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Tart Soft-Baked Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Get ready to fight over who gets the last cookie with the incredibly delicious soft-baked lemon cookie recipe that is bursting with buttery, lemon flavor and packs a powerful tart and tangy lemon punch! These will be your all time favorite lemon cookies.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time32 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 25 cookies
Author: Mallory Austin


Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted butter 2 sticks, softened (Kerrygold Preferred)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 2 lemons (3-4 lemons needed for whole recipe, including frosting)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • Lemon wedges for squeezing over tops of baked cookies

Tart Lemon Frosting

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  • In a gallon zip top bag or medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until aerated, pale yellow and very fluffy, 5+ minutes (this is called "Mechanical Leavening"). Scrape bottom of the bowl frequently.
  • Beat in the egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and poppy seeds. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add in half the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl, add the rest of the flour and stir gently by hand until combined, being careful not to overmix. Refrigerate overnight ideally or at least a few hours.
  • To bake, preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop or 1.5 tablespoon portions, to form perfectly round balls. Place them two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until they are slightly underdone in the center.
  • Remove from oven and leave cookies on the pan to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. While cookies are still cooling on pan, squeeze lemon wedges over the tops of the cookies, about 5-6 drops per cookie, distributed evenly over the tops.

Tart Lemon Frosting

  • In a small bowl, combine sifted (sifting is very important here to avoid lumpy frosting!) powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and lemon zest. Mix until smooth. Avoid adding more lemon juice until mixed well, if needed, add a dash more juice until it's able to drizzle but still sets up hard.
  • Spoon frosting over each cookie, spreading it in a circular motion toward the edges. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. They are also delicious served cold!