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.
- 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.
- There is no need to refrigerate this cookie dough (yay!). Flatten the cookies just slightly after they are on the pan. The cookies won’t spread much, but will poof slightly during baking, so it really depends on the look you are going for.
- For the softest cookies, don’t over bake them. 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.
**Pro Tip: Key limes are usually available all year long at Trader Joes 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.
Other Sugar Cookie Recipes
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
- Refrigerated Sugar Cookies
- Chewy Sugar Cookies
- Spiced Chai Sugar Cookies
- Buttermilk Sugar Cookies
Key Lime Sugar Cookies
For the Cookies:
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon key lime zest
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
For the Lime Glaze:
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- Zest from a lime to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a light coating of non stick spray.
- 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.
- Create cookie dough balls in a tablespoon amount, roll them in your hand and flatten a little. The cookies will rise a small amount but they do not spread. Place them onto your cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-9 minutes, mine were done in 8. 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 lime juice to form a glaze. Drizzle teaspoon amount of glaze on each cookie, sprinkle with zest and allow to set so the icing can harden. Enjoy!