Sweet bursts of cool citrus and rich buttery flavor in these key lime cookies make them such a fun surprise!

Love key lime pie? I bet you’ll love these little key lime tea cookies, too!

They are the perfect treat for St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and beyond!

A white platter full of frosted key lime cookies.
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Do you ever avoid trying new foods because you’re convinced it’s something you won’t enjoy?

As an adult, I can work past my preconceived notions about flavors I think I should avoid… but kids are a different story! That’s what happened with these little key lime cookies.

When I first told the girls I was working on a recipe for lime cookies, they weren’t convinced! Dubious looks shot around the kitchen before I convinced them to give them a try.

Well, I think the cute shape and piped dab of frosting helped! After a single bite of this sweet citrusy goodness, I definitely have them on board.

Truthfully, I love lemon and lime everything. If you do too, I think you’ll love my homemade lime sorbet, and these lime popsicle margaritas. Summer flavor just got a whole lot sweeter… and I’m transporting you straight to Key West with these tiny little cookies! 

I like to think of them as lime meltaways, or key lime tea cookies… an unexpected tiny sweet treat that is perfect for popping in your mouth for spring and summer celebrations!

If you’re making these for St. Patrick’s Day, don’t skip my Lucky Charm Treats, too!

A white platter full of frosted key lime cookies.

Why You’ll Love these Key Lime Cookies

  • These cookies are light and buttery, perfectly sweetened with the zest and juice of limes.
  • Minimal Ingredients
  • Great for so many Occasions
  • Perfectly Citrusy

“These just screamed summer to me and they did not disappoint! THANK YOU! Will be making them again!”

-Pam

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • All-Purpose Flour – All-purpose flour is the most common for baking because it combines hard and soft wheats and works beautifully in most recipes (also called plain flour in other cultures!).
  • Butter – Room temperature, of course. While many bakers prefer unsalted butter, we like our baked goods with a little higher sweet and salty ratio. I generally have salted butter on hand, but you can use whatever you’d like! However, there’s no added salt in this recipe so if you’re not using salted butter, you might throw a pinch of salt in the bowl!
  • Cornstarch – Used as a thickening agent in baking, cornstarch works wonders in cookie recipes! It adds a creamy, lighter texture in this recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar – This fine, sweet sugar is what makes these little meltaway-inspired lime cookies so sweet and creamy.
  • Lime Juice – You can use key lime juice or regular limes. I’ll discuss that more below! 
  • Grated Lime Zest – Any kind of lime will do! 

FROSTING

  • Powdered Sugar – also called confectioner’s sugar, this fine, powdery sugar is a necessity in most frosting recipes! 
  • Butter – Again, room temperature and I prefer salted but you can use whatever you have on hand.
  • Lime Juice – Regular limes or key limes, your call. I’ll show you how to calculate the different amounts below.
  • Grated Lime Zest – Just a touch of lime zest adds so much texture and sweet citrus flavor! 
A frosted lime cookie on a white plate

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. As your oven is preheating, zest and just your limes.
  3. Combine butter and sugars and all other cookie ingredients in a large bowl or fitted stand mixer.
  4. Beat at a low speed to combine, scraping the side as needed.
  5. Chill dough in flat disk shape, rolled between sheets of parchment or wax paper (as pictured) for 1-2 hours until firm.A marble surface with a ball of key lime cookie dough on wax paper.  A flat disk of lime cookie dough.  A flat disk of lime cookie dough.
  6. Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. For the cookie cutter shape pictured, I used this cookie cutter. Ours were around ¼ of an inch thick, but you could leave them up to ½ an inch thick depending on desired thickness.
  7. Place on ungreased baking sheets (I always line with a silpat or parchment paper).
  8. Bake for 8 minutes (7-8 minutes tops if you’re making them as tiny as we did… you might need to go a touch longer for larger or thicker cookies.)  Just watch your oven time carefully – cookies won’t brown at the correct baking time!
  9. Allow them to cool completely.
  10. As cookies are cooling, make your delicious lime frosting! Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat at a medium speed in your stand mixer until combined.
  11. Using a frosting tip or even a plastic bag, pipe a dab of frosting onto each cookie and enjoy! 
A white platter full of frosted lime cookies.

