Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

Lemon lovers-listen up! These big, soft and chewy lemon poppy seed sugar cookies are absolutely addicting! Packed with freshly grated lemon zest, crunchy poppy seeds and finished off with a wonderful sugar crust, they are sure to be a hit with your citrus loving family. These cookies freeze beautifully so you can have fresh from the oven cookies whenever the craving hits. After rolling the balls in the sugar mixture, freeze on a baking sheet until firm and place in a ziploc freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, just pop them into the oven straight from the freezer. No need to thaw, just add a few more minutes to the baking time. 🙂

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Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

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  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus ½ cup for rolling dough
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg, 1 tablespoon zest and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. Place the ½ cup sugar for rolling and 1 tablespoon zest in a shallow bowl. Rub together zest and sugar between your fingers. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip your hands in the water and shake off any excess (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that the sugar sticks to the dough). Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball between moistened palms, roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, moistening your hands as necessary and spacing the balls about 2 inches apart (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet). Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in the remaining sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about ¾ inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking (after every 2 or 3 cookies).
  5. Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and their center are just set and very lightly colored, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yields: About 24 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 18 minutes

Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

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13 Responses to Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

  1. Caroline says:

    YUM! These sound delicious. Loveee the sugar crust. 🙂

  2. woah totally on the same wavelength with the lemon and poppy seed thing!

  3. You had me at lemon poppy 🙂

  4. Brittany says:

    Perfect summery treat!

  5. sugaredpecan says:

    These look so fantastic!!

  6. ChgoJohn says:

    I agree with Caroline. That sugary crust makes the cookie.

  7. Amy says:

    Mmm, these look like the kind of dense, chewy cookies I love! And lemon is one of my favorite dessert flavors.

  8. Laura says:

    I can only imagine that they are addictive! Lemon poppyseed muffins are my fav but these little cookies are so convenient!

  9. Such a great take on a classic pairing!

  10. Mercedes says:

    I love how thick and soft your cookies always look!

  11. Villy says:

    Lemon and poppy seed just works! Delicious!

  12. Pingback: Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies « sharing the food we love

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