Lemon Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

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The kids and I recently enjoyed making this easy sugar cookies recipe inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s classic old fashion sugar cookie recipe (found in her amazing cookbook, Baking).

This lemon vanilla bean sugar cookies recipe is the best sugar cookies recipe that I have ever tasted!

We’ve all had a bad sugar cookie. Tasteless yet super-sweet, it’s enough to make you think that the only reason sugar cookies exist is to look pretty and induce sugar comas.

These are not those sugar cookies.

These lemon vanilla bean sugar cookies are subtle and sophisticated, and while you can increase the sweetness by added on a swirl of icing, they are just as pretty without it.

I wouldn’t describe them as an old-fashioned sugar cookie recipe because they are roll-out cookies, not drop cookies, but the flavour profile is rich and the texture is wonderfully chewy.

But my favourite thing about this easy sugar cookies recipe is that they can be made in the kids kitchen!

The children helped me with every step of this recipe, except for tasks involving the oven!

We started off by zesting a lemon and scraping out the seeds of a vanilla pod and then rubbing the zest and seeds into 2 cups of sugar.

This was a wonderful sensory experience combined with teaching kids kitchen skills (I do love my practical life lessons).

Next, we creamed the sugar with 1 and 1/4 cups of butter, added 3 generous teaspoons of vanilla extract, and then cracked in 3 eggs. (Ideally, you would use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks, but this was easier with the kids and only slightly effects the chewy texture.)

In a separate bowl, we combined the remaining dry ingredients and then mixed the contents of the two bowls together.

Next, have the kids help you form the dough into two to four large balls (four is easier to work with). You can form them into “bricks” or leave them as balls of dough – either way, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours (I prefer overnight).

After they have been set, unwrap, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut out using your favourite cookie cutters.

Bake on lined baking sheets at 350F for 10 minutes. I prefer to use reusable silicone mats rather than parchment paper, but use what works for you. (I just love those vanilla bean flecks against the white cookie dough!)

Cool completely on cooling racks, and then decorate if desired.

lemon (1)

You can find a printable recipe card of this easy sugar cookies recipe below:

Lemon Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 and 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks (or you can do 3 eggs for a slightly less chewy texture)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
  • 1 lemon, zested


Rub vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest into the sugar, then beat sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add eggs and set aside.
Stir all dry ingredients together, and then add sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly to avoid "dry pockets."

Form sugar cookie dough into two large balls or bricks, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F, roll out the dough and use your preferred cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Bake 10 minutes on a lined baking sheet until just set (not golden), and cook on a cooling rack.

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  1. I am not sure where to start! I love that the kids helped you with everything in the making of these cookies. It is such a good learning and fun experience to have kids in the kitchen. I also love the combination of lemon and vanilla. Thanks so much for being apart of the Fill The cookie Jar group.

  2. Cooking with kids is so much fun, I love that your kids helped. My grandson loves sugar cookies that are chewy and I haven’t yet found the right recipe. I think your recipe might be the one he’s looking for, I’ll definitely give it a try.

  3. These sound delicious. My husband loves everything lemon, so I may have to surprise him with these this week. My son loves to help me in the kitchen, and this sounds like the perfect project for us. Thanks for sharing!

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