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Lemon Basil Cookies

gluten free lemon basil cookies recipe

Pick some of the fresh basil that’s exploding in your garden for these zesty grain-free herb-flecked cookies.

I based this recipe (and photo) on one from Bon Appetit for Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies. As you might expect, these are gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free cookies. I used the same flavor profile as the Bon Appetit recipe, though decided not to make mine a shortbread cookie.

I’ve used coconut butter as the fat in this cookie recipe, which I learned to do from Jessica at one of my all time favorite blogs, inphyusion.com. Make sure to check out her site as she has quite a few incredible raw, plant-based recipes.

Lemon Basil Cookiesprint

  1. Combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse in coconut butter, honey, basil, and lemon zest
  3. Scoop dough one level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  4. Press balls of dough down to flatten
  5. Bake at 350° for 6-10 minutes
  6. Cool for 2 hours
  7. Serve

Makes 18 cookies

If you would like to make a super duper fuss over your cookies (as I did for the photo above), trim their edges with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Normally, if not photographing the cookies, I would not undertake this step. It’s way too fussy for me.

I may be posting a bit less frequently during the next couple of weeks as we are moving and I am in the process of packing my entire house (and therefore my kitchen) into boxes. Last night the boys were busy packing up their own rooms. Wish us luck and enjoy the cookies.

Here are some grain-free cookie recipes from other bloggers:

posted on July 17, 2013, 53 comments

  1. Kim

    I literally JUST used up the last of my almond flour and now after seeing this recipe, I deeply regret it! These look amazing!

  2. Selene

    Since I can truly have no sugar in any form – no honey, no dates, no maple syrup – do you think it’s possible to successfully use liquid stevia as the sweetener?

    • Joni

      You sure can I do it all the time. I also use xylitol. I would do about 1 tsp stevia powder. If you use powder sugar like stevia or xylitol you will have to add a little liquid like coconut milk. Hope this helps.

      • Hi. Is there a rule of thumb in regards to substituting with xylitol (powder)? You mention adding liquid in this instance – is this because you’re replacing honey which is a liquid? Any advice much appreciated. Thank you!

        • Joni

          Yes that is why. This is a small amount of liquid to the honey so if you use a powder like stevia or xylitol you may need to add a small amount of liquid. Here is what I had learn that I now use for myself.

          1 cup agave nectar = 1.5 tsp stevia + 1/3 cup liquid

          If you have ever baked you will have an idea of how the batter should look. I have already made one of her almond cookies with xylitol and it was wonderful. I would say if you want to mix the two you can also the stevia and xylitol.

          The xylitol can cause you to run to the bathroom if you eat to much and is as sweet as sugar but has a different after taste. Sometimes will make something more liquid I found but not always. I have built up my body to handle a good amount each day by putting it on like a waffle etc.

          Xylitol is great for your teeth and is an anti fungal antibacterial.

          So If you go by what I showed you should not need much liquid at all. Maybe nothing. Put the amount of sugar you need and see what the batter looks like. Then I would add a tsp at a time until you see the amount that works for you.

          I have been baking and making my own recipes for years so I have a feel for it. I would start off with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup depending on how sweet you want it. Taste your batter. I would start at 1 to 2 Tab of coconut milk and see how that works. Hope I was of help.

          • Tiffany Lopez

            I use Lankato and stevia and zylitol also. I usually just add an egg to make up for the liquid. I am amazed that this kind of improvising works with Elana’s recipes

  3. Dawn @Transformed By Food @ transformedbyfood.com/blog

    These sound great! I love the coconut butter/basil/lemon combo. Great idea.

  4. Mia

    These look delightful! I look forward to trying them. Thank you!

  5. Lisa Daniel

    Best of luck for a worry free move, Elana!! The cookies look wonderful. What a lovely idea to pair the lemon and basil – yumm =)

  6. cheap prescription glasses @ visioneyewear.co.uk

    This recipe sounds great. Delicious!

  7. I will bake lemon basil cookies at home.

  8. Wow, these sound awesome. Normally, I never eat cookies or baked goods, but these are worth a try. They might make a great hostess gift for a holiday party. They are very different. I do have some almond flour in the house. As soon as the weather cools off, I am going to bake up a batch. I won’t take a lot of convincing to get my husband to try them. Thanks for posting.

  9. Wendy Bussell

    Good fortune with your move!
    these sound awesome…can’t wait to try them…thinking that they could be rolled in wax paper and refrigerated for a short amount of time to slice….no need to use the cookie cutter method.

  10. Rebecca

    Mmmm, this recipe looks good but I must say that they’re not technically “sugar free” because of the honey!

  11. Susie

    I have no coconut butter. Can I use something else?

  12. So many great flavors in this cookie! Looks so good!

  13. Kemper

    I have lots of Lemon Basil growing so this will be a great recipe to try it in :)

  14. absolute health and fitness @ absolutehealthfitness.com

    I will bake like this at home.

  15. exotic travels and vacation @ exotictravelsandvacations.com

    lemon basil cookies plus coffee in the morning is a great combination.

  16. Tania

    These cookies look delicious! Thanks for all the great recipes you share with us, and blessings to your family as you move.

