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!

lemon poppy seed cookies covered in lemon sugar.

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!

If lemon recipes are your jam, try my lemon bar cake or lemon raspberry muffins next!

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

ingredients needed to make lemon cookies in bowls with labels.

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: Like in my lemon brownies, I recommend using fresh lemons for the best flavor! You can substitute lemon extract if you don’t have any on hand.

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!

Recipe Instructions

lemon sugar in a bowl.

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!

a mixing bowl with sugar, brown sugar, and butter.

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.

creamed butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with eggs.

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.

lemon cookie dough in a mixing bowl.

Step 4: Mix in the dry ingredients. Mix in the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and poppy seeds until just combined.

lemon poppy seed cookie dough on a tray before freezing.

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.

lemon poppy seed cookie with lemon glaze drizzled on top.

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 a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is my #1 baking tip! If you do not have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

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!

FAQs

What’s the best way to store lemon poppy cookies?

Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.

I don’t like poppy seeds, can I leave them out?

Absolutely! Feel free to leave them out completely.

If I don’t have fresh lemons, can I use lemon extract instead?

You can use lemon extract, but the lemon flavor will not be as bright and fresh.

lemon poppy seed cookies cut in half to show their chewy texture.

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 poppy seed cookies.

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

5 from 5 votes
– by Cambrea Gordon

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 are the best to serve for any occasion.
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 24 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 27 cookies
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookie Dough

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 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 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Lemon Glaze (for topping)

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 teaspoons lemon juice

Lemon Sugar (for topping)

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, zested

Instructions

  • 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.
    1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar, 1 1/2 whole lemons, 12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
  • Mix in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract until just combined.
    1 large (52 g) whole egg, 1 large (18 g) 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 (265 g) all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 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.
    3/4 cup (75 g) 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, 1/2 lemon

Notes

*Measure your flour properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
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 64F and 68F. Stick a thermometer into the center of your butter stick to know when it’s ready!
Storage: Store any baked lemon poppy seed cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Freezing: The cookie dough balls must be baked frozen. They can be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months!
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Love these cookies! I’m a sucker for lemon desserts, is it my old soul? Soft, chewy, lemony with more lemon zest on top. Yes, please! Delicious as always!5 stars

  2. These cookies had a very interesting flavor I was so impressed! Ive been on your website a few times and i have made a couple of different recipes, but this one was the biggest hit! Thank you!

    Johnathan Manzeile5 stars

    1. I’m so glad to hear that Johnny! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a review! 🙂

  3. This is such a good recipe! I wasn’t a huge fan of lemon until recently and I liked them much more than I thought I would! Perfect recipe as always!!5 stars

  4. Christian says:

    We loved these lemon cookies! Made them for Easter and everyone preferred the lemon sugar topping over the glaze, but obviously both were delicious! The lemon flavor was so bright and fresh and they had the perfect bakery-style chewy texture with really soft centers. Make sure you don’t over bake them and they turn out perfect every time!5 stars