Tips

  • Room temperature butter is imperative! If you don’t have a fancy frosting tip, that’s okay – just clip the end of a ziplock bag for equally delicious results.
  • Bake Time Will Vary – You will need to adjust your bake time based on how thick your cookies are and the size of your cookie cutters. They are ready when they are set (no moisture appearance in the middle) and slightly brown.
  • Chill Dough – It is essential to chill the dough before cutting and baking the cookies. This will help to prevent spread and the dough will be easier to roll out.
  • Use a Frosting Tip (or even a ziploc bag!) – This makes them oh so adorable, without any special skills! To use a ziploc bag, simply cut the corner off at an angle, fill the bag, remove air and seal. Squeeze to frost.
  • Bake the cookies on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.

Make More (or Less!)

Scaling up, down or substituting? You’ll love this printable Measurement Conversion Chart!

A frosted lime cookie on a white plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Is key lime healthier than regular lime?

Both types of limes offer similar health benefits. They are both great sources of Vitamin A, B, C and D, just like lemons!

Are key limes sweeter than regular limes?

Yes, they are a touch less acidic, which means that overall they have a little more sweetness.

A frosted lime cookie on a white plate

What’s the Difference Between Key Limes and Regular Limes?

Generally speaking, key limes are a little less tart and acidic, making them a little sweeter. As key limes ripen, they often have a slightly sweeter flavor than regular limes.

Unless your taste buds are very refined, you might not notice much difference at all! (Don’t say that to anyone from Key West, though!)

You can use either kind of lime juice and zest for this lime cookie recipe. Just know that the flavor might be a touch different – if you use regular limes, these cookies will have a touch stronger lime flavoring. That means they will be a little more acidic. 

Regardless of what kind of limes you use, I promise you that these cookies are delicious! The sweetness of the powdered sugar and the creamy butter will balance all the lime flavor, no matter what kind you use.

A white platter full of frosted lime cookies.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – You can make the cookies ahead of time and store them in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days at room temperature.
  • Refrigerator – If you have extra, the frosting will keep covered in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Same goes for the cookies!
  • To Freeze – Unfrosted lemon cookies keep well frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container. I like to place them in a freezer bag, followed by an airtight container so freezer odors don’t seep in.

Dietary Considerations

  • To make Gluten Free, use a 1:1 gluten free flour and cornstarch.
  • Nut Free
  • Vegetarian

What do you think? Could you find a million ways to serve up these adorable little key lime cookies? They’re like key lime pie in a bit-sized cookie format… how can you go wrong? 

A white platter full of frosted key lime cookies.

More Cookies

A white platter full of frosted key lime cookies.
5 from 4 votes

Sweet and Citrusy Frosted Key Lime Cookies

Sweet bursts of cool citrus flavor in these key lime cookies is such a tiny fun surprise! Love key lime pie? You’ll love these little key lime tea cookies!
Prep: 2 hours
Cook: 8 minutes
Servings: 12 people
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Ingredients  

Key Lime Frosting

  • ½ cup butter salted, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice freshly squeezed
  • cup powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • As your oven is preheating, zest and just your limes.
  • Combine butter and sugars and all other cookie ingredients in a large bowl or fitted stand mixer.
  • Beat at a low speed to combine, scraping the side as needed.
  • Chill dough in flat disk shape, rolled between sheets of parchment or wax paper (as pictured) for 1-2 hours until firm.
  • Roll dough on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. For the cookie cutter shape pictured, I used this cookie cutter. Ours were around ¼ of an inch thick, but you could leave them up to ½ an inch thick depending on desired thickness.
  • Place on ungreased baking sheets (I always line with a silpat or parchment paper).
  • Bake for up to 8 minutes – see notes below on baking times.
  • Allow them to cool completely.

Frosting

  • As cookies are cooling, make your delicious lime frosting! Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Beat at a medium speed in your stand mixer until combined.
  • Using a frosting tip or even a plastic bag, pipe a dab of frosting onto each cookie and enjoy! 

Julie’s Tips

  • Bake for 7-8 minutes tops if you’re making them as tiny as they are pictured in these images… you might need to go a touch longer for larger or thicker cookies.
  • Just watch your oven time carefully – cookies won’t be brown at the correct baking time!
  • Use a frosting tip or even a ziploc bag with the corner cut off for frosting these simple cookies.
Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 17mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 591IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    What an incredible recipe! I just couldn’t wait to make it. All your instructions are so detailed and easy. Thank you!