Craving the delicious lemon drop cookies from Panera Bread, but don't want to pay that much for one cookie? The simple solution is to make your own cookies at home, and you can enjoy an entire batch instead of just one. This fun twist on the simple sugar cookie gives you a delightful lemon flavor with hints of white chocolate, making them a favorite with both kids and adults.
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Fortunately, these lemon drop cookies are made with mostly pantry staples, which you'll probably already have, especially if you're an avid home baker.
- Flour: regular all-purpose is the best choice for this recipe.
- Leavener: baking soda reacts with the acid in the lemon juice to cause them to rise.
- Fat: unsalted butter that's been softened to room temperature is the most flavorful choice.
- Sweetener: regular white granulated sugar is what we'll be using here.
- Binder: two large eggs add richness and stability to the dough.
- Flavorings: lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, vanilla extract, and salt add lots of flavor.
- Mix-Ins: all we're adding is white chocolate chips.
- Decoration: there's no need for icings or glazes for this recipe! A dusting of powdered sugar does the trick.
What's in Panera's lemon drop cookies?
These cookies contain the standard ingredients of flour, sugar, butter, baking soda, salt, eggs, and vanilla extract. What makes them taste so lemony is the lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and a hint of lemon extract. White chocolate chips bring extra richness, while a dusting of powdered sugar decorates these delightful treats.
How many calories are in a Panera lemon cookies?
According to Panera's website, the nutrition facts for one cookie is 430 calories, 20g of fat, 270mg of sodium, 60g of carbs, 35g of sugars, and 5g of protein. By contrast, our copycat recipe contains only 288 calories, 13.6g of fat, 173.7mg of sodium, 39.2g of carbs, 24.7g of sugars, and 3.4g of protein. To see full nutrition facts for our copycat cookies, please scroll to the bottom of the recipe card.
Keep in mind that Panera's cookies measure approximately 4 ½ inches in diameter, while this recipe makes cookies that are a little bit smaller, but comparable in size. You can cut back on calories even further if you make them smaller.
How much is a lemon drop cookie at Panera?
At our local Panera, it costs $2.39 for a 4 ½-inch cookie. Keep in mind that the price may vary depending from one Panera location to another.
Can I freeze lemon drop cookies?
You absolutely can! Simply seal them tightly in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Defrost them at room temperature for 15 minutes, or in the microwave if you'd like a warm cookie.
How to Make
Measure out all the ingredients before you begin.
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together until blended, then set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Add the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract along with ½ cup of the flour mixture and beat to combine.
Add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined, then stir in the white chocolate chips on low speed until they are evenly distributed.
Drop ¼ cup balls of cookie dough on a large cookie sheet, placing four balls on each 11x17-inch cookie sheet. This will give you a very large cookie.
Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes per tray, or until the edges of the cookies are a light golden brown.
Dust the cookies with powdered sugar to decorate, and allow them to cool on the wire racks.
Enjoy this delicious springtime treat!
- Soften the butter to room temperature before you start baking. (Microwaving each stick of butter on high in 5-second intervals works well.)
- Add ½ cup of the flour mixture to the dough when you add the eggs and other liquids to prevent curdling.
- Handle the dough gently, and don't overmix, or it will get tough.
- Take the cookies out of the oven when they are light golden around the edges.
- Gluten Free: substitute with your favorite measure-for-measure gluten free flour.
- Vegan: use vegan baking butter and vegan white chocolate chips, and use ½ cup of applesauce instead of the eggs.
Other Panera Copycat Bakery Items
- Kitchen Sink Cookies
- Ten Vegetable Soup
- Chocolate Chipper Cookies
- Tomato Basil Bread
- Cinnamon Crunch Bagels
- Black Pepper Focaccia
Other Cookies You'll Love
- Earl Grey Shortbread
- Mexican Wedding Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments
- Vegan Snickerdoodles
- Vegan Gingersnaps
- Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
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Panera Bread Lemon Drop Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two 11x17-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 1 minute on medium speed.
- Add the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon extract along with ½ cup of the flour mixture to prevent curdling. Beat until well blended.
- Mix in the remaining flour mixture in two additions, stirring on low speed until the dough is smooth. Be careful not to overmix, or the cookies will be tough.
- Stir in the white chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed.
- Drop the cookie dough in ¼ cup sized balls, putting four cookies per tray. Each ball of dough should weigh between 57-67g, depending upon how many chocolate chips are in it. Be sure to place the cookies far apart, as they will spread in the oven.
- Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes per tray, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. Let them cool for 2-3 minutes on the tray, then use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks.
- Dust with the icing sugar and let them cool for 10 minutes before enjoying.
- Make sure the butter is softened to room temperature before you begin. (If you need to soften the butter quickly, microwave the stick of butter on high in 5-second intervals, flipping the stick to a different side between each interval.)
- Be sure to add ½ cup of the flour mixture to the dough when you add the eggs and other liquids. This prevents the dough from splitting or curdling.
- Don't overmix the batter once the flour is added, or the cookies will get tough.
- Watch the cookies closely as the end of the baking time nears. Take them out when they are light golden around the edges.
- The cook time means that each tray bakes for 12 minutes. If you bake four cookies per tray, it will take you 1 hour to cook 19 cookies.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.
These cookies are so delicious and taste like the real thing!!
Wonderful to hear, Jasmine! Thank you!
Just like the real deal! Thank you!
You're welcome, Lynne! Glad you liked the cookies!
Hi, thank you for the cookie recipe, it was amazing. I actually made these cookies, they were really good in favour. However, the texture was cake texture, not so much cookie texture. Would you have any idea why? or should I add less sugar than the recommended?
I'm so glad that you enjoyed the cookies, Darolin! I'm thinking that they may have had a cake-like texture due to adding extra flour and/or overmixing the dough. I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale to measure the flour, or spooning it into the measuring cup and using a knife to level the surface.
Thank you Emma, I will try that!
How would the recipe come out if I only add two cups of flour instead of three?
I don't think the cookies will turn out with that much less flour. If you only have 2 cups of flour, simply cut the recipe in half and use 1 1/2 cups of flour. Happy baking!
My cookies turned out mcuh flatter and crispier than what I recently had at Panera and I baked them at 325F. Would refirgerating the dough first help? Any other ideas?
Usually when cookies spread too much, it's because the flour hasn't been measured accurately and not enough was added. I highly recommend using a digital kitchen scale to weigh the correct amount of flour, but if you don't have one, make sure to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level the top with a knife.
They look delicious and your reviewers agree. I am asking about the ingredients. Panera recipe does not have baking powder in ingredients, only egg as a leveling as for a shortbread crust. Yours look like Panera’s. Do they taste shortbready or lemon sugar cooki-ish.). I was wondering about taking out bp, because I like shortbread. What do you think?
Good question, Lisa! I double-checked the Panera ingredients, and it turns out that they only use baking soda in these cookies (they label it as encapsulated sodium bicarbonate, which is baking soda). That's why I only used baking soda in my recipe. As far as the texture goes, these cookies definitely don't taste like shortbread; they have a soft, slightly chewy sugar cookie texture. I wouldn't recommend taking out the baking soda, as you would likely be left with a tough, dense cookie. The baking soda reacts with the acids in the dough (from lemon juice and lemon zest) to provide the rise.
I was so sorry to read the comment by AR. I haven't made the cookies yet but her comment was rude and uncalled for.
That means so much to hear that from you, Annette! Thank you. (Actually, the cookie dough is shipped frozen to the Panera stores and baked fresh there, so I don't think AR knows Panera's recipe, anyway!)
Love these cookies! Followed recipe exactly and my Mom likes cookies that are more cake like than chewy and it was perfect for her. I like them slightly chewy so made another batch with a few modifications. I added double the extract and double the lemon juice, increased sugar by another 1/4 cup and threw in the whole bag of white chips with 1minute less in oven, (Colorado high altitude might affect baking a bit I am not sure) but they came out chewy and perfect for me. Mom says she doesn't like the chewy so much because they seem a bit undone in the center so she preferred your recipe ingredient amounts.
It's sweet to hear that your Mom enjoyed these so much. Thanks for your lovely review, Colleen!
I’m not saying this recipe will turn out bad for you and I’m a baker so for this to turn out the way it did is purely the recipe and not me I got sweet cornbread with a hint of lemon, I did not by any means get a lemon drop cookie inspired by Panera I work at Panera and these are not it.
I"m sorry to hear that these cookies didn't turn out for you! I've made this recipe successfully multiple times, and have received good reviews from those who made it. I am happy to help you troubleshoot what went wrong if you would like.
Thank you, Alisa!
These are AMAZING!! And they taste just like the cookie from Panera! Exactly what I was looking for!! 🤍🍋💛
That's wonderful to hear, Steph! We're thrilled that you enjoyed these lemon drop cookies so much. Thank you!
After one bite, I was in heaven. These delicious lemon cookies have the perfect amount of sour and sweet. You'll be raving about these cookies! I could eat a whole platter of them.
Aww, thank you, Alex! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the cookies that much.
These cookies smell divine! They are a tad crispy around the edges, but soft in the center and lemony. They look very elegant with the powdered sugar. These cookies are a yummy bite of spring!
Thanks so much for your comment, Beth!