Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Hello, from florida: Key Lime Cookies

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Hello, from florida: Key Lime Cookies, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

Isn’t it funny how when you think of key limes your brain automatically goes to key lime pie? I’m trying to think of another ingredient that has that strong an association to a particular preparation…annnnnd I can’t. Surely one exists…I’m just drawing a blank right now. Hm, maybe orange and orange juice? But no, cause you could totally eat an orange alone and you’d probably never sit there and snack on a lime. If you think of one, let me know cause now it’s killing me.

Anyway, for a brief second I actually considered doing some mini key lime tarts or pies for the Hello, from Florida photography show. I immediately snapped out of it though, realizing that would be insane for me to pull off. Correctly anyway.

Key lime cookies sounded like a delicious and respectable alternative. These are fantastic. The texture is somewhere between a shortbread cookie and a snickerdoodle. So in other words, divine. And they’ve got just the right amount of zest, which is something I was initially worried about because I tasted one right out to the oven (foolishly) and was sure I’d used too much zest. But, once cooled, they were perfect!


Like the Coco Cupcakes, I’m going to do these small. Bite-sized cookies are the best!

So what’s the difference between a key lime and the more common Persian limes? Key limes are much smaller (ping-pong to golf ball-sized), spherical, thin-skinned and typically contain a few itty-bitty seeds. Green key limes are actually immature fruits, prized for their acidity. However, as they ripen to a yellowish color, the acid content diminishes, resulting in a much sweeter fruit.

The ones I picked up were still pretty green. 12 for $1 made me very happy!


I ended up needing about 4 key limes for this recipe.

The dough is easy enough to make but does require a chilling in the fridge or freezer before you can really handle/shape the dough balls. See all that pretty green zest in there?


One last thing, I’m not generally a big fan of citrus baked goods (maybe you’re not either cause I know a lot of people aren’t), so the fact that I like these so much says a lot…I definitely recommend you try them out!

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Coop/prep time: about 1.25 hours because the dough needs to chill in the fridge for about an hour. Recipe makes 3 dozen cookies. If you can’t find key limes, just use regular limes!

You need:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp and very softened (don’t microwave the butter to soften though)
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup Key lime or other lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest (grated peel)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar (for topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter (that means mix/whip until fluffy) and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk, beating until creamy. Beat in lime juice and zest just until combined.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Refrigerate dough 60 minutes, until firm (I cheated and just popped the dough in the freezer for like 25 mins and it was fine).
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
  5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden. Transfer to wire rack. Let them cool completely before tasting or they’ll taste realllly zesty. Dust cookies lightly with confectioners’ sugar through a hand strainer.



  1. Posted May 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Tiny citrus bites! I love small cookies, they’re perfect.

  2. Posted May 16, 2010 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    Gorgeous, gorgeous photos! I love anything with zest and these do look perfect. Thank you for the inspiration :)

  3. Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    Love the use of key lime in a cookie! I ‘m a big fan of the zesty flavor and sweetness of key lime. Perfect dusted with powdered sugar.

    Just found your blog and am enjoying it.=)

  4. Posted May 17, 2010 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    Two things I can’t say no to-Cookies and lime! I will be making these very soon! Love them!

  5. Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    Just made these cookies this past weekend, perfect!! Loved them :)

  6. Posted May 18, 2010 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    Not a fan of citrus baked goods? No way! I love citrus baked goods, and I definitely have to make these asap.

  7. Brianne
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    LOVE YOU for doing this recipe!! Key Lime is my ALL TIME FAVORITE…pie, tart, coladas, even cookies! It’s the best flavor. Some of my favorite cookies I’ve ever had were Sam & Brent’s Key Lime White Chocolate cookies. Man, I haven’t seen them in forever. My sister lives in Homestead & is visiting me in TN in a couple weeks. I am going to make her bring be some key limes.

  8. Mitzi
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    Made these the other day and everyone enjoyed them! Thank you for the delicious recipe!! Perfect for summer!

