Tantalizing Greek Yogurt Cookies with Lemon Icing

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Sneak Peek: This recipe for Greek Yogurt Cookies with Lemon Icing was inspired by Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies. A lemony powdered sugar glaze makes them memorable.

Greek yogurt cookies with lemon frosting:  lemons in backgroundPin

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Although not my favorite vacation spot, what happened one day at lunch in Vegas was unforgettable.

We were eating at Giada’s restaurant. Our waitress mentioned Giada sometimes showed up unplanned to greet her patrons.

5 minutes later

Giada appeared out of nowhere, bouncing from table to table. I could barely contain myself when she turned in our direction. What a friendly, gorgeous, and charismatic ball of energy!

Giada is famous for her cookbooks, food shows, and million-dollar smile. But she’s also tiny. How does she maintain her weight when thinking about food all day? It turns out she hears that question more than any other. She shares her secrets in Giada’s Feel Good Food cookbook.

The brown bag I hold in the picture below contains the cookies we ordered from the dessert menu. I was too excited to think about removing them from the paper bag for the photo.

The assortment included Giada’s famous Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Icing. If you want to make an assortment, consider these Powdered Sugar Lemon Cookies or these Lemon-Pecan Thumbprint Cookies.

meeting Giada and holding her lemon cookiesPin

Her “Giada’s Kitchen” recipe inspired these lemon-flavored Greek Yogurt Cookies. They taste similar.

Since I’m a Greek yogurt maker like many of you, I usually have more yogurt in my fridge than ricotta cheese. Besides that, yogurt is cheaper.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • FLOUR: All-purpose flour is best – bleached or unbleached.
  • SALT: Table or sea salt
  • BUTTER: Set the butter and eggs out beforehand to come to room temperature before mixing. Unsalted butter is preferred. Decrease the salt by a pinch if using salted butter.
  • SUGAR: Granulated. No known substitutes.
  • EGG: Large size
  • LEMONS: Small to medium lemons are good. I haven’t tried it, but oranges seem like a good substitute for lemons.
  • GREEK YOGURT: The tanginess of yogurt plus the tartness of lemon equals a perfect marriage of flavors. Or do like Giada: use ricotta cheese if you prefer
    • If you can only get regular yogurt or your Greek yogurt is not as thick as ricotta cheese, you might want to strain it to remove more whey. The process will produce a more ricotta cheese-like texture.
    • And exactly how do I strain it? Pour yogurt into a cheap strainer or colander lined with a paper coffee filter or paper towel. Drain for 30-60 minutes.
ingredients need for cookiesPin

Frosted Soft Lemon Yogurt Cookies -on a platter (old picture)Pin

How To Make Greek Yogurt Cookies with Lemon Icing

dry ingredients Pin
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
sugar and salt added togetherPin
Add sugar to softened butter in a large mixing bowl.
mixing butter and sugar togetherPin
Mix butter and sugar until crumbly.
add egg to butter and sugarPin
Add egg to butter and sugar.
Add Greek yogurt, lemon juice and lemon rind.Pin
Add Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and lemon rind.
dry ingredients added to the butter and sugar mixturePin
Dump dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture.
using a portable mixer to cream the butter and sugar.Pin
Whip until fluffy.
mixing until the cookie dough is creamyPin
Don’t over-mix, but be sure the batter is thoroughly mixed and creamy throughout.
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Drop cookies on a prepared baking sheet in small tablespoon sizes.
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While the cookies bake, sift powdered sugar into a small bowl.
making the frosting.Pin
Combine with lemon rind, juice, and cream. Add water or juice if too thick.
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Move cookies from the cookie tray to the cooling rack after 5-10 minutes. Frost while still slightly warm.
one frosted Greek yogurt cookiePin

FAQs About Lemon Cookies with Yogurt

What is the difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt?

Greek yogurt is regular yogurt with part of the whey removed. The process makes Greek yogurt thicker, higher in protein, and lower in sugar.

In this recipe, the thicker Greek yogurt will help the cookies bake up puffy instead of flat like a pancake. When using regular yogurt, either drain the whey for 30-60 minutes or add additional flour.

What does Greek yogurt do for these cookies?

Greek yogurt keeps them moist, fluffy, and light like miniature cakes.

Is it OK to double this recipe?

Yes. This recipe only makes 30 small cookies (20 large), so make a double batch for a party.

How do these cookies contain so much protein?

The Greek yogurt in this recipe adds 18 grams of protein. According to the nutritional analysis, each cookie contains 2 grams of protein.

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes. Wrap them with waxed paper between the layers so the icing won’t glue them together. Double wrapping is always a good idea.

