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Key Lime Pie...In A Cookie!

Last week I mentioned that my sister is not a huge fan of citrus flavors. Well, she obviously didn’t get it from my father, because citrus is a favorite of his- especially Key Lime. Every time spring comes along, he is always asking for a Key Lime pie. For his birthday this year, I decided to make him a twist on key lime pie- Key Lime Shortbread Cookies.

These little bite-sized cookies are perfect for picnics, a light dessert or just to have on hand for hungry family and friends. And since they are slice and bake cookies, they are easy to make and don’t require rolling and cookie cutters!

Before I get started on the cookies, let me show you the difference between a regular lime and a Key Lime. I used to think that Key Limes were essentially the same thing as any lime. While the flavor is still somewhat comparable to a regular lime, look at the size difference! I think they’re so cute!

When you’re looking for Key Limes at the grocery store, they usually come in a bag like this:

Before you make the cookie dough, zest and juice the Key Limes. You need a total of 1 tablespoon of juice and 2 teaspoons of zest for the cookie dough. This equaled out to about 6 key limes for me. Since the limes are so small, they can be a little difficult to zest, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

You can either juice the limes by hand (a bit tedious, but like I said, worth it)…

…or you can use one of these handy lime juicers, which can fit about 3 Key Lime halves in it at a time. It takes a little less time to do it this way.

Now for the dough- combine flour, powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Cornstarch might sound like a strange addition to a cookie, but adding it makes for a more tender shortbread that melts in your mouth. 

Now beat the butter in a bowl until it’s nice and creamy.

Reduce the speed on your mixer to low, and add the flour mixture and all remaining cookie ingredients (lime juice and lime zest).

Beat the mixture until a soft dough forms.

Divide the dough in half, and form each half into a 10-inch log. Wrap these logs in plastic food wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm the dough so it is easy to slice.

After the 2 hours is up, remove the dough logs from the fridge and cut them into ¼-inch slices with a sharp knife. I like to make little notch marks every ¼-inch so I know where to cut.

Place all of the cookies onto a cookie sheet. Since these don’t spread much, you can put quite a few on one sheet.

Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are just barely browned. Cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, combine the powdered sugar and another teaspoon of Key Lime zest. 

Stir in enough Key Lime juice for glazing consistency.

I found an easy way to portion the glaze onto the cookies is to put the glaze in a large plastic food bag and snip off a corner. Then squeeze about a ½ teaspoon of glaze into the center of each cookie.

You can either let the glaze set as-is, or spread it out over the cookie.

Let the glaze stand so it hardens, which takes about 15 minutes. 

Here’s dad with his birthday Key Lime cookies- as good as Key Lime pie? I think so!

If you like Key Lime pie, you’ll love these Key Lime Shortbread Cookies! Give them a try this summer.  Make sure to come back and let me know how they turned out for you.

Looking for a perfect meal to grill out on a warm, summer night? Come back in a few days when Liz will be sharing a meal that dad will love to make.

Mallory is a Product Specialist in the Test Kitchens at Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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• Comments •

Can these cookies be made gluten free and sugar free using a GF flour and sweetener substiutute
? Have they ever been tested this way?
Thank you

Posted Jan 02 2016 by candice
Test Kitchen Comment


Hi Candice, we have not tested these cookies with GF flour. If you decide to try them that way, let us know how they turn out! Happy baking!
Posted January 04, 2016

I just finished making them and they really do taste like a key lime pie! I am so excitied. Thank you for sharing this recipe. They are so pretty too!

Posted May 19 2013 by starla
Test Kitchen Comment


I am so glad you like this cookie!
Posted May 21, 2013

Ms. Mallory--
Key lime is one of my favorite flavors....cheesecake, pie, cookies, pudding anything is better with key lime on it. Although, as you know, I am not a baker, I am going to make these cookies for my mom. She absolutely loves lemon and lime anything. I think I can handle making these cookies....a pie forget about it. I will let you know how they turn out....hey maybe I will get my pic on your ever blog about THAT i can make...

Posted Jun 19 2011 by Yvonne S.
Test Kitchen Comment


Hi Yvonne, glad to hear you're going to try these out! Your mom won't be disappointed. Let me know how they turn out for you!
Posted June 23, 2011

They certainly look great and I like the pictures with each step of the recipe. I will make them for a fathers day brunch at church on Sunday. I will post a note when I make them. Thanks for the recipe, I love key lime pie.

Posted Jun 14 2011 by kathryn c jones
Test Kitchen Comment


Thanks, Kathryn! Please come back and let me know how they turn out for you- if you love key lime, I'm sure you'll enjoy these cookies too.
Posted June 14, 2011

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