Lemon Lime Basil Cookies

Trees stand still. Leaves barely dance in the almost absent wind as it lingers and loiters under the hot white rays of the sun. Blades of grass stretch and reach ever higher, itching to scrape the calm blue sky. Delicate flowers wilt, begging for an ounce of water to satisfy their parched petals. The calm morning air, filled with the songs of lonely birds and insects, is only disturbed by the monstrosity that is my decades old lawn mower roaring to life . I strain and grunt as I sledge the resistant machine to fight its rusty wheels; she cadges, hoping to sink forever into the tall, unkempt grass. Beautiful, sky-high blades meet their death with a swift decapitation and seek their revenge as they swarm my allergy-laden nose.

I run my hand over my red forehead, squeegeeing the puddles of dirty sweat planning an attack on my itchy eyes.  I dodge rouge rocks and ant piles, aware of the firestorm both can bring as they meet the whirling blades of my monster. I soon slip on my motorized, gas fueled backpack and take aim at the rivers of grass, dirt and leaves littering my driveway coercing them with manmade wind into beautiful, manageable piles. I flap a black bag open and scoop the unwanted bits of my now-perfect yard away from prying neighborly eyes. Gulps of water satiate my thirst; small moments of pause and reflection allow me to admire my handy work. I once again take my rightful place as alpha-dog of the neighborhood, my greenest of the green grass now more manicured than any other house around me. The beautiful smell of freshly cut grass emanates from my house like a beacon reminding my neighbors, I have won this round of the incessant domestic, househusband wars.

Then the fragrance of basil slowly wafts its way to me as pride swells my head; my curious nose follows the trail of aromatic crumbs. I kneel down to a collection of basil plants limping in the blinding heat. A lone branch once laying, growing delicately towards the grass is chopped, diced and torn to shreds, another victim of my roving mower. One small branch on one small basil plant of a dozen scattered about my yard. The loss doesn’t bother me. My nose now drowning in the beautiful, perfect smell of basil directs my mind to replay so many delicious memories of basil. A titillated smile pierces my lips. I carefully prune a few branches from my thai basil plant with my finger nails and carry the bouquet inside with me, giving it a reprieve from the heat.

Inside after a quick cold shower and three more glasses of ice cold water my heart begins to calm and the summer heat leaves my body. My mind is free from the scorcher of the outdoors and I begin to think how can I celebrate summer from the safety of my air conditioned home. My mind quickly settles on cookies laden with lemon, lime and the basil I pruned just moments ago. I preheat my oven, get my mixer going and start throwing in ingredients. As I peer through the glass of my oven waiting for the cookies to mature into soft pillows of chewy deliciousness, thoughts of lemonade dance in my still warm-to-the-touch head. I scoop up the rest of my fresh lemons and limes and laboriously squeeze away. I plop down into my big comfy couch placed strategically under my biggest, fastest fan. I sip on lemon limeade and nibble on lemon-lime basil cookies one after the other as I get lost in pretending to do work. Summer is a wonderful time.

Cookies:  These cookies exude summer. They are deliciously refreshing with a distinct, almost pungent layer of basil all wrapped up in a soft, chewy, sugary cookie. I love lemon in everything, especially cookies and desserts. Lime adds just a little extra layer of sweet tartness. I use two types of basil, Thai and classic sweet basil (pictured above). Thai basil has a licorice taste not present in sweet basil and it stands up to heat much better than sweet basil. You can use just sweet or even just thai basil if you like–really whatever you have on hand. If you’re lucky you’ll have a lemon basil plant growing in your yard; you can use that for an extra kick of the lemon flavor.

The base of this cookie is my go-to cookie base (the same I use in my various chocolate chip cookies with the exception of 86ing the brown sugar). This base is super easy, can be done sans mixer, and only takes 8 to 12 minutes in a 375°F oven–depending how deliciously doughy or fantastically firm and crispy you like your cookies. Did I mention this is my first time using a silpat thingy? Aren’t they handy?

