These lemon curd cookies are thick, soft, tangy, and filled with loads of lemon curd. They have all the tangy, zesty, lemon flavour. The cookies are rolled in powdered sugar between baking which forms the perfect, sweet crisp crust. There’s cream cheese and lemon juice in the cookie dough making these cookies extra tangy and soft.
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Why you will LOVE this recipe:
- Thick and soft: These bakery style cookies are large, thick, and soft with a bit of a chew in the center.
- Lemon curd filling: They’re filled with loads of smooth and creamy lemon curd packed with even more lemon flavour.
- Tangy: Both the cookie and filling are tangy. The cookie has cream cheese in the dough which gives it a beautiful texture and makes it extra tangy.
- Minimal chill: You only need to chill the cookie dough in the freezer for 10 minutes so you don’t have to wait long.
How to get a thick layer of powdered sugar on the outside
The icing sugar forms a delicious crisp coating on the outside of the cookie once baked.
The key is to roll the scooped cookie dough in powdered sugar. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes and roll in powdered sugar again before baking. This will give them a really thick layer of icing sugar that will be very visible after baking.
You can roll them once to save time if you prefer. This will give the cookies a thinner coating. It still works perfectly!
Why there's cream cheese in the cookie dough
The cream cheese gives the lemon curd cookies a soft and chewy texture and a bit of a tang! The flavour works so well with the lemon tartness.
The cream cheese also helps the cookies puff up in the oven giving them that beautiful crackly top.
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below. But read through these for all the tips you will need for success!
Lemons: You'll need lemons for the cookies and the curd. This is the perfect recipe to use up lemons you have lying around.
Butter: Good quality real butter will give the best results.
Cream cheese: Brick style full fat cream cheese will give the best results. Low fat cream cheese is too watery.
Yellow gel food colouring: This is totally optional - it just gives the cookies a bright yellow colour. You can use natural yellow food colouring powder. Don't use turmeric or liquid food colouring.
All purpose flour: Weigh the flour to get the most accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, measure properly by stirring the bag and spooning gently into a measuring cup. Scrape the excess off the top with the flat edge off a knife without packing it into the cup.
Baking powder: Make sure it's not expired and check if it's still active by dissolving a sample in some water. If it fizzes up, that means it's active.
How to make lemon curd
It's so easy to lemon curd, you only need a small saucepan and a whisk. Whisk eggs and sugar until the eggs break up, and add lemon juice. Heat until thickened and transfer to a non-metal, heat safe container to cool.
Add lemon zest for extra zing and stir in the cold butter. Stir until butter melts - this will also help it cool down. Press a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Chill until cold to the touch - it will thicken considerably.
Use a non-metal container to prevent a metallic taste in the curd. The acidity in the lemon juice reacts with the metal, giving the curd a metallic aftertaste.
Do I need to chill the cookie dough?
Yes, but only for 10 minutes in the freezer! Pop the cookie dough in the freezer while the oven is preheating.
If you want to prep these cookies overnight, just refrigerate the dough.
Storing filled cookies
The filled lemon curd cookies can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Keep them in a single layer.
You can also store unfilled cookies in the fridge and fill them right before serving. That way you don't need to store them in a single layer.
These cookies can be made ahead by prepping the cookie dough balls the night before. Pop them in the fridge on your baking sheet overnight.
The lemon curd can be made up to 3 days before filling and serving, and stored in the fridge.
You can bake the cookies and store them in the fridge the day before. Fill with lemon curd the day of serving.
Yes, it's not necessary at all! It just gives the cookies a vibrant yellow colour. There's no food colouring in the curd - it will stay very yellow.
You can try to substitute the cream cheese with an equal amount of butter. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how it would work. If you're worried about there being a cream cheese taste - you won't actually be able to taste it. The cream cheese just gives the cookies a subtle tang and helps the texture.
I've stored one in the fridge for a few days and it didn't become soggy - just a bit softer in the middle. I recommend filling the cookies as close as possible to the time of serving to get the best texture.
Only for 10 minutes in the freezer. Pop them in the fridge if you want to chill them overnight.
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Lemon Curd Cookies
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup lemon juice from about 2 lemons
- 1 lemon zested
- ¼ cup butter cold and cubed
- ¾ cup butter softened
- ¼ cup cream cheese softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- yellow gel food colouring
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a medium saucepan, combine egg yolks, whole egg, salt, and sugar. Whisk to break up the yolks until smooth. You don’t need to whisk any more than that.2 large egg yolks, 1 large egg, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt, ⅔ cup sugar
- Add lemon juice, whisk to combine. Heat on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the bottom from burning. As soon as it thickens, stir a few times and take off the heat.⅓ cup lemon juice
- Pour the hot curd into a heat safe - non metal container. Add lemon zest and cold butter to the curd, stir until the butter is fully melted.1 lemon, ¼ cup butter
- Place a piece of parchment paper or cling wrap right onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the fridge until thickened even more.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until creamy and lightened in colour, about 5 minutes.¾ cup butter, ¼ cup cream cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- Add a whole egg, an egg yolk, lemon juice, and zest. Beat until light, fluffy, and creamy. Scrape down the bowl frequently for even mixing. Add yellow food colouring to make it bright yellow (optional).1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, yellow gel food colouring
- Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda right into the same bowl. Fold the dough just until it’s fully mixed.4 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Portion the dough into balls using a cookie scoop or by hand. You want them to be about 3-4 tablespoons in size. It will make about 12 large cookies.
- Spread powdered sugar onto a plate. Roll the cookie dough balls in the powdered sugar and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cookie dough balls right next to each other on the cookie sheet.1 cup powdered sugar
- Use a measuring tablespoon or the back of the cookie scoop to press an indent onto the top of each cookie ball.
- Pop the baking sheet into the freezer to chill while you preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C).
- Right before baking, roll the cookies in powdered sugar again to get a thick layer on. Space the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake in batches in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will be puffed and barely golden when done. *don't over bake them or they will be dry and crumbly*
- Once baked, press a tablespoon into the top of each cookie to make more space for the lemon curd. Carefully transfer cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, fill the middles with heaping tablespoons of lemon curd and serve.