These healthy lemon cookies are vegan, gluten free and ready in 15 minutes. And yes that's right, they don't need to be baked. They have an intense lemon flavor that you'll love! Plus, they are made with only 6 ingredients!
Vegan lemon cookies
Even though it might seem complicated to make vegan lemon cookies without eggs, this recipe makes it as easy as pie. Do you want to know why I'm sure you'll love these no-bake cookies?
- The cookies don't need to rest in the fridge for several hours before being baked.
- In fact, they don't need to be bake at all (time-saving!)
- And you don't have to wait for them to cool down before you can start to snack on them.
- This recipe is super kid-friendly! It's uncomplicated, doesn't require many ingredients (and doesn't make a big mess). Plus, you kids won't have to wait before devouring the cookies! I hope these no-bake lemon cookies become one of your family's favorites snacks, too.
- It's healthy. They aren't called healthy lemon cookies for no reason. They only contain 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (on 12 cookies) if you leave out the icing.
All about no-bake cookies
No-bake cookies are made in a blender, typically from a few very simple ingredients. The batter is then formed into small disks that look like cookies and usually placed in the fridge to set. As the name reveals they don't have to be baked before serving.
Some people think no-bake cookies are like energy balls or bliss balls, but that's not entirely correct. Energy balls usually have dates as a base, while these no-bake cookies are made without dates and raisins. Therefore, you don't have that typical chewiness and flavor of energy balls.
These no-bake cookies don't contain (gluten free) flour for safety reasons. Since flour is made from raw, ground grains, it still contains the (potentially harmful) bacteria that were on the grain (called endogenous bacteria). it is not recommended to eat raw flour. As a consequence, raw flour can upset your stomach and make you sick. Obviously, this is not always the case. Most of us have already tried raw cake batter or even eaten raw cookie dough, but it's better to avoid it when possible. This is why gluten free oat flour is the best alternative to flour when making no-bake cookies.
Ingredients you'll need and why
The only 6 ingredients you'll need for these lemon cookies are listed down below. If you want to know why this recipe contains these exact ingredients and why it's hard to replace them with others, simply continue reading.
- Gluten free oats are the base for these lemon cookies. Combined with liquids, oat flour swells and makes the mixture thicker. The swelling allows us to make these no-bake cookies without dates.
- Cashews, especially when ground, have a relatively neutral flavor that allows us to cut on the oats. This prevents the cookies from feeling dry (which would happen if we added too much oat flour)
- Chopped almonds are a must because they add some bite to the cookies. As you can imagine, if we would only combine oat flours, cashew flour and liquids, it would result in a very chewy dough.
- Coconut oil makes all the difference in this recipe. What's so special about coconut oil is that it hardens in the fridge, thereby giving the cookies a really nice thick texture while keeping them moist. Adding a little oil also helps with shaping the cookies as it prevents the dough from sticking to your hands. Note that due to the lemon juice and zest you can't taste the coconut flavor at all (which is great if you don't like coconut).
- Finally, maple syrup adds a sweet touch and balances out the strong lemon flavor. You can add a little more if you want the zesty flavor to be less intense.
Note on gluten free oats
Oats are naturally free of gluten protein. The reason why there are "gluten free certified" oats on the market is because of potential contamination with gluten-containing grains can occur during cultivation, harvest or post-harvest processing. So if you're in any way sensitive to gluten, make sure to purchase these type of oats.
Nonetheless, people that are sensitive/intolerant to gluten or have celiac disease can also be sensitive to the avenin protein present in oats. Therefore, I only recommend trying this recipe if you know that you're not sensitive to oats and don't experience any type of adverse reaction after the consumption of gluten free certified oats.
Step by step with pictures
Blend the oats and nuts. First, roughly chop the almonds by adding them to a blender and pulsing a few times. Remove them from the container and set them aside. Next, add the oats and the cashew nuts and pulse until finely blended.
Add the wet ingredients. Now that the dry ingredients are blended, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup and coconut oil to the blender. Make sure the coconut oil is soft or liquid. If it's solid, melt it until soft. Blend until combined.
Let the mixture rest. At first, the mixture will look a little wet but will thicken within 5 minutes (see pictures). It will then be thick enough to be rolled into balls while remaining moist.
Add the crushed almonds.
Form the cookies. Take about 1 heaped teaspoon of cookie dough and roll it into balls. Place it onto a plate or board lined with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking to a surface. Then, press them down with your hands until it looks like a little cookie. Don't press it down too much to keep the cookies relatively thick.
If desired, prepare some thick lemon icing and spread it onto the cookies (omit if you want really healthy lemon cookies). Set them in the fridge to harden.
Tips to shape and decorate the cookies
The easiest was to shape the no-bake lemon cookies is to form little balls and then press them. You should obtain little disks. Smooth out the top and the edges with your fingers until perfectly round.
This recipe makes 12 small lemon cookies. You can however also take 2 tablespoons of cookies dough to make one cookies to have extra large ones. No matter what you decide to do, make sure they are thick enough to have some bite.
These cookies need to be stored in the fridge. The coconut oil is what makes the cookies firm and less chewy, but it also melts at room temperature making the cookies too soft.
That is why these no-bake cookies are not appropriate for on the go. However, it's nice to have some in the fridge as a snack for when you get home or as a late-night snack. It's also a great treat or snack if you work from home.
More no bake recipes
- Coconut carrot cake energy balls (without dates)
- White chocolate quinoa crisps
- Apple cinnamon energy bars
- Healthy peppermint chocolate truffles
Healthy Lemon Cookies (No-Bake)
Lemon icing (optional)
- 2 tablespoon icing sugar
- A few drops of lemon juice
- Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Set aside. They will add some bite to the cookies so they shouldn't be ground too much.
- Add the cashews and the oats to the food processor and blend until finely ground.
- Zest and juice the lemons. Add the juice, zest, maple syrup and coconut oil to the food processor and blend until it has a dough-like consistency. The batter will look a little too runny but that's normal.
- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to allow the oats to swell and the mixture to thicken.
- Take about 1 heaped teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place it onto a plate or board lined with parchment paper (to prevent them from sticking). Press it down to form a cookie. Smooth out the edges if desired. Repeat until there is no cookie dough left. Place in the fridge to harden.
- Optionally mix the powdered sugar with a few drops of lemon juice until it reaches a very thick icing consistency. Spread it onto the cookies and store them in the fridge.
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