Cookies mean the world to me. There’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee, a cookie, and a peaceful night.

When we think of cookies, we believe chocolate chip and white chocolate chips are our all-time favorites. There is one variation that is a little different yet equally wholesome. I’m talking about lemon drop cookies.

Surprised? Rightfully so.

Nobody thinks of lemon when they think of cookies, but they should! For me, it’s on par with chocolate as far as taste is concerned. By the end of this Panera Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe, you will know how to make soft, cloudlike citrusy cookies.

That’s enough teasing. Let’s start baking!

Our Take on Panera’s Lemon Drop Cookie:


What are you going to need? I would suggest a quick run to the store right about now:

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • ½ cup Cornstarch
  • Butter
  • 3½ cups All-purpose flour
  • Lemon zest from 3 lemons
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla extract
  • Lemon Juice (From the same lemons as the zest.)

Kitchenware You Might Need:

  • A large bowl
  • An electric mixer
  • Parchment Paper
  • Whisk

The Process:

You can’t just throw all the ingredients into a bowl and then bake it. There is a little method to the madness.

Here is the whole process:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Step 2: In the bowl, beat butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar with an electric mixer.

Step 3: Add 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, ½ cup on corn flour, 3 lemons’ worth of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

Step 4: Stir the contents until thoroughly blended.

Step 5: Shape the dough into 3–4-inch balls and place them 1–2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Step 6: Put it into the oven for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies. When the edges turn golden brown, they are done.

Step 7: Allow cooling.

Step 8: Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, lemon zest, and juice to make the icing.

Step 9: Apply icing to the cookies and enjoy!

The Icing:

Believe it or not, the icing can play a significant role in how your cookies turn out. They have a very distinct taste, and the icing can enhance the flavor of your cookie. Since it is of such importance, the texture and taste of the icing also need some sort of regulation.

If you like your icing to be on the thicker side of the spectrum and have some kind of consistency to it, increasing the proportion of powdered sugar will do the trick. (This will reduce the lemony taste, however.)

Note: If you have a little extra time on your hands, you can chill the dough before putting them into the oven. It allows for a tougher, crunchier exterior and soft interior. Do this by placing the dough balls onto a baking sheet and throwing them in the fridge from 1 hour to overnight. When it’s time to bake, move them onto a new baking sheet and put them into the oven.

If you’re making these and think you’ve gone wrong somewhere, let us know. A frequently asked question is, “My dough ended up being very sticky. Am I doing it right?” In answer to that, you are right on track.

The lemon zest and high amounts of powdered sugar can make the dough very sticky, and that’s perfectly normal. It does get a little difficult to handle when it is sticky, which is why you should either flour your hands when dealing with the dough or add a little extra flour.

Italian Lemon Drop Cookies

If you don’t like the extra sweet taste of the lemon drop cookies or maybe you just feel a little extra Italian this week, you can try the Italian Lemon Drop cookies. They’re not that different from the typical lemon drop cookies, just less sweet.

In Italy, they’re known by a lot of names: Lemon Iced cookies, Lemon Knot Cookies, Tallaruci, etc. If you’re an Italian away from home and desperately want an escape back to Italy, you’re in luck.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Total time: 28 minutes

We’ve divided this recipe into two distinct parts: The cookie and the icing.


  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk

How to Prepare:

In a large bowl, add oil, milk, sugar, and eggs. Mix the contents manually or with a mixer until a uniform blend is obtained.

Add the baking powder and flour and whisk until a soft and sticky dough is obtained.

Using a scoop, drop dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Throw it in the oven for 8 minutes at 350F. Let the resulting cookies cool completely.

The Icing:


  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Half a lemon worth of zest
  • 6 drops Yellow food coloring


  1. Add all of the aforementioned ingredients to a bowl and combine well.
  2. Let the resulting icing dry and harden, and store it in an airtight container.
  3. Ice the Italian lemon drop cookies.

Note: It is imperative that you let the cookies completely cool before you ice them. Otherwise, the sugar in the icing starts to melt.

What Made me Make These Cookies?

I ran into these in a grocery store. I’ve been disappointed more often than not whenever I have invested my money and time into cookies. When I saw these, I was ready to be disappointed again. Contrary to my other experiences, the moment I bit into this, I was instantly a fan.

I went ahead and bought three dozen cookies, but when I heard that Panera was discontinuing its triple chocolate cookies, I was scared for my dear lemon drop cookies and started analyzing every bite, trying to guess what went into making this goodness.

After lots of trials and errors, I’ve reached the point where I think I have cracked the mystery wide open.

On top of their unbelievable taste, these cookies have a particular property which makes them almost melt in your mouth.

Yes, as soon as you put them in your mouth, they break down into delicious citrusy goodness that leaves you wanting more. You should definitely give it a try at home.


Who doesn’t love cookies? From children to adults to infants, nobody has ever had a cookie and said they don’t want more (unless they’re raisin cookies).

I’ve had so many cookies that I would call myself a cookie connoisseur. It’s very difficult to find cookies that match my standards, but this one is my ultimate favorite.

Maybe you’ve got a friend coming over or your parents. You could be a parent who’s struggling to get the kids to eat. This is the perfect recipe for every occasion. Just so you don’t lose this Panera Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe, we would suggest bookmarking it and copying it down for those special occasions.

In the case that Panera does shut down its production, you know where to look. If there’s something we missed, or if you have any more tips and tricks, let us know in the comments below.

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Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.


  1. Sandra Leavitt Reply

    The recipe calls for butter but doesn’t say how much butter?

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