Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

Who doesn't love a classic ice cream sandwich? When freshly baked cookies and ice cream meet, magical things happen — especially when you make them with a bright flavor like lemon. Classic ice cream sandwiches can be tough to make and often require measuring and cutting dough into squares. To make things easier, we've decided to mix up a batch of lemon sugar cookies for our sandwiches. The resulting lemon cookies are nice and soft, so they'll hold up to freezing without becoming too hard to bite through. They're crisp around the edges and just sweet enough. They bake up perfectly on their own, for the record — but everything is better with a scoop of ice cream.

Continuing with the "chill" vibes of this simple but delicious recipe (pun intended), we'll use a vanilla ice cream from the grocery store with a little lemon zest folded in, which surprisingly goes a long way to enhance the flavor. When the lemon sugar cookies and zesty ice cream are sandwiched together, it gives them a bright and creamy flavor reminiscent of the cult classic creamsicle.

Once sandwiched, these can be kept in the freezer for up to a month — just be sure to let them thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving if they've been frozen for a while. This recipe makes six generously-sized ice cream sandwiches — one is plenty for an adult, but don't be surprised if you sneak back into the freezer for another. 

Grab the ingredients for lemon ice cream sandwiches...

For the lemon cookie dough, you'll need bread flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder for the dry ingredients. You'll also need some lemon zest, butter, and one egg. You'll need one full pint of vanilla ice cream to mix with half of the lemon zest. If you want to make homemade ice cream, you can certainly use it here. Just make sure the ice cream has been frozen long enough (usually overnight after churning) to be firm.

Step 1: Prepare the lemon cookie dough

Cream the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and half of the lemon zest together until light and fluffy.

Step 2: Mix in the egg

Add the egg and beat until combined.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients

Add the flour and baking soda. Mix until a soft dough forms.

Step 4: Chill the lemon cookie dough

Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Step 5: Add lemon zest to ice cream

Mix the vanilla ice cream and remaining lemon zest and set aside in the freezer.

Step 6: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 7: Prep the baking sheets

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Step 8: Portion the cookie dough

Portion the lemon cookie dough into 1 ½ tablespoon balls.

Step 9: Toss dough balls in sugar

Roll each dough ball in sugar and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

Step 10: Bake and cool the cookies

Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes and then allow them to cool completely.

Step 11: Make ice cream sandwiches

Place a scoop of ice cream on a cookie. Top with another cookie.

Step 12: Repeat until finished

Repeat until all cookies are sandwiched.

Step 13: Freeze to set (or serve immediately)

Freeze to set firmly, or serve immediately.

What's the best way to make ice cream sandwiches with cookies?

Recipes involving ice cream can pose some challenges, but there are some basic tips you can follow to ensure a successful outcome for your lemon ice cream sandwiches. As we mentioned earlier, a soft cookie is going to be best for freezing, and always underbake the cookies slightly, since crispy cookies will freeze very hard and be difficult to bite through. Using bread flour in place of all-purpose gives cookies a chewier texture, and also shortens the amount of time needed for chilling.

The cookies should be completely cooled to avoid an unwanted mess of melted ice cream. The ice cream should also be tempered shortly before sandwiching, ideally for around 5-10 minutes on the countertop. If it's too frozen and firm, it will break the cookies, so you're looking for the perfect "sandwichable" texture — softened slightly with an almost spreadable consistency.

If at any time during assembly, you notice ice cream starting to melt, pop everything into the freezer for 10 minutes and resume once everything has chilled again. When the cookie sandwiches are assembled, they can be served immediately, but to ensure the cookies will stay together better when served, it's best to freeze them for at least 1 hour. 

What are some fun flavor ideas for ice cream sandwiches?

Part of the beauty of ice cream sandwiches is that there are endless options for customization. It can be as simple as swapping the ice cream flavor or using different toppings. Just before the ice cream sandwiches go into the freezer, roll the edges in mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, or chopped nuts for an extra visual element. These lemon ice cream sandwiches would pair excellently with finely chopped pistachios or even shredded coconut.

A hefty scoop of strawberry ice cream would make these perfect for summertime, and to further amp up the strawberry flavor, try swirling 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam into the softened ice cream. This technique would work equally well with any other berries, too. Blueberry or raspberry lemon sandwiches? Sign us up, please. For a flavor that's a little more unique, why not try mint ice cream? The lemon in this cookie dough recipe can also be swapped for any other citrus, and orange zest would certainly give these an extra creamsicle flavor and vibe. You could even try using some lime zest in the cookie dough paired with coconut ice cream for a tropical take. You really can't go wrong when you're talking cookies and ice cream, so feel free to get creative!

Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
This no-fuss ice cream sandwich recipe uses store-bought vanilla ice cream mixed with lemon zest and soft lemony sugar cookies for a perfect summertime treat.
Prep Time
1.25
hours
Cook Time
13
minutes
Servings
6
Ice Cream Sandwiches
lemon ice cream sandwich cookies
Total time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons (for rolling)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, divided
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup bread flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
Directions
  1. Cream the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and half of the lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  3. Add the flour and baking soda. Mix until a soft dough forms.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  5. Mix the vanilla ice cream and remaining lemon zest and set aside in the freezer.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  7. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Portion the lemon cookie dough into 1 ½ tablespoon balls.
  9. Roll each dough ball in sugar and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  10. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes and then allow them to cool completely.
  11. Place a scoop of ice cream on a cookie. Top with another cookie.
  12. Repeat until all cookies are sandwiched.
  13. Freeze to set firmly, or serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 444
Total Fat 21.3 g
Saturated Fat 12.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 86.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 57.7 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 35.9 g
Sodium 257.9 mg
Protein 6.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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