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! These cookies are SO GOOD. Can they be frozen? If yes, how?
Hello! I’m not sure how well the lemon curd would freeze. If you had an option, I’d freeze the cookie dough and freeze that. If you’ve already made all the cookies, then I guess put them in an airtight bag / container and see how it goes. :) Sorry for my slow reply!
Glad to find your blog ! Full of fantastic recipes, especially this one. It’s on my baking list right now One question, can I use lemon juice instead of the extract Thanks :)
I’m happy you found it, too! Welcome. :) One commenter used 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in place of the lemon extract. I haven’t tried it but she loved them! I hope you’ll enjoy the cookies. :)
These are delicious! I made them at the weekend, and just made them tonight but had to substitute the almond flour for ground walnuts because I ran out of almonds! they still worked very well! I added extra lemon zest and are delish!
Ground walnuts worked here?! I’m really surprised. I wouldn’t have figured that’d pair well with the lemon flavor! I’m super happy that you liked them. :) Thanks for your comment!
Hi there. I am planning on making these tomorrow, so am getting my shopping list ready. Is blanched almond flour any different from plain almond flour? Over here (South Africa) I have only seen plain old almond flour.
Blanched almond flour is also called blanched ground almonds. You could use non-blanched ground almonds, but then you’d have little specks of almond skin in your cookies. I prefer blanched for lighter flavored goodies like these lemon cookies. I hope you’ll enjoy them! :)
The lemon cookies can’t be categorized as Paleo because chickpeas are included in “grains” for Paleo and as you know, Paleo means NO grains.
Actually, chickpeas aren’t grains or even pseudograins – they’re legumes (which also aren’t paleo). But it doesn’t really matter because there are absolutely no chickpeas, other legumes, or grains in this recipe . :)
What can I substitute for the almond flour? We have dairy, peanut, tree nut, and soy allergies.
Unfortunately, nuts flours aren’t interchangeable with non-nut flours. I’ve heard of people using sunflower seed flour but I’ve never tried it and have no idea if it’d work here. I’m also doubtful of how it’d taste in these light flavored lemon cookies. Sorry about that!
Hi Erin! I was looking for your zucchini brownie recipe and got sidetracked when I saw this recipe. I love lemon, so had to make these. I substituted agave for the maple syrup. I also didn’t chill the dough. I can’t be sure whether it affected the finished product, but the cookies tasted soft and chewy. If there had been coconut in them, I would’ve thought they were macaroons. Loved them!!! Thanks!! I’ll make the brownies tomorrow ;-)
Hi Heather! I’m so happy that they came out well for you. And that’s so interesting that some people don’t have to chill the dough. Mine is almost like a batter it’s so liquidy before chilling! And I love the idea of adding some coconut to these to turn them into macaroons. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment and I hope you’ll enjoy the brownies, too!
Aquafaba does not taste like chickpeas at all! It truly is a miracle liquid!
That’s good to know! I reaaally don’t like chickpeas. Thanks for your comment. :)
Can you use lemon essential oil instead of lemon extract?
I’ve never used essential oil in baking. If you’ve done it before with success, I bet it’d work here, too. :)
Loved these! I follow Wheat Belly so I subbed xylitol for the syrup and made up for the moisture with an egg and lemon juice from my zested lemons. These were so delicious I ate half the batch right when they came out!
Haha. I know that eating-half-the-batch problem all too well. ;) I’m happy you came up with a sugar-free solution and that you enjoyed them! Thanks for your comment. :)
Do you think unrefined coconut oil would work for these cookies? I have that on hand instead of refined oil. Thanks! They do look very yummy!!
Hi Anda! That’ll work fine. :) The only difference is that the cookies will have some coconut taste to them. Enjoy!
hi. is the coconut flour absolutely necessary? i know you use a small amount in a few of your recipes but would it work if i just used all almond flour?
