Key Lime Cookies


You can do more with key limes than just make pie.

Key Lime Cookies
Photo: Micah A. Leal
Active Time:
30 mins
Refrigerate Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
15 mins
Cool Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins

A unique twist on a thumbprint cookie, these Key Lime Cookies bring together the best of the classic cookie and a classic key lime pie. The cookie dough is similar to a butter-based thumbprint cookie, but it includes virgin coconut oil, which lends a subtle coconut flavor to complement the tropical key lime flavor. Additionally, the cookie dough relies on both all-purpose flour and graham cracker crumbs for the base. The inclusion of graham cracker crumbs hints at the traditional graham cracker crust used for key lime pies but in the form of a buttery thumbprint cookie. Once the dough is shaped into spheres, the spheres are then rolled in a mixture of granulated sugar and graham crackers, creating a crisp exterior to the final cookies. The spheres are then marked by a thumbprint in the center that allows for a small pool of key lime curd to rest in the middle of the cookie. The curd is made in a matter of minutes on the stove top by simply whisking the ingredients together over a double boiler until it thickens. This velvety key lime curd is tangy, sweet, and slightly milky from the addition of sweetened condensed milk. Harkening to the ingredients used in a key lime pie, the addition of this incredibly flavorful curd fills the craters in the cookies and makes the confections unmistakably similar to a key lime pie. Finished with a dusting of powdered sugar, these cookies are a delightfully fun twist on the rightfully celebrated pie that makes the most of the small limes native to the Florida Keys.


Key Lime Curd

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons key lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (from 1 lime)

Graham Thumbprint Cookie

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup plus 1½ Tablespoons graham cracker crumb, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ¼ cup virgin coconut oil

  • cup plus 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 egg

  • Powdered sugar for dusting, optional


  1. Make Key Lime Curd: Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a double boiler or a tall saucepan fitted with a heatproof bowl, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk together sugar, key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks until smooth. Pour into bowl of double boiler and stir constantly until mixture thickens so a spatula running across the bottom of the bowl leaves a trail that slowly fills in, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and lime zest until butter is melted and incorporated. Transfer to fridge to cool.

  2. Make Graham Thumbprint Cookie: In a bowl, combine flour, ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and coconut oil until homogenous. Add ⅔ cup sugar and cream on medium until lightened and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and combine on low until just combined, 15 seconds. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.

  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1½ tablespoons graham cracker crumbs and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the cookie dough into your hands and roll into a ball. Gently roll ball in sugar-graham cracker mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and space the rolled cookie dough balls 2-inches apart on the baking sheets. Using clean hands, gently press a thumb into the center of each dough ball, making a ¾-inch deep crater in each cookie. Refrigerate cookies for 30 minutes until firm.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill each crater with a heaping ½ teaspoon of Key Lime Curd. Bake cookies until lightly browned around the base, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before dusting with powdered sugar, if desired.

Related Articles