These Lemon Blueberry Cookies combine bright lemon zest and fresh blueberries in a sweet and simple cookie. The recipe does not require chilling and uses only one bowl. It is easy to throw together and uses all real fresh ingredients including fresh blueberries. Lemon and blueberries go so well together in this easy cookie.
Lemon Blueberry Cookies are great spring or summer cookies. Blueberries work well especially when they are firm, juicy and fresh. They are easy to fold into the cookie dough and only bake in the oven for 10 minutes so the blueberries do not get over baked. The blueberries sweeten slightly in the oven and go so well with the bright zingy lemon flavor from the fresh lemon zest.
Fresh vs. Frozen Blueberries
These cookies are best with fresh blueberries. Unlike frozen blueberries, fresh blueberries incorporate well into the cookie dough.
I have made these with frozen blueberries and the cookies do not turn out as well for a few reasons. First, the frozen blueberries do not incorporate well into the dough. When blueberries (and other fruit) are frozen the water inside freezes and expands breaking the internal cell structure. This changes the texture of the blueberries, making them softer. They are not as firm as fresh blueberries. The juice in the blueberries therefore runs more freely and bleeds into the dough, which makes the dough dark and unappetizing looking. Though it will still taste great.
Another difficulty with frozen blueberries is that when you add them to the dough, you’re essentially adding ice (i.e. frozen blueberries) to a room temperature dough. The dough will seize up. It will be much more difficult to work with and to shape into balls to place on a baking sheet.
Lastly more of the liquid from inside the frozen blueberries escapes as you are mixing and baking. The cookies will be flatter than if using fresh blueberries. If using frozen wild blueberries, reduce the amount of blueberries included to ½ cup rather than 1 cup. This is because wild blueberries are smaller and therefore ½ of cup of wild blueberries will be more similar to 1 cup of fresh blueberries. You will also need to add 2 minutes to the baking time since there is more liquid from the berries in the dough.
Using Blueberry Jam
Using blueberry jam is a nice alternative to fresh blueberries, though fresh blueberries are still best. If you’re using blueberry jam you can gently add in a few small spoonfuls and fold the batter 2-3 times. This will give you a more interesting looking cookie with streaks of jam throughout. Keep in mind that this adds more liquid to the cookie and you will need to compensate with extra flour.
If using blueberry jam, add about ¼ cup more flour BEFORE adding in the jam. Add the jam only after all other ingredients have been incorporated. Add 2-4 tbsps of jam in dollops. Then fold the cookie dough 2-3x before scooping into balls and adding to the baking sheet.
Lemon Extract vs. Lemon Juice
The best way to add real lemon flavor to cookies is to add lemon zest from fresh lemons. I have made dozens and dozens of lemon cookies with many different approaches trying to get that perfect bright lemony flavor.
Adding lemon extract is a good alternative to lemon zest. It does not add too much extra liquid (like lemon juice would). The flavor is nice and intense without being sour. The drawback to lemon extract, however, is that it can have a bit of a manufactured taste rather than the bright fresh flavor that you get from real lemons.
Adding fresh lemon juice is usually problematic for a couple of reasons. In order to get enough flavor out of the juice you need to add a fair amount of lemon juice. This adds too much liquid to any cookie batter. You would need to compensate with additional flour, so much so that the cookie would not turn out right. The other issue is lemon juice can be quite sour, which is not the best combination in this cookie.
Lemon zest is the best way to add the bright zingy fresh lemon flavor to these cookies and most baked goods. It does not require that you add any more liquid, and the zest tends to be sweet and not sour. The flavor of the zest also does not dissipate as it cooks. It stays present and bright in baked goods.
The one downside, however, to using lemon zest is that it takes a bit of work to zest lemons (in this recipe 2 lemons). Also, there is also no immediate use for the leftover lemons and all the juice inside. They can still easily be used if you have another use for them (a slice of lemon in water, lemonade, or a lemon chicken recipe, etc.). But practically speaking it may be that they don’t end up getting used and possibly tossed.