Basil Plants: If you grow basil at home (or any herb) you should never let it flower like I have so carelessly done in one of the above photos. Once an herb plant begins to flower, the leaves will become bitter. It’s a shame because basil is beautiful when it flowers. Although, if you’re looking for a beautiful, unpretentious bouquet try putting some pruned basil stems with leaves and flowers in a mason jar of water. Not only do they look adorable but since basil can propagate in water, the bouquet–pending a source of constant fresh water–could last forever. Within a couple weeks you should be able to plant the bouquet and have yourself a new basil plant.


Lemon Lime Basil Cookies


4 ounces (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
6 ounces (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Zest from 1 lemon
Zest from 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons basil leaves, finely chopped
7 (1 3/4 cup) ounces bread flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt



1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon sheet if you’ve got one.

2. Cream the sugar and butter together until it is light and fluffy.

3. Add the egg, vanilla, zests and basil and mix in well.

4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined and everything is evenly distributed.

5. Spoon the dough onto the lined baking sheets. This recipe will make 32 medium sized cookies.

6. Bake in a preheated oven for 8 to 12 minutes–I baked mine for 10; 8 minutes will yield a very soft dougy cookie whereas 12 minutes will yield a crispier cookie.

7. Let cool for a couple minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

Oh and because I took way too many pictures of cookies, and just incase you are doubting whether or not you should make these cookies, here is another shot–for those of you shallow DoF fans.


What’s your favorite lemon and lime recipe? How about your favorite basil recipe? I’m always looking for new ideas.

Save this recipe here:

AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Food nerd. Cookbook author. Founder of Chasing Delicious. Pastry cook at Fluff Bake Bar. Lover of hot dogs. Russell van Kraayenburg founded Chasing Delicious in 2010 and has been chasing delicious recipes ever since. Russell is author of the cookbooks Haute Dogs and Making Dough.


  • Kathryn

    Oh wow, these cookies just seem to scream summer! They look wonderful and I bet they taste delicious.

  • Tina@flourtrader

    These cookies do sound tasty-I like lemon lime and the addition of basil sounds heavenly. Your pictures are stunning and thanks for the tip about flowering basil-I guess my plant is as bitter as can be!

    • Russell

      Thank you very much! And you’re welcome. I learned that only recently when I was buying some more plants at my local nursery. I usually am good at keeping them from flowering but they’re so pretty when they do flower that I bought a few more just to let flower and make my yard pretty. Thanks again for the kind words : )

  • The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    These are very similar to a cookie in Bon Appetit that I made some time ago. Theirs was a shortbread version that didn’t work out as well. I think your idea of the sugar cookie as a base is fantastic.

  • Isabelle @ Crumb

    Gorgeous! The cookies, the story, the photos… all of it is simply gorgeous.
    My herb garden is just overflowing with basil this year, thanks to the hot, sunny weather we’ve had so far. I was thinking of just making a mega-sized batch of pesto with it, but I’m rethinking that plan now that I’ve seen these cookies. Nom.

    • Russell

      Ooh yum. I love pesto. I am definitely planning on making a batch next. You should definitely try these cookies or something like it though. I am slowly falling in love with basil in sweet applications and these cookies may be my fav. of the lot. Thanks for all the kind words!


    Wow great photos! And I love your blogging style – so descriptive! I added you to my google reader! And I may just have to try out this recipe! I have so much basil I don’t know what to do with it! :)

    • Russell

      Thank you very much, Andrea! I’m glad you stopped by and like my blog. This is a recipe definitely worth trying. I hope you like them if you do try them. Let me know how they turn out!

  • RavieNomNoms

    I am in love with these cookies! This one time when I took my mother out for her birthday I came across a lemon-basil martini and I absolutely fell in love with the flavor combination. I would never think to put it into a cookie, but now that I see it I have no idea why didn’t before. This is amazing and I love your addition of the lime…

    Oh and btdubs, your photos are fantastic!

    • Russell

      Thank you very much! And a lemon-basil martini? Yum! I am a sucker for martinis and now I am craving one of those. Thank you again for the kind words!

  • Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

    Fannnntastic, i love citrusy cookies and the twist in these sounds so uniquely scrummy, definitely bookmarked!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers

    I LOVE the addition of basil- they sound delicious and a good change up from the same-old-sugar cookie! :)

  • Hester aka The Chef Doc

    YES! Aren’t Silpats just absolutely awesome?!?! The person who created this silicone marvel should get a Nobel. I love my Silpat :-) As for the cookies, OMG, I made sort of the same ones a few weeks ago! I love all the flavors of the citrus in there mixed with the buttery cookie. MMM MMM MMM!

