Luscious Lime Cookies: It's lime time

lime cookies

Key lime pie, the smooth/creamy/tangy nirvana of tropical desserts, is a Florida restaurant cliché. You can’t travel 10 miles in the Sunshine State without finding a menu offering Key Lime Pie as a featured dessert.

And why not? It’s sweet, it’s rich, and it has the ability to tickle your tongue with its assertive sour-yet-tasty flavor. Key lime pie is what would happen if you combined a margarita with Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla.

But Key lime pie has its downside. It’s not something you’d make every day. Any kind of pie, no matter how basic, is kind of a project.

And it’s not easily transportable. I mean, you wouldn’t stick a slice of Key lime pie in your backpack and take it on a 10-mile hike. Or grab a slice to munch on in the car.

Enter lime cookies. They have that same wonderful lime flavor (even if they’re not strictly Key lime, but just plain old Persian lime). Stop right there if you like: coat ’em with confectioners’ sugar, and they’re starkly sweet-sour.

But add a smear of white chocolate icing, and they edge closer to Key lime pie-dom. Sweet-sour, creamy-crunchy, and eminently portable: that’s Luscious Lime Cookies.

If you’re a lime lover, lime oil and lime juice powder should be in your pantry.

OK, let me head off your questions right now: Can I make these cookies without lime oil and lime powder?

Sure. They won’t taste the same. Grated lime rind can only do so much. These are extra-strong concentrates; a little goes a long way.

Plus, with the price of limes these days, I’d rather save them for my drinks. You know, like limeade!

So let’s make Luscious Lime Cookies. I’ll show you two options for finishing them – one with white chocolate, one with extra lime flavor.


Combine the following in a bowl:

1/2 cup (4 ounces) softened butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons lime juice powder (depending on the degree of tartness you like)
1/2 teaspoon lime oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

*Reduce salt to 1/4 teaspoon if you’re using salted butter.


Mix in 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour.

Cover the dough, and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or as long as overnight.

Just before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F.

Drop the cookies by the teaspoonful onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. A level teaspoon cookie scoop does a great job here.

By the way, did you know that “teaspoonful,” in cookie-land, actually measures 2 level measuring teaspoons? The original teaspoon measure was simply a standard spoon – equivalent to 2 of our measuring teaspoons today (and also the volume of our teaspoon cookie scoop, pictured above).

Stagger them, as pictured, so they don’t run into each other while they’re baking.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes.

They’ll flatten gently as they bake.

When done, they’ll feel set, and be very lightly browned around the edges.

Now, if you choose to coat these in sugar rather than frost with white chocolate, place the following in a shallow dish or covered container:

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lime powder

I’m using a yogurt container here.

After the cookies have cooled for about 10 minutes (but still feel a bit warm), put 4 or 5 cookies at a time into the container…

…and gently shake to coat with the sugar.

Place them on a rack. Notice that some of the sugar soaks into the warm cookies. That’s OK; you’re going to coat them again.

Once the cookies are completely cool, coat them in the sugar a second time. The cookie on the bottom has had just one coat of sugar; on the top, a double coat.

How about spreading with white chocolate icing, instead of coating with sugar?

Be my guest!

Soften 2/3 cup (about 4 ounces) white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate in the microwave, stirring until smooth.

Dip the top of each cookie in the white chocolate…

…like this.

When you get down towards the end of the chocolate, you’ll need to spread it on with a table knife.

And how about flavoring the white chocolate with lime oil?

Well, you can; but it tints the chocolate kind of a weird color. If you don’t mind an odd look, go for it!

Sugared, or frosted?

Take your pick. Sugared are more lime-y; frosted, less messy.

If you’re a white chocolate fan, frosted is probably the way to go. The smooth, sweet chocolate plays very nicely with the assertively tangy lime in a very pretty way.

Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for Luscious Lime Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

P.S. Thanks to Jennifer, one of our readers, for suggesting putting Key lime and white chocolate together in a cookie. Here they are, Jennifer – enjoy!

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Mike T.

    Sounds great! I like lime, but not many others in my family, so I’ll probably use the lemon powder and oil as we all LOVE lemon! ;-)

    Absolutely – I should have mentioned that’s an easy substitute. Thanks, Mike! – PJH

  2. Sue

    Those variations all sound wonderful! I like the idea of Ben and Jerry’s coming up with a version of this too!! Maybe someone from there reads this blog and will start working on a it. :-)

  3. Kat DeFonce

    WOW!!! Give me citrus anytime and I’m in heaven! I also envision a version of raspberry with chocolate icing. I think I’ll have to set aside a cookie day and make all different flavors.

