The Best Vegan Lemon Cookies

A stack of vegan lemon cookies on a wooden table

From chocolate chip to peanut butter, classic cookie recipes are always a welcome treat.  But this week, try mixing things up a bit with these amazing vegan lemon cookies!  They’ve got a ton of tart lemon flavor, balanced by a rich and sweet cookie base.

How to make vegan lemon cookies

Here’s what you need to make this recipe:

  • Vegan butter
  • Granulated sugar (see notes on vegan sugar below)
  • Applesauce
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Lemons (juice and zest)
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

You’ll start by creaming together the vegan butter and granulated sugar.

For this recipe, I used the Country Crock plant butter sticks.  You can also use Earth Balance, or another one of your favorite dairy-free butter substitutes.

Beating together vegan butter and sugar in a bowl

Then you’ll mix in the applesauce, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

After that, you’ll mix in the dry ingredients – the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Adding flour to a bowl

You’ll notice that the dough is a little thinner and softer than some other cookie doughs.  This is because of the high vegan butter to flour ratio in this recipe.  It’s OK – the cookies will still bake up fine and hold their shape!  It just results in a really great combination between that classic rich butter cookie flavor and the bright, citrusy lemon.

Next step is to scoop out balls of cookie dough, and roll them in a little extra sugar and lemon zest.

rolling cookie dough in a sugar and lemon zest mixture

Now all you need to do is bake them off, wait for them to cool, and then bright into that yummy lemony goodness.

Information about sugar in vegan recipes

If you are a strict vegan that avoids all animal byproducts, you’ll want to keep an eye out for vegan-friendly brands of white sugar and brown sugar.  Some brands of sugar are processed using a filtering system that involves bone char from animal bones.

If you avoid all animal products and want to avoid that as well, simply look for vegan-friendly brands of sugar that are processed differently.  This article has a list of vegan sugar brands that you can look for.

Allergens in this recipe

Disclaimer:  I try to note potential allergens in all recipes – but as you know, manufacturers can change ingredient formulations or I may miss something.  Always double check ingredients and labels prior to consuming if you have an allergy.

This recipe is naturally dairy free and egg free.

Depending on the vegan butter substitute you choose, it can also easily be nut free or soy free. For example, the Country Crock plant butter sticks are free of any nuts and overt soy ingredients, though some do have a “may contain soy” warning.  If you need to strictly avoid soy, you can choose the red tub of Earth Balance to use in this recipe.

Though these options don’t contain nuts, a few select vegan butters do contain nuts, so just be sure to check the labels if you have any concerns about nut allergies.

These cookies do contain wheat/gluten, as I’ve used regular flour.  I haven’t tested these with a gluten free flour.  If you follow a gluten free diet, you can always try it out with a gluten free all-purpose blend and let me know how it goes!

a lot of vegan lemon cookies on a wooden table

Looking for more vegan cookie recipes?

Try one of these delicious options:

  • Vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies – Who else is all about the pumpkin treats once fall hits?!  You’ll want to add these to your list to make all autumn long.
  • Vegan gluten free gingersnaps – I love this recipe because you can easily adapt it for multiple food allergies or dietary needs.  Plus, they have the perfect amount of slightly spicy ginger flavor in a sweet chewy cookie!
  • Almond flour peanut butter cookies – These cookies are both vegan and gluten free, and you only need a handful of simple ingredients to whip ‘em up.
  • Vegan chocolate crinkle cookies – I’m a sucker for pretty much anything chocolate, so I love these delish cookies from my friend’s blog.

dairy free lemon cookies on a wooden table

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family does!  (Especially my hubby – these are his fav!).  If you get a chance to try them, be sure to leave a recipe rating or comment below.

a lot of vegan lemon cookies on a wooden table
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Lemon Cookies

These vegan lemon cookies have the perfect blend of tart citrus with rich buttery flavor (with no dairy or eggs!).

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy free lemon cookies, egg free lemon cookies, vegan lemon cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 24 large cookies
Calories 157 kcal
Author Dairy Free for Baby


For the cookies:

  • 2 sticks vegan butter (1 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 1/2 large lemons (you’ll use the remaining lemon half for rolling below)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For rolling:

  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the vegan butter and 1 cup sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the applesauce, vanilla, and lemon juice, mixing well. Stir in the lemon zest (from 1 1/2 lemons).
  3. Pour the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl. Stir until everything is combined well.
  4. In another small bowl, combine the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and the zest from half a lemon. Scoop out enough dough for one cookie, roll it in the lemon/sugar mixture, then place it on the baking sheet. Repeat for all the cookies, placing each about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the tops are no longer wet looking and cracks start to form. Allow the cookies to cool completely before eating. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Nutrition facts (per cookie): 157 calories, 7.5 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 0.5 g fiber, 10.5 g sugar, 1.5 g protein, Vitamin A: 4%, Vitamin C: 2%, Calcium: 1%, Iron: 4%

Share:  What are your favorite kinds of cookies?  If you tried these vegan lemon cookies, what did you think?

15 thoughts on “The Best Vegan Lemon Cookies”

  1. 5 stars
    Huge hit!! One of the most delicious refreshing cookies I’ve ever made. My family loved them. (Maybe a little too much!) Thanks for sharing this deliciousness!

  2. best cookies we ever had. i used almond flour mostly and spelt for the rest and holy smokes was the texture to die for. chewy and delish. i also crunched them together with a claw hand while hot out of the oven so they were not so flat but textured. they looked nothing like the beauties above but my boyfriend and i could not believe how good they were and believe me, i bake a lot. 🙂

    1. Chrissy Carroll

      Hmm, that’s a good question! I haven’t had a problem with them not spreading yet – but sometimes it can happen if the amount of an ingredient is different, or it could be related to a particular product. So to troubleshoot: 1) Did you change any of the amounts or types of ingredients in the recipe? 2) What type of vegan butter did you use? I’ve done this recipe with both country crock plant butter sticks and the tub of Earth balance but if there’s another product you used, I might need to test with that to make sure it softens the same way upon baking.

      If you run into issues with this and want to try again, a quick fix is to just press the balls down with a fork prior to baking to flatten a bit. 🙂

      1. Hi, Thankyou for the reply!

        I did end up using less sugar as I like to decrease the amount I consume and so I probably used a bit under 1 cup! And for the butter, I just used earth balance that comes in the container and portioned out one cup of that! I did end up squishing the cookies myself, however that made them a bit cracked and not as beautiful as yours, but still delicious! Makes for the perfect summer cookie!

        1. Chrissy Carroll

          It could have been the change in the amount of sugar – though I can’t say for sure – but I’m glad regardless that you enjoyed it (even if they weren’t as pretty haha). 🙂

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  4. These were really good! I replaced the granulated sugar with coconut sugar. I didn’t think the coconut sugar would work out so well for the sugar/zest mixture to roll the dough in so I skipped that and instead glazed them with powdered sugar mixed with some lemon juice – turned out awesome!

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