Gluten-free lemon cookies that are also vegan, paleo, easy to make and have a delicious frosting!
In January and February, I’m always in the mood for lemon. Winters are so grey here and citrus cheers me up.
Unlike some of my other cookie recipes, you can tell that these aren’t made with all-purpose flour (but don’t run away just yet!).
Those other cookies (especially these vegan peanut butter cookies, paleo vegan coconut flour cookies and paleo oatmeal cookies) have nut butters in them doing all kinds of magical things to the texture but I didn’t want to add anything to detract from the lemon flavor in these cookies.
But that doesn’t mean that these paleo lemon cookies aren’t delicious! They’re totally maple sweetened and surprisingly (and thankfully!) don’t taste a thing like maple syrup. I absolutely love the taste of maple – but not in my lemon goodies.
I want that lemon taste to shine through everything else. I used the lightest Grade A maple syrup in these cookies and recommend you do the same if you don’t want any maple flavor. Maple also worked great in this paleo lemon fudge!
With no eggs or gluten, I have no idea how these lemon cookies hold together so well but I’m not complaining!
This healthy lemon cookies recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of coconut flour but you can’t just omit it and there’s no substitute for it. Just saying since someone always asks!
Some people have said in other posts of mine that oat flour works as a coconut flour sub (for a non-paleo version), but I’ve never tried it myself. If you try it out, please let us know in the comments!
I first posted this vegan lemon cookies recipe 4 years ago and am reposting them because I wanted to reshare them with the frosting recipe. It makes them so much more delicious!
They’re still great without but… make them with the frosting! :D
If you try these gluten-free lemon cookies, I’d love to hear what you think!
Substitution questions about these gluten-free lemon cookies?
- Can I use something instead of coconut oil in the cookie dough?
I think butter or ghee would work (for a dairy-containing verison) as well as vegan butter (for a non-paleo version).
- Can I use something instead of maple syrup?
Honey would probably work if you don’t mind a bit of honey taste (for a non-vegan version). Honey + lemon is delicious together! If you want to use honey, bake them at 325 degrees F (162 degree C) instead of 350. Honey bakes quicker than maple syrup. But if you want just lemon taste, go with maple. Agave syrup would probably work, too.
If anyone tries a keto version, I’d love to hear how you did it and how they came out!
- Does it have to be blanched almond flour?
You can use almond meal if you don’t mind the little bits of almond skin in your cookies. Hazelnut meal would also probably work but I think that’s a weird flavor combination with the lemon.
- Can I use something instead of coconut flour?
Unfortunately not. There’s not a good sub for coconut flour as it absorbs so much more liquid than other flours. I’ve heard of people using oat flour (if you can have grains) but I have absolutely no idea how much you’d need to use or if it’d be as tasty.
- Can I use something instead of coconut butter in the frosting?
Nope! Like I said in my post on how to make coconut butter, there’s no sub for it.
Gluten-free Lemon Cookies (paleo, vegan)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 9 cookies
- 1/4 cup (56 grams) refined coconut oil, melted1
- 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) maple syrup (I used the lightest Grade A syrup, which results in no maple taste in the cookies)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 1 1/3 cups (133 grams) blanched almond flour
- 2 tablespoons (17 grams) coconut flour, sifted if lumpy
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (63 grams) coconut butter (NOT coconut oil!), softened but not melted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) refined coconut oil, softened but not melted
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon (or more) lemon zest
- 1/8 - 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (the amount will depend on your brand of extract and how lemony you want them)
- pinch of salt
For the cookies:
For the frosting:
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon zest and lemon extract. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. The mixture might be thin and wet and much more like batter than dough. It might not be. Do not add any additional flour! Chilling will firm it up. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes and then place the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the dough is firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Roll into nine 35-gram balls. Place 3" apart on the prepared baking sheet and press the balls down slightly with your palm.
- Bake the smaller cookies for 10-12 minutes and the larger cookies for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies have lightly browned (not just the edges but also the middle of the cookies). The cookies may crackle a little.
- The cookies will still be very soft when you remove them from the oven. Let them cool on the pan completely.
- Prepare the frosting. Combine all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend for about 20 seconds at medium or until totally smooth. Don't blend too long or it'll melt. You can also mix this by hand if your coconut butter and oil are soft enough. Spread a heaping tablespoon over each cookie.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
345 comments on “Gluten-free Lemon Cookies (vegan, paleo)” — Add one!
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Hi there, can you tell me what coconut butter would be in German? I don’t think I’ve seen it here. Thanks!
Hi! It’s called Kokosmus. :) Alnatura has their own store-brand Kokosmus but they also have Rapunzel, which is usually a tiny bit cheaper. DM also has it.
Danke für die schnelle Hilfe, super : ) !
Can these cookies be frozen and still taste great?
Yes, they freeze great. :)
Love these little cookies! Trying to eat ran in the new year and this recipe is pretty clean. My cookies had more coconut than lemon flavor but that’s on me. I didn’t have any lemon extract and I used the coconut oil I had on hand. Costco brand and possibly not refined. Regardless the texture and taste were both great! Will make again with lemon extract (and probably agsin before I make it to the store)
I’m so glad that you enjoyed them! Almost all brands are unrefined so you have to seek out the refined kind. It’s worth it for the coconut-free taste, though. ;) I hope that you’ll enjoy the lemony version, too. :D Thanks for your feedback!
Can you use a substitute for the coconut butter? Like almond butter or another vegan butter?
My apologies for just now seeing your question! It was in spam for some weird reason with a bunch of other comments. :( Hopefully you found the answer in the post. Where it says, “Can I use something instead of coconut butter in the frosting?” I wrote “Nope! Like I said in my post on how to make coconut butter, these’s no sub for it.” Sorry about that.
i dont have any lemon extract, what can i use?
I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! You can just use lemon juice. They’ll be less lemony but still delicious.
Hi! I have been loving and baking these cookies constantly for myself, friends and bdays! They are moist and taste great with honey and refined expeller pressed coconut oil ftom Whole Foods. Bake time 350 for 11 min.
However, I was in long island by the beach for a weekend and I tried making the cookies twice and they went flat and spread out! :( but still yummy.
-First attempt was with virgin refined coconut oil and honey and the rest of ingredients listed. The dough became very watery. Result: flat and spread out after 11 min.
-Second attempt: I used vegan butter instead of coconut oil. Result: flat and spread out after 11 min. I did notice the cookies did rise after 6, 7 min then they all dropped flat!
I am wondering that maybe the culprit in this the geographical location of where I was and or the altitude. I was near a beach….
Help :) love these cookies! :)
Hmm. I really have no idea! I’ve never heard that being near a beach could have an effect like that. Did you use different brands than usual? If you were at the beach, are you worried that it’s lower altitude than where you live? This recipe wasn’t written for a high-altitude so a low-altitude shouldn’t matter. Sorry I don’t have an answer for you!
OMGoodness! We absolutely loved these. My husband says they’re better without the icing and our Son #1 says they are better with the icing. So both ways are delicious!
I’m so sorry for just now seeing this! I just found it with a ton of comments mixed in with the spam. :( I’m so glad that you and your family enjoyed them! I guess your son will get double the icing. ;) Thanks for your feedback and sorry again!
So amazing! Love the smell of lemon extract. What do you do if you do not have enough for one tablespoon? I have every single other ingredient just not enough lemons. Looks like it calls for 2 lemons :) I have lemon extract also. Thx
I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! I’d suggest increasing the lemon extract to 2 teaspoons. And then try them again later when you have more lemons because lemon zest is always better. ;) I hope you’ll enjoy them!
And thanks for leaving another comment just so you could rate it. :D
Just baked this cookie and had to say THANK YOU for sharing! I didn’t have to make the glaze because it’s SO GOOD just by itself! YUM YUM!
You’re welcome! I’m so glad you like them. :) Thanks for your feedback!
I am an 80 yr. old GF lady Texas transplant in Las Vegas who is blown away by your website. I am so impressed with your knowledge & baking experience and especially the way you put yourself “out there.” Thank you. Your presentation / photography of a varietal of healthy sweets has me drooling! You show such a zest (pun) for life in your manner of detailed conversation. You have built a little empire here that fulfills a need for those with diet restrictions. you are a very caring person who spreads happiness.
