These lemon meltaway cookies are crunchy, sweet and melt in your mouth as you eat them. The cookies are easy to make and don’t require any flour or eggs. They store well and can be made ahead of time for a party or gifting.
I love making meltaway cookies. These little round morsels are so cute and make a nice sweet treat. This lemon version is my new favorite one. The lemon adds so much flavor and it reminds me a little of eating lemon bars.
- Lemon Juice and Zest
- Condensed Milk
Lemon juice and zest: You will need fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest from one lemon. The zest is optional but I like the extra lemon fragrance it adds to the cookies. One medium sized lemon should be fine and you likely won’t need the whole thing.
Condensed milk: The recipe needs sweetened condensed milk. I have only tested this with full fat sweetened condensed milk. I don’t know if it will work with fat free condensed milk.
Butter: The butter needs to be softened to room temperature before using. I used unsalted butter.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is used instead of flour. It provides structure for the cookies and also gives them their unique meltaway sensation. Because cornstarch is finer than flour, it helps the cookies dissolve in your mouth when you eat them.
What are Lemon Meltaway Cookies
These meltaway cookies are a lemon flavored version of sequilhos (Brazilian cornstarch cookies). I explain more in my 3 Ingredient meltaway cookies recipe. My version is slightly different from the traditional ones in that I use less cornstarch so the cookies are a little less starchy and a little more like shortbread.
How to Make Lemon Meltaway Cookies
The butter and condensed milk are first mixed together until completely smooth. The lemon juice and zest is then mixed in. Finally, add in the cornstarch. Do not add the entire amount at once. You may not need it. You only need enough until a very soft dough forms.
The cookies are baked in the oven. Once cooled, you can dust with powdered sugar or leave them plain. Traditionally they are served without any powder sugar. I added powdered sugar because I think it makes them look nicer.
Meltaway Cookie Tips
- Make sure the butter is completely soft before using. It needs to be soft enough that you can mix it without any lumps. It’s also important that you don’t melt the butter because that will make your mixture too liquidy.
- Add only the amount of lemon juice and zest specified in the recipe. Adding too much will add too much liquid to your cookie dough and your dough will be too wet or you will need to add too much cornstarch to make it solid enough.
- The dough will look softer than typical cookie dough. It should almost look like softened butter. The best way to see if it is ready is to try to roll a piece between your palms. If you can form a ball without the dough completely sticking to your hands, then it’s ready.
More Meltaway Cookie Recipes
- 2 Ingredient Peanut Butter Meltaway Cookies
- 3 Ingredient Chocolate Meltaway Cookies
- 3 Ingredient Meltaway Cookies
4 Ingredient Lemon Meltaway Cookies
- 1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) sweetened full fat condensed milk
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice plus 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3/4 cup +3 tbsp (113 g) cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together softened butter and condensed milk with a spaula until butter is completely incorporated and your mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Add in 3/4 cup of cornstarch (reserving the last 3 tbsp). Mix in the cornstarch until a soft dough forms. If your dough is too sticky, add in 1 tbsp of cornstarch at a time, checking the dough after each addition. You want the dough to be very soft but not super sticky. To check if dough is ready, take a piece and roll between your palms. If you can form a smooth ball, then your dough is ready. If it's too sticky, add a little more cornstarch.
- Scoop dough with a 1 tbsp cookie scoop and release onto prepared cookie sheet. Roll the dough between the palm of your hands until i forms a smooth ball. Place back onto prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies at least one inch apart. Press down very lightly on each dough ball with the palm of your hand, just so the surface is flat rather than round. Don't press down too much on the dough ball. Your disks should be quite thick (about 1/2 inch).
- Bake cookies for about 13-15 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and edges are just starting to brown. Let cookies cool before serving. If desired, you can dust the tops with powdered sugar before serving.
- The butter must be completely softened before using. I usually leave mine on the counter for a few hours and let it come to room temperature. If your kitchen is particularly cold, you may need to place the butter somewhere else to warm it up.
- When measuring the cornstarch, measure it like you should measure flour. Don't dip the measuring cup directly in. Instead, use a spoon to add the cornstarch to the measuring cup and the level off the top. This will prevent your cup from being overpacked.
- These cookies are a lemon flavored version of a traditional Brazilian cookie, sequilhos also known as Brazilian cornstarch cookies. They do contain a lot of cornstarch and if you've never had sequilhos, it may be a bit different from cookies you are used to because you will taste some of the cornstarch. The cookies are not that sweet and have a biscuit cookie-like texture. Because they use a lot of cornstarch, they do dissolve easily in your mouth which is why they are often called meltaway cookies.
- I have only tested this recipe with full fat sweetened condensed milk. I don't know if it works with fat free condensed milk.
- Don't add extra lemon juice or zest. Doing so will add too much moisture to the dough and you will have to add a lot more cornstarch to make the dough form which will result in crumbly and dry cookies.
- The dough should be very soft and may even look sticky. The best way to test if it is ready is to roll a piece between your palms and see if you can form a ball. If you can, then your dough is ready.
- I use this 1 tbsp cookie scoop.*
- *This product link is an affiliate link. This means I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Can’t wait to try the recipes
Let us know what you think!
Thanks so much!