  4. Shirley Haflich

    The recipe says “drop by teaspoons”; The blog says “drop by tablespoons.” Which did you intend? This discrepancy would affect not only size, of course, but also baking time and texture.

    Hi Shirley,
    Good catch! The scoop used in the photos is a teaspoon scoop, so it should be teaspoons. I’ll let the web team know, eagle eyes! ;)

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

    All set – thanks, Shirley. – PJH

  5. Diane Kennedy

    Please let me know where I can get your lime powder and lime oil. Your cookies sound terrific. I’d like to try them.

    Hi Diane – Just go to the blog, and click on the links under the picture of the lime powder and lime oil. It’ll take you right to their pages on our site, where you can order them. Enjoy! – PJH

  6. Sue E. Conrad

    Oh-h-h, yum-m-m-m!!! These cookies I’ve just GOTTA try, seeing as how I live in FL. My husband and I love all things lime….and lemon, and mango – well, you get the idea!!! Will be printing off this recipe and adding it to my collection. Now, if only I could only convince Yoplait to carry Key Lime Pie yogurt in Florida, I’d be a most happy camper!!

  7. Wendy

    These look amazing! I love lime and adding white chocolate makes my mouth water! Being a Mainer, I would love to know where to find your Maine bisquit recipe… my grandfather was a champion bisquit maker but I have not been able to find his recipe…

    Wendy, my favorite Maine biscuit recipe is on the back of the Maine Bakewell Cream can. A very similar and excellent one is our Guaranteed Biscuits online. Enjoy! – PJH

  8. Lynn Rogers

    These look absolutely wonderful, but it’s a dirty trick to feature these when the lime oil is unavailable on your website. When do you suppose we’ll be able to get it?

    Lynn, sorry – we’re a victim of our own success here. Had a huge spike in orders for the lime oil and powder. The oil is supposedly due back in stock Thursday, so hang tight… – PJH

  9. Mike T.


    I just made them with the lemon powder and lemon oil and they came out great! I also used the non-melting powdered sugar ( and they look great. My only problem is mine didn’t seem to hold their shape like yours did. They came out about 1/4″ or less in height.

    Any suggestions?

    Did you use KA unbleached all-purpose flour? Did you weigh the confectioner’s sugar(too much sugar promotes cookie spread)? Did you use real butter? These are all considerations. Also, mine weren’t very tall either, as you can see in the blog – maybe 3/8″? – Youmight be thinking they shuld be taller than they really are… – PJH

  10. Andrea

    Okay…I have an unrelated question…

    What IS Bakewell Cream? Would I use it instead of my other baking powder? Anything to make a baking power biscuit appealing to my biscuit-eschewing husband would be great! I love ‘em, he could live without them…

    It’s basically their “secret” type of cream of tartar… Try our Guaranteed Biscuit recipe online first, see what you think. It’s easy, since there’s no fooling around with cutting in butter, etc. Just pour in the heavy cream… yum! Cream biscuits. – PJH

  11. Andrea

    Okay…so they turned out BEAUTIFULLY! Thanks, PJ!

    However, it started a debate at the dinner table between my husband and myself: he looked at me, said “I really like these, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t make them, but WHY do people INSIST on serving biscuits or rolls with dinner? I mean, they don’t really TASTE like anything.”

    So I’m thoroughly convinced of one thing now: my husband has no tastebuds left thanks to all of the super spicy buffalo chicken wings he’s eaten. ;)

    Wouldn’t it be fun, though, PJ, Susan, and the other kind folks who write this blog, to think up a ‘menu’ of sorts of different breads/rolls/biscuits/muffins, etc to serve with dinner during the fall and winter? I’m HUGE on serving a bread of some sort – it fills you up, and when it is cold, there is NOTHING better than a fresh loaf of warm bread, and an oven warming the home in Wisconsin.

    Just an idea…I’m off to read my KAF Whole Grains cookbook. I’ve recently discovered grinding my own flax seed and using it to bake!

  12. Mike T.

    “Did you use KA unbleached all-purpose flour? Did you weigh the confectioner’s sugar(too much sugar promotes cookie spread)? Did you use real butter? These are all considerations. Also, mine weren’t very tall either, as you can see in the blog – maybe 3/8″? – Youmight be thinking they shuld be taller than they really are… – PJH”

    Is there any other kind of flour? Well, okay, I didn’t strictly use that one, I used the Organic version in the blue wrapper, but yes, by weight not by volume. I’m thinking maybe chilling them in the fridge for 20-30 min before baking might help. Or, double batching them and using 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening… What do you think?

