Easy Lemon Cookies (Vegan + GF)

GFVGVDF
Jump to Recipe

A bite-sized cookie that’s sweet, tender, and perfectly lemony!? Count us in! These shortbread-style lemon cookies are so quick and easy, not to mention gluten-free and vegan! One bite, and we were hooked. 

They pack a TON of lemon flavor and require just 8 ingredients, 1 bowl, and 30 minutes to prepare! They’re ideal for spring, especially when you need a super cute and shareable treat! Let’s make cookies!

Inspiration For These Lemon Cookies

We aren’t the first to add lemon to cookies, and we certainly won’t be the last, because…YUM! From Italian lemon cookies (a.k.a. Anginetti) to Lemonade Girl Scout cookies to lemon shortbread and beyond, it’s clear that lemon and cookies belong together.

The following is our gluten-free, vegan take on lemon cookies. They have a lemony icing similar to the Italian treat, but their texture more closely resembles a softer shortbread.

How to Make Lemon Cookies

These cookies start with whisking together the sugar and lemon zest. This technique helps bring out the lemon flavor by infusing the sugar with the naturally occurring essential oils in the zest.

Then we add a combination of gluten-free flours for the right texture: brown rice flour for structure, tapioca flour for lightness, and almond flour for a nice crumb.

Coconut oil gives the cookies a buttery texture, lemon juice adds natural lemon flavor, sea salt enhances it, and (dairy-free) milk helps the dough come together.

Then we form the dough into a disc and let it chill in the refrigerator for a quick 5-10 minutes. Chilling isn’t essential, but it makes it easier to roll out the dough since coconut oil is prone to melting.

Next, we cut the dough into cookie shapes! And transfer them to a baking sheet for baking. If you don’t have cookie cutters, another option is to roll the dough into a log, freeze it, and then cut into thin slices.

When fully baked, these cookies develop golden brown edges and are ready to come out of the oven. Let them cool slightly, then dip in a lemony powdered sugar glaze for vibrant lemon flavor!

We hope you LOVE these lemon cookies! They’re:

Sweet
Tender
Lemony
Quick & easy
Perfect for spring
& SO Delicious!

They’re perfect for baby showers, Easter celebrations, and making the most of citrus season! Pair with a glass of dairy-free milk or a warm cup of English breakfast tea for ultimate comfort.

More Lemony Treats

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Easy Lemon Cookies (Vegan + GF)

Bite-sized lemon cookies that are sweet, tender, and oh-so delicious! The perfect gluten-free and vegan treat for spring. Just 8 ingredients, 1 bowl, and 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
4.91 from 10 votes
Prep Time 18minutes
Cook Time 12minutes
Total Time 30minutes
Servings 15(Cookies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

  • 1/4cuporganic cane sugar
  • 2tsplemon zest(1 medium lemon yields ~2 tsp zest)
  • 1/2cupbrown rice flour
  • 1/2cupalmond flour
  • 1/4cuptapioca flour(also called tapioca starch)
  • 1/8tspsea salt
  • 1/4cupsolid refined coconut oil*(unrefined is also okay, but cookies will have a slight coconut flavor)
  • 2tsplemon juice
  • 1Tbspdairy-free milk(we used almond)

GLAZE optional

  • 1/2cuporganic powdered sugar
  • 2tsplemon juice
  • 1tspdairy-free milk(we used almond)
  • 1pinchlemon zest

