Yield: 8 key lime cookies // Total Time: 50 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Key lime cookies with white chocolate
While lemon desserts are amazing (of course), we should also give limes a chance to shine this citrus season. These key lime white chocolate cookies are sweet and zesty, loaded with white chocolate, and have crisp edges with soft and chewy centers.
Why you’ll love these key lime cookies
1. Brown butter. It’s so delicious and such an easy way to add even more flavor into a cookie.
2. They’re perfect for spring. It’s zesty and it is loaded with white chocolate – I don’t know about you but it screams spring to me!
3. They come together in less than an hour. The only chilling needed is 5 minutes for the brown butter (we don’t want to scramble the egg with that hot butter!), and 15 minutes for the dough itself. Please don’t skip the chilling or you will risk ending up with some super flat cookies.
Small batch key lime cookies
These cookies are small batch – yielding just 8 medium sized cookies. They’re perfect for when you want some cookies, but don’t need enough for a party! However, the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if needed.
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 which can give you some undesirable results. This kitchen scale is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out! If you don’t have access to a scale, here is the best way to measure flour: fluff up the flour with a fork, then use a spoon to scoop it into your measuring cup. Use a knife to level off the top of the cup, then use as directed.
Weigh the brown butter
- Going off of the above, being able to weigh the brown butter is a great way to prevent errors in the recipe. It’s possible to take the brown butter too far and lose too much moisture, which will make the cookies dry and crumbly. You should have at least 90g of butter after browning. If you have less, add water to the butter to bring it back up to 90g.
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 key lime cookies tough and chewy.
Under bake for perfect cookies
- Cookies will continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet after being taken out of the oven. When the edges are golden brown and the middles of the cookies are just a little underdone, they are ready to be taken out of the oven! Let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for at least 5 minutes after baking before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
- Wanna know the secret to perfectly round cookies? It’s cookie scooting! Right when the cookies come out of the oven, take a bowl, cup, or biscuit cutter that is just slightly larger than your cookies and place it over one of the cookies. Gently swirl the bowl around the cookie to make the cookie perfectly round (and slightly thicker). And that’s all there is to it!
Ingredients and substitutions
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Baking soda: helps the cookies rise and the edges crisp up.
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’ll also be browning the butter for some extra delicious toasty flavor. If you’re looking to make this dairy-free, Miyoko’s Creamery vegan butter has the ability to brown just like regular butter and works like a charm.
Granulated sugar & light brown sugar: a combination of both gives us cookies with crispy edges and soft and chewy centers.
Key limes: we’ll only be using the zest of the key limes. Honestly, you can use a regular lime instead – I just think that key limes make it more fun!
Egg: for binding and for moisture.
Vanilla: for flavor.
White chocolate: I used Valrhona feves which I love, but they are definitely on the pricier side and more of a treat-yourself item. If you’re not using feves, I recommend using a white chocolate baking bar. You can also of course use chocolate chips here, just note that the cookies will end up a little thicker.
How to make key lime cookies
Here are the basic steps to follow to make these cookies. You can find the complete recipe at the end of this blog post.
1. Brown the butter. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and occasionally swirl until the butter turns amber in color and develops little specks. Remove the butter from the heat, pour it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and set it in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Use your hands to rub together the granulated sugar and lime zest. This helps release oils from the zest and therefore, adds more flavor into the dough. Then, whisk in the brown butter and brown sugar – followed by the egg and vanilla.
3. Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the flour, baking soda, and salt until only a few flour streaks remain in the cookie dough. Then, add in your white chocolate. Fold the mixture together just until no more flour streaks remain.
4. Bake the cookies. Evenly space out heaping 3 tbsp. scoops of the cookie dough on a cookie sheet and top with additional white chocolate and lime zest. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the middles have almost completely set.
5. Get perfect cookies. Once the cookies come out of the oven, I recommend “scooting” them. This just means take a bowl, cup, or biscuit cutter that is slightly larger than the cookie, place it on top of the cookie, and swirl the bowl around to make the cookie perfectly circular. It’s not needed at all but it will help you get that perfectly round cookie look! Also, leave the cookies to cool on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes to help them set up.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Small batch key lime cookies Q & A
Do I need to use key limes?
Not necessarily – we won’t be using the juice from the limes so you can definitely just use a regular lime if you’d like!
Can I double this recipe?
Definitely! You can double or triple the recipe as needed.
Can I make these cookies ahead of time?
You can make the cookie dough the night before, tightly cover it and place it in the fridge overnight to bake off the next day. I would recommend against any longer than that or from freezing since the main leavening is baking soda which will diminish over time. When you want to bake the cookies, let the bowl sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes or until the dough is soft enough to scoop.
How to store these cookies
Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep well for 3 days, but will taste the best on the day that they are baked.
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
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these key lime cookies?
If you made these key lime 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 Cookies
- 113 g unsalted butter (½ c.)
- 50 g granulated sugar (¼ c.)
- zest of 3 key limes*
- 110 g light brown sugar (½ c.)
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 150 g all purpose flour (1 ¼ c.)
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 140 g white chocolate (¾ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, brown the butter. Stir the butter occasionally until it turns amber in color and develops little brown specks.
- Transfer the brown butter to a small heat-safe bowl. You should be left with at least 90g of brown butter (but not more than 95g). If you have a little less than 90g, just add in some water until you reach it.
- Place the brown butter in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool down.
- In the meantime, chop your white chocolate and pour the granulated sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl
- Zest the limes into the bowl of sugar, then use your hands to rub together the zest and sugar until sugar is fully coated and kind of resembles wet sand.
- Add in the brown sugar and the brown butter once it has slightly cooled, then mix together until combined.
- Whisk in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
- Add in the flour, baking soda and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together just until a few flour streaks remain.
- Add in the white chocolate and fold just until no flour streaks remain.
- Cover the dough and chill it for at least 15 minutes. Annoying, I know – but so worth it and necessary to ensuring your dough doesn't spread too much!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Scoop out heaping 3 tbsp. scoops of dough (or use a 1/4 measuring cup), setting them on the cookie sheet at least 2" apart to allow room for spreading.
- Top each cookie with additional white chocolate and a little bit more lime zest if desired, and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
- Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, you can take a bowl that is slightly larger than the cookies and swirl it around over the cookies to make them a little more uniform and circular.
- Serve and enjoy!