In cookie recipes, it’s difficult to find the balance of enough liquid flavor without ruining the cookie’s texture and spreadability. However, these soft coconut lime cookies nail it! Using 1/4 cup of lime juice, a little coconut extract, and plenty of sweetened shredded coconut, the cookies are flavorful with just enough spread. Roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before baking, then finish the cookies with tangy lime glaze.
Coconut Lime Cookies Details
- Flavor: These coconut lime cookies have a refreshing summery flavor that hits the spot if you crave a unique cookie when the weather warms up. Don’t skip the glaze because it adds flavor– it also sets after a couple hours so the cookies are convenient to stack, store, and/or transport.
- Texture: These are soft cookies with a slightly cakey crumb. They are not nearly as cake-like as blueberry muffin cookies though.
- Helpful Tools: This is a pretty simple cookie recipe that requires an electric mixer. If you have a food processor, pulse the coconut a few times to break the shreds down before mixing into the cookie dough. I recommend this in our coconut macaroons and coconut cake recipes, too. Smaller pieces of coconut keep the cookie dough balls tight and compact and leave a more desirable texture. If you don’t have a food processor, just give the coconut a quick chop with a sharp knife. You can use bottled lime juice or squeeze fresh limes at home using a citrus juicer. Here is a wonderful juicer if you don’t have one and need a recommendation. And finally, make sure you have a zester.
- Time: Chilling the cookie dough for at least 1.5 hours in the refrigerator is a non-negotiable. These coconut lime cookies contain excess liquid (lime juice), so the dough is very soft and sticky. The colder and firmer the cookie dough, the less they’ll over-spread. As a bonus, giving the dough time in the refrigerator before baking allows the flavors to develop and settle.
Key Flavor Ingredients in Coconut Lime Cookies
- Lime Juice & Zest: You can use regular limes or key limes. I haven’t tested these coconut lime cookies without citrus. For a coconut lemon cookie, feel free to swap the lime juice and zest with lemon juice/zest. There’s a bit more citrus flavor in today’s cookies than the lemon ginger cookies. (This recipe also yields more.)
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut: I strongly recommend using sweetened shredded coconut because it’s moister than unsweetened and that makes a big difference in the cookie’s flavor, moisture, and texture. Knowing the texture and flavor will change, you can use unsweetened coconut flakes if that’s all you have.
- Coconut Extract: Like in this coconut cupcakes recipe, I found the coconut flavor lacking in these cookies without a little coconut extract. The cookies are still great without it, but if you can find coconut extract, use it. It’s pretty common in most major grocery stores.
Some step-by-step photos to help guide you through the recipe:
Recipe Testing: What Works and What Doesn’t
After I mastered the base recipe with enough lime juice and coconut flavor, I wanted to experiment with different finishing touches. These include rolling the cookie dough balls in confectioners’ sugar, leaving them plain, and rolling in granulated sugar. When I first envisioned the cookies, I wanted a crinkle cookie similar to chocolate crinkles. However, as you’ll read below, I found their flavor lacking without the glaze.
Each of the following cookies were made with the same cookie dough.
- Top Left – Butter Too Warm: Before I could even start taste testing with different finishing touches, I sabotaged my efforts by accidentally starting with too soft/too warm butter. Remember that room temperature butter is still quite solid and cool to the touch.
- Top Right – Rolled in Confectioners’ Sugar: These coconut lime crinkles were certainly delicious, but taste testers couldn’t detect a strong lime flavor.
- Bottom Left – Plain: I baked the cookie dough balls completely plain without rolling in granulated sugar. I also skipped the lime glaze. The cookies were tasty, but they definitely benefit from both of the following finishes.
- Bottom Right – Rolled in Granulated Sugar + Added Lime Glaze: These were the clear winner. Taste testers could not stop snacking on them (even when the cookies were 3 days old!). Thanks to the lime glaze, the lime flavor was strong. Rolling in granulated sugar was the perfect amount of sweetness AND it gave the edges a little bit of texture.
Remember baking is a science and I’m happy to test variations so you don’t have to!Print
These coconut lime cookies have a refreshing summery flavor that hits the spot when the weather warms up. Don’t skip the glaze because it adds flavor– it also sets after a couple hours so the cookies are convenient to stack, store, and/or transport. Set aside enough time to chill the cookie dough in step 4.
- 1 and 1/4 cups (100g) sweetened shredded coconut*
- 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh or bottled lime juice (regular or key lime), at room temperature*
- 2 teaspoons lime zest (regular or key lime)*
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar (or more, as needed)
- 2 Tablespoons (23ml) fresh lime juice
- Optional but recommended: Pulse the coconut shreds in a food processor or chop them up with a sharp knife so they are finer. Smaller pieces make a more desirable texture in the baked cookies. Set aside for step 3.
- Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute. Add the egg, lime juice, lime zest, and coconut extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Mixture will appear curdled and that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and beat in the coconut. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Dough is thick, creamy, and sticky.
- Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 1.5 hours (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite firm.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Pour remaining sugar into a large bowl. Roll cookie dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie. Roll each in granulated sugar. Arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes or until very lightly browned on the sides.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the glaze: Whisk the glaze ingredients together. If desired, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more juice to thin out. The thicker the glaze, the whiter (and less translucent) it will be. Drizzle on cooled cookies and feel free to garnish each with more shredded coconut and/or lime zest. Icing will set after about 1 hour, so these are convenient to store and transport.
- Cookies without glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cookies with glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough. Baked cookies, with or without glaze, freeze well for up to 3 months.
- Sweetened Shredded Coconut: I strongly recommend using sweetened shredded coconut because it’s moister than unsweetened and that makes a big difference in the cookie’s flavor, moisture, and texture. Knowing the texture and flavor will change, you can use unsweetened coconut flakes if that’s all you have. Give them a rough chop or pulse in the food processor as instructed in step 1.
- Cornstarch: If you don’t have cornstarch, you can leave it out. It helps maintain a thicker, softer cookie but test batches without it were still intact and delicious.
- Limes: You can use regular limes or key limes. Since they’re so tiny, you need at least 7-8 key limes for this amount of juice (in the dough and glaze) and zest. If using regular limes, you need about 3. Feel free to use lemon juice/zest instead of lime. I haven’t tested this recipe without citrus. If you want a plain coconut cookie, try these coconut macadamia nut cookies, skip the nuts, and add 1 teaspoon coconut extract when you beat in the vanilla extract.
Keywords: coconut lime cookies