Hi Gaye! I’m so terribly sorry for only now seeing your super nice comment! I just found it in the spam with a bunch of other comments. :( Thank you for all your kind words. This is really one of the nicest comments I’ve ever gotten and just feel awful that it was sitting in spam for almost a year. Thank you again! I hope that you’re still enjoying the recipes and didn’t give up on me when I didn’t reply.
You left an invalid email address and I guessed what I think is the correct one, but I got another error message in reply. :( I’ll try writing again soon! It could be that the email account is too full.
Do you think these could be used as a mini pie crust for brownie sizes mini lemon blueberry tarts? There sound so delicious.
Hi! I haven’t tried it but I think they’d be too soft and not hold your tarts together properly. But I’m not positive!
My son said these were “the best cookies I’ve ever had”. Thank you! We are trying new vegan recipes everyday and these were divine.
Wow! What a compliment. Tell him thanks. :D And thank you for your feedback! Sorry for just now seeing your comment. Things have been crazy!
I’ve made these so many times. I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. Everyone loves these cookies!
I have started to use Miyoko’s butter in place of the oil (or at least go half and half) and I like them even more that way.
I’m so glad that you’ve been enjoying the cookies! I’ll have to check out that butter. I’m sure some butter taste helps. :) Thanks for the tip and your feedback! Sorry for my slow reply.
These cookies were yummy! I didn’t have coconut butter so I used a plant-based almond butter stick. As a result, the icing didn’t mix as well as I would have liked and had a buttery flavor, but it was still good. I think the cookies would be good without the icing too! This will be a great base recipe for other cookies. Thank you!
You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed them. :) And yes, you’ll get totally different results using coconut butter. It has a unique texture! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)
These cookies look absolutely divine! I love anything lemon too! Could you share what camera and lens you use to take your pictures? I am very impressed with the quality!
I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! It landed up in spam for some reason and I haven’t checked for a while as we’ve been dealing with regular flu and then stomach flu and a neverending winter of illness. Anyway! A Canon 6D and Canon 100mm f/2.8. :)
Thank you for sharing the recipe. I loved them! I did not use the refined coconut oil and they did end up with a coconut taste. My husband didn’t like the coconut flavor so I will make that adjustment next time.
I’m so sorry for just now seeing this! I just found it with a ton of comments mixed in with the spam. :( I’m so glad that you loved them! And yes, refined is definitely better in this recipe if you don’t want them coconutty. I hope your husband will enjoy them more with that! Thanks for your feedback and sorry again for my slow reply.
Going to try these today maybe. Do they freeze ok?
Sorry for just now seeing your question! Yes, they do. :)
Thanks so much. Actually making right away here!
I hope that they came out well! :)
Hi! Thank you for the recipe. The cookies are very tasty but my cookies didn’t look like yours. My cookies turned very flat (like pancakes). Any ideas why? I used Costco almond flour, extra virgin coconut oil. Thank you!
I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! I haven’t used that almond flour but perhaps it’s more coarse than the usual stuff? Also, did you use a scale? If not, I recommend using that! I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on these cookies but nobody saying that they’re flat (that I can remember) so I think it was likely a measuring / ingredient issue. I’m glad that they were still tasty. :)
Thanks for the recipe! This will be a staple for me, it’s delicious.
I’m so glad you like them! Thanks for your comment. :)
Always looking to make healthy cookies and these turned out excellent! Instead of lemon essence I added 2 drops of lemon essential oil (a very good quality pure one), extra lemon zest and grated ginger (because I love the combination!). The only small gripe….I need to make double quantity next time..! I made my own almond flour but it didnt grind down enough so I have ordered some good quality flour to trial next… This will become a very favourite cookie….🤗❤
Oooh, grated ginger sounds amazing! And great that oil worked in place of extract. I’m super glad that it’ll become a favorite cookie for you. :) And I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! It somehow got mixed in with the spam.
Haha no probs…just made another batch! And others have requested recipe …so good vibes… x love the kick of ginger too (plus the health benefits) x thank you! Xxx
You’re welcome! And woohoo. Always glad to hear that others request the recipe. :) Thanks again for your comment!
I absolutely love these cookies. Our co-op is requesting recipes for a cookbook. If I include your url, may I submit this recipe for the cookbook? Thanks!
