Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies
Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies
This recipe was updated in December 2017 to reflect reader feedback. The original recipe can be found as a PDF here.

A few years back at one of our family gatherings, my Mama brought out a plate of these little, pale yellow cookies. They almost looked like unbaked sugar cookies. I really didn’t think anything of them. And then my husband had one, ran over to me and told me I had to go grab one immediately. I made my way over to the plate, grabbed one, took a bite, and was completely blown away.

They had a bright, sweet lemon flavor and the most incredibly chewy and smooth texture. The outside of these unassuming cookies didn’t do them justice at all, because they were, without a doubt, one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. And then I proceeded to camp out by the dessert table and eat my weight in these cookies.

Meet lemon drop cookies.

Stack of lemon cookies on a folded white napkin

I know, they really don’t look like much. I think it’s probably a defense mechanism. If they looked as incredibly tasty as they are, you’d never get them out of the kitchen. They’re in disguise. And hidden under that disguise is pure cookie magic.

Every time I’ve brought these lemon drop cookies somewhere, they’ve garnered the same reaction that I had the first time I tried them. At first appearance, people think they’re boring little sugar cookies, and then after a bite, people are over-the-moon, stumbling over themselves to get the recipe!

How do I make lemon drop cookies?

  1. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it is fragrant.
  2. Cream the butter with the lemon sugar in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer on medium speed.
  3. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix until combined. It may look curdled because of the lemon juice’s acidity, but I promise it will come together!
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the dough forms a ball. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon measuring spoon to portion out balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes—watch closely so they aren’t overbaked!
  7. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  8. Toss the cooled cookies in powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Help, my lemon cookies are too crispy!

Like all chewy cookie recipes, the absolute key to getting the texture right is closely monitoring your cooking time. As a matter of principle, I underbake all my cookie by 3-4 minutes less than what the recipes call for. These you have to watch like hawk. You want them to just be slightly (like, barely) browned on the bottom, and a beautiful pale yellow color on top. I wouldn’t leave the kitchen while these are baking, because 30-60 seconds in the oven too long, and your delicious, chewy cookies are instead delicious, crunchy cookies.

A stand mixer beater is covered in cookie dough.

You’ll be tempted to leave them longer because they seem just so liquidy and gooey, but I promise, as they cool, they’ll solidify. You want to err on the side of raw cookies on these guys. You want them to be jiggly enough that it’s a little hard to wiggle them onto a spatula to take them off the tray.

Trust me, no one will be upset if the middle of their cookie is a bit more like cookie dough that a cooked cookie.

Balls of cookie dough lined up on a cookie sheet

Lemon drop cookies cooling on a wire rack near a bowl of powdered sugar

Help, the cookies spread too much!

Another key to getting the perfect chewy cookie: cool cookie sheets. When you’ve taken your first batch of cookies out of the oven and transferred them to a cooling rack, don’t immediately go and place raw cookie dough on the hot cookie sheet. Instead, either wait 10-15 minutes for the cookie sheet to cool (or have a second cookie sheet that is cooling while your other one is the oven), or quickly run the sheet under cold water and dry it.

A warm cookie sheet starts the butter melting in cookies before they ever hit the oven, which means you’ll end up with a liquid mess of cookie instead of a perfect pillow of lemonness. Trust me on this one.

A hand rolls a baked lemon drop cookie in powdered sugar

 

Lemon drop cookie with a bite taken out of it

Stack of baked lemon cookies in front of a wire rack of cooling cookies

Will these lemon crinkle cookies work with other citrus fruits?

 

I haven’t tried veering away from the lemon flavor, but I’m sure this cookie could be equally incredible with other citrus flavors. Orange zest and juice, plus maybe a tiny pinch of ground cloves would make for a delicious, holiday-flavored cookie. And some key lime zest and juice would make for a cookie that is almost like a hand-held key lime pie! Or put lemon and lime in them and they could be Sprite/7Up cookies. Yum.

Enjoy!

Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies

Chewy Lemon Drop Cookies

Yield: About 20 cookies
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This recipe was updated in December 2017 to reflect reader feedback. The original recipe can be found as a PDF here.

Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies are perfectly little pillows of chewy lemonness. They look unassuming, but might be the best cookie ever made!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (125 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) lemon extract
  • 2 cups (242 grams) all-purpose flour (see note for gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the lemon zest and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using your hands, rub the zest into the sugar for a minute or so until the mixture is very fragrant.

  2. Add the butter. Using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and lemon sugar, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.

  3. Add the lemon juice, honey, vanilla extract, and lemon extract and beat until combined. The mixture may look curdled because of the lemon juice.

  4. Add the flour, baking soda, and sea salt, and beat until the dough comes together and begins to form a ball. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  6. Form the dough into balls about an inch and a half in diameter and place them two inches apart on a cool, ungreased cookie sheet.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden brown.

  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  9. Once the cookies have cooled, toss them in powdered sugar and serve. Store extras in an airtight container.

Notes

To make these cookies gluten free, use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1-to-1 Baking Flour instead of all-purpose flour. If the dough has difficulty coming together, add up to two tablespoons (18 grams) of additional 1-to-1 flour and mix again.

If you are using just one cookie sheet, be sure to let it cool completely before using it to bake another set of cookies. If the cookie sheet is warm when you add the dough balls, the cookies will spread too much.

A 3/4-ounce small cookie scoop is very handy for portioning out the dough, but a tablespoon measure also works.

The original version of this recipe can be found as a PDF here.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 2 cookies
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 26mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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78 Comments

  1. These did not work at all! I followed the recipe to a T. I am an experienced baker and the cookies did not set, only spread like pancakes when baking. I tried freezing my dough after making the ball shapes for baking. They still spread. If you think about it, the honey should be substituted for sugar, more flour added – maybe then thwy would be more like shortbread? Perhaps an egg would add the protein binder that these lack. The flavor profile is there, but did not bake well at all.

  2. Hi!

    I am a sucker for lemony treats and was really excited to try out this recipe. The taste of the cookie itself was delish! However, I wouldn’t say that they are “chewy”, they were soft and light but had zero of the chewy texture I was expecting.. My cookies didn’t flattened either like the photos. They remained in little balls originally formed. I will mold them next time so that they resemble cookies rather than odd dough balls. Otherwise, they were good!

  3. Just made these and they turned out teribbly! Not sure what I did wrong 🙁 The dough was almost “moussey” when I put them on the cool pans and now they are round spongey messes and have to throw the whole batch out. Any idea what happened?

    1. Sounds like you may have over mixed your dough. Mix just till it comes together, for traditional thick cookie texture we don’t want to incorporate too much air and have mousse like dough as you say. Possibly you had more lemon juice than average, and could try balancing it out a Tb at a time with flour until your dough comes back together? Give it a second try! Learning problem solving in the kitchen turns a good baker into an awesome baker and is so worth the time.

  4. These look delicious! Does the powdered sugar go into the cookie dough, or is that ingredient only for dusting the cookies after baking?

  5. How much lemon zest and lemon juice are needed? I’ve never used lemon zest before and I’m not sure how to go about it.

    1. The 2nd line of the recipe says the zest and lemon juice from one lemon.
      Average juice from a medium size lemon is about 3 Tablespoons.

      This might be where previous posters have not gotten enough lemon flavor, or had difficulties with the dough.
      The lemons I have in the fridge are very small, so I might use 1 1/2 or 2, and will definitely be measuring my juice to get at least 3 Tbl
      Good Luck

  6. Just made these and they are tasty, though I would like a stronger lemon flavor. However, mine lost their puffiness as soon as they were out of the oven. I’m not sure what went wrong. And yet, they did not last!