Key Lime Sugar Cookies are sweet and tart cookies topped with lime buttercream frosting. A twist on the classic Southern pie made into a simple and delicious cookie recipe.

Lime sugar cookies are soft and chewy with a dollop of buttercream frosting to dress them up. They’re as sweet as the pie that inspired them!

Key Lime Sugar Cookies stacked with a frosted one on top.

My husband is originally from the South, Louisiana to be exact. Since I’ve met him, I’ve been introduced to crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, and his favorite… key lime pie. 

His preferred version comes from his mom, who knows his craving for super bold flavors, rendering this favorite pie a bit too powerful for the rest of us – unless we’re willing to walk around with puckered faces until the citric acid wears off.

close up shot of the cookies.

These Key Lime Sugar Cookies are my attempt to turn his favorite pie into a cookie. And let me just tell you he loves them, and so do I. These cookies turned out to have all the lime flavor from the inspired pie minus the extreme tartness of the limes that one would expect to have.

They are incredibly balanced, soft, and addictive, as evidenced by my hubby inhaling three before acknowledging my existence. While I’m not the most significant key lime pie fan, I really love these lime cookies and devoured almost just as many as my husband.

Key Lime Sugar Cookies lined up on a baking sheet.


  • White sugar
  • Softened butter – you will need it for the cookies and frosting.
  • Lime zest – you can use key limes or regular limes. The zest is used in the cookies and frosting.
  • Egg yolks
  • Fresh lime juice – you will need some for the cookies and the frosting.
  • Clear vanilla extract – regular vanilla will discolor your cookies a bit,  but you can use the same amount if that’s what you have on hand.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • Milk
  • Lemon extract
a stack of lime cookies.

Why key limes make great desserts

Key limes are known for their unique flavor and acidity, which makes them excellent for creating delicious desserts. Here are a few reasons why key limes are great for desserts:

The flavor of key limes differs from regular limes because they are more intense and aromatic, giving desserts a refreshing and vibrant taste. Their tart and tangy flavor is distinct and adds a special touch to various sweet treats.

Key limes have high acidity, which is beneficial in desserts as it balances out the sweetness. The tartness effectively complements rich ingredients like cream and butter, resulting in a more complete flavor. In addition, the zesty and vivid flavor note provides an extra boost to the taste.

You can use key limes to make various desserts, such as pies, tarts, bars, cakes, cookies, and more. Key limes go well with ingredients like graham cracker crusts, whipped cream, meringue, coconut, and chocolate. This versatility allows for a variety of dessert options.

Recipes we love that are made with limes!

Cookie Baking Tips:

Can you freeze sugar cookies?

All cookies can be frozen, but it is best to wrap them individually to freeze them and only do this once they have cooled completely. Another way to freeze them is to stack them in layers in a Ziplock or container, separating the layers using parchment paper. I love individually wrapping them as I feel they taste better. Do not freeze after frosting.

How long will cookies stay fresh in an airtight container?

Properly stored, freshly baked cookies will last for about 2 to 3 weeks at average room temperature and stored in an airtight container. It is best if you frost before serving.

Can you freeze the dough?

This cookie dough can be easily frozen but it is best if you portion about the dough beforehand. Scoop the cookie like you were going to bake them and place on parchment paper. Then wrap the parchment paper in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.

Before you bake preheat the oven, following the cookie recipe suggested temperature. Stick on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, placing 2 inches apart, the only thing you will need to change is adding an extra 1-2 minutes to the baking time for the frozen dough.

a stack of frosted cookies.

So looking for a twist on a classic Southern pie or just a cookie that everyone will ooh and ahh over – try these Key Lime Cookies. This an easy recipe for a soft, chewy sugar cookie with a punch of citrus flavor. Enjoy! XOXO San

More Sugar Cookie Recipes

Don’t forget to pin this to your favorite Pinterest board to save for later!

pinterest pin collage image of key lime sugar cookies frosted in lime buttercream

Key Lime Sugar Cookies

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 42
Calories: 160 kcal
Key Lime Sugar Cookies are a key lime sugar cookie with lime buttercream. A classic Southern pie made into a simple and delicious cookie.


Key Lime Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons key lime or lime zest (2-4 limes)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 key limes juiced, or 2 regular limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Key Lime Frosting

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 key lime juiced
  • 3 tablespoons lime zest (2-4 limes)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract


Lime Sugar Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Cream together sugar, lime zest, and butter. Beat in egg yolks, lime juice, and vanilla.
  • Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Combine.
  • Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten. Bake 10-12 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.

Lime Frosting

  • In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and butter until smooth. Gradually mix in the lemon flavoring, lime zest and juice, then add the milk 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Beat until smooth and stiff, about 1 minute.
  • Frost cookies and serve or store in an airtight container and frost before serving.
Serving: 1gCalories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 86mgPotassium: 27mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 226IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know what you think!
lime sugar cookies pinterest graphic.

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    1. I would love to see what you come up with, too! I wonder if there is a way to make them gluten free but keep the essence of the recipe? I know my daughter would love to enjoy these with rest of us, because they look divine! 🙂

    2. Can you give me more exact measurements for the lime juice? I just juiced 8 key limes and then read I was to use the juice of one lime. Whoops!

  1. My sister and I were looking for something different to add to our sweets bars this Easter weekend. I have found it. Our families will find these Key Lime Cookies at the table.

  2. Oh yum! I never liked key lime pie until a few years ago. I’d definitely been missing out! Your cookies sound and look equally amazing! I need to try these, yum!

    1. Ty – I can’t wait for you to try it too!!! Maybe I will make them for you the next time we see you! xo San

  3. Wow, these sound awesome… I would have never thought of putting key lime & sugar cookies together. you are genius.

  4. Oh my goodness, my mouth is literally watering! I have never had a key lime sugar cookie before. it is so unique and I can imagine the amazing flavor already. I have to try these!

  5. This looks amazing. I like that you turned it into a cookie. I take it your husband likes sour, LOL I have never had key lime pie but by what you wrote I take its very sour.

    1. Key Lime Pie can be as sour as you make it, my husband likes it over the top sour!!! These cookies were perfect for us both! xo San

  6. A great cookie, we just love that Key Lime flavor. Hope you have a very special weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Hi, I’ve never been to your blog, but I found these cookies and tried them. They are really delicious, and the icing recipe is good as well (that usually falls short of the cookie quality in recipes, but not this one). It adds the limey flavor. I made icing designs on them (but with only 1/4 of the icing recipe, we like less in our family). Thank you! I needed a way to use spoiling key limes (you don’t hear that often).

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You made my day! I truly appreciate it and so happy you enjoyed these cookies as much as we have. Hope to see you around the blog more! xo San

  8. I would LOVE to have your mother-in-law’s recipe for Key Lime Pie! I LOVE the tartness! I have tried so many recipes and I haven’t found one yet that satisfies me. 🙁

  9. Oh my goodness Key Lime anything is a BIG hit in our house! I would love to make these and ship them to my son who’s in college. Does the frosting harden or firm up? I’m wondering how well they would hold up to packing and mailing off. Or if the frosting would smoosh all over? Thank you for a mouth watering recipe!!

    1. The frosting is a buttercream so it may smush a little bit. You could always make them into cookie sandwiches by adding more frosting and another cookie on top! That’s what I prefer to do when sending frosted cookies, and they’re just as yummy! I’m so glad you like these.

  10. 5 stars
    These are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made! The sugar cookie is like the greatest crust ever for the key lime flavor.

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