  • K. Schmittauer

    Not only do these look like a fantastic twist on the classic lemon sugar cookie, but I have all of the ingredients in my refrigerator! Guess what I’m baking tonight? Thanks so much!

    • Russell

      You’re welcome! Let me know how you like them if you make them! Thanks for stopping by and the kind words : )

  • Claudia

    Love using basil in desserts – it’s unexpected and just sings summer – itchy eyes and all. These are cookies that can actually be dubbed “refreshing.”

  • Tiffany

    Just lovely!

  • Lindsey@Lindselicious

    Oh these cookies sound so good! I love the citrus paired with basil. And I love your photos- so well done!

  • Snippets of Thyme

    Your photos are beautiful. I saw the cookies on FG and just had to stop by the let you know they certainly caught my attention!

  • Cassie [Bake Your Day]

    These sound delicious! I love lemon paired with basil, I’m sure lime is an awesome addition too!

  • Eliot

    I love basil. I remember a Martha Stewart cookie that was similar to this (without the basil though.) I also love mixing the savory with the sweet. I am trying this!

  • Amy's Cooking Adventures

    Looks fantastic! Can’t wait to try them!

  • Jennifer@MotherThyme

    I am in love with this recipe! I absolutely love basil and my herb garden is bursting with basil right now. I can’t wait to make these in the morning!

    • Russell

      Thank you, Jennifer! Let me know how you like them if you give them a try!

  • Rinku

    Wonderful to see all my favorite flavors come together in one recipe. Nothing like the combination of fresh herbs and lime.

  • Sarah @ pão e queijo

    Beautiful photos and descriptive writing, I can just imagine mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. The cookies look splendid- I’m also loving the lime green silicone baking mat. They are quite handy!

  • Reem

    These cookies look so delicious…. Your photographs are so beautiful, I can feel the sweet smell of basil from these captivating pictures……. Lime, lemon and basil.. Perfect for summer indulgence. There is so much to learn and get inspired here at your blog.

    • Russell

      Thank you very much for the kind words! I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed my blog. I definitely love those summer flavors and citrus and basil are two of my favs. Thanks again!

  • Anne@frommysweetheart

    Russell…I can’t think of three more ‘perfect summer’ flavors than these. Regarding the basil…I love slipping herbs in foods where you might not expect them! Your cookies are picture perfect, as usual! : )

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  • Peggy

    I just got lost in your words! I almost wanted to go out and mow the yard myself! And now I have a definite urge to make these cookies – because that sounds a tad bit more gratifying to me than mowing the yard =)

    • Russell

      Thank you very much, Peggy. I would have to say it is probably a better choice to make the cookies versus mow the lawn. Let me know if you try them and how you like them!

  • Loong

    I can almost smell the refreshing combination of the basil and lemon in these cookies!

  • Ken @ hungry rabbit

    You’ve captured the refreshing summer breeze in both images and cookies. Well done my friend.

  • Shao

    Love the combination of lemon, lime, and basil together. The picture of the cookies all stacked up is gorgeous!

  • Kaitlin

    Your photos are stunning!! Can you send a batch of these cookies to me? :)

    • Russell

      Thank you very much, Kaitlin. Unfortunately I already at them all! If I make another batch I’ll let you know though ; )

  • claire

    These pictures are beautiful!!

  • janet@fromcupcakestocaviar

    Congratulations on making top nine with these! They look delicious!

  • Christine

    Sounds wonderful… must try these. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cristina

    This is my kind of cookie! Love, love, love to use herbs and the sweet and savory combination in a cookie. Will be making and trying these for sure!

    Great images. Fantastic DOF on that last image and the softness of the lighting.

    • Russell

      Thank you very much, Cristina. Let me know how they turn out when you make them! Thanks again for all the kind words!

