Key lime sugar cookies are soft, chewy cookies bursting with bright citrus flavor. The lime glaze on top adds even more lime flavor, making this the perfect cookie recipe for spring or summer!
There are two things I majorly love: sugar cookies and key lime. This recipe marries the 2 into one happy cookie recipe!
We just spent last week on Anna Maria Island so I’m all about sunshine and everything key lime! (By the way…have you ever had Publix Key Lime Pie? It’s SO GOOD. I could have eaten the whole thing myself, but don’t tell anyone, haha!)
Lime desserts are popular any time of the year, but especially as the weather turns warmer. At nearly every summer party, someone requests that I make Key Lime Sheet Cake or Creamy Lime Pie. Since I love both of those desserts, creating a cookie recipe that tastes like key lime pie makes perfect sense.
What’s the difference between key lime and lime?
Although they are both green citrus fruits, there is a big difference between key limes and regular limes.
Key limes, also known as Mexican limes, are smaller in size than the kind you’ll find in most U.S. stores. By the way, the larger limes are commonly known as “Tahitian limes” or “Persian limes”. I’ve heard that if you want tart key lime flavor, you DO NOT use Persian limes.
Don’t let the small size mislead you, though; the flavor of key lime juice is big and bold! Key limes are more aromatic and have more tartness than Persian limes, and they typically have more seeds, too.
Key Lime Sugar Cookies Recipe Notes
Here are a few hints for THE BEST sugar cookies:
To give your key lime sugar cookies the best lime flavor, use lime juice and zest from fresh key limes. Bottled lime juice is made from concentrate, so the flavor isn’t nearly as bright and citrusy. If you do use bottled, use Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice.
Make sure the butter is at room temperature but not melted. It should give just slightly when you touch it. This will help the cookies not spread too much during baking.
We add white chocolate chips for a little texture and flavor. You can leave these out for a flatter cookie if you’d like.
Scoop the cookie dough, then refrigerate. This dough is sticky and by refrigerating for just 30 minutes, you can easily roll smooth, round dough balls for pretty cookies after the scooped dough chills.
Bake the cookies on a light colored baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Dark colored cookie sheets will make the bottom of the cookies darker.
For the softest cookies, don’t over bake them. If you scoop the dough into about tablespoon cookie dough balls (1 to 1 1 /2 tablespoons gets about 21 cookies) it will take about 7 minutes to bake. Don’t let the edges get browned.
Allow the cookies to set and cool on the baking pan for a few minutes, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Powdered Sugar Icing for Sugar Cookies
The powdered sugar glaze for these cookies couldn’t be easier. Simply use a mix of powdered sugar and lime juice. Whisk the two ingredients together, then spoon it on top of the cookies.
Allow the glaze to set completely before you store the cookies. Because of the glaze, it is best not to stack the cookies.
What can I use instead of key lime juice?
If you can’t find fresh key limes, mix equal parts Persian lime juice and fresh lemon juice as a substitute. If you get in a bind and need lime juice concentrate, use Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice. It is known to have the most authentic flavor and you can find it in most grocery stores.
Key limes are usually available all year long at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Check with the produce manager at the grocery store you shop at, too. Depending on the season, they may special order them for you. There are also places online where you can buy fresh produce, including key limes. Because of shipping costs, you’ll typically pay quite a bit more for them, though.
Can key lime sugar cookies be frozen?
These cookies freeze very well; just be sure to cool completely before freezing. Wrap the cookies in plastic freezer storage bags or an airtight freezable container before transferring them to a freezer. Once frozen, the cookies will stay good for 2-3 months.
When you defrost the cookies, allow them to come to room temperature before you open the container or unwrap them. I know…it’s hard because frozen cookies are so good! If you allow them to defrost completely before removing them from the packaging, this will help the cookies to retain their moisture.
How long do sugar cookies last after baking?
If you’re not freezing them, key lime sugar cookies will stay fresh for 5-7 days. Just be sure to wrap them well or keep them in an airtight container.
Key Lime Sugar Cookies
4.5 from 26 votes
Key lime sugar cookies are soft, chewy cookies with key lime glaze; They simply burst with bright citrus flavor!
Line a light colored baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat. (Dark baking sheets make the cookies brown fast on the bottom.)
In a small bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix together until combined.
In another bowl, add the butter and sugar and mix until the texture is smooth and creamy. Add in the egg, vanilla, lime juice and zest and mix until combined.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
Add in the white chocolate chips and fold until mixed in.
Use a cookie scoop to place the cookie dough in tablespoon (1 to 1 ½ tablespoons is good for these cookies) scoops on the baking sheet. You should get 20-24 cookies.
Refrigerate the scooped cookie dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Once the cookie dough is chilled, roll the scoops into smooth balls. Don't handle the dough too much, just roll for a few seconds to get the ball smooth.
Bake for 7-8 minutes (mine were done in 7). Do not overbake! Allow the cookies to cool a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Once cooled, mix together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of lime juice to form a glaze. Add the ½ tablespoon of lime juice if needed to get it to a drizzling consistency (I usually use 1 ½ tablespoons). Drizzle teaspoon amount of glaze on each cookie, sprinkle with zest and allow to set so the icing can harden. Enjoy!
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 24 cookies, with 1 serving being 1 iced cookie. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**