I’m so glad you like them! The recipe has already been published somewhere else so it can’t be published in anything else. I’m sorry about that! But thank you for asking and not just taking. :)
I made this recipe for a group and they loved it! I made it exactly with the exception of the maple syrup. I used agave! Very filling, I made small ones and got 12 out of them! Thank you!
You’re welcome! I’m glad that it worked well with agave. :) Thanks for the tip and for your comment!
These look good when piped with a large piping nozzle.
Oooh! What an interesting idea. Thanks for the tip!
Hi. I’d like to make these cookies, but I can’t have coconut flour. Can I substitute with something else that’s gluten-free?
Hello! Some people have mentioned using oat flour as a coconut flour sub in a few of my recipes but it’s not an exact sub (there aren’t any exact subs) and I haven’t tried it for myself. So I can’t really say for sure if it’d work! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.
These are fabulous. My husband,daughter and I love them! I am going to use this base for all my cookies from now on. Thank you so much for your generosity as these are worth money!!! Love from France
You’re welcome! I’m so glad to hear that you and your family liked them so much. :) Thanks for your feedback!
Hi, I used to make these ALL the time before I switched to a no sugar diet this year. Any suggestions? I so desperately want to make this. I used to start my day with this cookie & tea before I took my dog out for a walk at 5am!!! So I always had stock!
I am wondering if I can use erythritol and then sub the liquid. Hmmmmmm.
Hello! I have to admit that I really don’t know anything about low-carb sweeteners (they give me gut issues). If you try it out, please let me know how it goes! I’m sure other readers are wondering the same thing.
I am going to try using the sweetleaf stevia maple syrup. I use it in recipes that call for maple syrup as an alternative.
Thanks for the tip! I’d love to hear how it comes out.
Xylatol! That will save you! I use it all the time I buy it on Amazon.
Awesome! Thanks a bunch for the tip! :)
Thank you for this recipe. These lemon cookies are my absolute favorite!! I have to delay the time between making them, because I don’t trust myself to not devour them in no time. I am convinced my taste buds can be satisfied on a Vegan diet. Food can be flavorful and I look forward to exploring more recipes. Thanks again!
You’re welcome! I’m so happy that you enjoyed them. :) Thanks for your feedback and sorry for my very slow reply! Good luck with the vegan diet. :)
Hi there, thanks for the recipe! Do you have nutritional information per cookie? Thanks.
I don’t have that info but you could use this recipe analyzer for the nutritional profile. :)
These look delish! Could you use actual lemons as opposed to lemon extract in this recipe? If so what would that look like? Can’t wait to try these.
Thanks! You could definitely use more lemon zest. Some of the commenters have used lemon juice but I haven’t tried it (I’ve only made them as written). Sorry I can’t be more helpful!
Could we use all coconut flour instead of almond flour?
Unfortunately not as they’re not interchangeable.
I looked through all the comments but can’t find an answer to this question. Is the Bob’s Red Mill almond flour a de-fatted flour (powdery) or is it finely ground almonds, more like a fine almond meal? I used the first and weighed all the ingredients, but the dough was far too firm and crumbly in the end, and I had to add 1 or 2 Tb water plus a whole flax egg! And they still weren’t light and didn’t rise at all because they were too dense. I’m guessing it’s the difference in flour vs. meal, but could you please confirm or deny that? Thanks!
Hello! So sorry for just now seeing your question. Do you happen to live outside of the US? In the US, almond flour is always ground almonds. We don’t even have the defatted kind in the US. It can be confusing because in some countries, almond flour = the defatted stuff and what we’d call ground, blanched almonds is what others might call almond flour. Almond meal is like almond flour, except it hasn’t been blanched. I’m sorry that they didn’t come out! I hope the next time goes better. :)
I do live in Europe. Thank you for the explanation! For some reason, in all the recipes and explanations I’ve seen about almond “flour”, that difference never came across. People always say to use almond flour and not almond meal. And I always took almond meal to mean ground almonds. Therefore, almond flour couldn’t be just plain ground almonds. Thank you so much for being the first person who could actually clarify the difference! I can’t wait to try the recipe again, but with the right ingredient. ;)
Oh, gosh. That’s really confusing! I can see the problem. I think that I’ll start adding a note to my recipes to help a few of the European readers. Thanks again for your feedback!
