These soft Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies with their bright lemon flavor and crunchy poppy seeds are the perfect treat for lemon lovers. Whether you're an experienced or novice baker, satisfy your sweet tooth today with easy to follow and delicious recipe.
I loved working on the recipe for this cookie. One thing I learned is that you can’t have too much lemon. The cookies use a combination of lemon zest and lemon juice and will make your kitchen smell like lemon as they bake in the oven.
With their crisp edges, soft centers, and poppy seed crunch they'll taste great with your next cup of coffee or as an addition to your dessert table for special occasions.
What You'll Need for This Recipe
Here is what you’ll need for these incredibly soft and lemony cookies:
- Unbleached All-Purpose Flour: The flour provides the structure for the cookie.
- Lemon Zest: Lemon zest is the main flavor component for this yummy cookie. To get the most flavor possible zest the lemons directly into the sugar. This step will ensure you capture the full flavor of the lemon zest in the cookies. You will need about 3 lemons to get a tablespoon of zest.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: A little juice is added to reinforce the lemon flavor in the cookie.
- Poppy Seeds: The poppy seeds add a delicious crunch and earthy taste to the cookie. A lot of lemon poppy seed cookie recipes use 1-2 tablespoons of poppy seed, but I really like that crunch, so my recipe uses 3 tablespoons.
- Granulated Sugar: The granulated sugar provides sweetness to the cookie and helps the cookies spread as they bake.
- Light Brown Sugar: Like granulated sugar, brown sugar provides sweetness and helps the cookie to spread as it bakes. The molasses in the brown sugar adds a chewy texture to the cookie.
- Unsalted Butter: Butter ensures a moist, tender, and buttery cookie. Use room temperature butter so it mixes well with the other ingredients.
- Large Eggs: Eggs add flavor, texture
- Pure Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract elevates all the other flavors in the cookie.
- Baking Powder: The baking powder causes the cookie to rise and puff up in the oven.
- Baking Soda: The baking soda reacts with the lemon and brown sugar in the cookie to help it rise, but also interacts with the proteins in the eggs and flour to slow the spread of the cookie.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt makes the other ingredients taste more like themselves. If you’re using table salt instead of kosher salt use half the amount called for in the recipe.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make This Recipe
These delicious lemon cookies are easy to make and perfect for you who want a little sweet treat. The cookie dough can be baked the same day it's mixed or refrigerated for up to three days.
Start by measuring all the ingredients. I know it may seem like it extra step, but it will make sure that you don't incorrectly measure any of the ingredients or like I've done add too much baking soda to the flour.
Step 1: Place the all-purpose flour, kosher salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set the flour mixture aside.
Step 2: Zest the lemons directly into the sugar. Zesting the lemons directly into the sugar ensure that the oils and moisture in the skin of the lemon are captured.
Step 3: Mix the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar turns yellow. The sugar will clump up and your kitchen will start to smell like lemon
Step 4: Cream the lemon-sugar and the butter with the paddle attachment of an electric stand mixer. Creaming is an important step to introduce air into the cookie dough which will help the cookies rise. Start on low speed then increase to medium speed so the ingredients don't fly out of the bowl.
Step 5: After creaming the butter and sugar scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and mix on medium speed until well incorporated.
Step 6: Add the dry ingredients and the poppy seeds and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be noticeably stiffer. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix in any remaining flour by hand.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Step 7: Drop 2 tablespoons (about 30 grams) of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheet. A #40 cookie scoop will work well for this and give you even-sized cookies.
Step 8: Bake the cookies until they are light golden brown around the edges and look slightly under baked in the center. The cookies will continue to bake once removed from the oven due to residual heat within the cookie and from the pan.
Tip: If you want perfectly round cookies take a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter slightly larger than the cookies, place it around the cookie, rotate it around the cookie to create a perfectly round shape.
Step 9: Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes then move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
How to Make the Lemon Glaze
The lemon glaze is optional and simple to make. It adds an additional hit of lemon to the cookie. Plus all my family and friends really liked the cookies with the lemon glaze.
Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir with a spoon until the glaze is smooth. Use the spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cookies.
Pro Tips for Making This Recipe
- Use a scale to weigh the flour and the unsalted butter. Too much flour and the cookies will be a little dry. Too little flour and the cookies will spread too much.
- A cookie scoop is a helpful tool to ensure all your cookie balls are the same size and bake evenly.
- Let the baking sheets cool in between batches of cookies. Placing the cookie dough on a warm baking sheet will cause the cookies to spread thin.
- The cookie dough can be baked the same day, but chilling the dough for at least 24 hours will improve the flavor.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
No, it's unsafe to consume raw dough and batters that contain eggs.
The second and third batches will spread more if you are placing the cookie dough on warm baking sheets.
Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to five days. The cookies are best enjoyed within three days, if they last that long.
If You Like This Recipe, Try These Recipes
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Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- 2 1/4 (281 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons (27 grams) poppy seeds
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest about 3 lemons
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large (50 grams) egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (115 grams) powdered sugar
- 5 teaspoons lemon juice
- Place the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together for about 30 seconds to combine the ingredients.
- Place the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Zest the lemons directly into the bowl on top of the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar for about 1 minutes until the sugar turns a light yellow and starts to clump together like wet sand. Juice the lemons until you have about 2 tablespoons.
- Add the brown sugar and the butter to the bowl of the mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed and beat for 3 minutes until the dough is cream and lighter in color. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Scrape the dough off the paddle attachment.
- Add the egg and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds until it is well incorporated and the dough looks creamy. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until both are incorporated. Scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the dough and mix on low speed until the flour is fully incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle attachment to ensure the dough is fully mixed and to mix in any flour that is on the sides of the bowl.
- Scrape the dough into a smaller bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two half baking sheets with parchment paper. If you only have one baking sheet, always wait until the baking sheet has completely cooled before placing raw cookie dough on the baking sheet.
- Scoop 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of the cookie dough and place them in a 3-2-3-2 pattern on the cookie sheet about 2-inches apart. An easy way to scoop the cookies is to use a #40 cookie scoop, which holds about 2 tablespoons.
- Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes until the edges are light golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before moving the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- If you want perfectly round cookies as soon as the cookies come out of the oven place a round cookie cutter around one of the cookies on the baking sheet. (It should be bigger than the cookie, and therefore not cut off any of the edges.) Then, use the cookie cutter to mold the edges of the cookie from uneven to perfectly round, using a swirling motion.
- While the cookies are cooling make the lemon glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and the lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until the lumps disappear and the glaze is smooth. The glaze should be thin enough to slowly fall from the spoon in a steady stream so that you can drizzle the glaze over the cookie with a spoon.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.