These Keto Lemon Cookies are soft and tender sugar cookies topped with a creamy sugar free lemon frosting. They have all the tangy sweetness you crave with only 3g carbs per serving!
Can you call it a sugar cookie if it doesn’t actually contain any sugar? More to the point, do we even care? If it tastes and feels like a delicious frosted sugar cookie, why are we complaining?
No complaints here, and I wager that my fellow dessert lovers will have their mouths too full of these keto lemon cookies to complain much either!
And yet they have no added sugar and a mere fraction of the carbs. I’d call that a win for lemon lovers everywhere.
Make sure you also check out Keto Lemon Curd and these super creamy Keto Lemon Cheesecake Bars.
Why you need to try this recipe
This is actually a recipe out of my popular cookbook, The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking. I poured my heart and soul into that book and I believe it contains some of my best recipes. And the keto lemon cookies are some of my favorites.
I am such a diehard chocolate lover that I often forget just how delightful lemon treats can be. When I developed this recipe for the book, I shared them with a few friends and they absolutely raved.
And once the book went to print, I started hearing from readers who loved these keto lemon cookies as well. They have met with such universal approval, I decided I needed to share them here as well.
My keto cookbook is filled with all sorts of delightful recipes – lemon, chocolate, savory, sweet, if you can bake it, I created a recipe for it. It’s the most comprehensive cookbook on keto baking out there!
“I made these cookies and I have to say, they are absolutely delightful! Soft and lemony with a divine frosting! Better than any cookie I have ever made! Thank you!” — Tracy
“Winner at our house too! I actually had the lemon extract in the cabinet from a previous recipe and both me and hubby are in love with this cookie! He said “they’re perfectly addictive!” — and he’s right! Not too sweet and just the perfect amount of lemony tartness. Another awesome recipe, Carolyn! THANK YOU!!” — Jana
“You did it again! These are AMAZING! My cousin has a Meyer lemon tree. She gave us a ton of lemons that my husband and I zested and squeezed this weekend. Lots of portion sizes in the freezer to make all of your lemon stuff. We couldn’t stop eating these cookies. They are SOOOOOOOOOOO good.” — Rosemarie
Ingredients you need
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- Butter: Good cookies start with good butter. Always!
- Sweetener: You need a granular sweetener for the cookies and powdered sweetener for the frosting. I usually use Swerve for both of these. See the expert tips section for more sweetener options.
- Eggs: This recipe takes one whole egg and one egg yolk. The additional yolk adds both color and tenderness to the cookies.
- Lemon: The cookies take lemon zest and the frosting takes both zest and juice.
- Lemon extract: The extract helps bring out the lemon flavor in the cookies without throwing off the wet/dry ratio.
- Almond flour: Make sure you use good almond flour vs. almond meal for all your keto recipes. Read my tutorial on baking with almond flour for more info!
- Cream cheese: The frosting is made with both cream cheese and butter for a super creamy consistency.
- Heavy whipping cream: A little cream helps smooth out the frosting and make it spreadable.
- Natural food coloring: If you like the frosting to have a little color to it, you can use a little plant-based food dye.
- Pantry staples: Vanilla extract, baking powder, salt.
1. Make the cookie dough: In a large bowl, beat the butter and Swerve sweetener together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, and extracts and beat until well combined. Add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt and beat until the dough comes together.
2. Form the cookies: Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheets lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper at least 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand to about ½ inch thick.
3. Bake: Bake at 325ºF for 15 to 18 minutes, until just golden around the edges, switching the pans halfway through baking. The cookies will be very soft still, but will continue to firm up as they cool.
4. Prepare the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. add the powdered sweetener and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Beat in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Add heavy cream and beat until smooth. If the frosting is still thick, beat in the additional cream. Add yellow food coloring, if using.
5. Decorate: Spread the frosting over the tops of the cooled cookies. Decorate with a bit of grated lemon zest or some keto sprinkles. Or, to make lemon sandwich cookies, spread frosting between two cookies.
Lemon extract is inexpensive and available at most grocery stores. It works best in the cookies as using fresh lemon juice introduces a lot of extra moisture. In the frosting, lemon juice works well to give the right flavor and consistency.
