These lemon poppyseed cookies are light and fluffy and perfectly balanced with a slather of cream cheese frosting on top! They’re bursting with flavor from the lemon juice and lemon zest. The poppy seeds give them the perfect little look and crunch. Then they’re finished off with the most delicious cream cheese frosting. These are the ultimate spring dessert! I’m not even a huge lemon poppyseed fan and these have become one of my favorites!
What you need for fluffy lemon poppyseed cookies with cream cheese frosting + substitutions:
- Unsalted butter- You can use salted butter as well if that’s what you have! Just decrease the salt in the recipe to 1/2 tsp instead of 3/4 tsp. Also, room temperature butter is very important, it helps the cookies get the right consistency!
- Brown sugar- Brown sugar gives it that caramel note and adds the perfect sweetness as well as giving them that deep rich brown color. You can use light or dark. I used light!
- Granulated sugar- A classic in any recipe. You can use white sugar, cane sugar, whatever you prefer. I haven’t tested coconut sugar.
- Eggs- Eggs help bind a recipe and really help give it taste and texture. Make sure these are room temperature as well (on the counter for at least an hour) to help the recipe bind together better. I don’t know if flax eggs would work as an alternative.
- Vanilla extract- No baked good recipe is complete without vanilla extract in my opinion. It’s key!
- Lemon juice- They ARE lemon cookies so of course lemon juice is key!
- Lemon zest- This is what REALLY gives that bright lemon flavor. The zest makes the cookies so vibrant and flavorful!
- All-purpose flour– I typically bake with all-purpose flour. Almond and coconut flour do not have the same measurements so they will not work in this recipe. However, gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour should work just fine. Make sure to find one with xantham gum, I love Bob’s Red Mill, but any should do.
- Poppyseed- You don’t HAVE to add the poppyseeds, but I would highly suggest it because it makes them a classic!
- Sea salt- Salt is key in a baked good, because it really helps to bring out the flavor!
- Baking powder- Helps to inflate the cookies!
- Baking soda- Helps to produce a light and fluffy and perfectly cooked cookie.
- Buttermilk- This is what gives the cookies the soft pillowy texture. You can easily substitute 3/4 cup whole milk mixed with 1 tsp white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Mix the two ingredients in a bowl and set aside for about 5 minutes to let it curdle. Non-dairy milk will not lend the same result.
Tips for making fluffy lemon poppyseed cookies with cream cheese frosting:
- Make sure not to overbake the cookies- They bake pretty quickly and puff up fast! They have more of a dense cake consistency than a regular cookie so you want them to be puffy and soft but a little soft to touch in the middle.
- Let them cool completely before frosting- If the cookies are still warm the frosting will melt all over them and won’t turn out as pretty!
- Refrigerate the dough- I know this is always the worst, but it really makes a difference. It’s easier to scoop out the dough and also helps the flavor to develop in the cookie!
Alright, let’s get to making the recipe! Enjoy friends!
Fluffy Lemon Poppyseed Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cookies:
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp poppyseeds
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup buttermilk (or whole milk with 1 tsp vinegar)
For the Frosting:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
For the Cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mix, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Next, add in the flour, poppy seeds, lemon zest, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix until well combined.
- Slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix while adding it in until the dough is soft.
- From here, I find it easiest to refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes to make it easier to scoop out. It’s not required but certainly makes it easier.
- When you’re ready, scoop dough onto a lined baking sheet (either parchment paper or a silpat). I love using a cookie scooper because I find it easier to use. You can also just scoop out with a big spoon.
- I made 16 cookies this time around. You can make yours larger or smaller! Just adjust your cook time.
- Bake for 8-11 minutes. Less time if baking from room temperature, more time if they're coming from the fridge. You want the tops set but soft. They’ll continue to cook when you take them out so don’t over bake!
- Once done, cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting:
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract.
- Add in the powdered sugar and sea salt and mix until well combined. Set aside.
To assemble Cookies:
- Once cookies are completely cooled, spread icing on top of the cookies. Sprinkle with lemon zest and enjoy!