Key Lime Cookies

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Key Lime Cookies are soft, chewy sugar 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 Key Lime Cookies recipe marries the 2 into one sweet and tangy treat.

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, Creamy Lime Pie, mini key lime pies or traditional key lime pie. Creating a key lime cookie recipe that tastes like that tart pie made perfect sense.

overhead view of key lime sugar cookies on a baking sheet

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.

Tips for Making Key Lime Cookies

Here are a few hints for THE BEST key lime 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 must use bottled, use Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice.
  • The butter should be 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.
  • White chocolate chips add 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 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.

The Pop of Flavor: A Tangy Lime Glaze

The powdered sugar glaze for these key lime cookies couldn’t be easier, and it’s what gives the cookies a pop of tangy lime flavor.

Simply use a mix of powdered sugar and lime juice. Whisk the two ingredients together, then spoon it on top of the cooled cookies.

Allow the glaze to set completely before you store the cookies. Because of the glaze, it is best not to stack the cookies.

adding lime glaze to the top of key lime sugar cookies

Pro Tip

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.

Storage Instructions

Key lime cookies will stay fresh for 5-7 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

These cookies freeze very well. Cool completely before freezing. Wrap the cookies in plastic freezer storage bags or an airtight freezer 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.

overhead view of key lime cookies on a baking sheet
overhead view of key lime cookies on a baking sheet

Key Lime Cookies

4.59 from 105 votes
Key Lime Cookies are soft, chewy sugar 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.
Servings 17
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes

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Ingredients
 

For the Cookies:

For the Lime Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 86 grams
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • Zest from a lime to sprinkle on top

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 17 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.**

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 166
Keyword easy sugar cookie recipe, key lime desserts
About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Tammy
1 year ago

5 stars
This was phenomenal. I took these to a party, and everyone loved them. If I make them again, I would cover the zest with plastic wrap so it isn’t dried out when it is time to ice the cookies. I also made more icing and added a bit of lime green. Absolutely delicious. Thanks so much.

Janine
1 year ago

I skipped the scooping part. Once the dry and wet ingredients were well mixed, I rolled the dough to a log and chilled it, then I simply cut it into 1/2 inch slices and baked it..
Took me a little longer than 8 minutes. I baked them for aprox. 12 – 13 minutes. Guess it depends on the oven…

Paula
2 years ago

This is a tasty recipe and easy to make. We didn’t care for the 7-minute bake time as the cookies didn’t spread enough. The thickness of the dough caused them to be quite under cooked and tasting a bit like raw flour. After they had completely cooled, we put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes until they were slightly brown on the bottom. This is not ideal baking, but since no one liked the raw flour taste we had nothing to lose. The extra bake time helped. On the second pan of cookies, we did not chill… Read more »

Cara
2 years ago

2 stars
I was a bit disappointed. Mine were pretty sticky …as the others were… But they ended up pretty dry and cakelike. I’ll be looking for a different recipe.