Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

There are so many reasons to love Paula Deen. She is warm, charismatic, and she can totally stand up for herself.

But something you would never guess about her is that early in her adulthood, before cooking professionally, she suffered from panic attacks and agoraphobia. Basically, she couldn’t leave the house.

I find this really encouraging – insecurity/anxiety is so common, and to me she stands for the fact that there can be purpose, victory, and a very colorful life on the other side of it!

Anyway…that is the first reason I love Paul Deen. The second reason is that I’ve NEVER had a bad recipe from her, and my favorite so far are these scrumptious gooey butter cookies. This recipe is so simple – only six ingredients!

I’ve been making these cookies for a few years now. The best part is that they are made with cake mix (but don’t taste like it!) and you can easily experiment with different flavors. While the original recipe calls for chocolate, my favorite is lemon.

WARNING: the line between gooey and under-baked is a little delicate here. Just watch them closely while baking!

Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies

Adapted from Paula Deen

Servings: 2 dozen cookies


1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
1   (18 ounce) box lemon cake mix
1   (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1   egg
1   stick of butter, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Did you like this? Share it:
  • jaclyn

    I am so glad you are doing this!! I can’t wait to see what you bake this Saturday! Your pictures are gorgeous and the food looks even better! I hope you continue this creative outlet for years to come. I’m really happy that I can just come to your blog and pick one of your recipes instead of scouring the Internet and fumbling through a recipe just to overcook or even burn it! Good luck with this friend!
    From your new follower,

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      Aww thanks friend!! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/turbomickey Rob Vincent

    Um, these cookies are ridiculously amazing. I had a random dream about them, maybe a month ago. I now have the key to happiness.

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      Haha aww I miss you and I miss potlucks at the CCC! Hope life is going well!

  • Katherine

    I’ve always had reservations to trying recipes that include cake mix, cool whip, or a box of pudding mix, fearing that they would taste too processed, but these cookies look absolutely amazing! I will definately be spending my afternoon making these.

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      Oh good I hope you liked them!

  • Julianna

    Love your photos and your blog idea Jessie! You are very inspiring. :)

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      Thanks Julianna! And thanks for listening and helping as I thought about the possibility of doing this! :)

  • http://knitticusmaximus.tumblr.com Nicole T

    Oh, man. Lemon desserts are my favorite. I am lusting after these!

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      I know! I have a hard time resisting anything lemon…

  • http://missallaneous.wordpress.com Missa

    I love when you make these! :D

  • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

    I wish I could give some to you right now! Actually the “warning” in this post was a direct result of one time at c-group when I had to leave the lemon flavored ones at home b/c they were underbaked…

    • http://www.facebook.com/SundancerSEM Sharon Mills

      These look awesome, lemon desserts are my favorite, I have to try!

  • http://colorcodedgrassstains.wordpress.com Renée

    This recipe is super close to a favorite of mine, can’t wait to try this version instead of the cool whip one I use. I LOVE cream cheese!

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      I love it too! Too much!! :)

  • Anonymous

    well, my first batch is in the oven now! Lemon is my husbands favorite. I had a little bit of a hard time mixing with my hand mixer but I am hopeful that they will turn out yum-o! Thanks,

    • Beth

      They turned out wonderful and yes my husband loved them!! Thanks, Beth

      • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

        Oh good!! Yes I have made these many times with a hand mixer and it’s kind of a character building experience, but well worth it in the end! So glad they turned out well.

  • Anonymous

    these look awesome and super easy! could you use red velvet cake mix to get a red velvet cake type effect?

    • http://blueberriesandcream.com Jessie

      Hi! I have experimented with a couple different cake mixes, including chocolate. I found that lemon was my favorite out of the ones I tried, but I’ve never attempted red velvet. If you try it I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  • Pingback: Happy Birthday Kitchen Chronicles! | Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles

  • Pingback: Pecan Pie Bars | Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles

  • Pingback: Some Things I’ve Been Loving This Week | mamaboot

  • Atlluvbug

    I added a tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon pie filling and did not add the egg.. It was even better!! It was so gooey not cake like the other way turns out..! I’m so doing that again..

    • http://www.jessienextdoor.com/ Jessie

      Sounds delicious!! Lemon pie filling….what a good idea!

  • Pingback: | Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles

  • karen

    why does it say to preheat my oven when I have to chill the cookie dough for two hours first? :)

  • karen

    I have made these cookies several times and get many, many compliments. I do also add my own lemon zest and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice :)

Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles