Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (2024)

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (1)

5 from 42 votes

Prep Time : 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time : 12 minutes minutes

This is the simplest recipe for tender gluten free lemon cookies that literally melt in your mouth. Make them as drop cookies, or cutout cookies.

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Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (2)

This is the simplest recipe for tender gluten free lemon cookies that literally melt in your mouth. Make them as drop cookies, or cutout cookies. They'll hold any shape you like!

Gluten free lemon cookies are bursts of summer flavor. Ice them, make a lemon glaze, or leave them plain, since you'll still see beautiful flecks of lemon zest. The bright lemon flavor and beautiful tender crumb make these cookies a guaranteed family favorite.

Enjoy them on a picnic, at a birthday party, or brighten up a winter’s day and savor their zestiness with a hot latte.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (3)

Why you'll love these gluten free lemon cookies

These light, tender and simple cookies really do melt in your mouth. They're like a cross between shortbread and sugar cookies.

What’s the secret? Rather than a whole egg, they're made with just an egg white. The only sugar in the whole lemon cookies recipe is 2/3 cup of confectioners' sugar.

They get their richness from butter, and their fine texture from the higher starch of confectioners' sugar—plus added cornstarch to the gluten free flour blend.

Meltaway cookies like these are even a total winner for the cook. The dough is not only simple to throw together, but incredibly easy to handle and requires no chilling before baking. These cookies can be made at the last-minute so you’ll never be caught out by unexpected guests or a school bake sale.

Enjoy the cookies at any time of day. I love lemon-flavored desserts, so I'd happily add some lemon zest to my no-churn vanilla ice cream, and sandwich a scoop between two of the thinner lemon cookies for a beautiful, melt-in-your-mouth lemon-vanilla ice cream sandwich.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (4)

These lemon cookies are the perfect summertime snack, but they’re also a delicious in the colder months too. They’re ideal for events like baby showers, bridal showers, brunch or afternoon tea.

Do these taste like gluten free lemon sugar cookies?

Not exactly! This recipe makes cookies with a more delicate texture and a less sweet taste than our recipe for gluten free lemon sugar cookies.

This recipe is made with confectioners' sugar and just an egg white, plus much more butter. The sugar cookie recipe is made with a whole egg and granulated sugar—overall less starch.

Finally, this recipe can be made as drop cookies or as shaped cutout cookies. You'll need to add more all purpose gluten free to the cookie dough to roll it out so it rolls cleanly.

Tips for making the best lemon meltaway cookies

This is a truly simple recipe for light and bright lemon cookies. And the simpler the recipe, the more closely you need to follow it to see success.

So, while this recipe is quick and easy there are some tips to help you get the perfect results. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you read through and begin making the cookie dough.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (5)

Choose the right gluten free flour blend

Meltaway cookies came by their name honestly. They really do melt in your mouth!

This lemon cookies recipe calls for quite a bit of starch, which helps create that extra tender texture. I like making it with (mock) Better Batter, which I lighten up by adding cornstarch as a separate ingredient.

That makes Better Batter, one of my favorite all purpose gluten free flour blends, into something like a cake flour. There's also a touch of cornstarch in the confectioners' sugar.

If you're using a higher-starch all purpose gluten free flour blend, like Cup4Cup, do not add more cornstarch.

Instead, replace that ingredient with 48 grams more Cup4Cup. You may also need to add some more liquid in the recipe to bring the dough together, though.

Don't chill the cookie dough

That’s right, there’s no need to chill the cookie dough. This cookie dough is perfectly balanced to roll out perfectly when the cookie dough is just made, cut out with a cookie cutter, and then bake right away. You'll get clean edges and the cookie dough will not spread during baking.

Use freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Baking concentrates flavors, so you want your lemon juice to be fresh, not bottled, so it tastes bright and fresh. You'll need that lemon for all that lemon zest anyway! Choose the freshest lemons you can as their flavor dissipates as they age. You’ll be zesting these lemons so make sure the ones you buy are unwaxed, and wash them before you start.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (6)

Be careful not to overbake the cookies

The cookies will barely brown around the edges when they're done baking. They're done when they no longer glisten at all in the center.

Be careful not to over-bake them. If you do, they'll go from tender shortbread-style homemade lemon cookies to crumbly and dry.

Over-baking could happen if your oven is too hot. Use a simple oven thermometer that hangs from the wire rack in your oven, as most ovens aren't properly calibrated.

Don't press the cookies too thin

Be sure not to make the cookies too thin, as they'll bake too quickly. This is especially a risk if you're making the rolled, cutout cookies. See more tips on this below in the troubleshooting section.

And don't touch the cookies on the tray until they're cool. Otherwise, they may crumble.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (7)

Substitutions for gluten free lemon cookies ingredients

For lemon cookie perfection, I'd say don't mess with this recipe unless you absolutely must. It works beautifully, just the way it is.

If you want a different type of cookie or a different type of flour or flavor, there are plenty more gluten free recipes for cookies and desserts here on the blog. But, if you really do need to make substitutions for this recipe, here are my best recommendations.

How to make gluten and dairy free lemon cookies

There is quite a lot of butter in these cookies, which helps give them their melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness. If you’re looking for an alternative, I would not recommend using Earth Balance buttery sticks. They have too much moisture, and I don't think the cookies would hold their shape.

I think Melt brand or Miyoko's Kitchen brand vegan butter might work in place of the butter, though. You could also try butter flavored non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, but you'll likely need more moisture as it has nearly none.

How to make egg free lemon cookies

There is no whole egg in this recipe, and only one egg white, which helps provide structure.

You may be able to replace it with aquafaba, which is just the brine from a can of chickpeas. If you go this route, I recommend beating it until foamy, and using the same amount, by weight (25 grams).

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (8)

How to make corn free lemon cookies

The cornstarch in this recipe can be replaced easily with arrowroot, or even potato starch. If you want to avoid corn, you'll also need to be sure that your confectioners' sugar is corn-free.

If you're using a higher-starch all purpose gluten free flour blend, like Cup4Cup, do not add more cornstarch. Instead, if you're using Cup4Cup as your all purpose GF flour blend, replace the cornstarch with more Cup4Cup. You may also need some more liquid in the recipe to bring the dough together.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (9)

Troubleshooting gluten free lemon cookies

Gluten free baking, as we all know, can sometimes be a bit of an adventure, right? We've all had those kitchen moments where things just don't go according to plan. So, I've compiled a handy little troubleshooting section in case you encounter any issues at all!

  1. Problem: Cookie dough too sticky
    • Possible cause: You might have added too much liquid or under measured your flour.
    • Solution: Try adding a little more flour, one teaspoon at a time. Go slowly, though, because you can't undo it once you've added it.
  2. Problem: Cookie dough too dry
    • Possible cause: You might have overmeasured your flour, used a blend that's too high in starch so it absorbs too much liquid, or added too little liquid.
    • Solution: Try adding a little more fresh lemon juice, one half teaspoon at a time. That should make your dough workable again.
  3. Problem: Cookies spread too much in the oven
    • Possible cause: Your butter, liquid, or baking soda measurements might have been a little generous, or your oven may have been running hot.
    • Solution: Double-check your measurements and oven temperature. And since most ovens run hot, you’ll want to ensure yours is at the correct temperature. Buy an inexpensive standalone oven thermometer and hang it inside your oven so you know when you need to lower the temperature.
  4. Problem: Cookies do not spread at all
    • Possible cause: You might have added too much flour, or your oven is running too cold.
    • Solution: Have another look at your oven temperature and measurements (be sure to measure by weight, not volume!).
  5. Problem: Cookies burn on the bottom
    • Possible cause: Your baking sheet could be too thin or too dark, or your oven is too hot.
    • Solution: Try a thicker, light-colored baking sheet. Dark metals absorb and distribute the heat much faster than lighter ones. Again, use a separate oven thermometer to keep your oven on track.
  6. Problem: Cookies are too hard or too crumbly
    • Possible cause: You may have left your cookies in the oven a bit too long, overmeasured your flour, or used a blend that's too high in starch so it absorbs too much liquid.
    • Solution: Shave a few minutes off your baking time, and ensure you're measuring your well-balanced flour blend accurately by weight, not volume.
  7. Problem: Cookies are not uniform in size or shape
    • Possible cause: You shaped your dough too quickly, or didn't remember to shape it at all.
    • Solution: Use a cookie scoop or a measuring spoon for consistent cookie dollops. For cutout cookies, make sure your dough is rolled evenly by feeling the surface gently with the palm of your hand.
  8. Problem: Flavor is too weak
    • Possible cause: Not enough lemon zest.
    • Solution: Add a bit more lemon zest, and try using fresher lemons as they tend to lose their potency as they age.
Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (10)

FAQs

Does gluten free flour make cookies taste different?

No, at least it shouldn't make your cookies taste any different! When gluten free cookies taste different, it's usually because they are made using a gluten free flour blend that is made with a gritty rice flour.

If you use a well-balanced, smooth all purpose gluten free flour blend, and a great gf recipe, your gluten free cookies should taste amazing!

Can you make these gluten free lemon cookies with almond flour?

No, almond flour is not a replacement for an all purpose gluten free flour blend in any recipe. To make almond flour lemon cookies, try adding some lemon juice and zest to our almond flour cutout sugar cookies recipe.

How can I make sure my gluten free lemon cookies are not dry?


If your gluten free flour blend is too starchy, it will absorb more liquid than a well-balanced all purpose gluten free flour blend. If you're using a starchy gluten free flour mixture, and you can't use one of my recommended blends, try adding a bit more real lemon juice by the drop until your raw gf cookie dough holds together well. See how it’s done in the how-to video.

Do these taste like gluten free lemon sugar cookies?

Not exactly! This recipe makes cookies with a more delicate texture and a less sweet taste than our recipe for gluten free lemon sugar cookies.

This recipe is made with confectioners' sugar and just an egg white, plus much more butter. The sugar cookie recipe is made with a whole egg and granulated sugar—overall less starch.

Finally, this recipe can be made as drop cookies or as shaped cutout cookies. But, you'll need to add more all purpose gluten free to the cookie dough to roll it out so it rolls cleanly.

Can I freeze these gluten free lemon cookies?

Yes! Whether you're making the drop cookies or the cutout cookies, you can freeze them. Next time you’re baking, make double the number of cookies you need and freeze the rest for a later date

Be sure that they're completely cool to room temperature first. Freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then pile them into a freezer-safe bag or container.

I recommend freezing them without the glaze, though. You can always glaze them after you defrost them, or serve them plain.

Do you have to chill this gluten free lemon cookie dough?

No! Even the lemon cutout cookie variation of this recipe will keep its shape during baking without being chilled.

You can see in the photos above that the cookies don't spread or become misshapen at all. The top photo is the raw cutout cookie rounds; the bottom is the baked cookies, which look almost exactly the same!

Can I make these lemon cookies into lime cookies?

Yes, you can play around with different citrus flavors! In place of lemon juice and lemon zest, try using freshly-squeezed lime juice and lime zest. You can also try using orange juice and orange zest for gluten free orange cookies.

Or, combine the lemon and orange and for a citrus flavor explosion. Whichever you choose, they all sound like delicious variations!

How do I store my gluten free lemon cookies?


Keep your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for about five days, unless they’re eaten before that of course!

Can I customize my gluten free cookies in different colors?


Yes, if you’re decorating your cookies with a glaze you can definitely choose a color palette you prefer, or one that suits the theme of your party. I have chosen to top the cookies with a yellow glaze because I like lemon flavor and yellow combination but you can glaze your gluten free cookies in any color you like.

How do I serve my gluten free lemon cookies?

You can really serve your cookies any way you want, but these are my preferences. Serve the cookies with tea, or coffee; the richness of a creamy latte pairs well with the zesty citrus. If you’re throwing a tea party, serve these cookies with some other delicious gluten free treats like classic gluten free Blondies, these easy gluten free blueberry scones, or Grandma’s gluten free honey muffins.

Your cookies would also make a thoughtful gift. Wrap them in attractive paper and put them in a gift box and make someone’s day!

Can you use cookie cutters on the lemon cookie dough?


Yes, roll out your cookie dough, check that it’s smooth by running your hand lightly over it, and cut it into whatever shape you like. If you don’t want to use cookie cutters, use an ice cream scoop to create perfectly uniform cookies, every time.

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (11)

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (12)

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Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth

This is the simplest recipe for tender gluten free lemon cookies that literally melt in your mouth. Make them as drop cookies, or cutout cookies.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes minutes

Yield: 18 cookies

Author: Nicole Hunn

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 ½ cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I recommend Better Batter; please click thru for full details), plus more for sprinkling for cutout cookies
  • ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
  • cup (48 g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup (77 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon about 1 tablespoon
  • 12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 (25 g) egg white at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons ( fluid ounce) freshly-squeezed lemon juice plus more as necessary
  • granulated sugar for dipping drop cookies

For the (optional) glaze

  • 1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Yellow gel food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and confectioners’ sugar, and whisk to combine well.

  • Add the lemon zest and mix to combine, breaking up any clumps of zest. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg white, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, mixing to combine after each addition.

  • The dough will be thick and smooth. Add more lemon juice by the half-teaspoonful and knead it in with clean, dry hands as necessary to bring the dough together.

To make drop cookies

  • Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches between pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round between the palms of your hands, and press down slightly into a thick disk.

  • Press with the moistened tines of a fork into a small bowl of granulated sugar, then press down on the top of each piece of dough until the tines leave an impression about 1/4-inch deep.

To make cutout cookies

  • Lightly flour a flat surface with all purpose gluten free flour. Place the cookie dough on top, and flour the top.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle that’s about 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thick. Sprinkle with more all purpose gluten free flour as necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.

  • Lightly flour a round cookie cutter that’s about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Cut out rounds from the dough.

  • Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1 1/2 inches apart from one another.

For both cookie shapes

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges and firm to the touch (about 12 minutes).

  • Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet. If you try to move them before they’ve cooled, they may be fragile.

For the (optional) glaze

  • When the cookies are cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and mix well.

  • Add more lemon juice by the half-teaspoon, stirring to combine after each addition until you have a smooth but very thickly pourable glaze. Add the optional yellow food coloring, if using.

  • Drizzle the glaze in a zigzag pattern on top of each cooled cookie or spread on the tops of the cutout cookies. Allow to set at room temperature.

Notes

Originally published on the blog in 2015. In 2021, cutout cookie variation added, some photos and most text new in 2021; more text resources added in 2023.

Nutrition information is approximate and offered for informational purposes only.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.04g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.03mg

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (13)

Print Pin Save

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth

This is the simplest recipe for tender gluten free lemon cookies that literally melt in your mouth. Make them as drop cookies, or cutout cookies.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes minutes

Yield: 18 cookies

Author: Nicole Hunn

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 ½ cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I recommend Better Batter; please click thru for full details), plus more for sprinkling for cutout cookies
  • ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
  • cup (48 g) cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup (77 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon about 1 tablespoon
  • 12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 (25 g) egg white at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons ( fluid ounce) freshly-squeezed lemon juice plus more as necessary
  • granulated sugar for dipping drop cookies

For the (optional) glaze

  • 1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Yellow gel food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and confectioners’ sugar, and whisk to combine well.

  • Add the lemon zest and mix to combine, breaking up any clumps of zest. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg white, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, mixing to combine after each addition.

  • The dough will be thick and smooth. Add more lemon juice by the half-teaspoonful and knead it in with clean, dry hands as necessary to bring the dough together.

To make drop cookies

  • Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches between pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a round between the palms of your hands, and press down slightly into a thick disk.

  • Press with the moistened tines of a fork into a small bowl of granulated sugar, then press down on the top of each piece of dough until the tines leave an impression about 1/4-inch deep.

To make cutout cookies

  • Lightly flour a flat surface with all purpose gluten free flour. Place the cookie dough on top, and flour the top.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle that’s about 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thick. Sprinkle with more all purpose gluten free flour as necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.

  • Lightly flour a round cookie cutter that’s about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Cut out rounds from the dough.

  • Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1 1/2 inches apart from one another.

For both cookie shapes

  • Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges and firm to the touch (about 12 minutes).

  • Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet. If you try to move them before they’ve cooled, they may be fragile.

For the (optional) glaze

  • When the cookies are cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and mix well.

  • Add more lemon juice by the half-teaspoon, stirring to combine after each addition until you have a smooth but very thickly pourable glaze. Add the optional yellow food coloring, if using.

  • Drizzle the glaze in a zigzag pattern on top of each cooled cookie or spread on the tops of the cutout cookies. Allow to set at room temperature.

Notes

Originally published on the blog in 2015. In 2021, cutout cookie variation added, some photos and most text new in 2021; more text resources added in 2023.

Nutrition information is approximate and offered for informational purposes only.

Nutrition

Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.04g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.03mg

Easy Gluten Free Lemon Cookies Recipe: They Melt in Your Mouth! (2024)

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