Orange, Lemon and Lime Citrus Cookies

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Orange, Lemon and Lime Citrus Cookies– Sweet cookies with citrus zest are rolled in sugar for a crackly exterior that yields to an incredibly chewy center. Change up your dessert routine with this fruity twist on a classic sugar cookie!

If you love tangy citrus flavor, have you tried our delicious Starbuck’s copycat Lemon Loaf? It’s a thick pound cake with sweet icing. Our orange bread recipe is also a reader favorite!

Orange, lemon, and lime cookies stacked on a cookie sheet after baking and cooling.
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Why this Recipe Works

What makes these simple citrus cookies so dang delicious? It’s a combination of the citrus flavor from the zest of real lemons, oranges and limes plus the extra sugar on top!

  • Instead of using extracts or artificial flavor additives, these cookies have freshly grated zest.
  • By rolling the cookies in sugar then sprinkling even MORE sugar on top, you give them a crunch that contrasts with the soft and chewy center of the cookie.
  • And like most drop cookies, these couldn’t be any easier to make!
  • Just mix, roll, bake and eat!

If you love citrus desserts, be sure to our our melt in your mouth lemon shortbread cookies to your dessert list.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to bake citrus flavored cookies.
  • Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest – Use a zester to remove the outermost waxy layer of the skin, being careful to avoid the bitter white peel. Substitute all oranges for an orange cookie, all lemons for lemon cookies, etc. Or you can mix and match according to your preferences. Use our tutorial on how to zest lemons for best tips and tricks.
  • Unsalted Butter – Reduce the amount of added kosher salt in the recipe if using salted butter. Forget to soften your butter? Use our guide on how to soften butter quickly!
  • Granulated sugar- Divide the sugar. You’ll use some in the cookie dough and more for rolling the cookies prior to baking.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make citrus cookies.

For the dough:

Zest the citrus and combine two teaspoons of zest with two tablespoons of granulated sugar. Set the remaining zest aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the remaining cup of sugar. Beat in one egg, followed by the dry ingredients.

Slowly add in the reserved zest.

To bake:

Step by step photos showing how to roll citrus cookies in sugar and zest before baking.

Form the dough into balls using your hands. Roll each ball in the sugar/zest mix and place on a baking sheet. Use the bottom of a cup to lightly press each cookie dough ball into a disk.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Tips & Tricks

  • Add more sugar just before baking. After flattening the cookies into disks, I like to sprinkle a bit more sugar on top. This is totally optional but helps compensate for any sugar that sticks to the bottom of the glass you used to press the cookies.
  • No grater? No problem. Use a sharp knife to cut the zest off of the fruit, then finely mince before using in the recipe.
  • Mix up the citrus. I love the flavor the citrus cookies have when I use an equal amount of orange, lemon and lime. Feel free to mix it up with different varieties of orange, meyer lemons or tangerines.
  • Storing. Keep the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll stay good for up to one week.
  • Love these cookies? Try adding citrus to our favorite chewy sugar cookies!
Citrus sugar cookies on cookie sheet being removed with spatula.

Recipe FAQs

How do you zest a citrus fruit?

The easiest way to zest an orange, lemon or lime is with a microplane zester. Hold the fruit in place over a bowl and drag the fruit down the grates. You’ll see tiny flecks of the peel fall into your bowl! Consistent and perfect results every time.

Can you freeze citrus sugar cookies?

Yes, these cookies will freeze well! Store in freezer bags and thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying. The sugar will lose some of its crackle but they still taste delicious.

What kinds of citrus fruit work best in this recipe?

Any juicy flavorful citrus fruit tastes great. I love using regular limes and lemons and navel oranges. The zest of cara cara oranges, tangelos and tangerines would also taste great in this citrus cookie recipe.

Sugar cookie with citrus flavor being held up.

