Easy Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies Recipe {no cake mix needed}

Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies are moist, thick and so easy to make! Whip up a batch from scratch or grab a box of cake mix. These taste amazing both ways!

Every day should include lemon cookies! Make these Lemon Ricotta Cookies and these Lemon and Lime Citrus Cookies next.

Thick, moist, and flavorful describe these delicious Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Made from scratch, a cake mix option is included below!

Why this Recipe Works

  • This recipe creates perfectly ooey-gooey butter cookies in no time.
  • Lemon extract gives the cookies a tangy citrus flavor.
  • The cookies are rolled in powdered sugar before baking, giving the gooey cookies a crackly edge.
  • It’s made from scratch, with love! No need to open a box.

The zesty flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture makes these Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies a delicious accompaniment to that afternoon cup of coffee.

Thick, moist, and flavorful describe these delicious Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Made from scratch, a cake mix option is included below!

Ingredient Notes

Lemon extract. This handy ingredient is our secret for achieving the brightest lemon flavor. A little goes a long way!

Butter. We use unsalted butter in all of our recipes. If you only have salted butter, omit the added salt in the recipe.

Lemon zest. Using a little zest from a fresh lemon makes all the difference.

Cream cheese. Use full fat cream cheese in these Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies for best results. Don’t forget to let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes first.

Easy Instructions

Make the dough.

Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, lemon zest and extract, followed by the dry ingredients. Beat until all ingredients are combined.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Roll cookies in sugar.

Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of chilled dough. Use your hands to roll each ball of dough in powdered sugar until evenly coated.


Bake cookies for about 11 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Thick, moist, and flavorful describe these delicious Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Made from scratch, a cake mix option is included below!

Tips and Tricks

  • First, make sure you chill the dough. This helps solidify the butter to a chilled state, which allows the cookies to stay fluffed and thick. You don’t want flat butter cookies!
  • Store these cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. This will keep them soft and fresh for about a week!
  • You can freeze gooey lemon butter cookies by letting them cool completely, then transferring them to an airtight container that is safe for the freezer (or ziploc freezer bags). 
  • Dip your fingers in powdered sugar before working with the dough. This keeps the dough from getting stuck to your hands as you go.
  • Line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cookie removal and clean up.
Thick, moist, and flavorful describe these delicious Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Made from scratch, a cake mix option is included below!

How to substitute with a cake mix

Want to make these Lemon Gooey Butter Cake Cookies with a cake mix? 

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • One box of lemon cake mix (or yellow cake mix)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • powdered sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese together. Then beat in the cake mix and lemon zest. Chill dough and proceed with the recipe below as directed.

Thick, moist, and flavorful describe these delicious Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Made from scratch, a cake mix option is included below!

Recipe FAQs

Is powdered sugar the same as confectioner’s sugar?

Yes, it is! It’s labeled as one or the other, depending on the brand. So if your box says “confectioner’s sugar” it can still be used in this recipe!

What’s the best way to zest a lemon?

You can use a citrus zester to remove the zest from the fruit, or a handheld microplane grater. Hold the lemon and the zesting tool over a bowl. Place the tool against the skin of the lemon and use light downward strokes to remove the colorful part of the peel.

How can I make these more yellow?

Made as directed, these cookies will be a very pale color. For a more yellow lemony look, add a couple drops of yellow food coloring to the dough before baking.

You can always check my cookie archives for some great recipes. But I’ll highlight a few of my absolute favorites to get you started.

Chewy M&M’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are thick and delicious and perfect when you need a quick dessert. Perfect for holidays and bake sales too!

These Caramel Frosted Sugar Cookies are irresistible. Chewy sugar cookies with a no-chill dough topped with a sweet and salty caramel frosting!

Butter Cookies are the perfect Christmas cookie recipe, but can be enjoyed any time of year. Whether you pipe them, scoop them, or slice and bake these cookies, they’re melt in your mouth delicious!

Delicious, festive, easy, melt in your mouth Strawberry Meringues dipped in chocolate! My favorite cookie recipe!

More Lemon Desserts

Unbelievably gooey Lemon Butter Cookies are the melt-in-your-mouth treat you’ve been craving. Cheery and sweet, they’re delicious made from scratch or with a box of cake mix!

Yield: 36 cookies

Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Chill Time 30 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes

Thick, moist, and flavorful describe these delicious Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies. Made from scratch, a cake mix option is included below!


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add in eggs and lemon extract, beat until fluffy. Add lemon zest.
  3. Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder until well combined.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Once chilled, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Scoop out cookie dough with a 2 Tbsp scoop. If your hands are sticky, dip them in the powdered sugar first. Drop cookie dough into powdered sugar and roll in sugar until generously coated.
  7. Place on baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire rack.
  8. Enjoy.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 122Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 97mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 2g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice

Did you make this recipe?

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on February 24, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. I made the Chocolate pudding cake !!! It was deeeeelicious and so easy. The flavor was outstanding. Will definitely be making that again. My daughter saw the recipe and had me look at it. It was her birthday and so glad I did check it. I also made the homemade whipped frosting. Excellent!! Thank you!!

  2. My favourite cookies of all time. I have to double the recipe because everybody loves them. I have been making these for over a year and never had an issue with the recipe. Yes they are sticky but that’s what makes them “gooey”. Helloooo can’t thank you enough for the recipe!!❤️❤️❤️❤️

  3. I tried this recipe and it will defintely be the last time. It was a sticky catastrophe. Even chilled overnight. I tried it after 30 mins of chill time and it stuck to everything. So I let it chill overnight. Next day…same sticky mess. I added more flour. Sticky. Added some cornstarch. Sticky. So I rolled this sticky mess of dough into the best ball that I could. Rolled that sticky mess in the powdered sugar, which then created a stickier version of the sticky mess. Plopped that sticky mess on a baking sheet and baked it. It then turned into a ball of…well, don’t want to type that. Not a cookie at all. Not goey, even after all the sticky mess. Not good at all. And, before I get asked if measurements were correct, yes. I double cheked them because this is the first time making these. I bake cookies all the time and I’ve never come into this problem. Again, won’t be making these ever again.

    1. Having made these numerous times, sounds like your measurements from the beginning may have been off. Sorry to hear it didn’t turn out.

      1. I love these cookies. I have changed it up a bit and I also added in Lemon Curd which boosts the lemon flavor. I call my cookies “a little taste of sunshine”.

  4. I made these as the recipe indicated. They sure look different. Mine are very pale in color(butter) and missing the gooey part? This is my 2nd attempt at cookies. Love your easy fudge and the pecan pie cheesecake was a huge success. Thanks for all the ideas and shortcuts

    1. 1st to: Do not over-bake. I’ve been making these for years! The key is to take them out of the oven before the edges start to turn golden brown! If not, they will be just another lemon flavored cookie. (Take them out just before the middle is totally firm.)
      2nd tip: Make a thin glaze of lime juice (packs more punch than lemon), lime zest and powered sugar. Once cool, turn the cookies upside down in the glaze and place on a sheet to dry. This adds an awesome flavor. If you don’t want the mess of the glaze, juice a lime and carefully put a couple of drops on top of each cookie. This enhances the flavor immensely.
      Final tip: add lemon zest to cookie dough.

  5. I love lemons so much so these were a must try! My daughter and I whipped them up real easy and we loved them! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  6. I could make these every day and never get tired of them! The lemon flavor is perfect and the recipe is so easy!

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