These came out exceptionally dry for me. I measured everything to the gram for a double batch and it came together exactly as described in the recipe without the need to add any additional corn starch. (By the way, the printed recipe does not mention when to add the juice and zest. You need to read the full article to see that it is added after combining the butter and condensed milk).
Using a 1 tablespoon scoop it yielded only 21 cookies, so they were not undersized. After 13 minutes at 350 they were still very pale so I added 2 minutes after which they were still pale, so I tried 2 more for a total of 17 minutes. Although there was still no hint of browing at the edges I took them out and saw that they were perfectly brown on the bottom. After cooling, one bite and I needed to down a glass of milk to finish one. No melt in the mouth at all!
Still trying to figure out what went wrong. Is an extra two minutes in the oven a problem?
The extra time in the oven could definitely be part of the problem. The cookies are supposed to be a little dry, so even overbaking them a few minutes can make a big difference. They are a biscuit cookie that is just lightly sweetened. You mentioned that you measured everything to the gram and you didn’t need to add any more cornstarch. Did you put in the full 113g? Because as stated in the recipe, you shouldn’t use the full amount, only 3/4 cup and then adding a little more if needed. You could try using less cornstarch next time.
I wonder if I can use non dairy condensed alternative.
Sorry I don’t know of a non dairy substitute at this time
You could try sweetened condensed coconut milk. I used some recently to make Brazilian lemonade and it was tasty.
Not enough lemon for us. I added the zest too.
I’m surprised to hear that. I found the lemon flavor quite strong.
I tried the recipe and it went great, but I added to much corn starch because it wouldn’t stop sticking. Very simple, but the amount of cookies it made was very few. Next time I try this recipe I’ll double it. Thanks for the recipe!
I tried to make these twice and they did not work either time. The second time was better but they still tasted like lemon flavored cornstarch. Help! What did I do wrong. I love lemon and thought these sounded wonderful. The second batch I used less cornstarch and made the cookies smaller and flattened them more. and they were a little better, but still not what I anticipated. Please let me know what I might have done wrong. Thanks!
Hi, perhaps the cookies aren’t just what you thought they would be? They are supposed to be like a biscuit cookie, lightly sweetened with lemon flavor. You will taste the cornstarch a little and that might not be for everyone but this is how the traditional cookie is. This is a very popular Brazilian cookie but it is made mainly of cornstarch. I was a little surprised by the cornstarch flavor the first time I had it but after adjusting to the flavor, I liked them because they reminded me of these little biscuit cookies I ate as a child.
Horrible. We tried dipping it in coffee, and lemon juice, but nothing worked. It was flat, and the first red flag was the cornstarch. I do not reccomend, at all!
We’re sorry you had issues – by flat do you mean the cookies spread when you baked them?
This recipe has a good starting point, but needs some major additions to it. Like for instance, try it with a lemon glaze and then enjoy it with a cup of coffee.
Of course you can add a glaze if you want, but traditionally the cookies are served plain–they don’t even have any powdered sugar on top.
I made these twice. The first time they were a little overcooked and had the weirdest (cornstarch) texture on the tongue. I tried again and carefully monitored the cornstarch, and watched the cooking time. Nope, they are dry with a strange texture, requiring a glass or milk to get them down. I’m just not convinced cornstarch is a good replacement for flour……
It sounds like you aren’t used to these kind of cookies. I can see that it might not be for everyone but they are a very popular Brazilian cookie. I was surprised by the cornstarch flavor the first time I made them but I ended up liking them more the more I ate, once I got used to the texture. They are supposed to be a bit dry, like a biscuit cookie. There is a similar kind of snack cookie I ate as a child so I think that is why I like them so much. You can try using less cornstarch but your cookies will spread a lot more.
These were very, very dry.
We’re sorry you had issues! If the cookies were dry, they might have been baked too long. Or you might have added too much cornstarch.
I cannot wait to try this reciept.Lemon is my favorite,. When I make them I will let you know I don’t like that can milk, but I will try it. Thank you so much
We hope you like them!
I love the recipes they are easy and doesn’t require much preparation,
We’re glad you’re enjoying them!
Is there an alternative to condensed milk?
I don’t know of one for this recipe
That recipe looks great I’m going to try it next week
Let us know what you think!
Hello! Can this be done with arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch? It has the same consistency, I use it in place of cornstarch for thickening gravy, stew and cheese sauce. Thanks!!
Sorry I don’t know
At what temperature do you bake them.. ??!
350°F – this is listed in step one of the recipe card.
About to make the lemon cookies and was wondering how many the recipe makes. Can I double the recipe?-
The recipe makes 14 cookies – this info is listed in the recipe card. We haven’t tried doubling the recipe, but let us know if you try it!
Can I make these cookies without the lemon zest?
Did think this recipe would work with vegan butter and coconut condensed milk
I don’t know if it will work with vegan butter. I don’t think it will work with coconut condensed milk
Love this! Thank you! ?
Can cornstarch be substituted with potato starch? I’m allergic to corn.
Sorry I don’t know
I don’t like lemon cookies, but I am interested in trying this recipe. Can I use vanilla extract instead or will that ruin the dough?
This is the original version without lemon: https://kirbiecravings.com/3-ingredient-meltaway-cookies/
Quick, easy, and yummy – thank you.
So glad you liked them!