Basil Lemon Sugar Cookies
Basil lemon sugar cookies are the perfect combination of fresh herb and citrus flavors, paired with a light sweetness. They are a great summer treat or great for teatime, too.

Something I probably haven’t mentioned often is that I have a constant helper in the kitchen when I try recipes for this column.

Sometimes she gets to sample something, and sometimes she is informed that the particular creation at hand is “not good for puppies.”

Regardless, our 15-year-old schnauzer, K.C., hopefully follows me around the kitchen or gazes at me from a good napping spot, hoping I will be clumsy enough to drop something or gracious enough to share.

Often, she gets lucky, and this week’s recipe is one of her favorite kinds: one that only uses half an egg. Because guess who gets to eat the other half?

As far as the recipe itself, there was no schnauzer taste testing, because once I tried one of the cookies I made this week, I barely wanted to share them with any of my beloved humans, let alone my sweet dog.

This week’s experiment comes from the blog “The Deeper Living.” You can see the original post at I doubled the amount of basil sugar for coating in my version below.

Basil Lemon Sugar Cookies

Basil lemon sugar cookies are the perfect combination of fresh herb and citrus flavors, paired with a light sweetness. They are a great summer treat or great for teatime, too.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: fresh basil, fresh lemon, lemon zest, sugar cookies, teatime


Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves stems removed
  • 1 cup two sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 heaping teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Basil Sugar Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • about 12 fresh basil leaves stems removed


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Starting with the cookie ingredients, pulse the sugar and basil leaves in a food processor or blender until the leaves are completely pulverized, and the sugar is a bright green color.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for one to two minutes until it is a light yellow color.
  • Add in the basil sugar you created and beat again for about two minutes, making sure everything is well incorporated and the butter is a light green shade.
  • Beat in the vanilla, lemon zest, egg and egg yolk for another two to three minutes until the mixture is smooth.
  • Leaving your mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredients—flour, baking soda and salt—a little at a time, making sure it is just combined but not over mixing it.
  • Make the basil sugar for coating the cookies in the same way you made the mixture for the cookie batter, and pour it into a shallow bowl.
  • Using a one-inch (two-tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop out the cookie dough and drop the balls of dough into the basil sugar, rolling each lightly to coat it in a thin layer of sugar, and then place them on the prepared baking sheet, at least two inches apart (they will spread).
  • Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are very lightly browned (they’ll finish setting up out of the oven). Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest until they’re cool enough to handle (about 5 minutes) before transferring them to an airtight container.

OK, so I know these sound a bit scary at first. Basil is, after all, generally a savory ingredient. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that these are delicious. The basil and lemon meld well, and the basil sugar is so good that I made an extra batch to rim glasses for some cocktails over the weekend.

These cookies sort of taste like something that would be perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea. They’re unlike anything I have ever had, and I was absolutely on board with it.

So was K.C., after she cleaned up the egg white from her dog bowl. Her opinion was I should have made a double batch, but I suspect that was a self-serving request.

This piece first appeared in print on May 9, 2024.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.