Unfortunately you just can’t omit it. You could try adding more almond flour in the recipes that just call for a small amount (like a tablespoon or two), but it’d take quite a bit of experimenting and I’d hate for you to waste ingredients and / or not have the cookies come out exactly as they should. Coconut flour’s expensive but one bag should last you a long time so I recommend just getting a bag if you often do GF baking. :)
I love the cookies they turned out so good, I used fresh honey instead the maple, and coconut butter instead coconut oil. And the info nutritional that I found is 22 calories per cookie, 2 get of carbs, 1,1 of sugar 0.1 of protein. I hope this helps
I’m surprised (but happy!) that they came out well using coconut butter instead of coconut oil. They have such a different texture! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)
I made these awhile back, followed the recipe exactly and they turned out perfect! My friends loved them.
Excellent! I’m happy to hear that. Thanks for your feedback! :)
These are absolutely my fav lemon cookies ever! So glad I have something that is healthy and tastes ridiculously awesome. Can’t say that very often, eh?
Woohoo! So happy to hear that. :) And I’m with you – healthy treats are hard to come by. Thanks for your feedback!
Hi, I’m allergic to nuts. Is oat flour ok?
Hi there! I’m sorry but the two aren’t interchangeable. Almond flour is only interchangeable with other nut flours. Sorry about that!
Cant wait to try them, but wondering about carb content. How many carbs per cookie?
Hi there! I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :) I hope you’ll enjoy the cookies if you try them!
Mine didn’t turn out so well. They tasted good, but they didn’t look very good: very pale and dense on top and brown on the bottom. Could it be because I used extra fine almond flour? The dough didn’t look runny at all after I’d combined everything. I was able to roll balls after 5 minutes (no fridge). I did use the gram indications, not the cups and stuff…
Hello! Did you by any chance use a dark colored pan? Like a black pan instead of a grey one? I live in Germany where black pans are standard and every cookie I’ve made on one of those pans comes out like you described! And when you say extra fine almond flour, do you mean finely ground almonds or defatted almond flour, which is powdery? If you used that, that could also explain your problem. I’m sorry they didn’t come out well! I hope the next batch will come out better if you try again. :)
I had the same case as yours. Used weight measurements, halved the recipe, and followed someone else’s modification, adding almond extract and chocolate chips. (I wish I had a lemon and lemon extract on hand!) The half-batch of batter was neither runny nor chilled, looked more like Russian tea cakes/snowball cookies/Mexican wedding cookies, and were 1 tbsp (~ 25 g) balls that finished in 10ish minutes on parchment paper on a metal sheet pan. They were lightly browned on the bottom, and the tops were pale. My almond flour is pretty fine.
I thought they tasted pretty awesome and that this is a fantastic base recipe that I’d definitely use again for chocolate chip ball things or (especially) the lemon ones when I can get the extract! Maybe I’m easier to please, but they were still tasty cookies. :P
The tops should be pale (like in the pictures) but the bottoms shouldn’t be browned, although I guess a little browned isn’t that bad. :) What kind of almond flour did you use? I’m happy you still enjoyed them! Thanks for your comment. :)
Should the lemon zest be dried or fresh?
Fresh. Enjoy! :)
Do you think these could be frozen? My granddaughter is visiting in a month and she has a dairy and egg allergy. Would like to make them ahead of time if possible.
I think they would but I haven’t tried it so I can’t guarantee it. You could also freeze the dough in balls and bake them when she’s there. :)
Wow, first cookie I have ever made for the first time and they actually look exactly like your photo!! Can’t wait to eat them, they smell beautiful! Got stuck on a couple of things I was low on but a couple of substitutes and all good, so that makes them even more appealing. I LOVE your website, you actually reply to your readers!
Thanks! I’m so happy you like the website and the cookies. :) I hate it when I make something that doesn’t come out looking like the pictures so I totally understand how frustrating that can be. Thanks for your comment!
These sound so yummy, I love lemon cookies! Do you think it would work with buckwheat flour instead of almond flour? Only because thats what I have in my cupboard right now lol.