  • Elies_Lie

    Basil with lemon or with lime < is always be a great combination on a desert or even on a dish…
    but never think that those will be a great combination for COOKIES!!
    Tq for sharing the recipe Russel! & Congraz for the top 9 on Foobuzz! *again* – Haha ha! ;)

  • sippitysup

    These summer flavors are very sophisticated. Which is why they are so refreshing combined with the simplicity of a sugar cookie. GREG

  • Kankana

    This is the first time I am visiting your blog and must say .. it is gorgeous. Such amazing photos and interesting recipes u have. Congrats on Top 9 :)

    • Russell

      Thank you very much, Kankana! I’m glad you decided to stop by my blog. Thank you again!

  • Molly @ Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips

    sooo loving your blog! New fav.

    • Russell

      Thank you very much, Molly! I’m glad you stopped by and liked it!

  • Lilly

    Russell sorry we lost touch for a while but I’m happy to found you again with this delish cookie recipe. My neighbor has a huge basil bush and I will go out and steal some for this jummy cookie recipe!

  • Anais D.

    I just made these for a party and I’m contemplating keeping them all to myself.

  • Roxana GreenGirl

    These cookies are so pretty. Love the combo between the citrus-y flavor and the sort of minty basil leaves.

    I let my basil flower on purpose, then I mix the flowers with blended cantaloupe, mmmm, so summer-y

  • Stephanie

    yummm this looks like summer flavor explosion.

  • Jenny @ Savour the Senses

    All of your photos are so amazing! Jealous!

  • Chris and Amy

    What a lovely cookie, perfect for summer baking, especially for those of us with bumper crops of basil. We’re making these for sure!

  • sarah

    I don’t think I’ve ever read such pretty writing about mowing the lawn…and these cookies sound fantastic! I love the citrus-basil combination- brilliant!

  • Holly Henry

    Love the combination of flavors here! I have bookmarked the page and will definitely be baking these :)

  • BigFatBaker

    Oh wow. Glad to have seen this basil recipe too! I have so much that I need to use and these cookies sound so simple and delicious. Thanks for sharing :)

  • mjskit

    I eat cookies A LOT, but I’m not too successful at making them, but I’m definitely going to give these a try! They look and sounds absolutely delicious!

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  • Ronda

    I want to make these now, I love basil in everything if only my garden was still producing basil. I have made these with mint instead of basil, so good!

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  • Dominick

    I made these cookies this past weekend. The flavor was great! Although, I don’t know what I did wrong because my cookies turned into pillows instead of being flat. I used the same ingredients, but alas something went awry. They became very dense cookies. Thus when I served them I called them lemon-lime basil anginettes and added a lemon icing like a typical anginette would. No one was the wiser. :)

    • Russell

      Hmm. I’m sorry about that. Did you measure the recipe by weight or volume? But it sounds like you solved the problem with a delicious fix!

      • Dominick

        I measured by volume. I know! Not the best way to measure ingredients but I got lazy. I think I may have mixed the flour with the other ingredients too much though. It was my first time using bread flour instead of all-purpose so it’s possible I overbeat it and ended up with too much gluten. I’m not exactly sure… In any case! The flavor combination was very good; and I actually enjoyed having that icing on top. The cookies were perfect with a cup of tea. :)

  • linda

    Just found your website while looking for an herb cookie. I make rosemary lemon cookies all the time and wanted something different. Question… could I make the dough ahead of time, and roll it up or chill it before baking?
    and how did you come up w/using bread flour instead of AP? Thank you for using weight, as I never do volume anymore. Have ruined too many pastries using a cup measure.
    Keep those gorgeous photos and recipes coming!

    • Russell

      Hello, Linda. I’m glad you found my site! You can definitely make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for a day or two. If you want to store it longer I’d go ahead and freeze the dough. As for using bread flour instead of all-puporse, I do that because I like the chew and bite that bread flour gives a cookie. You can use all-purpose flour in the recipe no problem though. You can even use cake flour if you want a softer cookie with a cake-like texture and bite. Thank you again for stopping by and the kind words!

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    Oh I got here and see those cookies! which sound so amazing! And I love your photos- so well done!

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    I made these today and they taste amazing! My boyfriend is a chef and I always struggle to surprise him in the kitchen. He was very impressed with the idea and how great they tasted. Thanks for the recipe!

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