These miso lemon cookies are inspired by Japanese senbei (rice crackers). Almost more savory than sweet, they’re packed with flavor and so addicting!
These miso lemon senbei cookies may be my favorite cookie – ever. Oatmeal raisin was my top choice for most of my life, but these cookies are insanely flavorful and probably my favorite dessert creation to date. Inspired by Lin’s senbei snickerdoodles, my senbei cookies are packed with tangy, nutty, savory, and sweet flavors to really excite (and possibly confuse) your tastebuds. They include some common senbei ingredients/flavors like rice flour, sesame seeds, miso, and nori. They’re crisp on the outside, thick and chewy on the inside, with a buttery crumble and an almost absurd amount of flavor. They’re not your average cookie, but I hope you give them a try because I absolutely love them!
- Rice Flour* ⟶ Senbei are rice crackers so of course senbei cookies need to use rice! Rice flour is very neutral in flavor which is exactly what we want for these cookies so we can taste all the other flavors going on! It also results in a crisp, slightly crumbly cookie.
- Sweet Rice Flour* ⟶ Just a little bit to give the cookies some chew.
- Ground Flax/Chia Seeds ⟶ Because rice flour is very crumbly (no gluten), the flax/chia seeds are essential to hold the cookie together.
- Miso ⟶ For that addicting umami punch! I love using red miso for extra savory flavor, but white miso will work as well (white miso is more sweet, less savory than red).
- Lemon Juice + Zest ⟶ Senbei isn’t often lemon/citrus flavored, but for these cookies I think the tanginess really helps balance the umami of the miso.
- Peanut Butter ⟶ Peanuts are fairly common in a lot of popular Japanese snacks/senbei/arare, and I think they pair so well with sesame.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds ⟶ These add a nice crunch to the cookies while also providing that beloved nutty flavor. I would opt for black sesame seeds if possible as they will add nice color, but I couldn’t find black sesame seeds at my store.
- Nori ⟶ This is optional as it doesn’t really affect the flavor, it’s more for decoration but I think it’s fun.
How to Make
- Make lemon sugar by rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar. This helps release the oils in the zest, imparting more flavor than just adding the zest with the rest of the ingredients.
- Cream the butter and sugar together, either with a stand/hand mixer or by hand with a whisk. Beat until well incorporated and fluffy. Be sure to use room temperature butter – it should be soft and easy to cream together.
- Add peanut butter and beat until well combined.
- Add remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
- Add dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. The dough will appear crumbly at first.
- Pinch the dough together with your fingers and roll into a ball. The dough should hold together easily.
- Take about 2 tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Press down on the cookies to encourage spreading. Lightly flatten for thick, chewy cookies. Or flatten into thin discs for crispy, thin cookies.
Vegan Senbei Cookie FAQ
Can I omit or substitute the ground flax/chia seeds?
I do not recommend omitting these as this helps bind the cookie together. Without it your cookies will break and crumble very easily. I haven’t tested other substitutes, but you could *try* using an egg substitute (1 tbsp for 8 cookies) and omit the lemon juice and milk. You may want to add more lemon zest.
What vegan butter should I use?
Generally I recommend baking with vegan block butter. However, I did not have access to any vegan block butter when I made this recipe, so I used a vegan butter spread. These contain more liquid than block butter, resulting in a slightly softer cookie. Honestly I think either would work. Add a tiny splash of milk if your cookie dough is too dry and isn’t holding together.
How do I store lemon senbei cookies?
These cookies will keep at room temperature for about 2 days in an airtight container. However, do note they will get softer and chewier the longer they sit. I like to place them in the fridge after a day for extra thick, chewy (almost fudgy) cookies. They will last about a week in the fridge, or you can also freeze them for up to 2 months.
Tips for Success
Use a kitchen scale ⟶ Always use gram measurements when provided for most accurate results.
Use natural peanut butter ⟶ Your peanut butter should be made with just 1 ingredient – peanuts! Some salt is okay too, though. I haven’t tested this recipe with peanut butter spread (like Skippy or other brands that contain added oils or emulsifiers). If this is all you have, I think the flavor would be fine, but the cookies may be thicker.
Slightly flatten the dough ⟶ These cookies don’t spread a ton, so flatten them a bit before baking. You can just lightly press down on them so they’re thick discs rather than balls, or for thinner, crispier cookies you flatten them into thin discs.
Bang the cookie sheet throughout baking ⟶ If you are baking the cookies as thick discs, I recommend banging the cookie sheet on the counter or oven rack during baking to help them spread a bit more. The cookies will puff up in the center, so banging the cookie sheet will deflate them a bit and create cracks on top. This produces a thick, chewy cookie. (Usually this method is for extra thin cookies, but these cookies don’t spread much on their own. Banging the cookie sheet will help them spread a bit and prevent the cookies from being cakey.) However, if you’re baking the cookies as thin discs, you can skip this step and just bake the cookies undisturbed.
Try These Other Vegan Cookies!
- Thin & Crispy Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (GF)
- Apple Pie Snickerdoodles (GF)
- Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)
- Easy Vegan Snickerdoodles
- Thin & Crispy Sugar Cookie Bars
If you try out these miso lemon senbei cookies, don’t forget to leave a comment/rating down below and tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking. I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
Vegan Miso Lemon Senbei Cookies (Gluten-Free)
- 48 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 52 grams (¼ cup) vegan butter softened
- 30 grams (2 tbsp) natural peanut butter
- 1 tsp ground flax/chia seeds
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp non-dairy milk
- ¾ tsp miso**
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Make lemon sugar: In a large mixing bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to mix the lemon zest into the sugar.
- Mix wet ingredients: Add softened butter to the lemon sugar. Cream together (either with a mixer or whisk) until uniform.
- Add peanut butter and mix until uniform.
- Add remaining wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Add dry ingredients: Add rice flour, sweet rice flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until mostly combined, then add sesame seeds and nori and mix to distribute. The dough will appear crumbly. Use your hands to form a ball of dough – the dough should hold together easily when you pinch it with your hands.
- Roll dough: Roll about 2 tbsp of dough into a ball and place on your prepared cookie sheet. Leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie as they will spread slightly.
- Shape dough: Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough balls. For thick, chewy cookies, just slightly flatten the dough so it's a fat disc shape rather than a ball. For thinner, crispier cookies, flatten into a thin disc.
- For thick, chewy cookies: Bake for 9 minutes, bang the cookie sheet on the counter or oven rack (from about 4 inches up), bake another 3 minutes, then bang the cookie sheet again. Let the cookies cool for about 2 minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- For thin, crispy cookies: Bake for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Nutrition per cookie: 136 kcal | 7g fat | 1.6g sat fat | 16g carbs | 1g fiber | 6g sugar | 2g protein | 118mg sodiumHide
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