You don’t have to color your frosting, but a light yellow makes the cookies look even more lemony and inviting. There are many good vegetable-based food dyes but use a light touch when adding it in. I find that using too much makes for an overly bright, almost neon color.
You need a granular sweetener for the cookies to beat into the butter and give them the right consistency, but it doesn’t have to be erythritol based. You can use BochaSweet or allulose, or a mix of sweeteners. Just keep in mind that allulose will make the cookies brown faster so keep your eye on them.
The frosting requires a powdered sweetener for structure. Again it doesn’t have to be erythritol based, but allulose may make the frosting softer so don’t add the cream until you see how it turns out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most lemon sugar cookie recipes have…. This keto lemon cookie recipe has 5.1g of carbs and 2.0g of fiber per serving. That comes to 3.1g net carbs for 2 cookies.
These cookies aren’t overly moist, so they last well on the counter in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days. If they will be around longer than that, you can refrigerate them for up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months.
These keto cookies work best with blanched almond flour. If you need a nut-free version, you can try using sunflower seed flour. You will need to add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the cookie dough so that you don’t get the green reaction. You may a bit more flour in the dough.
More low carb lemon desserts
Keto Lemon Cookies Recipe
- ½ cup butter softened
- ⅔ cup Swerve Sweetener
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk room temperature
- 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 tablespoon butter softened
- ¼ cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- Natural food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sweetener together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, and extracts and beat until well combined. Add the almond flour, baking powder, and salt and beat until the dough comes together.
- Roll the dough inot 1-inch balls an dplace on the prepared cookie sheets at least 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand to about ½ inch thick.
- Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until just golden around the edges, switching the pans halfway through baking. The cookies will be very soft still, but will continue to firm up as they cool.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Beat in the sweetener and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Beat in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Add one tablespoon of cream and beat until smooth. If the frosting is still thick, beat in the additional cream. Beat in a bit of yellow food coloring at a time until a lemon yellow is acheived.
- Spread the frosting over the tops of the cooled cookies. Decorate with a bit of grated lemon zest.
- To make lemon sandwich cookies, spread about 1 tablespoon of the frosting on the bottom of one cookie and top with another cookie.
Evelyn Marks says
Can I use unflavored gelitan in place of grass fed gelitan? Cannot find it.
If you mean Knox gelatin, yes but you would only need one envelope of it.
Evelyn Marks says
Turned out fantastic. Made the cream cheese icing and froze for ice cream sandwiches. FANTASTIC
Dana Slaydon says
This looks so good!!!!
Kirsty Hardiman says
Hi, what would be the carbs etc without the frosting?
I am not sure but you should be able to run the numbers yourself on an app like My Fitness Pal.
I made these today! They are delicious!!
hope to make these tomorrow……………..can I used the powdered Swerve in the cookie dough? I know you specified powdered in the frosting, but the video said granulated for the cookie……. thank you for all of your help…..
Sure, that should work.
When cookies are this delicious, I don’t give a hoot what they are called! I just want a another batch!
Rachael Yerkes says
Love that these are keto friendly. Lemon is my favorite flavor right now and these cookies are delicious!
I’ve been working on lowering my carbs and diminishing the cravings, but I still want a treat. This is a great fit for me.
Winner at our house too! I actually had the lemon extract in the cabinet from a previous recipe and both me and hubby are in love with this cookie! He said “they’re perfectly addictive!” — and he’s right! Not too sweet and just the perfect amount of lemony tartness. Another awesome recipe, Carolyn! THANK YOU!!
Did you use 2 drops of essential oil in lieu of the juice in the frosting or did you put it in the cookie? I have lemons, but not lemon extract…but I do have lemon essential oil from doterra. Thanks!
OUTSTANDING !!! Bought your baking book and had these tabbed as top of the list “to do” but hadn’t gotten to them until now. My mistake. Big mistake. Should not have waited.
