Soft & Chewy Vegan Lemon Cookies
These Vegan Lemon Cookies are soft, chewy, and delicious! With lots of lemon juice and zest, these cookies are full of bright flavor. Plus, they’re made using almond flour, so they’re gluten-free. If you love lemon desserts, these are definitely worth a try!
Are you a lemon dessert fan? It seems most of us fall one way or the other…and people who love lemon REALLY love lemon. If you’re one of those people, this vegan lemon cookie recipe is for YOU. (Pssst…you should also try this Lemon Cake and these Lemon Poppyseed Muffins!!) Plus, you already know I love my vegan and gluten-free cookie recipes! Since you’re here, I’m guessing you do too.
These Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Cookies are a dream come true: they’re a perfect balance of soft and chewy, with bright, fresh lemon flavor and a light sugary coating that takes them to the next level.
Add in the nutritional benefits of the ingredients used, and you’ve got a powerhouse dessert. The lemon juice and zest add vitamin C, and almond flour is low-carb and packed with nutrients. And you know I love my gluten-free almond flour cookies! I have plenty more gluten-free vegan cookie recipes in my top-selling cookbook as well!
Ingredients you’ll need for Lemon Cookies
The *most* imperative thing here is fresh lemons. Don’t use bottled lemon juice – since lemon is our dominant flavor in these gluten-free vegan lemon cookies, you want to have the bright, fresh lemon flavor that only comes from fresh lemon juice and zest! In addition to the lemons, you’ll need:
- Olive Oil: I love using olive oil in this recipe for the fruity extra *something* that it adds! Make sure it’s a light, fruity-flavored olive oil.
- Cashew Butter: or another nut butter of choice, but cashew butter’s neutral flavor works particularly well here.
- Coconut Sugar: for sweetness!
- Fresh Lemons: for the juice and the zest! Fresh is best :)
- Flax Eggs: can also use 1 egg + 1 yolk instead of a flax egg here, if you don’t need to keep the recipe vegan.
- Vanilla Extract: for flavor!
- Almond Flour: makes for a wonderfully soft texture and slight nuttiness.
- Baking Soda + Salt: for puffiness and flavor
How to make a flax egg for vegan baking: combine 1 tablespoon flax meal with 2.5 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Let sit and gel for about 5 to 10 minutes, before stirring and adding to the recipe.
How to zest a lemon: to zest a lemon, make sure you have a good zester. Hold the lemon in one hand and the zester in the other. Scrape the lemon against the blades of the zester, scraping along the rind as you rotate the lemon. Take care to get the lemon peel, but not the white pith underneath, which can be bitter.
What you’ll need to make them:
Having the right tools makes baking cookies SO much easier! Here are my must-haves for the best cookies:
How to make Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Cookies
These vegan almond flour cookies are EASY to make and come together so quickly – we love that, right?! The faster, the better, in my opinion :) here’s how you’ll make them:
First, you’ll mix together the olive oil, nut butter, and coconut sugar until smooth and combined.
Then, you’ll add in the flax eggs, vanilla extract, and your fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir stir stir until fully combined.
Finally, mix together all of your dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda, and salt) and then stir them into the wet ingredients until a dough forms.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes to make it firmer and a little easier to work with. Then, using a cookie scoop, make your cookie dough balls.
I love rolling mine in sugar for a glistening sparkle on the outside. To do this, put some sugar into a bowl and roll each cookie dough ball in the sugar before placing on your lined baking sheet.
Press the dough balls down slightly and bake for about 10 minutes, until they’ve puffed up and are baked through. Let cool, and devour!
Tips & Tricks for the BEST lemon cookies:
I’ll say it again: make sure you use fresh lemons!! I would not recommend using something like bottled lemon juice or lemon extract here, as the flavor will not be the same as fresh lemon juice will give you.
To make the cookies ahead of time: you have choices. You can make the dough up to rolling it in the sugar, and after the cookie dough balls have been rolled, you can freeze them as is in a zip-bag. When you’re ready to bake, place them on the baking sheet, press down slightly, and let them bake – it may take an extra minute or two to bake based on how frozen they are.
To store baked cookies: I recommend storing them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the cookies in an airtight container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature before serving.
More cookies to make you hungry…
- Lemon Macaroons with Lemon Glaze
- Snowball Cookies
- Chai Sugar Cookies
- Flourless Almond Butter Cookies
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Cookies
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Chill Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 16 cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
These Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Cookies are soft in texture, sweet, and tangy, thanks to the fresh lemon juice and zest. If you’re a lemon dessert lover, these are for you!