  9. Posted May 26, 2010 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    What a beautiful blog you have. These bite sized cookies look full of flavor.

  10. Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    these look fantastic. my dad is a key lime fanatic. i wanna make these for him for father’s day!

  11. Catherine
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Just returned from Key West.

    Planning on baking theses cookies TODAY!!!

    What a beautiful blog..passing it on to my friends!

  12. Posted November 8, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Hi I was wondering if anyone could offer a comment on this. I have Key lime pie mix or a Key lime mousse that is in a bag, (powdered) that we brought
    back from Florida, I was pondering If I could make
    Key lime cookies from this mix??? Any comments
    would be helpful. Thanks

  13. Becca
    Posted September 2, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    I made these as a thank you to my Parents after our family trip to Florida. My dad asked for more lime flavor, so I added a bit more juice and zest to the second batch.

    Also, I made some a little crispy for my dad but after storing them in the fridge for the a few days they harden up even more. So a word to the wise: if you like your cookies crunchy do not over bake these unless you are planning on eating them all right away.

    Great cookie, light and flavorful! Am making again for Labor Day get together.

  14. Betsey
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Can I freeze these? Would love to make these to put in my welcome bags for those traveling to my daughters wedding but would need to do ahead of time.

  15. gabi
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    Yes, these will freeze great!
    Both the dough and the cookies.

  16. Kate
    Posted May 10, 2012 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Best cookies ever! Just made these and they turned out perfectly. There was just enough zest. Very delicious. Great recipe. Thanks for sharing! If you want to add a little more zest, I added a glaze to some of the cookies. You just mix confectioners’ sugar with lime zest, and then mix in lime juice until it is the consistency you like. Brush on cookies and let the glaze harden.

  17. Amy
    Posted June 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

    I would love high altitude recommendations for these cookies. They sound delicious!

  18. Susan
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Just made these with my three year old son and we are in fabulous-citrus-heaven! We’ll be sharing these with friends and family at my niece’s graduation party. I bake cookies quite a bit and I recommend this easy, delicious recipe. Beautiful photos, thanks!

  19. Jeanne
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    My boyfriend love anything with key lime!! So I know this is gonna be a new hit in our home. The 1st time I made them I doubled the recipe ! Yum! Love these

  20. Barbara
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    Brought home key limes from FL which are yellow when ripened. Could not get a lot of zest from them since they are golf ball size. Worked out very well with mostly the juice & a little zest. For the second batch I pulverized blanched almonds & dipped bottom of cookie ball in them which turned out well. My sister is now baking these also. We love them & thanks for such a sweet treat.

  21. Samantha
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    Very yummy cookies! I live in miami so keylimes are easy to come by. i buy these amazing keylime cookies from this cafe here. they only make them on wednesdays and they are pricey for cookies… so i thought about looking up a recipe online, and thats how i found this blog. The cookies feom this blig are a lot sweeter and chewier then the cookies i love from the cafe… but still worth making again! i just wish i knew how to make cookies less dense and more fluffy so they stay high and dont go flat. can anyone help me on this? Anyways thanks for being one of the few key lime cookie recipes online I could find!

  22. Theresa
    Posted May 9, 2013 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

    These are delicious! I was looking for a key lime cookie recipe I could drizzle icing on for my aunt’s annual Mother’s Day treat, but these are great with just the powdered sugar on top. These are so easy, I will definitely make them again since we always have key lime juice in the house. I didn’t need to cool the dough as long as suggested, but the cookies needed about 17 minutes to bake.

  23. Fiona
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    my 84 year old father found key limes in our local Walmart! I live about 2 hours north of Toronto, Canada. Just made this recipe and absolutely love it! I haven’t been to Florida in about 5 years so I brought a little taste of the Sunshine State into our home here! Thank you for your posting!!!

  24. Daisy
    Posted September 16, 2014 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    Hi. I made these cookies today. I am not much of a cookie maker, though I love to bake. The cookies are delicious and they look very professional. Thank you so much for sharing.

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