Looking for a sweet and tangy treat? These meringue lemon curd cookies are the perfect combination of buttery, crumbly cookies and tart lemon curd filling. It is the ultimate pie-cookie mashup!
Sometimes you just want to turn a pie into a cookie, right? I don’t know why I really wanted to make this pie cookie miracle happen but, you guys, it’s essentially genius.
Of course, I used to have a crazy obsession with lemon curd. I mean, I still adore the stuff but I’ve had to pull back because I kept getting way into the expensive bottles and every summer at the farmer’s markets – poof! There goes all my money.
Seriously, I have to put blinders on at farmer’s markets to avoid the jam/lemon curd/apple butter stands that are peppered throughout. Otherwise I’d be loaded up with way too much of all the lemon curd and apple butter…
That’s what made me start making my own lemon curd. The burst of lemony freshness and tart puckering thing your lips do after a teaspoon-full, is a cherished moment in my food memories.
These meringue lemon curd cookies are little pillows of heaven. Essentially, they are lemon meringue pie in the form of a cookie. You have a little buttery shortbread-like cookie filled with tart and tangy lemon curd to start. Then each cookie is topped with a fluffy, puffy cloud of meringue. Every bite is the perfect balance of cookie, curd, and meringue.
I think my pie + cookie obsession might be officially triggered. The only question is, which pie should I turn into a cookie next…? Key lime? Banana pudding?
You tell me, I’ll make it!
Note: this post is an updated version of the original posted on April 26, 2016. The recipe remains the same, but the post contains more information about the recipe along with a Q&A section.
butter. Use unsalted butter for this recipe. If you choose to use salted butter, make sure to omit the salt called for in the recipe.
sugar. For the cookies, you will need confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar). For the meringue topping, you will need granulated sugar.
vanilla. It is always best to use a high-quality vanilla extract. We make our own homemade vanilla extract. If you prefer to buy it, this Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract is the one I recommend.
flour. All you need is all purpose flour. You can also use a gluten-free 1:1 ratio flour to make these cookies gluten-free.
salt. Kosher fine salt is best for baking!
lemon curd. Homemade lemon curd provides a superior flavor by far. The fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice make it bold and bright in flavor. You can also purchase lemon curd from the store or from a local farmers market when those are open!
eggs. You will just need egg whites from 2 eggs for the meringue topping.
this recipe’s must haves
To bake the cookies, I like to line my half sheet baking pan with a silicone mat. You can also use parchment paper.
make the cookie dough
Add butter and sugar to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a large bowl and an electric handheld mixer. Beat together until creamy and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add in vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in flour and salt, until just combined.
Form the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place 1 inch apart on a lined baking sheet in a single layer.
Use a small spoon (or your thumb! they are thumbprint cookies after all) to make a small indent in the center of each of the dough balls. Fill each with lemon curd.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 325˚F, until they just start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Increase the heat to 350˚F.
Add egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar to a clean bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer. You can also use your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, just make sure that you clean out the bowl after making the dough.
Beat on medium-high heat until stiff peaks form. Dollop or pipe the meringue on top of the room temperature cookies.
bake a little more
Bake for another 5 to 8 minutes, until the meringue begins to brown. If you are not happy with the amount of browning, I recommend using either the broiler to brown the tops (keep a close eye on it!) or a kitchen torch.
Cool 5 minutes before serving.
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tips and tricks
make your own lemon curd. I cannot tell you how much better these cookies taste when you use homemade lemon curd! The brightness of the lemon really comes through when you do. It will give you a better flavor that store-bought lemon curd. Plus you’ll have leftover lemon curd to enjoy on waffles, scones, cupcakes, and more!
use a torch. If the tops of the meringue are not browning to your liking, you can use a kitchen torch to help them get that look! I used one for the pictures in this post. I like getting the extra color on there!
pipe the meringue. If you want to get fancy with it, pipe the meringue using your favorite piping tip. It is easy to pipe!
should I use homemade or store bought lemon curd?
I personally prefer the taste of homemade lemon curd! It’s actually pretty simple to make, even though it takes a little bit of babysitting while it cooks. The lemon curd comes together in about 10 to 15 minutes, and you can use it as soon as it cools.
You can make elements of this recipe ahead of time! The lemon curd, if you are making it yourself, can be made up to one week ahead of time. The meringue topping can be made up to 1 day in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I recommend serving these cookies the day they are baked because that’s when the meringue will taste the best. While you can keep leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days, they will taste the best the day they are made.
do I need to chill the dough?
No, you should not need to chill the dough before baking it. However, if your home is really warm (like in the dead of summer) and the dough is super soft, you can refrigerate it to ensure the butter doesn’t melt and flatten the cookies in the oven. I recommend chilling dough anywhere for 30 minutes to 45 minutes in this case. The dough should be easy to form into balls, but it shouldn’t be super soft to the touch.
Yes, if you want to skip the meringue on top, you certainly can! These lemon curd cookies can be served after the first baking. I recommend cooling them completely and then dusting them with powdered sugar to finish them off.
Need more inspiration for baking cookies for dessert? Check out my cookie recipes page!
Each of these lemon curd thumbprint cookies is essentially a bite-sized pie, so I say serve them with your favorite after-dinner drink! It could be a mug of coffee, a small espresso, a glass of champagne, or an Irish coffee. It’s the simple combinations that are the best, in my opinion!
how to store
Store. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days.
Mini chocolate chip cookies are chewy, soft, and oh-so tasty! You’ll love these mini cookies.
If you love cranberries and white chocolate, these spiced cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies are the ideal cookie for you.
Light and flaky, lemon lavender shortbread cookies are buttery with lovely notes of citrus and lavender.
Finally, if you make this lemon curd cookies recipe, please be sure to give this recipe a star rating on the recipe card and/or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment.
Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! I love being able to see these recipes come to life in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
Lemon Meringue Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites
- Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone mats or parchment paper.
- In a mixer, beat butter and sugar together fitted with a paddle attachment until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined.
- Beat in flour and salt, mixing until just combined.
- Roll 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough into a dough ball. Place dough balls 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with a spoon, forming a small indent. Fill each with lemon curd.
- Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottoms. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool, flat surface to cool to room temperature.
- Increase oven temperature to 350˚F.
- Bake for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, until the meringue begins to brown*. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.