    Chilling would help, yes. Organic is fine. Double batch won’t make any difference – other than yielding you twice the number of delicious cookies! – PJH

  13. Mike T.

    “Chilling would help, yes. Organic is fine. Double batch won’t make any difference – other than yielding you twice the number of delicious cookies! – PJH”

    I was thinking that the shortening would not have as much of a spread as butter and may hold the height. Tho I kind of like the think lite cookie as is… ;-)

    Hi Mike,
    Yes, shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter, so the spread is usually less.

    MaryJane @ The Baker’s Hotline

  14. bibliotecaria

    What about using whole grains? I’m trying to make it a point to use whole wheat pretty much exclusively, even with cookies (and yes I do have your whole grains cookbook, but I haven’t checked it for this type of recipe; after all, I am at work). But how would it affect this recipe?

    If you use white whole wheat, the substitution should be pretty seamless. Obviously they’ll have some whole wheat taste, and they might be a tad denser/drier. But go for it. Cookies are one of the easiest places to substitute whole wheat. – PJH

  15. Linnea

    I am trying to eliminate trans fats from my baking but have a lot of recipes that call for vegetable shortening or margarine. I know that substituting butter will affect the texture but does anyone have some ideas on how to do this successfully? Thanks!

    Depends on your definition of successful, Linnea. Substituting butter will generally make cookies a bit less crisp (if you’re looking for crisp), and piecrust a bit less flaky/more crumbly. In other applications (muffins, quickbreads, etc.) the change is usually indistinguishable. Butter also improves flavor wherever you go. You can also use shortening with most of its trans fat eliminated, if you’re willing to go that route – e.g., the new Crisco. – PJH

  16. Sandra M. Patterson

    Visited “Mecca” last Monday and was dismayed to find that the lime and lemon powders were unavailable at your store. There was none to be had in the warehouse either as three of your wonderful sales consultants looked around the store and made phone calls to the warehouse for me. What’s a gal to do? I have the lime oil but no powder. Is there a substitute you can suggest?

    So sorry, Sandra – that recipe temporarily put lime powder and lime oil on back order! I’ve emailed the store manager to make sure it’s back in stock – was supposed to be as of last Thursday… There’s no substitution that I know of. But as I said, it was a temporary outage. – PJH

  17. Jennifer

    Woo hoo! I can hardly wait to make these! Thanks PJ! Quick question, how much white chocolate should I put in the mix? 1/2 cup? More?

    Jennifer, says in the “tips” in the recipe – I added 1 cup. I wouldn’t go more than that, but you can go less, of course… Enjoy! PJH

  18. Nicole Shugars

    I just finally got around to baking these this afternoon and all I have to say to you, PJ, is amazing! I’m busy working my way through the most recent posts on the website and have to tell you that the Baker’s Banter is the first thing I check when I go online hoping there is something new to read and bake. Keep up the good work!

  19. Mary Corbet

    I ordered (finally) lime oil and lime powder, and it arrived today! I’ve been wanting to make these cookies since you posted this article, but haven’t gotten around to it – I figure it’s spring, so perfect timing. I wasn’t going to make them today, but I opened the lime oil to smell it, and oooooh! It’s WONDERFUL! It’s compelled me to make the cookies NOW!!

    Thanks for the recipe!!

    Have fun, Mary – and thanks for reminding me about those lime cookies. I think I’ll make them, and pizzelle, for my Easter cookie basket. PJH

  20. melissa

    hi — so, i’m trying these out (the little lime cookies) and my dough is very crumbly. i did use the volume, not weight, method, and am hoping you have a magical solution to this crumbly dough problem… (i’m wondering if it’s “add a little more butter”)
    HI Melissa,
    Yep, it’s add a little more butter! Good for you, you knew just what to do. Try adding 1 TBLS at a time until the dough is cohesive. ~ MaryJane

  21. LinaBrooks

    These look great…I have a question, though.

    Whenever I melt white chocolate, it never gets smooth like in the picture. It gets really clumpy, and then when I try to melt it more, I’m sure I “overcook” it because it gets really hard. What am I doing wrong? Even when I just microwave it for thirty seconds, I am not successful in melting it and keeping it smooth.
    White chocolate is so finicky indeed! Try heating for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between. I know this sounds tedious, but it may save your chocolate from scorching. Of course there is also the old-fashioned double boiler method of gently heating it in a bowl over a pot of hot water. See which method works best for you. I hope this is helpful. ~Amy

  22. jenaij

    Do you think these would turn out ok and hold up if you were to use the KAF GF flour mix instead of all-purpose flour? I’ve found that when making GF cookies, they’re best the same day they’re baked, so it sounds like this recipe would work well to keep the dough refrigerated until ready to bake and eat.
    You are certainly correct about refrigerating the dough. Gluten free cookies dough cooperates best after refrigeration. If you would like to try a gluten free version of this cookie, whisk 1 tsp xanthan gum into your flour. We have not yet tested a gluten free version, so please let us know the outcome. ~Amy

  23. lishy

    I have made these with orange oil, true orange powder, and white whole wheat. They are terrific, especially with a little swirl of dark chocolate on the top! Anything citrus really gets my attention and these are no different!

