Get ready lemon lovers, these soft lemon poppy seed cookies are bursting with fresh lemon flavor and poppy seeds! Perfectly sweet and tart, these lemon cookies taste even better than those from a bakery!
Working in bakeries for 6+ years meant smelling fresh lemon poppy seed muffins every morning straight from the oven.
Drawing inspiration from the classic muffin, I've created these soft and chewy lemon poppy seed cookies! They have the same tangy lemon flavor and crunchy poppy seed texture as my lemon poppy seed cake and lemon poppy seed cupcakes but in cookie form!
Why We Love Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- Chewy cookies: They are incredibly chewy with soft and gooey centers.
- Fresh lemon flavor: Like my lemon strawberry blondies, they are packed with fresh lemon flavor, making them perfect for anyone who loves all things lemon!
- Perfect for spring: With their bright and fresh flavor, they are perfect to make for any special occasion in spring or summer, like Easter, or Mother's Day!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Egg and egg yolk: You will need one whole egg and one egg yolk. The extra yolk provides extra richness and moisture to the dough, just like in my lemon bar cookies!
Lemon zest: I recommend using fresh lemons for the best flavor! If you don't have any on hand, you can substitute lemon extract.
Poppy seeds: You can find them at any grocery store in the spice aisle. The poppy seeds give the lemon cookies a subtle crunchy texture and nutty flavor. Feel free to leave them out!
Step 1: Make the lemon sugar. Rub the zest into the granulated sugar. This bakery secret releases the natural lemon oils from the zest and packs the cookies with SO much lemon flavor!
Step 2: Cream the butter and sugar. Into a stand mixing bowl, cream together the light brown sugar and unsalted butter until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Mix in the wet ingredients. Mix in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Step 4: Mix in the dry ingredients. Mix in the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and poppy seeds until just combined.
Step 5: Scoop and chill the cookie dough. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Chill the lemon poppy seed cookies in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours, overnight is best.
Step 6: Bake! Bake the frozen cookies spaced at least 2 inches apart until the edges are just set and lightly golden brown but the middles are puffy and underbaked.
Step 7: Decorate! Once cool, make the lemon icing. You'll know it's thick enough by drizzling a line onto your finger. If it holds its shape, it's good!
Drizzle the lemon glaze over the tops of the cookies. If you prefer lemon sugar, once they are out of the oven, sprinkle the tops with the sugar and gently press it into the tops. Both of these are optional but really pack more lemon flavor!
Top Baking Tips
Use cool room-temperature butter. One of the most common issues I see amongst readers when making a cookie recipe is using butter that is too warm. The perfect temperature range is between 64 and 68F. Stick a thermometer into the center of your butter stick to know when it's ready!
Use room-temperature eggs. This creates a smooth, fully blended cookie dough that will result in evenly baked cookies.
Don't overbake. For best results, bake the cookies only until the edges are lightly golden brown and the middles are still pale and underbaked. This will ensure you have super chewy and tender lemon poppy cookies!
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Absolutely! Feel free to leave them out completely.
You can use lemon extract, but the lemon flavor will not be as bright and fresh.
More Citrusy Lemon Desserts
If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you're there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!
Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
Lemon Poppy Seed Cookie Dough
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ whole lemons zested
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cool room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large whole egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- 2 cups + 2 tablepsoons all-purpose flour *see notes for measuring flour*
- 1 ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
Lemon Glaze (for topping)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
Lemon Sugar (for topping)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ lemon zested
- Before you start. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until it resembles wet sand and is very fragrant. Pour the sugar into a stand mixing bowl and add the butter and light brown sugar. Cream until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ whole lemons, 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 cup light brown sugar
- Mix in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until just combined.1 large whole egg, 1 large egg yolk, 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
- Mix in the flour, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until just combined.2 cups + 2 tablepsoons all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Scoop the cookie dough with a medium (two-tablespoon) cookie scoop onto the prepared baking pan. You should have roughly 27 cookie dough balls. Chill the tray in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours, overnight is best!
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
- Bake the frozen cookies spaced at least two inches apart for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden brown but the centers are still puffy and underbaked. Let the tray cool on a wire rack before decorating.
- For the lemon glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with extra lemon zest and poppy seeds if desired.¾ cup powdered sugar, 3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
- For lemon sugar topping: Rub together the lemon zest and sugar. Straight out of the oven, sprinkle the sugar over the tops of the cookies and gently press it into the tops. You must do it right after baking or the sugar will just fall off!3 tablespoons granulated sugar, ½ lemon
The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.