Margarita Cookies are the perfect summer cookie and a great dessert idea for a party! These easy, slice and bake cookies are packed with fresh lime, are coated with crushed sea salt and taste just like a Margarita!
Margarita Cookies might be the perfect summer cookie
Citrus. Salt. Sweet. A touch of golden tequila. I’m instantly transported to a sandy beach with the sun and sea air.
When I was coming up with this recipe, I wanted it to taste just like the essential cocktail. I also wanted it to be an easy summer cookie that you could quickly whip up and bring to BBQs or a party. These cookies are definitely a crowd pleaser!! The flavors are classic, yet simple. They feel fancy but don’t require a ton of specialty ingredients.
Mix. Slice. Bake.
I went with a slice and bake method for these. I’ve never really made slice and bake cookies before and I have to tell you, I kind of love it. The dough is so quick to mix together, all the cookies stay the same shape and you don’t have to spend a ton of time in the kitchen scooping dough. It’s so much less work than traditional cookies!
Keep in mind, you have to let the dough refrigerate for at least 2 hours to firm up before slicing!
Let’s make Margarita cookies
These cookies are buttery, tender and soft. I bake them until they are barely golden brown on the bottom.
They are also packed with lime zest. Now, I know a lot of Margarita recipes out there also call for orange liquor. I chose to leave the orange out because I prefer an all-lime flavor for this cookie. You could TOTALLY add in some orange zest if you want to. I would suggest adding 1/2 teaspoon along with the regular amount of lime zest.
Zest is my favorite secret ingredient. It gives a beautiful, brightness and can be added to any recipe that calls for citrus. In my opinion, zest gives you a truer flavor of the fruit (over using the juice). There’s zero acidity and all of the fruit oils are in the rind, so you can add concentrated flavor without the tang or bite of citrus juice.
Use a microplane to zest off the top layer of the rind. Be sure to only take off the colored layer; once you reach the white pith underneath, stop. The pith is bitter and you don’t want that in your cookies.
Just like the rim of a margarita glass, these cookies also have a salty coating. This is a cookie, so we don’t want to be slammed with a mouthful of salt. The key to achieving a balanced, salty crunch is using flaky sea salt. Flaky sea salt has more surface area which gives it a softer saltiness. I use this ingredient in so many recipes! I paired this with coarse, white sparkling sugar to give the outer edge a crunch.
Once the dough comes together, roll it into a long log (or two to make it more manageable). Lay down a piece of plastic wrap and sprinkle your sugar/salt mixture evenly all over the surface. Roll the log of dough over the sugar & salt. You’ll get a perfect, even layer and when you slice the dough, each cookie will have a perfect ‘rim’.
Looking for another great summer cookie recipe? Check out these Easy Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies!
A Margarita wouldn’t exist without…
Oh, how could I forget about the tequila?! Obviously essential for a Margarita, otherwise this would just be a lime cookie! For this recipe, I used golden tequila (I haven’t tried any other variations). You’ll only need a little bit, so if you’re not a big tequila drinker, feel free to pick up one of those miniature bottles. They’re great for using in recipes and you don’t have to spend $30 or more for a huge bottle.
It took me a few test batches to figure out how much tequila should be added. The first round, I added 2 teaspoons of tequila to the dough. I thought the cookies came out great! I felt like the tequila was very subtle and you could just detect it in the flavor profile. But, the feedback I got from my trusted taste tester (thanks hubs!) was that you couldn’t really taste the tequila much…and well, I agreed. I felt like the tequila needed to come through a bit more, so I cranked up the amount and I think it’s juuuust right.
If you don’t want to add liquor, don’t worry! These cookies will still give you total Margarita vibes. 🙂
I think the balance between lime, tequila and salt is perfect in this cookie. The flavors do not overpower each other. This is a really fun, summery twist on a classic shortbread slice and bake cookie. It’ll be a hit at your next summer party! I hope you give these Margarita Cookies a try. In the meantime, I’ll be wastin’ awayin Margaritaville. 😛
For the Cookie Dough
- 3/4 c butter (softened at room temp)
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lime, about 2 teaspoons (you can also add 1/2 tsp of orange zest in addition to the lime! )
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp tequila (can be omitted if desired)
- 2 c all purpose flour
For the Coating
- 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt (crushed)
- 2 tbsp white sanding sugar
- In a large bowl (using either a stand mixer or hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the zest. Then beat in the egg until thoroughly combined; scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add in the vanilla and tequila. Mix until combined.
- Add the flour and mix until just combined. Once the dough starts to come together and as soon as the flour is absorbed, stop mixing.
- Set the dough aside and prepare the sugar/salt coating. Lay down a piece of plastic wrap on your surface. In a small bowl, add the sanding sugar and crushed sea salt. Mix well and sprinkle evenly over the plastic wrap.
- Remove dough from the bowl and form into a log (I found it easier to work with by forming two logs rather than one long one). Place the log(s) onto the plastic wrap and roll all over the sugar/salt.
- Once the dough is coated, wrap up in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Once 2 hours have passed, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Unwrap the dough and using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices.
- Bake for about 10-13 minutes or until the cookies are set and barely golden brown. Allow the cookies to rest on the sheet before moving to a cooling rack to fully cool.