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Looking for sunshine in the form of cookies? These soft lemon coconut cookies answer the call. This recipe is for the citrus fans among us as the zesty tartness of lemon takes center stage, balanced by the naturally sweet and creamy undertone of coconut. It's the perfect flavor combo to brighten your day!
When life gives you lemons, skip the lemonade and make THESE buttery, light, and refreshing lemon coconut cookies! Your house will smell delicious as you prepare these easy cookies where zesty meets a little tropical twist, crowned with a tangy yet sweet glaze.
These soft lemon cookies are perfect for teatime, picnics, summer parties, potlucks, or as a refreshing dessert after a meal.
Gather these ingredients to make your chewy lemon coconut cookies:
- Butter: Softened, unsalted butter adds richness and moisture.
- Granulated sugar: Provides sweetness to balance the tartness of lemon.
- Egg: One large egg acts as a binding agent.
- Lemon zest: For the burst of citrus.
- All-purpose flour: Forms the structural base of the cookies.
- Fine coconut: Balances the lemon flavor. (Keep some to garnish!)
- Baking powder: Makes the cookies lighter and fluffier.
- Sea salt: Enhances the overall flavor.
- The glaze: Powdered sugar and lemon juice combine to make a sweet and tangy glaze.
- Optional ingredients: Lemon oil will intensity the lemon flavor, and a few drops of yellow food coloring will add a vibrant color.
These coconut lemon cookies are as simple as mixing everything in one bowl, baking, then glazing. These are the instructions:
- Preheat and prep: While the oven is preheating, line a baking tray with parchment paper or a baking mat. Then, in a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
- Make the dough: Throw in the egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and if you are using the lemon oil and food coloring, add them too. Beat to combine. Then, add flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt to the mixture and beat together again.
- Shape and bake: Use a cookie scoop or spoon to portion the cookie dough into balls, then flatten them to three-inch rounds. Put the trays in the oven for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned at the edges. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely.
- Glaze: While the cookies are in the oven, making your house smell divine, make the glaze by mixing the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl. Once the cookies are completely cooled to room temperature, pour the glaze over them and sprinkle with a little coconut. Enjoy your lemon coconut cookies!
More lemon dessert recipes
Lemon desserts hold a special place in our heart – there is just something about them! The delicate balance of tartness and sweetness is such a refreshing way to finish a meal. Looking for other zesty ways to round out dinner? Try this lemon curd or easy lemon meringue pie, or try our other lemon recipes.
Why do lemon and coconut work so well together
Lemon and coconut join forces as a heavenly dessert duo! Lemon is bright, tart, and citrusy, whereas the coconut contributes a creamy, sweet, and tropical note. The secret behind this flavor pairing comes down to contrast. It's all about striking balance:
- Flavor: The lemon cuts through the creaminess of the coconut, and the coconut smoothens out the zesty tartness of the lemon.
- Texture: The lemon juice delivers a citrus burst, while the zest adds a subtle chewiness that complements the slight crumble of the coconut.
- Acidity: Lemon is acidic, whereas the coconut is creamy. The lemon cuts through the rich coconut, resulting in a refreshing and lighter taste.
Can I make these dairy-free, vegan, or gluten-free?
Yes, you can! Swapping out ingredients will alter the final taste and texture slightly, but they will still taste great while catering to various dietary requirements.
Dairy-free – Substitute the butter for your favorite plant-based butter.
Vegan – To go fully vegan, you'll also need to swap out the egg in addition to the butter. Use a plant-based egg substitute, such as flax eggs. The ratio for this is for every egg in the recipe, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Note: we have not tested this recipe with flax eggs and offer it only as a possible solution if you can't eat eggs.
Gluten-free – Switch out the all-purpose flour for a gluten-free blend. Make sure it has a binding agent, like xanthan gum, or add the binder separately. Always check product labels to ensure they are certified gluten-free.
How long do these keep?
If you manage to have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3-5 days.
What's the difference between fine coconut and shredded coconut?
The primary difference is the size of the coconut pieces and the texture. Fine coconut has a powdery texture resembling breadcrumbs. Shredded coconut, as the name suggests, is made of longer, thin strands of coconut and has a chewier texture. This recipe calls for fine coconut, but you can use some shredded coconut as garnish.
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- Zest from 1 lemon
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon lemon oil and a few drops of yellow food colouring
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup fine coconut (plus a little extra for garnish)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 (or 4 if you have them) 11×13 inch baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, lemon zest, lemon juice and, if using, the lemon oil and food coloring and beat to combine.1 cup softened butter, 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, 1 large egg, Zest from 1 lemon, ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, Optional: ¼ teaspoon lemon oil and a few drops of yellow food colouring
- Add the flour, coconut, baking powder, and sea salt and beat until just combined.2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup fine coconut, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Scoop cookie dough using a ¼ cup measuring cup or cookie scoop and roll them into a ball. Press down the tops so you have 3-inch rounds. Bake the cookies, 2 sheets at a time, for 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely.
- While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Once the cookies have cooled completely, pour the glaze over top and sprinkle with a little coconut.1 cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.