Parting thoughts: Even if you never eat any of Giada’s lemon cookies, these yogurt cookies will compensate for that exquisite taste experience.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

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Lemon Cookies with Greek YogurtPin
Yield: 30 small cookies

Soft Greek Yogurt Cookies with Lemon Icing

This recipe makes a cake-like cookie featuring the tanginess of Greek yogurt and the tartness of lemon and topped with a sweet lemon glaze.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

4 from 88 votes


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 32 minutes


  • 1⅓ cups (160 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (57 g) butter room temperature
  • 1 cup (198 g) sugar
  • 1 large (50 g) egg
  • grated rind of 1 small lemon
  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ cup (170 g) Greek yogurt unflavored and thick


  • 1 cup (113 g) powdered sugar
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • Mix 1⅓ cups (160 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whip ¼ cup (57 g) butter until smooth. Add 1 cup (198 g) sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy. Add 1 large (50 g) egg and keep mixing until smooth.
  • Add grated rind of 1 small lemon, 1½ tablespoons lemon juice, and ¾ cup (170 g) Greek yogurt to the above mixture.
  • Stir in dry ingredients. Make sure no stray pockets of butter are unmixed with the flour in the bowl.
  • Cover and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  • Spoon a generous tablespoon for each cookie onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 375˚F (190˚C)for 12-15 minutes (depending on whether it is the first batch or the last and the size of the cookies) until the edges begin to brown.


  • Make the icing while the cookies bake. Sift 1 cup (113 g) powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add grated rind of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, and 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice. Combine until smooth. Add another tablespoon of lemon juice if the icing is too thick.
  • When the cookies are brown on the bottom but not on top, remove them from the oven. After 10 minutes, pull the cookies away from the paper and allow to continue cooling on a rack or tea towel. Smoothly coat the top with lemon frosting. Let the frosting cool and set before handling them. Eat whenever you can’t resist any longer.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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Recipe Rating


  1. ToniAnn Smith says:

    I just want to say I made these into cupcakes and used orange 🍊 rind and juice as I didn’t have lemon and they turned out unbelievable! 20 mins on 375

    1. Hi ToriAnn,
      Orange sounds fantastic. I must try it, too. Thanks so much for sharing your idea and experience with this recipe.

  2. Hi 👋
    I’m just wondering if you can substitute the flour in the lemon cookies with gluten free 1:1 flour.
    I love lemons 🍋!

    1. Hi Patti,
      Unfortunately, I have never tried these cookies with gluten-free flour. I would think that the cookies would be too dense and compact with gluten-free flour, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you try it. I’m curious.

  3. I’ve just tried this recipe, and my mixture looks more like pancake/cake batter. I’ve kept it in the fridge for now hoping it will firm up. Should I have added more flour?

    1. Rebecca,

      I wonder if your yogurt was perhaps thinner than mine. Yes, I would go ahead and add a little more flour to firm up the dough a bit. These are so delicious that I do hope they turn out well for you.

  4. Do you think using greek lemon yogurt would be good (not coyingly sweet?). We have an authentic greek shop near our house and I don’t think they add much sugar, it’s pretty lemony.

    1. Hi Kayla,

      Seems like a good thing to try. You could always cut back on the sugar in the recipe if you think the sweetened yogurt makes it too sweet.

  5. Maggie Delgadillo says:

    I would like to make your Frosted Lemon Cookies (with Greek Yogurt). Can I use vanilla greek yogurt?

    1. Hi Maggie,
      Good question. Yes, you can. However, vanilla Greek yogurt usually has added sugar. So unless you like your cookies to be really sweet, you might want to cut back on the sugar a little bit. Can’t wait to hear how you like them.

  6. 4 stars
    The substitution of the Greek yogurt for the ricotta still made for lighter cake like cookie. The Greek yogurt did give the cookie more tang countering the tartness of the lemon, but I think it was a little too overpowering. Next time less lemon juice in glaze and use water or milk to tone it down.

  7. Mary Fioretti says:

    WOW, I really hope you chatted about your site! She could learn a few from you. I think so many of the food network chefs could learn a lot about reducing the amount of fat, salt, and extras and still keep it delicious. When I watch the shows they don’t count calories, carbs, fat, or sodium. I find it hard to believe that they have ANY concept of the amounts they put into their recipes. By the end, the meal is way over 1000 calories not counting fat, carbs, or sodium.

    Looks like you really were star struck. So much fun.

  8. How exciting! I love the two mega watt smiles together, you both look beautiful.
    I will have to make your cookies as I love all things lemon! I just posted a recipe for Greek chicken thighs with yogurt today, and I noticed your post. We both love yogurt!

  9. How exciting for you! You both look very tiny and very lovely and your cookies look wonderful too 🙂

  10. I see two million dollar smiles there! 🙂 Lucky you to meet Giada…that sounds like a fun getaway. Those cookies look perfect- I love lemon. 🙂