If you ask someone if they bake homemade cookies, they would probably say chocolate chip or some form of Christmas cookies. But as the weather gets warmer, you might be looking for something with a “brighter” flavor. After looking through some lemon cookie recipes, I decided to put my own spin on it and came up with these lemon lime cookies.
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They start off as most sugar cookies do, with creaming together butter and sugar, then adding vanilla extract and egg. You can do this with an electric hand mixer, but cookie dough comes together so easily in a stand mixer. I use this flex edge beater when I make any type of dough. Its silicone edge continually scrapes the side of the bowl, allowing for the ingredients to be evenly mixed in.
Lemon and Lime Essential Oils
However, the magic happens when drops of lemon and lime essential oils are added to the dough. The oils add a pop of true citrus flavor. They are made by cold pressing the rinds of fruits to produce the oils. It takes 25 lemons to make 5 mL of essential oil, which is why you only need a few drops in this recipe.
Make sure that the essential oils you use are intended for culinary use. Some brands add fillers that are not consumable. I use the Young Living brand of essential oils. They have a line of culinary oils called Vitality Oils. They come in 5 mL bottles. However, many of these Vitality oils are also sold in 15 mL bottles that are not labeled as Vitality Oils, but there are the exact same oils. So the larger bottles are a better buy, especially if you are going to use them frequently.
If you are interested in purchasing Young Living Vitality Oils and would like to become a member so that you can get the wholesale discounted price, click here. (Disclosure: This is my Young Living Distributor link.)
I use three drops of lime oil every day in what’s known as the “Red Drink.” It is made with two ounces of Ningxia Red wolfberry juice, 1/4 teaspoon of Sulfurzyme powder, 3 drops of lime essential oil, and about 24 ounces of water. This combination is high in antioxidants. I mix up a batch of this every morning and keep it in a glass water bottle.
The lemon essential oil is great in diffuser blends. When combined with lavender and peppermint essential oils in a diffuser, it can provide relief from seasonal symptoms that affect many in the springtime.
I always have lemon and lime essential oils in my kitchen. But you can also make these lemon lime cookies using fresh or bottled lemon juice and lime juice. I find that using essential oils gives the cookies a more pronounced citrus flavor. If you are using fresh lemons and limes, add in some zest from each to give the dough some zing.
Handy Mixer Tip!
When you add in the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) begin by putting your mixer at the lowest speed. Gradually work up to a medium speed. To prevent the flour from wafting out of the bowl and all over your kitchen, drape a dishtowel over your mixer for the first 10 seconds or so.
Perfect Assemble-Ahead Freezer Cookies
You can freeze the dough for these cookies once they are rolled into balls and coated in powdered sugar. Put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set. Then transfer them to a zippered freezer bag. I write the baking info on the bag to make it easy to bake them without having to find the recipe. You can keep these in the freezer for up to six months. Whenever you get a craving, you can pop a few of these on some parchment paper in an air fryer at 350 degrees for a few minutes.
I never thought I would really need an air fryer. But Instant Pot came out with an air fryer lid that fits the 6 quart Instant Pot that I already had. Now the one countertop appliance does double duty. I line the basket with these parchment rounds, which fit perfectly and come perforated to allow for airflow. Typically, things cook faster in an air fryer than in an oven, so check them after 5 minutes. If they have not turned golden brown on the bottom yet, continue to air fry in increments of 1-2 minutes.
You can also put them right from the freezer onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in a regular oven for 12-13 minutes at 350 degrees. That’s why I make a big batch of this dough. I like being able to bake some right away, and put the rest in the freezer. Trust me, you will appreciate it when you can make freshly baked cookies in under 10 minutes whenever you want a delicious snack!
To Glaze or Not to Glaze Lemon Lime Cookies
If you like a subtle lemon flavor with just a little sweetness, you can leave the cookies unglazed. However, the glaze in this recipe is so easy to make, you can easily glaze some or all of the cookies. Just warm up some water in a bowl. Then stir in the powdered sugar. For some extra brightness, add a drop of either lemon or lime essential oil to the glaze. If the glaze is too thick, add another 1/2 teaspoon of water. If the glaze is too thin, add another teaspoon of powdered sugar. It should be thin enough to drizzle off the spoon, but thick enough to be opaque.
Depending on the heat and humidity in your kitchen, the glaze will be set in just a few minutes.
Lemon Lime Cookies
- Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
- Cookie Scoop (optional)
For the Cookie Dough:
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 10 drops lemon essential oil or 1 tsp lemon juice
- 10 drops lime essential oil or 1 tsp lime juice
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
For the Glaze (optional)
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 drop lemon essential oil (optional)
- 1 drop lime essential oil (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet or sheet pan.
- Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat together the butter and granulated sugar until combined. Make sure the butter has been softened to room temperature by letting it sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes (2 hours if the butter was in the freezer).
- Add the vanilla extract, egg, and lemon and lime essential oils.* (You can substitute fresh or bottled lemon juice and lime juice.) Beat at medium speed until combined.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. If you are using a stand mixer, cover the bowl with a dishtowel to contain the dry ingredients until they are incorporated.
- Put 3/4 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl.
- Use a 1-inch cookie scoop to portion the dough. Roll the dough between your hands. Roll each ball of dough in the powdered sugar to fully coat it. Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. (If there is leftover powdered sugar, save it for the glaze.)
- (If you are freezing the dough, put all the cookie dough balls onto one baking sheet, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set. Then transfer the cookie dough balls into a zippered freezer bag, squeezing out the air. Label the bag with the baking directions for future reference. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.)
- Bake for 10-11 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. (If you are baking them right out of the freezer, bake for 12-13 minutes.) Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
For the Glaze (optional)
- Put 3 Tbsp of water in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the 1 cup of powdered sugar. You can add 1 drop of lemon and/or lime essential oil for an extra boost of citrus flavor. The glaze should be thin enough to drizzle, so add 1/2 tsp of water at a time to reach the right consistency.
- Put a paper towel underneath the cooling rack to catch drips. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies. You can do a light glaze by quickly swinging the spoon back and forth over the cookies, or you can add a dollop of glaze on top of each cookie for a thicker coating.
- Make sure you are using essential oils that are safe for ingesting. The Young Living brand of essential oils makes a Vitality Oil line of edible oils in 5 mL bottles. These same oils are available in 15 mL bottles that are not labeled as Vitality, but it is the same oil and is still edible.
- If you are using fresh lemon juice and lime juice instead of essential oils, you can also add some lemon zest and lime zest to bring out the flavors.
- This recipe can easily be halved to make a smaller batch of about 2 dozen cookies.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.