Celebrate spring and the warmer summer weather with these refreshing Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies. They bake up soft & chewy inside with a sugary crunch on the outside. If you love lemon, you'll love these zesty cookies that just pop with lemon flavor!
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Lemon Desserts and Sweets
These zesty lemon cookies with poppy seeds are the perfect cookie for any occasion! They're easy to make and bake up with a wonderful soft cake-like texture. These cookies are bursting with tart, refreshing lemon flavor, making them the perfect way to say hello to spring and summer.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade - and so much more! You can make the best lemon desserts, muffins, and other sweets like Lemon Chiffon Cake, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, and Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.
Why You'll Love Lemon Cookies with Poppy Seeds
Summer treat - These cookies taste like sunshine in cookie form!
Light & refreshing - fresh lemon juice and zest make these cookies tangy and bright for a summer treat.
Soft & crunchy - the perfect combination of soft cookies and crunchy poppy seeds.
Easy to make - simple ingredients & less than 30 minutes is all it takes
- Poppy Seeds
- White Granulated Sugar
- Lemon extract
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose Flour
- Baking Powder
How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
These cookies take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The hardest part, which isn't hard at all, is making the lemon butter. Just zest a few lemons, squeeze them for their delicious juice then make a little lemon butter. (which, by the way, is great on seafood dishes too).
- Place ½ cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl.
- Cream well for 3 minutes.
- Melt ½ cup butter and lemon juice together in a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan.
- Add lemon butter and egg to creamed mixture.
- Beat for another 3 minutes.
- Add the extracts and lemon zest and beat well.
- Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Add the dry ingredients to the lemon batter.
- Mix at a low speed until combined.
- Sprinkle in the poppy seeds.
- Stir the dough to evenly distribute the poppy seeds.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a nongreased cookie sheet.
- Make a lemon sugar by placing ¼ cup sugar and a teaspoon of lemon zest on a plate and pinch it together. Dip a flat-bottomed glass into the sugar.
- Use it to lightly press down the cookies then sprinkle with additional poppy seeds.
- Bake at 375°F for 11 minutes or until the outer edges just start to turn brown.
Soft & chewy with the nutty flavor of poppy seeds and a sweet crunchy bite on the outside from lemon sugar, these are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make these bright, refreshing cookies all summer long for the perfect snack. Enjoy!
- Have all ingredients at room temperature before making the cookies.
- Zest lemons before juicing for the easiest preparation.
- Use Meyer lemons if available. They are sweeter than regular lemons.
- Do not overbake the cookies. You want them to be soft and chewy.
2CM Tip: For extra lemony flavor, use your fingers to rub lemon zest into sugar until it looks like wet sand. This releases lemon oil from the zest and gives it a more intense lemon flavor.
Iced Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies - Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You may need to add more lemon juice until it is the right consistency for drizzling. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies.
Lemon Poppy Seed Sandwich Cookies - Make lemon buttercream frosting by mixing ½ cup of room temperature butter with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt. Spread the frosting on the bottom half of the cookies and top them with the remaining cookies.
Make Ahead Cookie Dough
After preparing the dough, scoop it onto a baking sheet, press with lemon sugar then freeze it instead of baking. Once frozen, transfer the frozen dough to a plastic freezer bag.
You can bake the frozen dough by adding just a couple of minutes to the baking time.
How to Store
After the cookies have cooled, place them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to 5 days.
You can freeze the cooled cookies in a freezer-safe container or plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks) divided
- 1 ¼ cups sugar divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, about 2 lemons
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds + additional for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan, melt lemon juice and 1 stick, ½ cup, of butter. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the remaining stick of butter with 1 cup sugar until light, about 3 minutes.
- Continue to beat while adding in egg and lemon butter. Whip for 3 minutes more.
- Mix in vanilla and lemon extracts and 2 teaspoons of zest.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to lemon butter mixture, mixing at low speed until combined. Stir in poppy seeds.
- On a flat plate, mix together ¼ cup sugar with 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest. Pinch large fingerfuls of zest into the sugar until well mixed. This will help flavor the sugar more thoroughly.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place them about 2" apart as they will spread slightly.
- Using a flat-bottomed glass, dip it into the lemon-sugar mixture then press it lightly onto the top of the cookies, flattening slightly. Sprinkle with additional poppy seeds.
- Bake for 11-13 minutes or until just starting to brown around edges. Cool on cookie sheets for about 2-4 minutes then remove to wire racks to finish cooling. Store in airtight container.
This post has been updated with an easier recipe and new photos. It was first published on April 19, 2016.