Filed Under: Cookies | Summer

Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Recipe By Tessa Arias
July 18th, 2018
4.78 from 9 votes
4.78 from 9 votes

Beautifully bright and refreshing, these Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are crazy tender and loaded with fresh lemon flavor. Perfect summer cookie!  Download my FREE Cookie Customization Guide here! 

Yield: 20 cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The fresh, bright, and slightly tart flavor of the lemon just screams summer to me!
Texture: The cookies are super tender and soft with the perfect little bite from the poppy seeds.
Ease: Very simple and easy drop cookie recipe! You could skip the glaze to save time, but I think it adds something special.
Pros: Beautiful summery cookie recipe that everyone will adore.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Oh definitely.

You guys know my unwavering obsession with chocolate is intense. However, there are moments when I crave something sweet that’s just the opposite of chocolate…

In today’s case, LEMON! I have seen some people pair regular chocolate and lemon together which is just wrong in my mind.

White chocolate + lemon can be good, but sometimes you just want that punch of slightly tart super fresh taste that only straight lemon can provide.

Beautifully bright and refreshing, these Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are crazy tender and loaded with fresh lemon flavor. Perfect summer cookie!

These cookies get their lemon flavor from both lemon juice and zest. If you’re feeling gourmet, garnishing them with additional lemon zest makes them all the more beautiful.

Beautifully bright and refreshing, these Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are crazy tender and loaded with fresh lemon flavor. Perfect summer cookie!

Do you ever watch the Real Housewives? That’s my guilty TV pleasure.

I can’t eat anything lemon without thinking of Yolanda Hadid from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Her lemon obsession is REAL. Seriously, if you Google her name + lemon there are multiple different photos that come up of her with copious amounts of lemons.

Her current Instagram profile photo is her with lemons. I wonder if she’d like this recipe…?

By the way if you give this recipe a try be sure to upload it to Insta and tag #handletheheat so we can all see your lemon love creation!

Beautifully bright and refreshing, these Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are crazy tender and loaded with fresh lemon flavor. Perfect summer cookie!

How to Make Cookies SOFT

There are two ingredients in this recipe that make for soft batch cookies.


This acts kind of like a tenderizing agent in cookie recipes. Just a small amount is all you need to create a softer texture. If you don’t have cornstarch or can’t use it, you can omit it entirely. The chemistry of this recipe doesn’t rely on cornstarch to turn out, the cookies will just be slightly less soft.


What you may not know about sugar is that it does more than sweeten a dish. Sugar also attracts water, helping to create a moist and tender texture.

Some sugar is more effective at doing this, especially liquid sweeteners. That’s why I added a touch of honey to this cookie recipe. Just enough to keep the cookies perfectly soft, but not so much that they turn super cakey.

It also adds a hint of floral flavor that complements the lemon wonderfully.

Cookie Customization Guide

My FREE PDF Guide here! shows you more quick swaps to customize any cookie recipe to make it softer, chewier, crispier, or whatever your heart desires!

More lemon recipes:

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

4.78 from 9 votes

How to make
Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Yield: 20 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Beautifully bright and refreshing, these Soft Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies are crazy tender and loaded with fresh lemon flavor. Perfect summer cookie!  Download my FREE Cookie Customization Guide here! 


For the cookies:

  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (from about 2 medium lemons)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon zest, for garnish, if desired
  • Poppy seeds, for garnish, if desired


Make the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and honey. Add the lemon juice and poppy seeds and mix until combined. On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Divide the dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls using a spring-loaded scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Gently flatten dough with the smooth side of a spatula.
  5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are just set and slightly golden brown. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to cooking racks to cool completely.

Make the glaze:

  1. In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice until a thick glaze forms. Add more sugar or juice as needed. Dip each cookie into the glaze. Sprinkle with more zest and poppy seeds, if desired. Let the glaze set, about 20 minutes.
  2. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Zainab — July 20, 2018 at 11:16 am

    If I leave out the poppy seeds, will it affect the texture?

  2. #
    Natalie — July 22, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Made these for a birthday brunch this weekend and they turned out amazing! So light and lemony without being overpowering. 10/10 will make again

  3. #
    sabrina — July 22, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I love lemon cookies, thank you, and great tips about using cornstarch and honey to make them soft so thank you for that too

  4. #
    Emcee — July 28, 2018 at 11:23 am

    These lemon cookies are perfect for summer! Thank you.

    One minor comment about pairing lemon and regular chocolate. I find that white chocolate is just too sweet and cloying, but bittersweet chocolate and lemon is marvellous. Just for fun, try this with a french style lemon tarte (Tarte au Citron)…. after the pastry is blind baked, brush a thin layer of melted bittersweet chocolate in the bottom of the pastry case. Then top with the lemon filling and bake as usual. Delish!

    • #
      Tessa — August 1, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Thanks for the insights, Emcee!

  5. #
    Anna Weiskopf — August 5, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Hello! Thanks for all your help related to baking. I made both the lemon poppy seed cookies and the lemon zucchini bread. I did not beat the butter too much in hopes of keeping the cookies from deflating, they were still pretty flat. Other than not flattening them, any other thoughts?

    • #
      Tessa — August 8, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Try popping the balls of cookie dough in the freezer while the oven preheats! The warmer the dough, the more it will spread. If you live in a humid climate, you can also try adding 1 to 3 tablespoons additional flour.

  6. #
    Lorraine — March 17, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    This recipe is a keeper! I made smaller cookies and just adjusted the baking time to 8 min and they turned out perfectly.
    I also thought they looked cute with rounded tops so didn’t bother pressing them down. Will be my Go-to lemon poppy seed cookie recipe 🙂

  7. #
    Frances — April 9, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Quick question: Can the dough be frozen and still bake well later?

  8. #
    Isabel — June 27, 2020 at 8:02 am

    These cookies are absolutely delicious!! I made them for my family and they all loves them (including my mom who’s a big-time lemon lover). They are perfectly sweet and have the right amount of lemon. I would highly recommend as a summertime treat!

  9. #
    Robyn — June 29, 2020 at 7:04 am

    These were amazing. I’m wondering if you’d try any other flavors with them, either in the glaze or the batter. Lavender? Earl Grey? Either with or instead of the lemon – we LOVED the lemon but the cookies themselves are also just so pillowy and lovely.

  10. #
    Estefany — July 9, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Tessa, I would like to fill the cookie with lemond curd. How can I do it? Thanks in advance.

  11. #
    Katie — August 1, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    I made these for myself and my husband and these are absolute perfection!!
    Our new favorite cookie recipe! Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. #
    Logan — January 24, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Made these cookies using coconut oil instead of butter and still turned out delicious. Mine were a little flat but still great. I might have flatten too much before baking as well.

    If I make again I won’t dip the whole tops of the cookies. I would just drizzle the glaze as it’s too sweet for my taste! My bf even likes them plain, no glaze.

    I had them with earl grey tea. These are perfect for a baby shower or event. Light treats.

  13. #
    Kristin — March 6, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Turned out PERFECTLY

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 8, 2021 at 1:36 pm


  14. #
    Michael Dwyer — March 20, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Great recipe! These turned out well, without the poppy seeds (turned out they were not in the pantry as expected). Mine were a little flat and more crispy than soft. Perhaps because my high-altitude adjustment was only to the heat (add 20°) and shorten the time – and I wasn’t watching for doneness soon enough. Also, I found them sweet enough that I skipped the glaze. The lemon flavor is robust! Thanks again, Tessa!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — March 22, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      Happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe!

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