Details on Ingredients
- Butter: Ensure that your butter is softened but it should not be too soft or it will cause the cookies to spread too much
- Granulated Sugar: I err on the side of less sugar in this cookie since there is so much flavor from the lemon zest and sweet blueberries
- Lemon Zest: Choose bright yellow lemons at the grocery store and zest only the bright yellow outside, not the white pithy part. The lemon zest is where the lemon flavor comes from, so while it takes some work to zest them, you’ll often get a handle on it quickly and its worth the effort.
- Salt: Helps to brighten the other flavors.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Act as leaveners.
- Lemon Juice: For a little bit of acidity.
- Egg: Adds richness, a binding agent, and leavens. Only 1 egg is needed
- Fresh Blueberries: Be sure to wash and pat the blueberries dry. If they are not dry, they will add additional water to the dough changing the proportion of wet and dry ingredients impacting the shape and texture of the cookie. Fresh blueberries are best but frozen blueberries and blueberry jam can be used as substitutes with varying degrees of success. See detailed notes above.
- Ingredients Not Included: I did not include vanilla in this recipe as I really want the flavor of the lemon and the blueberry to stand out. I do not want to complicate the taste with more flavors.
Step by Step Photos:
Cream butter and sugar together. Add lemon zest.
Add salt, baking powder, baking soda and lemon juice. Combine.
Add the egg and combine. Add the flour.
Mix until just combined. Add the blueberries (frozen blueberries pictured, fresh blueberries recommended).
Gently stir in the blueberries until just incorporated. Scoop about 2 tbsp worth and place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350℉ for 10 minutes.
The photos above are lemon blueberry cookies using frozen wild blueberries (rather than fresh. I would recommend, however, using fresh blueberries, rather than frozen blueberries. Using frozen blueberries results in a less appetizing cookie as you can see in the finished cookies above.
Variations on Lemon Blueberry Cookies
- Lemon Blueberry Jam Cookies: Add in a few scoops of blueberry jam and fold the cookie dough 2-3x to incorporate streaks of blueberry jam.
- Very Blueberry-Blueberry Jam Cookies: Add in even more blueberry jam and mix thoroughly. This will give you a dark cookie that may not be all that appetizing in terms of look. Though it’ll still taste good.
- Half Lemon and Half Blueberry Jam: Separate the dough into two with half remaining just lemon cookies. Incorporate blueberry jam into the other half. Then make each cookie with a tablespoon of the lemon cookie dough and a tablespoon of the blueberry jam dough.
- Lemon Blueberry Cookies with Frozen Blueberries: See notes above on using frozen blueberries.
- Lemon Blueberry Cookies with Fresh Blueberries: See recipe below.
All of these variations will taste good and are fun to try. However, after having experimented with ALL of them, the best by far is the classic Lemon Blueberry cookies with fresh blueberries that I have written the recipe for below.
How long with the Lemon Blueberry cookies last?
Because these cookies are made with fresh blueberries they are best eaten the same day. They will still be good the next day, however more of the juice from inside the cookie will leak out which will change the texture and consistency of the cookie.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below or tag a photo on instagram!
If you're looking for other blueberry, lemon, or dessert recipes, check these out:
Raspberry Lemon Loaf: Intensely lemony and raspberry dessert in a sweet dessert loaf
Blueberry French Toast Casserole: An overnight challah bread french toast casserole with blueberry jam and blueberries added at the end for an intense pop of flavor.
Swedish Blueberry Pie: Like a crumble but with a more intense thick topping.
Lemon Blueberry Cookies
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer combine the softened butter and granulated sugar. Add in the lemon zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add in the egg and lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Add in the flour and stir until just combined.
- Add the blueberries in and gently combine by hand with a spoon until just incorporated. Be careful not to smush the blueberries.
- Scoop about 2 tbsp worth of dough for each cookie and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
- These cookies are best eaten the same day. The water content in the blueberries will impact the texture and consistency of the cookies the following day.