More Citrus Desserts

Easy Cookie Recipes

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Orange, Lemon, and Lime Citrus Cookies

4.82 from 38 votes
By: Aimee
Orange, Lemon and Lime Citrus Cookies– chewy, sweet cookies with citrus zest and rolled in sugar
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 48 cookies

Ingredients 

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 orange zested
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 lime zested
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Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, zest all the citrus. Remove about 2 teaspoons of zest and place in a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar to the 2 teaspoons of zest. Combine with a fork and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, add butter and remaining 1 cup sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined. Slowly add in zest.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll cookies into 3/4-1inch balls. Then roll them in the sugar/zest mixture, coating generously.
  • Place ball on cookie sheet and repeat. Using a flat bottom of a cup, press the ball slightly to form a disc. Repeat for all balls. I then pressed a little extra sugar on the tops of the cookies at this point (totally optional).
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.
  • Store in a covered container for up to a week. ENJOY.

Notes

  • Zest. Each fruit will yield roughly 1 Tablespoon of loose zest. The orange may yield 2 Tablespoons.
  • Add more sugar just before baking. After flattening the cookies into disks, I like to sprinkle a bit more sugar on top. This is totally optional but helps compensate for any sugar that sticks to the bottom of the glass you used to press the cookies.
  • No grater? No problem. Use a sharp knife to cut the zest off of the fruit, then finely mince before using in the recipe. Use our tips and trick on how to zest a lemon.
  • Mix up the citrus. I love the flavor the citrus cookies have when I use an equal amount of orange, lemon and lime. Feel free to mix it up with different varieties of orange, meyer lemons or tangerines.
  • Storing. Keep the cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They'll stay good for up to one week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 70kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 30mg, Sugar: 6g
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

The bright citrus flavor in these cookies is downright irresistible! With lemon, lime and orange zest, Citrus Cookies make the perfect addition to your party platters, pot lucks or holiday cookie trays.

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on July 2, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. I have never heard of citrus cookies, but these look amazing! Your photography is really beautiful too. Makes me want to reach out and grab one. 🙂

    1. Awww thanks Vicky. The photography has definitely come a long way!!! Thanks for noticing 🙂

  2. Oh I love lemons and anything citrus. I must try these! New visitor. I hope you stop by to link- http://atozebracelebrations.com/2013/01/tuesday-link-party-4.html
    Nancy

  3. Love every recipe! So glad you will be sharing dinner recipes – I don’t eat sugar every day but I do eat dinner every day. Thanks.

  4. These cookies look incredible! Citrusy chewy cookies are definitely a favorite of mine. But I’m not going to make them. Because I would eat every single last one within a few hours. I love that you ate the entire batch before the family even found out. That is so me.

  5. I feel like I never bake citrusy treats but ALWAYS enjoy them! These look so yummy! As for your New Year’s Resolutions, I love them! I mostly share sweets on my blog, but it is fun to switch it up and share some dinner ideas! Your reader’s choice idea is so thoughtful – you clearly care about all your fans! Thanks for all your hard work! Perhaps I’ll be inspired to make some homemade bagels too 🙂

  6. I don’t usually like citrusy cookies, but you might have just convinced me to try these. They look fabulous!

  7. sugar cookies and citrus – you speak my language:) these are gorgeous and I’m sure delicious as well!

  8. Oooooh. I just so happen to have bags of lemons in my fridge. Cookies…or your lemon loaf…methinks… I love your goals! I have macarons on my list too…

    1. Cookies. Definitely the cookies first! Yeah, macarons have been on my list for a couple years…just havent tried (although in my defense I don’t have a kitchen scale).

  9. I LOVE dried cranberries! And, I love that these cookies have both lime and lemon. That sounds so wonderful! And, they’re beautiful.

  10. haha! I love that you are not opposed to a spoonful of sugar on top of your cookies! I knew I loved you 🙂 Please don’t hate me when I confess that I am not a huge citrus fan…it has something to do with my lack of love for sour things.

  11. I didnt realize how many citrus recipes you have til I see them all linked up here!

    And did you change your background/wallpaper and change your footer? I like it!

    1. Thanks Averie! And that’s not even close to showing all of them!! I love lemon in my desserts!

  12. I love chewy sugar cookies, and the citrus coating sounds amazing! I am putting these on my list of delicious treats to make! Thanks for sharing 🙂

4.82 from 38 votes (35 ratings without comment)

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