I have made many (as in many many many) of your desserts and cookies but this is truly one of your very best. Was short on lemon so just did a vanilla cookie with lemon icing and zest on top. Loved it. Per your molassas cookie, I added 1/2 tsp of grass feed gelatin because I like my sugar cookies to have the chewiness. OMG One is the perfect after dinner treat. With the virus shelter in place, this was the highlight of my week….big smiles at our house. Thanks!
Made these wonderful cookies yesterday fully intending to make them into cookie sandwiches. The rolling was easy using a small cookie scoop and then finishing rounding them between your hands. Perfect lemon taste in both cookie and frosting. So heavenly I wanted more of them to eat so iced them individually. What a treat the frosting is. “Luckily” there was enough frosting made for a small bowl in the fridge (in the back). ????.
Thank you, Carolyn!
Glad you liked it!
Leann Nowak says
I am new to the “keto-ish” lifestyle. My biggest obstacle to this diet is staying away from sweets. Last night I printed out this recipe, put the butter, eggs, and cream cheese out on the counter to soften, and asked my 15 yr old daughter to make these cookies. They are AMAZING!!! She didn’t use the lemon flavoring or food coloring (we didn’t have either one on hand) but the cookies were still to die for. That pillowy icing – well, let’s just say I may or may not have grabbed a spoonful once or twice since last night just because it’s THAT GOOD! I am enjoying your website as I go through your posts and just purchased your cookbook. THANK YOU!!!
So glad to hear it and so delighted your 15 year old made them!
Any chance you might be able to give us an idea of the change in ratios if using lemon juice instead of lemon extract. I have an excellent supply of lemons. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.
Afraid not. Ratios don’t really apply here… I didn’t measure it as a ratio to begin with. You will simply need to experiment.
Rosemarie Royce says
You did it again! These are AMAZING! My cousin has a Meyer lemon tree. She gave us a ton of lemons that my husband and I zested and squeezed this weekend. Lots of portion sizes in the freezer to make all of your lemon stuff.
We couldn’t stop eating these cookies. They are SOOOOOOOOOOO good.
So delighted to hear it!
Hi!!! Question regarding the sweetener. Is there a brand you find that doesn’t leave the cooling effect in your mouth??? I’m having a hard time with the keto sweeteners. ????????
I can’t possibly answer that for you. Why? Because everyone experiences all sweeteners differently. I get NO cooling sensation from Swerve.
I like Monk fruit. No cooling effect. I don’t use Swerve for that very reason.
No cooling affect for YOU. But we all experience these sweeteners differently. I get no cooling from Swerve and a strong aftertaste with monk fruit.
Love this recipe! We love Lakanto sweetener, which is erythritol and monk fruit. In my opinion it does not have the cooling aftertaste – i really dont detect much aftertaste at all! We order ours from Amazon, as we haven’t found it in our local grocery stores.
Melody Gibbs says
I have to agree with you Barb. I have used plain erythritol when I first started Keto then found Swerve which I liked very much. Then I found LaKanto monk fruit/erythritol and find this to be the best all the way around. I get mine at Costco. So happy they carry it!
Cindy, I also get a cooling sensation/after taste from Swerve but find I am find with Boca Sweet, Tagatose, or Alulose. I like the liquid stevia (cant do the powdered for some reason). Hope this helps and that one of them might work for you.
Can’t rate the cookies yet as planning on making them this afternoon. They look devine.
This is the best keto/low carb cookie ever! Thank you !!!!
So glad you like them!
Would subbing pecan flour for the almond flour in this recipe work?
I don’t think that’s a good replacement, personally. Pecans are much stronger in flavour and have a darker color. you can certainly try it, though.
Making these now and so excited. Don’t see exactly where to add Vanilla extract into icing? Thinking step two, but also worried maybe it’s not suppose to be in there at all? I suppose it won’t hurt. Should I add it anywhere specific?
Sorry, I must have missed it in the instructions. Along with any of the liquids is fine!
Christine M says
Another winner! I didnt have fresh lemons so I used 2 drops of doterra lemon essential oil. I read what you said about the other sweeteners making them more cake like, which is what my husband loves, and went with Gentle Sweet. Thank you for continuing to share your recipes. Looks like I need to buy another one of your books!