Thanks! Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that sub won’t work. Almond flour is only interchangeable with other nut flours and buckwheat has such a strong flavor that I don’t think you’d taste the lemon flavor at all. I honestly think they’d be pretty gross. ;) Sorry about that! Do you have almonds? You could make your own almond flour!
Good to know! I have to get groceries today so I’m gonna pick up some almond flour :) can’t wait to make them later!
Yay! I hope you’ll enjoy them. :)
HI Erin–We love anything with Almonds–How do I make Almond Flour?? I have a bag full from the store–I add ground walnuts when I am breading Chicken etc–Sally
Hello! Here’s a nice tutorial. :) I hope that helps!
Can i substitute the lemon extract with lemon juice?
I think it’d work but I don’t think you’d taste it at all (it’s such a small amount of juice). I’d probably use vanilla instead and add more zest. :) I hope you’ll enjoy them!
I actually used fresh lemon juice & just added twice what was called for. You can definitely taste it! These are the BEST cookies EVER!!! :)
So instead of 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract, you used 1 tablespoon of lemon juice? I’ll have to try that! Thanks for the tip and for your comments. :)
Yep, I used about a TBSP of lemon juice — they were definitely lemony, which is why I love these so much!
Awesome! I’ll try that next time. Thanks again for your comments! :)
Most paleo baking recipes leave me cold…either too complicated or just don’t taste very good. This one works! Great with lemon…though I added some chopped strawberries. Another batch I made with almond extract instead of lemon and added chocolate chips. Fabulous!
I’m surprised (but happy!) that these came out well with chopped strawberries. I just figured they’d make the batter too wet and the result would be soggy cookies. I’ll have to try that next time! And I’ve made these with almond extract, too, but haven’t tried chocolate chips. Sounds delicious! Thanks a bunch for sharing your tips. :)
These have saved us during our month long paleo challenge! Most paleo desserts are loaded with eggs. These are amazing!! I substituted honey for maple syrup and it works perfectly.
Here’s the best part!! I LOVE chocolate so tried these without the lemon and did cocoa powder and ground fresh raspberries instead. OMG talk about yummy fudgey real brownie like cookies. You must try it!!
Oh, yum! How much cocoa powder did you use? And did you make any other changes other than omitting the lemon and using honey? I can’t wait to try! I’m so happy that you liked the lemon version, too. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment and tips!
Absolutely amazing cookies! Well done!
Thanks so much! I’m happy you liked them. :)
I’ve already made a batch of these cookies and they are o delicious! but also look stunning. I was wondering if I could sub honey for the maple syrup next time?
I’m pretty sure that’d work fine but I haven’t tried it! If you give it a try, let me know how it goes. :) Thanks a bunch for your feedback!
I can’t wait to try these! Do you think they would freeze okay?
I think they would but I haven’t tried it so I can’t guarantee it. You could also freeze the dough and have freshly baked cookies when the mood strikes. :) I hope you’ll enjoy them!
I just made these and they’re SO GOOD! I sprinkled some French lavender buds on top to make them look pretty and add some more flavor. I think next time I’ll put some lavender into the dough before I bake them :)
Yummy! I love the lavender idea. Sounds wonderful. :) Thanks so much for your feedback!
Such delicious lemony goodness!
Thank you! :)
I made these cookies for an outdoor club I run and they were stunningly delicious!! All the kids (and adults!) loved them! So much better than feeding them all sugar and palm oil laden crap!
I’m so happy to hear that they were a hit! And I’m totally with you. I’d take these over junk-filled cookies any day! Thanks so much for your feedback. :)
Can’t wait to make these! I’m low starch and eggs don’t sit too well with me, so this is the perfect ingredient list! I’ve seen somewhere else (I think the Low-Histamine Chef) where someone uses the chickpea brine, but I had forgotten about it. I’m wondering just how many eggs you can get away with replacing. So many grainfree recipes call for a ton. I use flax eggs for quick breads or cookies, but only if I need to replace 2 eggs. I’m thinking the whipped brine would help with the rise, where the flax really doesn’t. Time to experiment!
