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  • Mary Kay

BIG Lemon Cookies - Inspired by Panera Bread

When I grab a delicious salad or sandwich (or just a mocha latte) at Panera Bread, it’s tough NOT to add one of their delicious BIG Lemon Cookies. It’s delicious and BIG – enough to share. They are that good! What a way to finish off a lunch.


That’s why I’m in love with this recipe. It’s a very good copy and much easier to grab the cookie dough balls out of my freezer when I want a fresh baked version. No need to drive into town.

It's crispy on the edges and soft on the inside. The lemon chips add sooooo much because of their delicious bites of bright yellow tartness. They are definitely that good!


After I mix up the dough, I add lemon flavored chips. They add a special lemon tartness to the baked cookies. You can certainly add white chips if you don’t have any lemon flavored. The cookies are still delish.


The addition of fresh grated lemon zest and a good quality lemon extract add more layers of lemon flavor to these cookies.

Form the balls with a large scoop or a smaller scoop. Make up the entire recipe so share or freeze the cookie dough balls. I like to freeze most of the balls so that I can grab a few when I’m hungry for one, thaw and bake according to the directions.


This recipe makes 24-30 cookies depending on how large the dough balls are.


Prep your baking pans:

Line your baking sheets with parchment paper in order to make clean up a breeze!


Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. 

Gather up your Ingredients:

1 C Butter soft

¾ C Sugar

1 C Brown sugar

2 t Vanilla extract

1 t Lemon extract

1 T Lemon juice, fresh squeezed

2 t Lemon zest, fresh grated

2 Eggs

3 C Flour

1 t Baking soda

½ t Salt

2 C Lemon flavored (or white chips)

Powdered sugar for dusting


Mix and bake:

-With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until creamy.

-Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well before adding the next egg.

-Add the extracts, lemon juice, lemon zest and beat on low speed until combined.

-Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt on low speed until combined.

-Stir in the white chips until nicely distributed. Do not overmix.

-Make the cookie dough into 24-30 balls, about 2 tablespoons each. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight. If you leave them overnight in the refrigerator, put the dough balls into an airtight container so they do not dry out.

-Bake at 350F degrees for about 10 minutes until lightly golden and remove from the oven.

-Let the cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes.

-Dust with powdered sugar.




-Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3-5 days for best freshness.

-Freeze the baked cookies in a sealable plastic bag and then in another airtight container. I like to double bag them so they are easy to fit in the small freezer I have. Label them with the baked date. They are usually good for at least a month, however, they usually don’t last that long in my house.

-Freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls by placing them on a pan in the freezer for an hour. When they are firm enough store them in a zipper plastic bag and then in another airtight container – another zipper plastic bag or a hard sided airtight container.


Every time I savor one of these lemon cookies, I think about all the wonderful meals I’ve had at Panera Bread. They truly have delicious salads, sandwiches and specialty drinks. And, a lemon cookie is a wonderful way to end a meal or share with a bestie. However you enjoy your own Lemon Panera Inspired cookie, “Bake your own Memories!”

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