Yield: 6 key lime cheesecake cookies // Total Time: 30 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
The softest key lime sugar cookies get topped with key lime cheesecake frosting for the ultimate summer citrus cookie. This recipe makes a small batch but can easily be doubled or tripled!
Key lime cheesecake cookies recipe tips
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Room temperature ingredients
It is important that the butter and egg yolk are at room temperature so that they incorporate properly with the rest of the ingredients. Take out the butter and egg yolk at least 30 minutes before starting the recipe. If you are in a hurry and need some tricks to getting room temperature ingredients quickly, you can check out this post here!
Mix the dough carefully
When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the cookies super tough and chewy.
Under bake for perfect cookies
Cookies continue baking after they have been taken out of the oven. The cookies may look a little underdone at 10 minutes, but it’s important to take them out to keep them nice and soft. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Ingredients and substitutions
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Baking powder: for helping the cookies rise.
Salt: to help balance and bring out the sweetness of the cookies
Unsalted butter: for tenderness and flavor. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just be sure to omit the extra salt from the cookies. We will use some butter in the cookie dough, and some in the cheesecake filling.
Powdered sugar: for sweetness and for keeping the cookies extra soft and chewy. We will use some powdered sugar in the cookie dough, and some in the cheesecake filling.
Light brown sugar: for sweetness and for moisture.
Key lime: the star of the show in these key lime cheesecake cookies! If you can’t find key limes, you can easily use regular limes in their place.
Egg yolk: for binding and for moisture.
Milk: for moisture. I use whole milk but since you will only need 1 tbsp. here, feel free to substitute in your favorite milk or dairy alternative!
Vanilla: for flavor. I use and love this vanilla extract!
Cream cheese: for the cheesecake filling! You can also use Neufchatel cheese.
How to fill key lime cheesecake cookies
Right after you take the cookies out of the oven, use a small bowl or bottom of a shot glass (~2″) to indent the center of the cookie. This is where you will place the key lime cheesecake filling!
Can I double these key lime cheesecake cookies?
Of course! Obviously they will not be small batch anymore but small batch isn’t always what we need! Simply double all of the ingredients in the recipe to make 12 delicious turtle cookies. I even more strongly recommend measuring by weight if you are going to double the recipe for the best results.
Can I make these cookies ahead of time?
Definitely! Cookie dough only gets better with time. You can keep the cookie dough tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. For longer term storage, you can also freeze the cookie dough. Just be sure to take the dough out of the fridge at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before you want to bake, so that it becomes soft enough to scoop again!
How to store key lime cheesecake cookies
Like most baked goods, these cookies will definitely taste the best on the day that they are baked. They will last for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
Cookie Sheet: I absolutely love USA pan products because of their great quality. I use their cookie sheet which is always the perfect size for all of my small batch cookies!
Silicone baking mat: parchment paper will always do the job for cookies, but I like to use a silicone mat when I can to try to cut down on waste. This is the one I use.
Cookie scoops: I have gone through a lot of cookie scoops in my baking journey, and these ones have lasted me the longest without breaking. Plus they are dishwasher safe!
Vanilla: I love using Rodelle vanilla extract. Not only is it a great quality product, but it’s on the lower end of the price that vanilla can be! This is the one I use.
For a full list of tools, equipment and ingredients that I use and love, you can check out this page here.
Did you make these key lime cheesecake cookies?
If you made these key lime cheesecake cookies I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Key Lime Cheesecake Cookies
Soft Key Lime Sugar Cookies
- 90 g all purpose flour (¾ c.)
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 56 g unsalted butter room temperature (¼ c.)
- 45 g powdered sugar (¼ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 50 g light brown sugar (¼ c.)
- zest of 1 key lime
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 tbsp. milk
- ½ tsp. vanilla
Key Lime Cheesecake Frosting
- 60 g cream cheese room temperature (¼ c.)
- 25 g unsalted butter room temperature (2 tbsp.)
- zest of 1 key lime
- 120 g powdered sugar (1 c.)
Soft Key Lime Sugar Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
- In a small bowl, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, light brown sugar, and key lime zest until the mixture is light and fluffy (~2 min.)
- Beat in the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together just until no flour streaks remain.
- Use a 3 tbsp. cookie scoop to dish out the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet. Evenly space the cookies apart to allow room for spreading. Bake for 10 minutes.
Key Lime Cheesecake Filling
- In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and key lime zest until the mixture is smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar and mix until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
- Wait for the cookies to cool down to room temperature before frosting. After frosting. top with an additional key lime slice if desired, serve, and enjoy!