These easy lemon cake mix cookies always brighten up my day! They’re quick to make with only 5 ingredients and come out irresistibly soft-baked in minutes. Every bite is filled with fresh lemon flavor, with the option to add white chocolate chips.

If you love the freshness of lemon desserts like these cake mix cookies, you’ll also love these lemon cupcakes or my super easy lemon sugar cookie bars.

Overhead view of assorted lemon cake mix cookies, some filled with white chocolate chips.

Quick and Easy Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

There’s something about the soft, irresistible chewiness and crispy edges that’s totally craveable. Not to mention the flavor choices! A box of cake mix is the best shortcut to sweet, soft-baked cookies of all kinds. These lemon cake mix cookies are one of my latest favorites, and I’ve been making them on repeat this summer! Even my preschooler ate them, I was shocked. The fresh flavors are perfect, and you only need 5 ingredients.

Why We Love Cake Mix Cookies

  • Quick and easy. These cookies start with a box of lemon cake mix, cutting the ingredients list in half. If you’ve never made cookies from a box of cake mix before, it’s a fun, simple shortcut that makes these lemon cookies super beginner-friendly.
  • Fresh lemon flavor. Many cake mix cookie recipes use only 3 ingredients (cake mix, oil or butter, and eggs), but I like to amp up the zingy lemon flavor in these cookies with fresh lemon zest and lemon extract. It’s an easy addition that makes a big difference!
  • Make them your own. Stir white chocolate chips into the batter, or drizzle the tops of your lemon cookies with melted white chocolate or a simple lemon glaze.
Side view of a stack of lemon cookie halves.

Ingredient Notes

Here’s a quick overview of the key ingredients along with some notes. Scroll down to the recipe card for a printable list with the full amounts.

  • Lemon Cake Mix – I use an 15.25-ounce boxed cake mix from Duncan Hines. You may need to adapt this recipe if you’re using another sized box, see my note below.
  • Lemon Extract – I like to add a dash of lemon extract for an even more intense lemon flavor in these cookies. Feel free to use pure vanilla extract instead or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice also works.
  • Lemon Zest – Fresh lemon zest makes all the difference! You’ll need one large lemon. See my tutorial on how to zest a lemon for tips.
  • Sparkling Sugar Sprinkles – For coating the cookies. It’s a special touch that gives these lemon cookies extra sweetness and crunch. Not to be missed! I recommend the Wilton brand, which you can find at most grocery stores or Walmart. This has a much coarser texture than sanding sugar or granulated sugar.

Can I Use a Different-Sized Cake Mix?

Yes. As mentioned, I based my lemon cake mix cookies recipe on an 15.25-ounce cake mix (Duncan Hines). If you purchase another brand only to find it’s a 13.25-ounce cake mix means a difference of 2 ounces (56g) which is about 7.5 tablespoons. So add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (8 tablespoons) to the cake mix to get the same results. Otherwise you might find the dough is too soft.

Ingredients for lemon cake mix cookies with text labels overlaying each ingredient.

Oil vs. Butter in Cake Mix Cookies

Most cake mix cookies advertise 3 easy ingredients and an overwhelming majority of the recipes suggest using oil. When developing this recipe, I tested the 3 more common recipes you find online using oil (either 1/3 or ½ cup) and butter (1/2 cup) and here’s what I found:

  • Butter (far left): Made with ½ cup melted butter gave the cookies a better taste and they were thicker all around.
  • 1/2 Cup Oil (Middle): Made with ½ cup oil, the cookies spread pretty thin and were almost too soft.
  • 1/3 cup Oil (far right): Made with 1/3 cup oil, the batter was very thick and the outside of the cookies had a weird texture
Lemon cake mix cookies shown side by side, demonstrating the differences in baking times on the texture of the cookies.
From left to right: Made with butter, Made with 1/2 cup oil, Made with 1/3 cup oil

How to Make Lemon Cookies From Cake Mix

While I always have a place in my heart for my from-scratch lemon cookies, nothing beats the convenience of a box of cake mix as a shortcut! I have a whole guide dedicated to baking with cake mix that you can check out.

Meanwhile, follow the short steps below to make these soft-baked lemon cookies. You’ll find printable instructions in the recipe card after the post. 

  1. Combine the ingredients. To make the cookie dough, simply add all of your ingredients to a bowl, and mix. 
  2. Shape the cookies. Next, I like to use a cookie scoop to portion out even-sized balls of dough. Roll the dough balls in sanding sugar before placing them onto a lined baking sheet. You may need to reshape before baking.
  3. Bake. Bake these cake mix cookies at 350ºF for 11-13 minutes, depending on how chewy you prefer your cookies (see below). 

How to Tell When These Cookies Are Baked

In general, I like my cookies underbaked, but not gooey. I usually pull these lemon cake mix cookies from the oven at the 12-minute mark. As you can see in the photo, at this point they’re still soft in the centers, but not raw. If I stick a toothpick into the center of a cookie, it comes out clean.

At 11 minutes, these cookies were slightly underdone, and they stayed a bit raw in the middle. At 13 minutes, they were baked through, but with a drier crumb. Start checking your cookies after the minimum recommended baking time and go from there.

