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Copycat Panera Bread Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe

This copycat Panera Bread lemon drop cookie recipe will be your new favorite. Soft, chewy sugar cookies loaded with the perfect hint of lemon. Made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract for extra lemon flavor then rolled in powdered sugar for a fun crinkle look. These only require a short chill time and come out perfect, they can even be kept frozen.

Highlights of these copycat cookies:

  • Perfect tangy lemon flavor
  • Thick and chewy texture
  • Edges of the cookies are slightly crisp
  • Easy copycat recipe you can make at home
  • Just like Panera’s without all the preservatives
  • Crinkled tops
  • Perfect balance of sweet of tangy lemon
  • Lemon bar like texture
  • Family favorite cookie
  • Simple cookie recipe, short chill time

These lemon sugar cookies are soft, cake-like cookies roll in powdered sugar for a fun crinkled top! They have the perfect hint of fresh lemon and the lemon extract adds even more lemon flavor.

Tools I used for this Panera cookie recipe:

  • USA Pan Half Sheet Pan – my go-to baking sheet, these are truly non-stick and clean up nicely. They are also large enough so cookies can bake in fewer batches.
  • KitchenAid 6 Qt. Stand Mixer – I always recommend a stand mixer as it saves time and helps to keep baked goods consistent (or substitute an electric hand mixer)
  • Rubber Spatula – a must for any home baker! Perfect for scrapping cookie dough out of the mixing bowl.
  • Portion Scoops – my go to cookie scoop for getting even sized cookies that bake perfectly each time!
  • Round Cookie Cutter – these are my go-to round cookies cutters, they are perfect for scooting warm, freshly baked cookies to keep them perfectly round.

First Steps:

  • Cream softened butter and sugar
  • Add in eggs and vanilla
  • Mix until light and fluffy

Grocery Store List:

  • Unsalted butter, if using salted omit salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Whole eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh lemon zest
  • Lemon extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • White chocolate chips if desired

A delicious recipe for lemon lovers!

Variations:

  • Turn into sandwich cookies, sandwich together with buttercream
  • Mix in chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans
  • Roll in lemon sugar for extra lemon flavor
  • Make into smaller cookies using a smaller cookie scoop
  • Top with cream cheese frosting

If you like these Copycat Panera Bread Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe, try these other easy lemon recipes…

Easy 2 Ingredient Frosted Lemonade

Soft Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

Lemon Poppy Seed Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Simple Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Poppy Seed Streusel Muffins

Second Steps:

  • Add in dry ingredients and combine
  • Mix in lemon juice and zest
  • If desired, mix in white chocolate chips
  • Chill
  • Scoop using a portion scoop
  • Roll in powdered sugar
  • Bake and enjoy!

Recipe FAQs:

What are Panera Bread lemon cookies made of?

These lemon cookies are made of creamed butter and sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, extract, flour, baking soda, and salt. Rolled in powdered sugar for a fun crinkled look!

Can I make my lemon cookie dough ahead of time?

Yes! Make the dough according to the recipe, cover and let chill for 30 minutes. At this point you can either leave the dough to chill until needed, up to 24 hours. Or you could scoop the chill dough and store the pre-scooped cookie dough in the fridge so they are ready to pop in the oven when needed. Don’t roll in powdered sugar until ready to bake.

Fresh lemon and juice and fresh lemon zest are crucial for getting a bright, vibrant lemon flavor! If you don’t have lemon extract, you can leave it out and add in extra lemon juice.

Simply make the cookie dough according to the recipe, scoop even sized amounts of dough onto a sheet pan and place in the freezer until hard. Transfer the cookie dough to an airtight container or freezer bag labeled with the date, type of cookie, and baking instructions. Keep in your freezer stash for 6-8 months. Remove desired amount when needed, bake, and enjoy! You may even want to make a double batch!

Instructions for the copycat lemon drop cookies:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mix well.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt. With the mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the lemon juice and zest*. If desired, mix in white chocolate chips.
  • Chill the dough for 25-30 minutes, or overnight if needed. If chilling overnight, allow the dough to come to room temperature before scooping. Once chilled, use a cookie scoop or measuring spoon to scoop 1 oz. scoops of dough. Coat in powdered sugar.
  • Arrange 2-3 inches apart on the prepared, ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until slightly golden brown, the cookies will still be very soft. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire racks to cool completely.

Notes:

*Mixing in the lemon juice and zest after the dry ingredients have been incorporated stops the butter from curdling. 

Happy Baking!

Panera’s lemon drop cookies have white chocolate chips in them, you can include them or leave them out if you prefer a chocolate free cookie. These would be fun to make for any holiday season.

Copycat Panera Bread Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Baking from Scratch, Cookies, Copycat Recipe, lemon drop, Panera Bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 18 Cookies
Calories: 236kcal
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Ingredients: 
 

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups Granulated sugar
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsps Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Lemon extract
  • 2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Fresh lemon zest
  • 1 cup White chocolate chips, if desired
  • Powdered sugar, for coating

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mix well.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, lemon zest, and salt. With the mixer on low slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the lemon juice and zest*. If desired, mix in white chocolate chips.
  • Chill the dough for 25-30 minutes, or overnight if needed. If chilling overnight, allow the dough to come to room temperature before scooping. Once chilled, use a cookie scoop or measuring spoon to scoop 1 oz. scoops of dough. Coat in powdered sugar.
  • Arrange 2-3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until slightly golden brown, the cookies will still be very soft. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:

*Mixing in the lemon juice and zest after the dry ingredients have been incorporated stops the butter from curdling. 

Nutrition:

Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 236 kcalCarbohydrates: 33 gProtein: 3 gFat: 11 gSaturated Fat: 7 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.4 gCholesterol: 45 mgSodium: 199 mgPotassium: 73 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 19 gVitamin A: 343 IUVitamin C: 0.02 mgCalcium: 14 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Did you make this recipe?

I would love to see it! Take a picture and post to Instagram with the tag @theheartylife and the hashtag #theheartylife – You can also leave me a question or comment below! If you’ve tried this recipe, feel free to give it a star rating on the recipe above.

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