I HATE COOKING but I am transitioning to a 98% Gluten-free – Vegeterian diet—- I plan to still enjoy bacon or eggs every once in a while! ;-) and I must say that I LOVE THIS COOKIE!!! And the best part about it is it is EASY, not a lot of ingredients, taste good AND FILLING! I even made a little frosting/glaze using Stevia, coconut oil and lemon extract. It was an experiment but OH MY—- now I can enjoy with or without the frosting and still be satisfied. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE. God bless🙏🏾❤️
Hello! I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment. You’re welcome for the recipe. :) I’m glad that you enjoyed the cookies and I love your glaze idea. It sounds delicious! Thanks a bunch for your comment. :)
These lemon cookies are absolutely delish.
Loved them easy and tasty !!
Thank you for sharing !
Made with ghee .
I bet these are great made with ghee! Sounds delicious. Thanks for your comment (and sorry for my slow reply!). I’m so happy you liked them!
I’ve been browsing your lemon dessert recipes and was wondering, could I use this cookie recipe for your lemon curd thumbprint cookies?? I need to be dairy free and that cookie recipe has butter in it. :) thank you!!
Here’s the base you need! It’s the same as the lemon curd thumbprint cookies but with coconut oil :) – raspberry thumbprint cookies. Enjoy!
I want to try this recipe soon. What if i don’t have a maple syrup, Is it okay for organic stevia?
Hi there! I’m so very sorry for just now seeing your comment. It landed in spam for some weird reason! If you don’t have maple, you could use honey (for a non-vegan version). Is the stevia a liquid version that’s meant as a 1-to-1 sub for honey / maple? If so, that should work. If not, you’d have to add some liquid to the recipe to make up for the lost liquid in the maple but I’m not sure how much. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!
I made these cookies and they turned out great!!! I didn’t have any refined coconut oil, so I used virgin coconut oil. They tasted more like a coconut-lemon macaroon, but I still thought it was great! 10/10 super easy & tastes awesome!
A coconut lemon macaroon sounds yummy! Thanks for the tip. I’m happy that they came out well! Thanks for your comment (and sorry for my slow reply!).
Hi there! I love your recipes and will be trying this one and the chocolate chips for Christmas! Question here – could I substitute coconut sugar for the maple syrup, and if so, about how much would you think?
We try to coconut sugar these days over maple syrup and honey it bc of its lower GI! Thanks so much!
Hi! I’m so happy that you love the recipes. :) I wouldn’t recommend coconut sugar here because the taste would overpower the lemon and I don’t think it’d go together very well. But the real problem is that you’d have to add extra liquid to make up for the loss of liquid in the maple syrup. I unfortunately don’t have a clue how much you’d need to add. :/ Sorry about that! Most of my recipes use coconut sugar so you could look here to see all of them.
No worries, so glad I asked! Thanks for your speedy feedback!
These are so yummy! I’ve changed them up to make sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies, equally as yummy!
Do you have a healthy frosting recipe? I would love to make these with my granddaughter as Christmas cookies. Thanks!
I do! I have these paleo orange cookie, which are the same exact cookies as these lemon cookies, but with orange flavor. And it’s got a frosting recipe! Hope you’ll both enjoy it. :)
Might be an issue of almond flour brand? It’s my understanding there’s a lot of variation in quality, fineness of texture, etc. with almond flour.
Do I have to use baking soda?
These are so good! And so easy! I didn’t have lemon extract so I used vanilla instead and turned out great. Straight out of the oven is to die for. Yum!
Yay! I’m happy that you enjoyed them so much. :) Thanks for your comment!
Can you use just coconut flour. Husband can’t have starch.
Unfortunately not. But almond flour isn’t a starch? You could try my coconut flour cookies for a coconut only cookie recipe!
I love these cookies! Today I made almond chocolate chip cookies with the same base. Yum. Instead of lemon (which I love) I used almond extract and some home made choc. chips with baker’s chocolate.
Whole new cookie. The extract is great with the almond and coconut flavors.
That sounds delicious! Thanks for the tip. I love almond extract so I’ll have to try that, too. Thanks for your comment. :)