Forget lemons; key limes have a distinct and delicious flavor, and in these Key Lime Cookies, it’s amazing! A little tangy, a little nutty, and just sweet enough, these cookies are finished with a key lime glaze that puts them over the top!

stack of round cookies with frosting

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You may have heard of key lime pie, but these Key Lime Cookies are twice as delicious and easier to make! I love cooking with key limes. They’re smaller than regular limes and are juicy little gems. The flavor is tangy and sweet and really carries through in these cookies.

Key Lime Cookies

You can find key limes in most larger grocery stores these days. Look for limes that are yellowish-green, unblemished, and fresh-looking. They should have some squish to them and not be rock hard to ensure you get lots of juice from them.

a Key Lime Cookie

I’ve also added buttery hazelnuts to these cookies. Hazelnuts have such a great flavor and crunch, and in these cookies, they’re divine! 

a frosted Key Lime Cookie with lime zest

Why I love this recipe

  • Key Lime Cookies are nutty and citrusy and a tasty alternative to lemon and lemon cookies
  • The buttery hazelnuts and lime flavor make these more of a grownup cookie, and they’re great with a cup of coffee or for a bite of something sweet and tasty.
  • They’re an easy cookie to make, and they bake quickly.

ingredients to make lime cookies

Gather these ingredients

  • Key limes – You’ll need 2-3 limes in total.
  • Butter – Softened.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – Pure or artificial vanilla is fine.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Hazelnuts – Finely chopped.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Salt – Just a pinch; optional.

how to make Key Lime Cookies

How to make the best Key Lime Cookies

  1. Preheat your oven to 350-F and grab a couple of cookie sheets.
  2. Wash and dry the limes, then zest about 3 teaspoons of zest into a bowl. Then, squeeze the limes into another small bowl to get about 4 tablespoons of juice.
  3. Beat the softened butter in a bowl with electric beaters or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until light, then beat in the sugar until creamy and smooth.
  4. Add the lime zest and 3 tablespoons of lime juice to the butter mixture, along with the vanilla.
  5. Beat in the flour and nuts until just mixed.
  6. Divide the dough in half, and on a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough to about ¼-inch thick. Use 2-inch cookie cutters to cut the dough, and place the cookies 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  7. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough and then the other half of the dough. Roll out the scraps to cut out more cookies.
  8. Bake the cookies in a 350-F oven until the edges are lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Cool the cookies on wire racks.

To make the frosting

  1. Whisk together the remaining lime juice, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt (optional). Let the glaze sit to thicken up for a few minutes. 
  2. Spread the frosting over the top of the cookies; it’s okay if the glaze runs off the sides. 
  3. Sprinkle the cookies with the remaining zest while the glaze is still wet, then let the cookies set for at least 1 hour to harden up. 
  4. Enjoy!

baked cookies on rack

Tips & substitutions

  • If you don’t like hazelnuts, use pecans or walnuts. Just be sure to chop the nuts fine. I usually pulse them in the food processor.
  • If you can’t find key limes, you can use regular limes.
  • If your cookie dough is really soft, pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes, and it’ll roll out more easily.
  • Salt in the glaze might seem strange, but it enhances the flavors. You don’t need much! Just a tiny pinch.

Key Lime Cookies

Serving suggestions

If you’ve read my other cookie recipes, you’ll know that I love cookies and never need an excuse to serve them! I love them as dessert after dinner, especially a dinner featuring citrus, like Skillet Lemon Chicken. These cookies are perfect on a board, too, especially a summery board.

a bite of cookies with frosting

Storage

Store your cookies in an airtight container on the counter for 4-5 days.

Check out these awesome cookie recipes while you’re here

stack of round cookies with frosting
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Key Lime Cookies

Nutty, buttery, and filled with amazing lime flavor, these Key Lime Cookies are easy to make and are bursting with fresh citrus flavor! 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 24
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Ingredients
 

  • 2-3 limes
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup finely chopped hazelnuts

Key Lime Glaze:

  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T key lime juice
  • 1 T milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt optional
  • 1 teaspoon key lime zest

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare the limes by grating 3 tsp of lime zest in one bowl, and the juice (about 4 Tbsp) of lime juice in another bowl.
  • Beat the soft butter in a large bowl; add the sugar and mix well. Add in the zest and 3 Tbsp of lime juice, and vanilla. (Save the rest of the lime juice for the frosting).
  • Beat in the flour and nuts; divide dough in half.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using 2-inch square or round cookie cutters (or your favorite cookie cutter), cut out the dough and place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat the process for the 2nd half of dough and place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake until the edges are lightly brown, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks.

Make the frosting:

  • Whisk together the lime glaze ingredients, adjusting liquid or powdered sugar to desired thickness. Allow the glaze to sit for several minutes and then spread the glaze on the cookies.
  • It’s okay if the icing runs over a little bit. Sprinkle it with remaining lime zest. Allow the cookies to sit for 1 hour before eating (to allow the frosting to set).
  • Store remaining cookies in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Calories: 153kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 61mg, Potassium: 48mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 241IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg
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Key Lime Cookies recipe