Toppings and Add Ins

  • Add chocolate chips. Optional, but a handful of white chocolate chips in the batter makes these lemony cookies that much more indulgent. I love the way the chips melt to create sweet little gooey pockets throughout the cookie! For a pretty finish, gently press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies right as they come out of the oven.
  • Add a white chocolate drizzle. Once upon a time, I finished these lemon cookies with a drizzle of white chocolate. So good! If that’s your vibe, you can melt chocolate chips in the microwave, or make a batch of white chocolate ganache to drizzle over the cooled cookies.
  • Buttercream. If you like a frosted cookie, opt for a simple vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting. Top with some added zest for more lemon flavor.

Close up of lemon cake mix cookies on a white surface.

How to Store

  • To store. These lemon cake mix cookies store well at room temperature for 3-4 days. Be sure to keep them in an airtight container.
  • Freeze. You can also freeze your cookies for up to 1 month. Defrost them on the countertop before serving.
Print
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Overhead close up view of assorted lemon cake mix cookies, some filled with white chocolate chips.

Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 11-12 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These easy lemon cake mix cookies are quick to make with 5 ingredients! So soft and chewy, they’re infused with fresh lemon flavor and rolled in sugar for crunch. Add in white chocolate chips for a delicious sweet-tart treat.


Ingredients

  • 1 box (15.25oz) Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix
  • ½ cup (113g) Unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Lemon extract (or fresh lemon juice)
  • Zest from 1 large lemon
  • Sparkling Sanding Sugar for coating (1/3-1/2 cup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the sanding sugar) and mix until well combined. The dough will be thick.
  3. Use a large cookie scoop to portion out the dough. Roll each ball of dough in the sanding sugar then place the dough about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 11-13 minutes. The center of the cookies should be slightly under-baked but not too gooey. Use a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie to check for doneness.


Notes

  • This is based on a Duncan Hines Cake Mix which is 15.25 oz. Other brands that may be 13.25o size cake mix, add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour to make up the difference. 
  • Optional add-in: ¾ cups white chocolate chips, save a few to put on top right when they come out of the oven.
  • Don’t skip the sanding sugar! This gives the cookies a really nice crunch to the cookie and a little bit of sweetness.

Storing:

  • To store. These lemon cake mix cookies store well at room temperature for 3-4 days. Be sure to keep them in an airtight container.
  • Freeze. You can also freeze your cookies for up to 1 month. Defrost them on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Cookie
  • Calories: 242
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 114.8 mg
  • Fat: 12.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Fiber: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 2.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 56 mg

Filed Under:

This recipe originally appeared on Food Fanatic.

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15 thoughts on “Lemon Cake Mix Cookies”

  1. Avatar photo
    Kathy Southerly

    Can you make these lemon cookies with just the boxed mix, oil and eggs, like the other cookies?

  2. Hi. I love this! Gave it out to my friends and they love it too. Thank you for sharing!
    Question, how long is the shelf life of the baked lemon cookies? Should I store it in the fridge? Or chiller?
    Thanks!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Rica, You can keep it in the fridge if it is really warm outside, but otherwise you can store on the counter top. I usually keep for 3 days, or you can freeze them and eat them as you want!

  3. What a clever recipe! Congratulations on a terrific cookie! And congratulations also on a truly eye-catching site. You photographs are really lovely, and everything sounds so good!

  4. These cookies look so good! I have never baked cookies using a cake mix, so I need to try it soon. Also, I am looking forward to your cookbook!

  5. Hi There,
    Love your talent, and your will power, can I please ask, how do I get my cookies to stay fat, as opposed
    to them sinking and going flat, enjoy your recipes and blog………
    Thanks for your reply.
    cheers

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Linda! Well that’s so kind of you. I am really trying to stick with it this time, but around this time of year is when I need to get through the hump so to speak.

      Okay, so for these cookies, I use a cookie scoop and then I actually flatten the top a little bit, and that’s why they look more flat. If you don’t press the top down, they will end up with more of a dome shape. Also you can refrigerate the dough before baking and that should help to!

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

  6. Sounds good. Pizza, cheesecake, champagne…. I made 2 cheesecake (tested I should say) and it took about 2 days to clean up. So worth it though! I can’t imagine 4; just the juggling of all the ingredients and NOT tasting every 10 seconds. Thinking of your impending cookbook!

  7. Excited to try your version of lemon cake mix cookies. I’ve been experimenting for about a year with cake mixes. With the lemon cake mix I added dried wild blueberries and a thin lemon glaze. The cookies were uber soft and became crumbly after a day. Your version sounds like it may conquer those problems. Thanks and congrats on sticking to your diet. (weekends are an exception)

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Berta! First of all, that sounds delicious! I have never made a cake mix cookie from only a cake mix, but I have seen it done that way. For my cookie I incorporate some of the cake mix into the flour. So it results in a cookie that is a little “puffier” than normal. I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think!

  8. Avatar photo
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures

    Sounds like a fun weekend! I can’t even imagine trying to watch my weight with all those yummy treats around!