Key Lime Cookies

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Enjoy the delicious combination of key lime and coconut with these amazing Key Lime Cookies! They are soft and chewy, bursting with tart key lime flavor and dotted with sweetened coconut throughout. Perfect as an easy dessert, they will bring an island vibe to your day.

Top down view of a plate of cookies with toasted coconut.

Key Lime Coconut Cookies

I’m a huge fan of key lime flavor and use it in tons of recipes. It always makes me think of warm, breezy days and the Florida Keys!

These sugar cookies are the perfect place to showcase coconut and key lime. They bake up soft, perfectly chewy, and are packed with shredded coconut, key lime juice, and lime zest. Coconut key lime couldn’t be sweeter!

How to Make Key Lime Cookies:

These cookies have two of the best flavors – key lime and coconut. It doesn’t get much better, or easier, than that! Here are some step-by-step instructions and photos of how we make them.

Scroll to the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl, then cream together until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the egg and vanilla until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Beat in the key lime juice and lime zest then add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
Key lime zest and juice added to butter, sugar, and egg.
Flour added to a bowl of butter, sugar and eggs.
  1. Fold in the sweetened coconut flakes (leave some out for garnishing if desired). 
  2. Use a two-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. It’s ok to place the dough side by side since this baking sheet is going into the fridge so the dough can chill. 
Shredded coconut added to a bowl of cookie dough.
Sugar cookie dough in a glass bowl.
  1. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour then preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a separate baking sheet or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. If desired, sprinkle the tops with lime zest and coconut flakes.
  3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. 
  4. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Unbaked cookie dough on parchment paper.
Baked cookies on parchment paper.

Tips for Success:

  • When measuring the cookie dough, use a cookie scoop for consistently sized cookies and even baking.
  • Refrigerate the cookie dough to allow the butter time to firm up and prevent the cookies from spreading as they bake.
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mats to prevent sticking and burning.
  • Preheat your oven before adding the cookies for even cooking!
  • Make sure not to overbake them – they will appear soft while still warm but should firm up as they cool down!
  • We recommend using brand name butter to help prevent spreading.

Storing Your Key Lime Cookies:

Room Temperature: Store leftover key lime cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

Freezer: Baked cookies freeze well for up to 2 months. Freeze unbaked, pre-portioned cookie dough for up to 3 months.

Thawing: Thaw frozen cookies at room temperature. Bake frozen cookie dough at 350°F as written. You may need to add a minute or two since the dough is frozen.

Plate of key lime coconut cookies.

What’s the Difference Between Limes and Key Limes?

The most noticeable difference between Persian limes and key limes is their size. Key limes are significantly smaller than regular limes, about the size of a normal thumbnail, whereas larger Persian limes are about three times as big.

Key lime juice is more sour, tart, and floral than lime juice from larger Persian limes which can be slightly sweeter. Key lime zest also has a more intense flavor compared to regular lime zest.

The skin color of key limes also tends to be slightly paler with yellowish-green tones as opposed to darker green for regular Persian ones. Furthermore, key limes produce far less acidic juice than their larger counterparts.

Lastly, the aroma of key lime peels tends to be more fragrant and complex than that of other varieties of Limes.

Can You Use Regular Limes in Place of Key Limes in These Cookies?

Yes, you can use limes in place of key limes in these cookies. However, bear in mind that the flavor may be slightly different since key limes are more tart and fragrant than regular Persian limes. If possible, try to use key lime juice and zest for the best flavor outcome.

Hand holding a key lime cookie.

Why Did My Cookies Spread?

Your cookies may have spread due to a couple different reasons. A common reason is that the dough wasn’t adequately chilled before baking; this will cause it to heat up and spread faster as it bakes in the oven.

Another reason may be that your oven temperature might not have been hot enough for baking which would account for extensive spreading.

To prevent further spreading, make sure that all ingredients are properly measured and kept at room temperature; chill cookie dough before baking; and preheat your oven to 350°F before adding cookies for even cooking!

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Close up view of two cookies in a stack.

Key Lime Cookies

4.8 from 4 votes
Print Pin Text
Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (brand name butter recommended)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons key lime juice
  • 1 teaspoons lime zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, plus more for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then set aside.
  • Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized bowl, then cream them together until light and fluffy.
    ½ cup unsalted butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    Creamed butter and sugar in a bowl.
  • Beat the egg and vanilla into the mixture until everything is combined.
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Egg and vanilla added to creamed butter and sugar.
  • Add the key lime juice and lime zest to the mixture.
    2 teaspoons key lime juice
    1 teaspoons lime zest
    Key lime zest and juice added to butter, sugar, and egg.
  • Then add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain.
    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
    Flour added to a bowl of butter, sugar and eggs.
  • Fold in the sweetened coconut flakes.
    1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
    Shredded coconut added to a bowl of cookie dough.
  • Use a two-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Since this baking sheet is going into the fridge, it’s ok to place the dough side by side so it can chill.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour then preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a separate baking sheet or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. If desired, sprinkle the tops with lime zest and coconut.
    Unbaked cookie dough on parchment paper.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
    Baked cookies on parchment paper.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, storage info, and FAQs.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 2 cookies. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Photos courtesy of Julie from Lemon Peony.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cookies | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 220mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
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