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.
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.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- 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.
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!
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.
- 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.
Other Panera Copycat Recipes
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Panera Bread Lemon Drop Cookies
- 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.