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and lemon zest until well combined and fragrant. Add the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, and salt, mixing until well combined. Add in the solid coconut oil and, with clean hands (or a pastry cutter or fork), begin mixing the solid coconut oil with the dry ingredients until no obvious lumps of coconut oil remain. The texture should look sandy and hold together in clumps when you squeeze it.
  • Add the lemon juice and dairy-free milk and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined. Resist the temptation to add more liquid — it’s okay if the dough is in separate pieces, as long as it’s moist.
  • Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter and transfer the cookie dough onto the paper. Mold the dough together into a disc and wrap the paper around it. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll out. Once chilled, place another piece of parchment or wax paper on top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough between the pieces of paper until it is 1/4-inch thick. Then, using a 2-inch circle cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible (see notes below if you don’t have a cookie cutter). Use a spatula or butter knife to carefully transfer the cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheet. They won’t spread too much, so they should all fit on one large baking sheet.
  • Bake cookies for 10-14 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown (a little cracking on top is normal). Repeat the baking process if there is any remaining dough.
  • While the cookies are baking, make your glaze (optional). In a small mixing bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, dairy-free milk, and lemon zest until smooth. Set aside.
  • Remove cookies from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet. If you are glazing them, let them cool completely, then carefully dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and place on a plate or cooling rack to set.
  • Enjoy with a glass of dairy-free milk or a warm cup of English breakfast tea. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Make sure your coconut oil is scoopable (the state it’s typically in when you buy it at the store), not liquid. If it’s too liquidy and pourable, this will negatively affect the cookies. To fix, set jar in refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes, then stir and let rest another 30 minutes at room temperature. The oil should be consistently solid, not partially solid and partially liquid. Repeat this process (of chilling, stirring, resting) until the right texture is achieved. This is key to ensuring the cookies’ texture is just right and the dough is easy to work with. (For best and most consistent results, be sure to store your coconut oil in a cool, dark place to keep it at the right texture/consistency.)
*If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can roll your dough into a log and slice it! Follow steps 1 through 4, then place a piece of parchment or wax paper on the counter and smoosh the dough together into a tall lump in the middle of the paper. Fold one side of the paper over your dough and begin pressing the ends in and rolling until you have a smooth, even log, about 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Roll it up in the parchment and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. If you prefer square cookies, you can simply press the dough into an even rectangle instead of rolling. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into 1/4-inch slices. When cutting, rotate your dough log every few slices to avoid getting one side too flat. Place your cookie slices on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional glaze.

Nutrition (1 of 15 servings)

Serving: 1cookie without glazeCalories: 93Carbohydrates: 9.9gProtein: 1.1gFat: 5.6gSaturated Fat: 3.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.4gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgPotassium: 44mgFiber: 0.7gSugar: 3.6gVitamin A: 0IUVitamin C: 0.6mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 0.2mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @minimalistbaker on Instagram and hashtag it #minimalistbaker so we can see all the deliciousness!

If you love this recipe...

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating! Cancel reply

  1. Lauriesays

    So delicious!!

    I could have easily eaten every single one… in a single sitting!

    Reply
  2. Christine Somogyisays

    Do you have any recommendations about using a lower glycemic sugar like Monk fruit sugar or Stevia?

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Christine, we haven’t experimented with those in this recipe, but if you try it, we’d suggest using versions that are a 1-1 granulated replacement vs. the liquid versions. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  3. Catherine ESsays

    I made these and they are DELICIOUS. I used Bob’s 1×1 GF flour because I didn’t have any brown rice flour, but still used almond flour and tapioca starch. I was nervous about the dough staying together so I just packed it down in a 9×9 pan and cooked it shortbread style, then cut it up after baking and glazing. They are crumbly but hold together well, deliciously lemony and completely addictive. Even the non-celiacs and non-vegans loved them!!!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Amazing! We’re so glad everyone enjoyed them! Thank you for sharing, Catherine! xo

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Michelle, unfortunately we haven’t tried this recipe without cane sugar, but we do have naturally sweetened, GF/V shortbread cookies, maybe you could add lemon zest to those? Hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. Kellysays

    I have been making recipes from minimalist baker for years and recommend this website to all my friends. Every single recipe I make comes out perfect (I’m the worst cook) and I never took the time to write a review (until now). These cookies were so ridiculously good that I couldn’t resist taking the time to acknowledge them properly!

    Pure perfection. I didn’t have rice flour so I replaced it with half almond flour and half tapioca starch (1/4 cup each) in addition to their own respective measurements that the recipe calls for. They still came out perfect!

    Also, I only had unrefined coconut oil and didn’t even notice the coconut flavor although I wouldn’t have minded it anyway.

    This website has been my go to since going plant based several years ago and I’m grateful for all your recipes, thank you for serving the vegan food community in a mighty way.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, thank you SO much for taking the time to leave such a sweet review, Kelly! We are so glad you enjoy our recipes! xoxo

      Reply
  5. Jaynesays

    This recipe looks fantastic, and I decided to double it on my first attempt. That might have been my problem…You warn us not to be tempted to add more liquid, but the dough is too dry to form a disc. Should I add more solid coconut oil?

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Jayne, sorry to hear it didn’t turn out right! We wonder if something about doubling it didn’t turn out right? More coconut oil should help! Keep us posted.

      Reply
  6. Katie Ksays

    I made these exactly as written, and the flavor is delicious! My coconut oil was solid and the dough was the right texture, but I did have some unexpected spread in the oven. I almost put the pan of cut cookies in the fridge for 10 min before cooking, and think that would have helped. I used a wine glass as the cutter, which made the edges less clean than a cutter, maybe that influenced the spread. I found the cookie texture slightly grittier than expected, which might be my brown rice flour (bulk bin, don’t know brand). Overall pretty tasty! And I want to eat the glaze by the spoonful.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Katie, thank you for sharing your experience and sorry they didn’t cook up quite right! It sounds like the coconut oil may have softened too much and caused spreading. Are you in a warmer climate?

