These soft and chewy lemon ginger cookies are flavored with warm spices, crystallized ginger, and plenty of lemon zest. Review recipe notes before beginning.
- 1 and 2/3 cups (215g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup finely chopped/minced crystallized ginger, divided
- 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar (or more, as needed)
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (23ml) fresh lemon juice
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, allspice, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute. Add the egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Beat in 2 Tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger. Dough will be thick and sticky. Scoop small sections of dough (about 1 scant Tablespoon of dough each) and roll into balls. Very lightly dip the tops of each into remaining crystallized ginger. (You don’t want too much– just a few pieces.) Place dough balls onto a large plate or lined baking sheet.
- Cover and chill the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 days).
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Arrange chilled cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the glaze: Whisk the glaze ingredients together. If desired, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more juice to thin out. The thicker the glaze, the whiter (and less translucent) it will be. Drizzle on cooled cookies. Icing will set after about 1 hour, so these are convenient to store and transport.
- Cookies without glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cookies with glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough, roll into balls, and chill the dough balls in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (See note about cookie dough chilling.) Cookie dough balls, with or without crystallized ginger topping, freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months.
- Dough Chilling: Chilling the cookie dough is imperative. These cookies are very buttery and the colder the cookie dough, the less your cookies will over-spread. The cookie dough can get a little hard after 2 hours in the refrigerator, so I recommend rolling the dough into balls before chilling. Here are all of my tips to prevent cookies from over-spreading.
- Crystallized Ginger: You can find crystallized ginger at most grocery stores– it’s usually in the produce aisle but could also be found in the natural foods section or even by the dried fruit. You can use finely chopped/minced fresh ginger root instead, but make sure you reduce down to 1 Tablespoon in the cookie dough. Do not dip the cookie dough balls in it like we do with crystallized ginger because it will burn. If you don’t have either crystallized ginger or fresh ginger root, increase the ground ginger to 1 teaspoon.
- Ground Allspice: Allspice is a common spice found in the spice aisle– it’s a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If you don’t have or can’t find it, use 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
- Lemon: 1 medium lemon is enough for this recipe. You should get 1 Tablespoon of zest from 1 medium lemon, plus enough juice for both the dough and glaze.
- Plain Lemon Cookies: Feel free to leave out the ground ginger, allspice, and crystallized ginger for plain lemon cookies.
Keywords: lemon cookies, spice cookies