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glazed lemon coconut drop shortbread-style cookies with coconut on top

Lemon Coconut Drop Shortbread Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3 dozen
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These easy shortbread-style lemon coconut drop cookies are like buttery snowball cookies but with glaze instead of a confectioners’ sugar coating. There’s only 30 minutes of cookie dough chilling needed which makes this a quick cookie recipe.


  • 1 cup (80gsweetened shredded coconut*
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90gconfectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup (120gconfectioners’ sugar (or more, as needed)
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • optional for garnish: shredded coconut, sprinkles, and/or lemon zest


  1. 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 next step.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and lemon zest and then beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine. Add the lemon juice, salt, coconut, and flour and beat on medium speed until combined. The dough may not come together at first, but keep mixing until it does. The cookie dough will be thick.
  3. Cover the cookie dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to 3 days. (If chilling for 2+ hours, let the cookie dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling into balls. The cookie dough will be very stiff after being in the refrigerator that long.)
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Roll the cookie dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, and place dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. If the cookie dough is too crumbly, keep rolling and working it with your hands. The warmth of your hands will help bring it together.
  6. Bake the cookies until lightly browned around the bottom edges, about 14-15 minutes.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. Make sure cookies are cool to the touch before dipping in icing.
  8. Make the glaze: Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl. If desired, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more milk to thin out. Dip cookies in icing or drizzle on top. If desired, garnish with coconut, sprinkles, and/or lemon zest. If coated lightly, the icing will set after 2 hours.
  9. Cover leftover iced cookies tightly and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Cookies without icing can sit covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare and chill the cookie dough for up to 3 days. See step 3. Freeze baked cookies with or without icing for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough or cookie dough balls for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before baking.
  2. Sweetened Shredded Coconut: Use 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.
  3. Can I Leave Out the Coconut? Yes. Skip the shredded coconut and leave out the coconut extract. No other changes to the recipe needed.
  4. Can I Coat in Confectioners’ Sugar Instead? Yes. Feel free to skip the glaze. Pour 1 and 1/4 cups (about 150g) confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Allow the baked cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then very gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar to coat completely. Place the cookies on wire racks to cool completely. Once completely cooled, roll in confectioners’ sugar again.
  5. Can I Use Another Citrus? Yes. Replace lemon juice and zest with lime or orange.

Keywords: lemon coconut drop shortbread cookies