Good luck with the experimenting! I still haven’t tried. And I’m with you – grain-free vegan baking is tough! I really have no idea how these even hold together without any binder but I’m certainly happy that they do. ;) I hope you’ll enjoy the cookies!
Scrumptious! There is something magical that happens when melted coconut oil and pure maple syrup are combined with grain free flours that helps bind everything together in cookie form without using eggs or flax. I’ve never tried chickpea brine though. Your Paleo Lemon Cookies look divine, Erin! Cannot wait to try them soon. Thanks for sharing!
Agreed! I hope you’ll enjoy them if you get a chance to try them out. :)
These cookies were AMAZING! I was searching all over for a great paleo-friendly lemon cookie and glad to say my search is over :) I would have taken a pic of the final product, but they have all been eaten, hahaha
Can’t wait to make another batch of these in the future!
Oh, yay! I’m happy that your search is over, too. :D Thanks a ton for your feedback!
I’m a big fan of lemon cookies! These look so yummy! And perfect for me cause they are gluten free! YUM!!
Are you gluten-free? How did I not know that?!
Are you gluten-free? How did I not know that?!
I love all desserts with lemon and these cookies look fantastic! I’m now curious about aquafaba, I’ve never heard of it as a substitute for eggs – so interesting!
Isn’t it? I have no clue how someone came up with that idea.
I love lemon cookies so very much. Lemon cookies are everything. I love how thick these are, I bet they are fabulous.
These cookies sounds delicious!!
Thanks, Jenny. :)
These cookies not only sound amazing, but look so so good!!
Thanks a bunch! :)
Oh my! These cookies sound sooo delicious and lemony! I have a special place in my heart for lemon, too.
Same here! Especially this time of year.
I’ve seriously had my eyes on these cookies for the past few days! They look delicious and I can’t believe they are paleo!
Neither can I! ;)
Those cookies look delightful — so pillowy.
From the looks of your cookies, you’ve done everything perfectly. I love how plump and delicious they look. I would never guess they’re gluten free and paleo.
Thanks! I love plump cookies, too. ;)
They baked up perfectly!! Paleo baking is near impossible for me!
I love practically anything lemon-flavored and these cookies look scrumptious!
Thanks so much! :)
I love all lemon desserts, so these are totally calling my name. And HOW COOL about the chickpea liquid as an egg substitute. It makes sense – the thickness of it…so interesting!
It is interesting! I wonder how someone came up with that. It’s just so… unusual!
THESE! These are pillowy cookies perfection <3 O goodness, paleo AND vegan <3 My dreams!
Haha. I was so happy to finally post something that’s paleo and vegan! It’s not the easiest combination, unless you’re doing protein balls or something like that. ;)
OMG! Freaking out over these cookies!! Lemon is my favorite flavor, especially this time of year! Must must must give these a try ASAP!
I hope you’ll love them! And yes. Lemon is the best! Especially right now. :D
Hi!! Long time fan of your blog. I cook with aquafaba all the time and no, you cannot taste or smell the chickpeas at all in the baked goods!! Seriously, my teen boys would not eat anything that smelled bad.
Hi, Sara! That’s good to know. I may have to try it! I’d love to post more vegan recipes or at least more recipes with a vegan option listed. Thanks a ton for letting me know! :)
Lemon is a flavor my husband isn’t too crazy about except in a lemon icebox pie. However, I LOVE lemon and coconut in cookies, muffins, and quick breads. I don’t like lemon icebox pie. HAHAHA!!
Hahaha. You two seem so incompatible when it comes to baked goods. ;) It’s like my husband. He’d be happy eating veggies all day, which I hate, but he’s not a big fan of sweets. I just don’t get it. :D