’t add more lemon extract, because that will make them taste artificial.
  • Don’t forget to slightly flatten each ball of cookie dough before baking them! This will help them spread in the oven and ensure that they’re nice and flat on top for the icing.
  • Wait until the cookies have cooled completely before adding the icing. If you try to ice the warm cookies, it won’t hold up as well.
A stack of three lemon meltaway cookies topped with lemon icing. The top cookie is broken in half.

Lemon Meltaway Cookies

3 from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes
The name says it all! These lemon meltaway cookies are so soft that they practically melt in your mouth when you bite into them. They're also topped with a simple lemon glaze that brings the whole recipe together!


Servings: 38 cookies

Lemon Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (230 grams; 2 sticks)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (120 grams)
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (15 ml)
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon about 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (250 grams)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch or cornflour (32 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Lemon Icing

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (180 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (30 ml)


  • To make the lemon cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined. Then, mix in the egg yolk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract.
  • Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and continue mixing until fully combined. The cookie dough will be a little crumbly at first, but it will come together as you continue mixing it.
  • Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough, roll into a ball, and gently press down on each ball of cookie dough to flatten them slightly.
  • Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until the top of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the lemon icing: Whisk the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of lemon juice together until well combined and no lumps remain. If the icing is too thick, add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice at a time until the icing has reached your desired consistency.
  • Evenly distribute the icing on top of all of the cookies. Allow the icing to harden slightly before serving.


Storage Instructions: Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Freezing Instructions: Cookies will freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw to room temperature before serving.
Cookie dough will also freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake as directed.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle Rye
Did you make this recipe?Mention @livewellbakeoften on Instagram or tag #livewellbakeoften.