Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe


Copycat Lemon Drop Cookie_with lemon

I don’t know about you, but for me, there isn’t anything that compares to lemon-flavored goodies in the summertime. It does not matter if it is lemon pie, lemon bread, lemon bars, or one of my favorites that we are going to walk through today, Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe. No matter the food, lemon always makes me think of summertime and sunshine. 

If you have tried one of Panera’s Lemon Drop Cookies, then you know how delicious they are. One downfall of enjoying their cookies regularly is the cost. Panera currently charges between two and three dollars for their cookie, depending on your location. Did you know that you can make this delicious cookie, at home? You sure can! 

Making our copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookie recipe is much easier than you might first think. There are no special ingredients required. If you have typical baking supplies, then you should have everything needed to make these cookies, whenever you want. Before we begin discussing what ingredients you will need, let’s first go over the delicious lemon drop cookie, and what makes it sooooo good. 

About The Cookie

Lemon drop cookies are made from a sugar cookie base. Yes, this is usually the type of cookie you would decorate with frosting and cut out into special shapes during Christmas time. However, for these Panera cookies, you are going to add lemon flavoring to them, which gives them the rich summertime feel. White chocolate is also incorporated into the cookie, giving them an extra kick of rich and sweet. Top this cookie off with powdered sugar and you have a sweet and savory summer treat! 


What is in these Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookies? Your ingredient list will include: salted butter, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract. It is also great to add white chocolate chips as well as powdered sugar. 

This recipe is estimated to make four dozen large cookies. If you prefer smaller cookies, it will probably yield you closer to eight dozen cookies. Not to fear, if you have too many cookies, the leftovers can always be frozen. However, it is not likely there will be many left! 

Can I freeze lemon drop cookies?

Yes, lemon drop cookies may be frozen. As long as you store them in an air-tight container of plastic bag that seals, they can easily be frozen. The cookies are best if used before the first month of being kept in the freezer but may be stored in the freezer for up to three months. 

To thaw cookies that have been frozen, the best way is to remove them from the freezer and place them single layer on your countertop, removing them from their container. Allow them to sit at room temperature until they are completely thawed. If it’s a warm summer day, this will not be a long process. 

You can also microwave them, however, this will most likely change the texture of your cookies. For best results, simply pull them out of the freezer and allow them to sit at room temperature. 

copycat lemon drop cookie_rolled out cookies

How many calories are in a Panera lemon cookies?

According to Panera, their health facts are as follows. This would be for the cookies sold directly from their stores. 

Calories430 Cal
Calories from Fat180 Cal
Fat20 g
Saturated Fat13 g
Trans Fatty Acid0.5 g
Cholesterol65 mg
Sodium270 mg
Carbohydrates60 g
Dietary Fiber0 g
Total Sugars35 g
Protein5 g

The nutritional value of these copycat lemon drop cookies are not all that bad for you. While they are not super healthy, they will also satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Please see the breakout for one of our copycat Panera lemon drop cookies. 

How to Make Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookies

To make these cookies is a simple process. The only downfall is that you do need to allow time for the dough to chill. For best results, allow between one and two hours for the dough to chill before you create cookies and bake them. 

Step #1: Create The Dough

Create lemon zest. You will want two small lemons or one large lemon for all of the zest. Also, juice your lemons and set them aside to add into the dough. 

Start with creating your cookie dough. In a mixing bowl, combine your butter, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until it becomes creamy in texture. 

Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well combined and dough begins to clump. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract. Mix for only a few moments, just until the lemon is mixed in completely. You may also add white chocolate chips at this point if desired. 

Step #2: Refrigerate 

Place dough into the fridge and let sit for at least one to two hours. You may also allow the dough to chill overnight if desired. 

Step #3: Bake Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350°F

Now, when you remove the cookie dough from the fridge, you may choose to roll it out into shapes, or you may choose to put the cookies into drops.

To roll the cookies out, sprinkle some powdered sugar on the surface and place your ball of dough on top. Sprinkle a little more powdered sugar on top, and roll with a rolling pin, until it is about ½ to ¼ inch thick. Cut using cookie cutter or glass. Place on a gently greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, just until you see the edges start to turn golden.  

You can also choose to roll your cookies into balls. Be aware that your cookies will not flatten out much. I have found that it works best when I roll my dough into balls and then break the balls in half. Turn so that both rough edges are facing up and pat the bottom back into a ball. Place on a cookie sheet with the rough side up. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until you can see the edges just start to turn a golden color. Remove and allow to cool. 

Step #4: Topping

After your cookies have cooled to room temperature, it is time to top your cookies. The cookies from Panera come with a light coating of powdered sugar on them. I also like to add a drizzle of melted white chocolate.

To do this, pour a small number of white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until chocolate is melted. Stir every 30 seconds. 

Place melted chocolate in a piping bag or plastic bag with the corner cut out. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of cooled cookies. Top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Serve and enjoy! 

Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe

Pro Tips

Soft butter. It works best when you allow the butter to sit at room temperature for a while before you are ready to bake with it, so that it becomes soft. If you are not able to do this, you can try microwaving it for 20-30 seconds. Just until it becomes soft, but not melted. 

Don’t overmix. Try to avoid overmixing your dough. It is okay to mix your dough a fair amount, however, once you begin adding your flour and lemon, you will want to keep your mixing to a minimum. If you overmix, you run the chance of your dough becoming unnecessarily hard. 

Light gold. These cookies are going to taste their best once they have been baked so that the edges have just started turning a light golden color. If you cook much longer, they will begin to get tough. Remove from the oven and allow for them to fully cool. This will give you the best taste and texture. 

Recipe Variations

For health concerns such as gluten intolerance and vegan preferences, this recipe can be adjusted. Follow the below suggestions for variations to this recipe. 

Gluten Free: replace the all-purpose flour, with your favorite 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free flour.  Types such as King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill work well to substitute 1 cup for 1 cup. 

Vegan: substitute vegan butter that is appropriate for baking and vegan white chocolate chips. To substitute eggs, try using 1 cup of applesauce in place of the eggs. 

Brown Sugar: if you prefer cookies that are a little more chewy or molasses in flavor, I also enjoy mixing it up, and making some cookies with half brown sugar and half granulated sugar. Give it a try and let us know what you think about it!

What Made me Make These Cookies?

I love lemon foods. Panera cookies are so good, but are a bit expensive. I really enjoy baking, and so their cookies inspired me to prepare a copycat recipe to enjoy during the summer months. I hope that you will enjoy them too! 

Have you tried this copycat Panera lemon drop cookie recipe? Let us know what you think about it! 

Looking for a partly healthy snack that will satisfy your chocolate craving? Try these delicious Easy Chocolate Covered Cranberries. You might also enjoy this tasty Blueberry Morning Cereal: Easy Baked Recipe. It is so good, it almost melts in your mouth!

Share on Pinterest!

Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookie_Pinterest Pin

This is a recipe I came up with to replicate the real thing.

Photo of author
Faith Has been cooking and baking for many years! she loves to share her recipes with the world, and hopes you will enjoy them too!

2 thoughts on “Copycat Panera Lemon Drop Cookie Recipe”

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating