Lemon coconut snowball cookies are tender, buttery shortbread cookies that are filled with chewy coconut and lemon zest. Perfect for your next holiday cookie tray, or enjoyed year round.
Make a batch of snowball cookies for your next Christmas cookie tray - they're easy to make and a crowd favorite!
Tender and buttery shortbread cookies are filled with fresh lemon zest, filled with chewy shredded coconut, and tossed in confectioner's sugar. Perfect for any winter holiday and a must for your holiday cookie tray.
With a rustic look and a short list of ingredients, these cookies are surprisingly easy to toss together for even a beginner baker.
Ingredients and substitutions
Since baking is an exact science, I do not have many substitutions to offer. Each ingredient has a purpose and I do not suggest omitting any ingredients.
Unsalted butter and salt can be substituted with salted butter.
If you do not have a lemon on hand but do have lemon extract:
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 1 and ½ teaspoons of lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice = ¼ teaspoon of lemon extract
Snowball cookie tips
Properly measuring flour is an issue I see frequently in cookie baking, especially with shortbread cookies. If your cookies regularly turn out too thick and tall, or your dough looks crumbly, you're probably measuring too much flour into your dough.
To properly measure flour, use a spoon to fill your measuring cup, then level off with a knife. By scooping flour directly from a container with your measuring cup, you're compacting the dough into the cup. This can add up to 25% more flour to your dough.
For best results, weigh your ingredients with a kitchen scale.
Shortbread cookies are buttery, dense, and tender, making them very delicate when they're fresh off the baking sheet. Allow your cookies to cool completely before handling them for best results.
Your cookies will not spread much while baking - this is normal and expected. Shortbread cookies contain no leavening agents, so they will not rise or expand like a chocolate chip cookie.
To make your cookies all the same size, I recommend a small cookie scoop - the 2 teaspoon size. I've linked my favorite cookie scoops in the recipe card below.
Lemon Coconut Snowball Cookies
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (84 g) confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (85 g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup (56 g) confectioner's sugar, for rolling
- In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add lemon zest, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Add flour and salt to butter mixture and mix until combined. Last, stir in shredded coconut.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Form dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 inch apart onto lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to lightly brown. Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Once cookies have cooled (or are barely warm), gently roll in confectioner's sugar to coat.
- Cookies will keep for 3-5 days in a sealed container at room temperature. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace the bread slice as needed.
- Cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!
I’ve never used confectioners sugar when mixing up my batter. The cookies are good but too sweet. I wonder what would happen if I used regular sugar instead?
I haven't tested this recipe with granulated sugar, so I can't say for sure how sweet they'd turn out. If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!