- 3 tablespoons (37g) light, fruity olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (48g) creamy cashew butter or other creamy nut butter
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 1½ flax eggs, see Notes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1⅔ cups (160g) blanched almond flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
Raw cane sugar, turbinado sugar, or coconut sugar
- In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, nut butter, and coconut sugar until fully combined.
- Beat in the flax egg, then stir in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the blanched almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until completely combined.
- Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before forming balls to make it easier to work with – you can leave the dough in the fridge (covered) for up to 48 hours.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Put the sugar in a small bowl to roll the cookies in.
- Use a cookie scoop to make cookie dough balls, roll into a ball with your hands, and then roll each dough ball in the sugar mixture. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and press down with your palm to flatten them slightly.
- Bake for about 9 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on the size of your cookies, or until they’ve puffed and cracked. Let cool completely on the cookie sheet.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To make flax eggs: whisk together 1½ tablespoons flax meal with 5 tablespoons water, whisk and let gel for 5 minutes before using.
How do you think these would be with Meyer lemons?
Hi Lauren, I’m sure they’d be great, just a little less tangy since Meyer’s tend to be a little sweeter/less tart than regular lemons!
These are delicious! Perfect texture and flavor! I couldn’t wait the full 30 minutes to chill the dough lol so I simply scooped them out with a cookie scooper onto the parchment pan and sprinkled the sugar on top! In my oven they baked an extra 4 minutes (I kept a watchful eye) and the puffy lemony deliciousness was AMAZING! Super easy and quick!
SO glad you’re loving them, Vanessa! Thanks for the tip for the impatient among us, as well :)
How to make flax eggs
See the Notes for how to make them! :)
Hi, these looks great! Can I make them with maple syrup or honey in place of the coconut sugar?
Hi Clare, that would add a lot of extra moisture so I would never recommend replacing a granulated sweetener with a liquid one!!
The best lemon cookies! I always trust Rachel’s recipes as she has always tested them so they are perfect – can’t recommend this recipe enough if you love lemons
You’re too sweet, Lara!! Thanks so much :D
These were amazing! Light and lovely and so lemony. It was hard not to eat all the cookie dough. Total keeper!
So happy to hear that you’re loving them, Tina! Thank you for the feedback.
Legit soooo good my dad ate like half the batch in one go
Soooo glad they’re a hit with you and the fam, Elizabeth!
Love these! One of my favorites now. Do you by chance have a lemon bread recipe? My parents have a tree full of lemons!
Hi Vanessa, not yet but I can put it on my list! I do have lemon poppyseed muffins that could be made in a loaf pan, though.
Could you use a different flour base, other than almond flour? Thanks! Love lemon recipes!! Looking forward to making them.
Hi Sheri, they’re only been tested with almond flour so I can’t guarantee any substitutions, but I’m sure something like cashew flour or oat flour would also work well here. Would not recommend using coconut flour, though.
Yes!!! No oatmeal in sight. Thankfully. I love a good lemon cookie and I have everything I need to make these. They look wonderful.
I’ve been following your site on and off for several years now, although mostly just to enjoy your artistry and inventiveness due to multiple food allergies. I did however buy your new book thinking I’d be able to enjoy most of the recipes until I came up against the ubiquitous oatmeal substitution that’s been haunting me seemingly forever. Sigh. Guess I’m stuck with lovely lemon cookies. hehe
Hi Laurel, sorry to hear you were having trouble with the oatmeal! Not too many of the book recipes have oats/oat flour, but if you send me an email, I’m happy to help you substitute it! My sister doesn’t eat oats, so I have some good options to replace with. I hope you love these cookies, though!!
Can you sub out the cashew butter?
Any other nut or seed butter will work, but I’ve found cashew butter to have the most neutral flavor here!
Can we make with a regular egg?
Yes you can!! Enjoy :)
Can I sub ground flaxseed vs. meal for the flax egg?
Hi Thao, yes ground flaxseed and flax meal are the same thing!
Hi! How many cookies does one batch make? And can I use a chia egg instead of flax?
I haven’t tested with a chia egg, but it should work! This recipe makes about 16 cookies if I remember correctly.
These sound amazing! What kind of olive oil is recommended for a light & fruity taste? Thank you!!
I’ve used a variety of brands for this – Brightland is a favorite, but any brand you love the taste of will work! Just make sure there isn’t too much bitterness.
Can I substitute olive oil with coconut oil? Love coconut flavour in all baking. Thanks!
Yes absolutely! Enjoy :)