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Powdered Sugar Lemon Cookies + A Timesaving Secret

Powdered Sugar Lemon Cookies are a light shortbread-type cookie studded with finely chopped pecans and coated liberally with powdered sugar. They are especially nice for cookie trays at Christmas. 

Don’t miss the time-saving tip at the end of this post. I’ll show you how I coat these cookies with powdered sugar en masse.

Powdered Sugar Lemon Cookies on serving plate

What do you do when a friend won’t accept well-deserved payment for a service?

Time to get creative…

When my favorite Christmas tree decorator hinted he would accept some kind of lemon-flavored Christmas cookies as payment, I considered that my working orders. I surprised him with lemon thumbprints last year, but wanted something different this year.

My tradition-following gene is apparently mutated.

Recipe Inspiration

One of my favorite cookie cookbooks is Great Cookies by Carole Walter. Her recipe (she called them “Snowballs” seemed like a good place to start. By all appearances, they were the same as what we called Mexican wedding cookies when I was growing up.

The first change was to make them lemon-y. For lemon flavor, add one teaspoon of lemon oil. I like lemon oil better than lemon extract for a brighter, more natural, but intense lemon flavor. If you prefer, substitute 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel for a milder hint of lemon even non-lemon lovers will enjoy.

Whenever recipe directions call for handling each cookie individually, I look for ways to streamline the process. 

What’s wrong with the old way of dipping cookies?

Because these lemon cookies need 2 coatings of powdered sugar, check out my secret time-saving process below.

Or, stick with the old-fashioned way. That would be pressing each cookie, one at a time, into a bowl of powdered sugar, twice on each side. (I’ll admit the latter method has its benefits. All that individual attention usually produces more broken cookies, unsuitable for anybody but the baker to eat.)

A quick way for coating cookies with powdered sugar

setting up cookies for dusting with powdered sugar
Offload baked cookies upside down onto a cooling rack set over a piece of waxed paper. While still slightly warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar using a sieve.
using a sieve to sprinkle many cookies at once
Flip them, and sprinkle top side with powdered sugar again using a sieve full of powdered sugar.
Allow cookies to cool completely. Sprinkle top side for the second time using a sieve full of powdered sugar.

Move rack off of waxed paper and press each cookie, top-side up, into the sugar left on the paper giving the bottom a second coat.

More recipes for lemon lovers

If you enjoyed this recipe, it would help others and me if you gave it a five-star rating inside the recipe card below. 🤩 No comment required. Thank you.

Hope to see you again soon!

p.s. Questions or suggestions? Please email me: Paula at

Yield: 4 dozen

Powdered Sugar Lemon Cookies

Powdered Sugar Lemon Cookies

A lemon-flavored shortbread-type cookie studded with finely chopped pecans and dressed liberally with powdered sugar

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes


  • 1-1/4 cups pecans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon oil (or 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel for milder lemon flavor)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Using a food processor with a metal blade, finely chop pecans along with 1/4 cup of flour. Pulse 3 or 4 times, then process steadily for about 8 seconds.
  2. Add remaining flour and salt to pecans and again, pulse a few times until combined.
  3. Add room-temperature butter to large bowl and beat with mixer on medium-low until light and creamy.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, water, vanilla, and lemon oil.
  5. Add chopped pecan-flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 portions, mixing just until combined. Don't overwork.
  6. Press dough into a ball, wrap well, and chill at least 30 minutes.
  7. Make tablespoon-size balls and place onto lined (parchment paper or silicone mat) cookie sheets. Leave them as balls, if desired, or slightly flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar.
  8. Bake in preheated, 325-degree F oven 20-25 minutes or until the bottom starts to brown.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Offload baked cookies upside down onto a cooling rack set over a piece of waxed paper.
  11. While still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar using a sieve.
  12. Flip them, and sprinkle top side with powdered sugar.
  13. Allow cookies to cool completely.
  14. Sprinkle top side for the second time using a sieve of powdered sugar.
  15. Move rack off of waxed paper and press each cookie into the remaining sugar on the waxed paper so now the bottom also has two coats.(Sugar will melt a little in the beginning, thus requiring more than one coat.)
  16. Store in airtight container between layers of wax paper.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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Saturday 2nd of February 2013

Hi , I just found you , and I can tell you I love your blog pretty much !!!



Friday 4th of January 2013

After consulting with Bonnie, I made these as a Christmas gift for my neighbor. Of course, we kept some for ourselves. They were tasty and easy. Thanks for sharing. Next, I'm trying the bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Chicken Bites.


Saturday 5th of January 2013

Wish I was your neighbor. :-) Thanks for writing.

Jen @ Savory Simple

Thursday 3rd of January 2013

Snowdrop cookies are my absolute favorite!


Tuesday 25th of December 2012

Paula, These cookies were wonderful!!! Rob decided it would be the right thing to do if he shared with the family. I finally had to move them out of site. Yummmm. All I have to say is anyone who make these won't be disappointed! You're the best.

The Café Sucré Farine

Monday 24th of December 2012

Paula, these are so yummy looking - I love your technique and I love your tree! So pretty!

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