  17. Laura Jo Moeller

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. I followed the recipe kinda close. I used lemon zest, but it had been drying on the counter for a week (whole lemon). I think it worked great. Basil came straight from the garden, literally. I measured 8 oz almond flour (from fridge), and my honey and coconut butter was near solid. I had to put the ‘dough’ in the microwave for 15 seconds just to help it come together (it was very sand-like). I packed my small cookie scoop, then plopped the ball between two pieces of plastic and used my tortilla press to flatten them. AWwwweeessooommeee…. 6 cookies per baking sheet. First batch was 4 minutes flat. 2nd batch was a bit too brown. Preparing to put in the 3rd tray. I’ll watch it instead of trying to type this comment!! I am totally loving the thin cookie quality of this! THANK YOU for this lovely recipe. ~Laura Jo, Anchorage, Alaska

    • Laura Jo Moeller

      Third tray of baking was better. I made about 24 wafer thin discs, nice n round. Assembling the third tray was easier too, maybe the dough softened up? I had no problems peeling away the plastic, flipping over onto my hand and peeling the 2nd side of plastic, then carefully placing on cookie sheet. They remained intact. Fast process too. So pretty! I like that I made them smaller and thinner — slows down the devouring processing. I think after they cool more, like all night, they will be very crispy in the morning. Hope so, if not, they’re still awesome.

  18. I am hosting a blog carnival this month. The theme is grain-free refined sugar-free bars. I am hoping you might be interested in participating: http://mrsedsresearchandrecipes.blogspot.com/2013/07/go-ahead-honey-its-gluten-free-raising.html


  19. This recipe was so inspired! The cookies were so quick to make and absolutely delicious. At first bite, I was like “Hmmmm…interesting” but they really are good. Each bite tastes different, sometimes a little more lemony or basily. I was scared that the basil might be too strong, but it’s perfect. Definitely a do again!

  20. Randa

    I made these the other day (sometime late last week) and put them in the freezer so we could enjoy most of them later. I did taste a couple before putting them in the freezer – deeeelicious!! Even yummy right out of the freezer, and it didn’t take long for us to finish them right off! Such a great combo of flavors.

  21. Melissa

    Your cookies look WAY better than the ones that ones you based them on. Way to go! :)

  22. These cookies sound amazing and I’ll add them to my “to bake” list this week! I love that they use coconut butter, which is my new (hopefully healthy) addiction.

  23. I love the combination of lemon and basil in food, but have never thought to have try it in baking.

    Citrus desserts are one of my favourites, so this will definitely be going on my to-bake list.

    However, it’s been so warm lately that I have not been in the mood to turn on the hot, hot oven. I may have to wait a bit for the weather to cool down before trying these.

    I don’t have any coconut butter at home, but I just picked up some coconut oil for the first time two days ago (I love the flavor it adds!). I think I will try substituting it for the coconut butter.

  24. Chenoa

    I just made these in my solar oven and used my sons miniature cookie cutters and they turned out beautifully. Thanks so much Elana!

  25. Mia

    Darn it! I subbed coconut butter for regular butter and the bottoms scorched terribly even pulling them out at 6 minutes.

  26. These are amazing. I actually used macadamia ground into a butter instead of the the almond flour. Gives them an amazing texture.

  27. Mary

    Love these cookies! They are so delicious and light. I’ve made them many times. Trying them along with fresh peaches and strawberries for a chocolate fondue dessert party this week!

  28. Karyn

    I have made these cookies as written (very good – delicate flavor) and again tonight with a few modifications.

    1 TBS chopped fresh rosemary instead of basil
    Juice + zest from one lemon
    1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
    1/4 tsp Penzy’s pure powdered lemon zest
    increased celtic salt to 1/2 tsp

    They are incredible! The lemon flavor and texture are lovely and fresh and the rosemary and extra hint of salt make this a very grown-up cookie.

  29. Darlene

    How would you substitute the honey for dates to make these Whole 30 compliant?

  30. Darlene

    How would you sub the honey for dates to make Whole 30 compliant?

    • RC

      I haven’t tried using dates, but I thought the cookie dough texture reminded me a bit of Larabars, so I think dates would work. You would have to check for a cashew bar recipe to figure out the amount.

  31. Heather

    I just tried this recipe for the first time. Yum! They were pretty easy to make, too!


    i can change apple vinager for lemon recipes bread

  33. Amy James @ betterhairday.com

    These look amazing! I’m going to have to try these very soon – but it will have to be on a cheat day for sure!

  34. Wow ! gotta try this one soon

  35. These are my go-to cookies when I am either doing a cleanse or cleaning up my diet. They are in the oven now and I am so excited to share them with my family (we are doing a cleanse together). Thank you for these incredible cookies!

  36. Lauren

    Is this fresh basil? also if it is can you use dried?

  37. RC

    Just made this with cashew meal and cashew butter this past weekend. I made them into slice and bake cookies by rolling the cookie dough into a log and then slicing the cookies. I saved some of the dough log in the freezer as I don’t need to eat all these yummy cookies at once!

    Also, if anyone ever wonders, I was able to make this in my Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus (4c capacity) without a problem.

  38. Jessica @ atbeauty.net

    Thanks nice recipe, you are awesome!!!

  39. wow those look so good, I can’t wait to try making them !!

  40. Tam

    Can you substitue almond flour for LSA?

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top