  24. gaitedgirl

    PJ, you have read my mind! I was looking for a lime cookie recipe TWO DAYS AGO! I check my email today and there it was – lime cookies! Thanks sooo much PJ! You’re going to my husband (who’s a big key lime fan) and my best friend (who hasn’t had lime cookies since she was a child and could find them on the shelf) very, very happy :)

    So glad this was a timely blog post! PJH

  25. marcin

    I have a question about using the red whole wheat versus the white whole wheat flours. I was under the impression that any recipe that calls for all-purpose white can be changed to half red whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. Sometimes I might need to add more liquid and perhaps let the dough rest (so the red whole wheat can absorb the liquid). But otherwise, that’s how recipes are adjusted from total all-purpose flour to some whole wheat flour. The past year I’ve been experimenting with the white whole wheat–and enjoying it immensely–but I’ve noticed on the blog commentary that you often advise people to make the substitution of white whole wheat without other steps such as adding liquid or substituting only half of the all-purpose for the white white whole wheat. My impression is that you are saying that people can make a complete substitution of white whole wheat for all-purpose flour. My question is this: Can we most of the time make a complete substitution for all-purpose with the white whole wheat? Does it have more properties in common with all-purpose flour, in terms of baking with it, than it has with the red whole wheat? Thanks so much. I would use more of the white whole wheat if I understood it better. I think I understand, after years of baking with it, how to work with the red whole wheat, but I’m new at using the white whole wheat.

    White whole wheat flour is a whole grain flour just as is traditional whole wheat and may be treated similarly. It is milled from the white wheat berry and is lighter in color and has less bitter tannins than whole wheat flour from the red wheat berry. You will still want to account for more liquid when using this flour. It is fine to substitute white whole wheat for all purpose, but we often suggest that if you question the outcome, it is best to start with a 50/50 mixture in a recipe. ~Amy

  26. marcin

    Thank you, Amy. That is exactly what I wanted to know. :)

    Marcin, I find that I can often substitute white wheat for AP 100% in bars, and cookies like oatmeal, or any kind of basic drop cookie. In fact, take a look at our 100% whole-grain Basic Whole-Grain Cookies recipe – it’s a good jumping-off place for all kinds of cookies. Enjoy! PJH

  27. Candace

    PJ, if you had to choose only one of the two lime products (oil or powder) which would you get? Which would be more generally useful? Thanks.

    Candace, that’s a tough one; I’ve been using the oil for years, and have never used the powder. For that reason alone, I’d have to endorse the oil – although MaryJane might dispute me! I’m intrigued by the powder, though; the oil, if you keep it for a really long time in the fridge, tends to become “turpentine-y.” The powder? Its flavor would probably hold, but it might cake up. As I said, I just don’t know… How’s that for a non-answer? ;) PJH

  28. Issue with Dough

    I bought the lime powder and oil and decided to try making these cookies today, but I’m running into an issue. When I prepare the dough, it’s not coming together in a solid mass. It is more like a fine streusel topping. My first attempt was by hand, then I tried it again in a KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, as shown in the pictures. Any idea what might be happening? The only thing that might be different is that I softened the butter in the microwave, to the point where it was somewhat melted. Thank you in advance for your help!
    Be sure that you are not measuring too much flour or powdered sugar in your dough. If you are measuring by volume, you will find helpful tips here.
    Also, sometimes this type of cookie takes a little while to come together. Just allow the mixer to go at a low speed and the ingredients should eventually bind into a dough. It may take a little longer than you are anticipating.

    If you’ve got too much flour in the dough, which is certainly possible given the variation in the way we all measure flour, dribble a bit of milk into the dough as it’s mixing in your KitchenAid, until it comes together. That should do it. PJH

  29. shannon

    I was just reading an article about old time cookies and how people are getting nostalgic…and their main example was “Lime Coolers” and “Lemon Coolers”…I remember these growing up and they are near identical to what you are making here with the powdered coating. Can’t wait to try these!


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