      Reply
    • Linda W.says

      Absolutely amazing! I didn’t have brown rice flour, so I replaced it with Bob Red Mill’s All-purpose gluten-free flour. I also added some dried lavender. All I can say is yum! And that this is my new favorite cookie. Thanks for the easy recipe.

      Reply
      • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

        Wow, that sounds extra amazing, Linda! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

        Reply
      • Aliciasays

        I was wondering about using Bob’s because I don’t have tapioca flour on hand. Thanks for this

        Reply
      • Kariannesays

        Linda, did you use almond flour and tapioca flour in addition to the Bob’s 1 to 1? Or did you substitute all flours with Bob’s? Thanks!

        Reply
  7. Jill Andersonsays

    Lovely little cookies, perfect with tea. I didn’t have any tapioca starch so used arrowroot powder – it worked fine! And of course I had to glaze them, yum.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Amazing! We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Jill! Thank you for sharing! xo

      Reply
  8. Rebeccasays

    Hello! I can’t wait to try these, I love all of your recipes. I am wondering if I can double the dough and freeze half for later? Or do you recommend making it all fresh? I have two events I want to make these for this week. Thank you!

    Reply
  9. Donnasays

    I made these and they are delicious. I did have to make some substitutes as I didn’t have all the different flours. I also didn’t have the coconut oil. I subbed regular flour and 2tbsp butter and 2 tbsp sunflower oil. I get it, these substitutions make this not vegan or gluten free. I will be going to the store soon to get the correct ingredients. I was house bound today so used what I had. I also used cashew milk. My point is that they are pretty fool poof. I liked that fact that they were low in fat. My family told me to hide them because they can’t stop eating them. Thank you for this recipe, it’s wonderful!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We’re so glad you and your family enjoyed them, Donna! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

      Reply
  10. Julie Bodnicksays

    I made these last night because I am always looking for a recipe that can be used for the Jewish Passover. We make a meat meal, so no dairy and also to be kosher for Passover, no wheat. These cookies are super easy and very very delicious. I agree with you that they should be made with “refined” coconut oil. I only had the unrefined and I although I love coconut, I don’t love the mix of those two flavors. But honestly they were so good anyway that I could not stop eating them. Next time I will make a double recipe so they don’t disappear so quickly. Your recipes are always winners. Thank you so much! Julie

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      We’re so glad you enjoy our recipes, Julie! Thank you so much for sharing your experience! xo

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Jeanne, White rice flour is much starchier than brown rice flour and we suspect it might make the cookies gummy. If you have sorghum flour that would be an ideal sub, or perhaps a lesser amount of oat flour? Let us know if you give it a try!

      Reply
  11. Sarahsays

    Awesome recipe thanks. I mage with plain white flour and they turned out great. Will be a regular bake in our home! Thanks

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Yay! We’re so glad they turned out well! Thank you for sharing, Sarah! xo

      Reply
  12. Dawnsays

    I would love to make these for my gluten free soon to be daughter in law. I have white rice flour but not brown. Can I substitute the white for the brown?
    I have made so many of your recipes- thank you for having such delicious ideas!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Dawn, White rice flour is much starchier than brown rice flour and we suspect it might make the cookies gummy. If you have sorghum flour that would be an ideal sub, or perhaps a lesser amount of oat flour? Let us know if you give it a try!

      Reply
  13. Jacquiesays

    Hi, i am really excited to serve this with lime Pana Cotta for Easter .

    How about sticky rice flour rather than brown rice???? Any thoughts???

    Thanks for the beautiful looking recipe.

    Cheers,
    Jacquie

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Serving with a lime panna cotta sounds SO delicious! Sticky rice flour won’t have the structure that brown rice flour provides. If not gluten-free, you could try a lesser amount of all purpose flour. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Sherri, the texture of the dough would be different and they likely wouldn’t turn out as crispy. If you want to try it, we’d suggest looking at this recipe for inspiration. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  14. Ericasays

    I’m not a cookie baker (or a baker at all, I’m working to change that) but can you re-roll the scrap dough and cut more cookies? Or if you’re bent on using all the dough, as I am bent on using all of any food I make, are you better off doing the slice and bake thing?

    Reply
      • Hannahsays

        Hi!! Just wondering what could be used instead of almond flour and to get it GF? We have an almond allergy in the house. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

          Hi Hannah, we think cashew flour would be the next best option. Hope that helps!

          Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Jeff, the texture of the dough would be different and they likely wouldn’t turn out as crispy. If you want to try it, we’d suggest looking at this recipe for inspiration. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  15. Sarahsays

    Do you think I could make this with regular flour using the same amount of the combination of flours used?

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Sarah, We haven’t tried this with regular flour but we think it might work. We’d suggest using ~3/4-1 cup in place of the brown rice, almond, AND tapioca. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Lois! We haven’t tried this with regular flour but we think it might work, we’d suggest using ~3/4-1 cup in place of the brown rice, almond, AND tapioca. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  16. Deb Zsays

    Love lemon cookies but will not cook or bake with coconut oil. Super unhealthy. Can we sub a healthier oil?

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Deb! The coconut oil is ideal in this recipe because it needs to be solid at room temperature to achieve the “shortbread” texture of these cookies. If you have a butter (vegan or dairy) that you like, that would work best. We haven’t tried this recipe with liquid oils and cannot guarantee results!

      Reply
  17. Suzannesays

    I would like to try this and other cookie recipes with monk fruit or stevia. What advice can you give me?
    I love all your recipes!! This is my favorite food blog!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Suzanne! We haven’t tried these cookies without the cane sugar, but we think a 1 to 1 granulated sugar replacement should work. Let us know if you give it a try! Thanks for the support!

      Reply
  18. Nicolesays

    Hello, any recommendations for substituting the brown rice flour? I have almond and tapioca but not brown rice flour, and would love to try these cookies without waiting till the next grocery run. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Nicole! We haven’t tried these without the brown rice flour but we think sorghum flour would work, or perhaps a lesser amount of oat flour? You could try increasing the almond and tapioca to compensate, too, but we think it might be too dense. Let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

      Reply
  19. ReaderRitasays

    Yay! Lemon cookies!
    Would it be possible to use the stick form of Earth Balance vegan “butter” instead of the coconut oil? It’s what I’ve got in the house, and then I can make these asap. Thank you for all the wonderful recipes!
    (Your peerless crisp recipes have become our dessert staples in this house. We strayed once and learned to NEVER do that again, lol.)

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi there! We haven’t tried it but we think it would work.. yes. Let us know how it goes! (thanks so much for the support!)

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi D! We haven’t tried these with coconut flour and we aren’t sure if it will work, we’d suggest starting with 1/2 the amount if you give it a try. Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Kevin! Unfortunately for the “shortbread” style of these cookies we think the oil is pretty essential. But we haven’t tried it with applesauce so we aren’t sure if it would work, it might! Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Jo! We haven’t tried these without brown rice flour but we think sorghum flour would work, or perhaps a slightly lesser amount of oat flour? Let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

      Reply
  20. Jaymesays

    Do you think this would work with regular AP Flour or JUST almond flour? I dont have the other two listed and am dying to make these ASAP! I havent used them in the past so I am uncertain how to substitute. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Jayme! This would probably work with AP flour if you use ~3/4-1 cup in place of the brown rice, almond, and tapioca. We suggest referencing the recipe video to see the texture of dough you want to achieve! We don’t think it would work with just almond flour. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
      • Veronica Nsays

        Hi these look great for Easter! Do you think I could safely use white rice flour in place of brown rice? Its what I have on hand.

        Reply
        • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

          Hi Veronica! White rice flour is much starchier than brown rice flour and we suspect it might make the cookies gummy.. but we aren’t sure! If you have sorghum flour that would be an ideal sub, or perhaps a lesser amount of oat flour? Let us know if you give it a try!

          Reply
    • Lisasays

      What about only almond flour and tapioca…Do you think that might work? If so, just replace the rice flour with the almond flour? Or, what about almond “meal” instead of the rice flour?
      Thanks!!!!

      Reply
      • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

        Hi Lisa! We haven’t tried this without brown rice flour and we think sorghum flour would be the best sub, or perhaps a lesser amount of oat flour. You could try increasing the almond and tapioca but we haven’t tried it and we think the cookies might be too dense… let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

        Reply
    • Stacy Ssays

      What other flours did you use in your trials? My husband is avoiding all grains so can’t use rice flour.

      Reply
      • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

        Hi Stacy! We didn’t test this with other flours, and we aren’t sure if it will work grain-free. You could try increasing the almond flour and tapioca starch to compensate, but we cannot guarantee results. Let us know how it goes!

        Reply
  21. Laurasays

    Hi, you must be clairvoyant. I was hoping for a way to use some extra Meyer lemons. Would it be acceptable to substitute Cassava flour in place of the Tapioca flour? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Ooo, perfect timing! We haven’t tried this with cassava and we aren’t sure if it will have as much structure, but it might work. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply