I’m not sure what prompted the Easter Bunny to decide it was no longer appropriate to hide eggs in our yard, but he must have corroborated with my Grammy—the year he stopped was the year we walked into Easter dinner to find our baskets filled with Lemon Coconut Thumbprint Cookies.
Although my sisters and I eventually outgrew the prefilled Easter baskets too (harsh realities of our 20s), I certainly believe that, at any age, everyone deserves a little springtime treat.
A fresh twist on classic jam thumbprint cookies, which in my family are rolled in crushed walnuts and filled with strawberry jam, lemon thumbprint cookies take the same lightly crispy, buttery shortbread and give it the springtime citrus treatment.
In celebration of a new season and the return of sunshine, let’s fill our baskets and pile our plates with bright lemon coconut thumbprint cookies.
5 Star Review
“I just made these cookies and they are fabulous! Coconut and lemon are my two favorite ingredients!”— Jana —
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies – Simple and Elegant
These lemon coconut thumbprint cookies are a demonstration of beautiful cookie simplicity (as are these Carrot Cookies).
- The cookie dough is only five ingredients, yet results in a richly flavored, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie base (similar to these Strawberry Lemon Cream Cheese Bars).
- Rather than fuss with making lemon curd from scratch, I used lemon pie filling. Feel free to swap in homemade lemon curd if you prefer.
- Coconut, lemon’s tropical sidekick, is the perfect halo to surround our thumbprint cookies.
How to Make Lemon Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
With shredded coconut that toasts into a golden, lightly crunchy shell around the buttery cookie, and lemon filling that offers a bright, glossy burst of citrus, every bite of these old-fashioned thumbprint cookies is like a fresh drop of spring.
- Butter. A shortbread cookie is only as good as the butter used. Reach for a high-quality butter for this recipe if it’s available to you. This is one recipe where it’s well worth the added expense.
- Sugar. Sweetens the shortbread base and makes them tender. (For more lemon + shortbread, try my Lemon Bars.)
- Flour. No special flour required. Everyday all-purpose flour is all you need for these simple thumbprint cookies.
- Almond Extract. Add subtle almond flavor to the cookie dough that pairs beautifully with the lemon and coconut (as in this Almond Flour Cake with Lemon).
- Lemon Pie Filling. Makes these cookies as easy as a springtime breeze to prepare and equally as easy to eat. (If you love lemon, don’t miss my Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.)
- Coconut. Sweetened shredded coconut balances the buttery cookies and bright acidity of the tart lemon filling.
- Egg White. Acts as “glue” to adhere the shredded coconut to the outside of each cookie.
- Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the almond extract and salt.
- Slowly mix in the flour.
- Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Mix the egg white with a little water to create an egg wash.
- Shape the chilled dough into balls, dip in the egg wash, and roll in coconut.
- Press a shallow indent into the top of each cookie dough ball and fill with a small amount of lemon pie filling.
- Bake until the cookie edges are set and the coconut is golden. ENJOY!
How to Store Thumbprint Cookies
- To Store. Store leftover thumbprint cookies in an airtight container for up to four days.
Although I don’t think the Easter Bunny will be stopping by this Sunday, I’m more than content with lemon coconut thumbprint cookies as my spring treat spread.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can. While I adore the flavor combination of lemon and coconut and appreciate the texture the coconut adds, if you don’t enjoy coconut or have an allergy to coconut, you can omit it from the recipe if you wish.
No. The butter is crucial for texture and flavor so I don’t think I’d recommend swapping it for a different fat. The cookies simply would not turn out the same. If you’re looking for a cookie recipe without butter, try these Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.
Yes. You should be able to mix and store the prepared cookie dough in the fridge, wrapped tightly in plastic, for up to 3 days.
Lemon Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup canned lemon pie filling or homemade lemon curd
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed, until just combined.
- Beat in the almond extract and salt. With the mixer running on low, slowly add in the flour, mixing just until the dough begins to come together.
- Transfer to a lightly floured surface, then press and roll into a flat disk. Wrap with plastic and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat together the egg with 1 tablespoon water to create an egg wash. Sprinkle the coconut into a shallow bowl.
- Once the dough has chilled, divide and roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash, then roll it in the coconut flakes. Arrange the balls on ungreased baking sheets.
- With the top of your finger (a tube of lip balm works well also), press a light indentation into the top of each cookie. Drop a scant 1/2 teaspoon of lemon filling into each indentation.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cookie edges are set and the coconut is golden. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool.
- TO STORE: Leftover thumbprint cookies may be kept in an airtight container for up to four days.
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These are delicious, Erin! And so easy! The crunch of the coconut and that pop of lemon, yum! (I did use KAF white ww flour and unsweetened coconut tho. But no lip balm tools were deployed, just my thumb! ;) ) THANK YOU for another keeper! Happy healthy Easter wishes from NC!
Joanie, I’m so excited to hear that you loved these! Thanks for letting me know that unsweetened coconut and the white WW flour works too. I might try that myself next time :) Wishing you a wonderful Easter and thanks so much for leaving your cookie review. Enjoy every bite!
I would like to make these cookies for my sister’s birthday party. Do you think I could freeze them for a week?
They sound delicious!
Hi Lynn, I’ve never tried freezing these so I can’t say for sure, but you could certainly give it a try! I would recommend wrapping them in waxed paper and putting them in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible. I’d love to know how it turns out!
I just made these cookies and they are fabulous! Coconut and lemon are my two favorite ingredients! The coconut gives it a nice crunch. I used a little too much lemon curd but they turned out great. Thanks for sharing the recipe! They’re a good summertime treat :)
Thanks so much for taking the time to report back, Jana! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the cookies.