Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe
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Love Chocolate Crinkle Cookies? Then you will go NUTS over this soft pillowy Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe. Lemon Cookies are a perfect surprise to brighten holiday cookie platters!
Lemon Cookies Recipe
If you are looking for a simple, yet slightly unique, holiday cookie recipe, today is your lucky day. Our Best Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe is an absolute winner!
Crinkle Cookies are one of my all-time favorite holiday cookies. They were invented by Helen Fredell in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and later made popular by one of Betty Crocker’s early 1950’s publications, the Cookie Carnival.
Crinkle Cookies are soft pillowy cookies with a distinct crackle appearance on the surface.
This decorative flourish is created by rolling the cookie dough balls in powdered sugar before baking. As the cookies expand in the oven, the powdered sugar pulls apart in an irregular pattern.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies Vs Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Helen’s original Crinkle Cookie Recipe was for Molasses Crinkles. However, nowadays, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies tend to be the most popular variety, especially around Christmas.
However, I’m a big fan of Lemon Crinkle Cookies.
Although chocolate might be a more obvious flavor for the holidays, lemon cookies stand out on any cookie platter as a vibrant beacon of fresh citrus flavor! In other words, they offer contrast, so that all your heavier chocolate and caramel cookie creations don’t all end up tasting the same.
The lemon cookies act as a palate cleanser. In my opinion, you need them!
Recipe For Crinkle Cookies
Our Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe is moist and tender on the inside, with a pop of citrus flavor from fresh lemon juice and zest. Some recipes call for lemon extract, yet we feel this gives the cookies a “boxed” flavor.
These lemon crinkle cookies are lightly crisp on the outside, with a thick speckling of powdered sugar over the surface.
We always chill the dough before baking crinkle cookies so the cookies are puffed, instead of flat. However, if you prefer flat cookies, you can bake the cookies immediately after mixing.
Lemon Crinkle Cookies Ingredients
- Unsalted Butter – Soften the butter so it blends easily with the sugar. Using unsalted butter allows you to control the sodium a little better. It also tends to be fresher than salted butter, because salt is a preservative, so salted butter has a longer shelf life.
- Granulated Sugar – I usually go with superfine cane sugar.
- Eggs – To bind and lift the dough.
- Fresh Lemon Juice & Zest – From 1-2 lemons, depending on how juicy they are. Make sure to zest before squeezing!
- Vanilla Extract – For deep rich flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour – When measuring flour for any recipe, unless it gives you specific instructions about the flour, always stir the flour in the bag, spoon the flour into the measuring cup, and then level the cup.
- Baking Powder & Soda – You need both to create light fluffy cookies, due to the acid in the lemon juice.
- Salt – All baked goods need a little salt to bring out the best flavor.
- Yellow Food Coloring – This is an optional ingredient that will make the cookie a bright color.
- Powdered Sugar – To create the “crinkle” crust!
How To Make Crinkle Cookies
- Cream the Butter and Sugar Together. Creaming butter and sugar together refers to beating the ingredients on high, until the sugar crystals break down into the butter, creating a light fluffy texture. This determines whether your cookies and cakes are light or dense. Do not ever skip the creaming step! After it beats for 3-5 minutes, scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add All Wet Ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and mix in the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Add Dry Ingredients. Mix in one-third of the flour, followed by the baking powder, salt, baking soda, and food coloring. Once combined, mix in the remaining flour. As soon as the dough is smooth, turn off the mixer.
- Chill. Cover and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll. Set out a bowl of powdered sugar. Portion the dough into 1-tablespoon balls. Then roll each ball in
- Bake! Bake until the edges are just golden brown, and the center looks slightly underbaked.
Get The Full (Printable) Lemon Cookies Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do These Lemon Cookies Last?
These cookies can be stored at room temperature for 4 to 6 days. Store in an airtight container to keep them soft.
Why Didn’t My Cookie Dough Spread During Baking?
If the cookie dough didn’t spread this could mean that there is too much flour in the dough, or that your oven temperature might be running too hot. Make sure to stir the flour, scoop or spoon it into the measuring cups, then level the cups. It’s also a good idea to use a hanging oven thermometer to test the accuracy of your oven. Most ovens offer a way to manually calibrate them to the accurate temperature, if they have become too hot or too cool over time. (Check youtube for a video on your specific oven.)
Why Do I Have To Chill The Crinkle Cookie Dough?
The cookie dough is very soft and delicate. Therefore it’s messy to work with if not chilled, and will spread too much in the oven.
Chilling the dough makes the whole scooping and rolling process much easier. Plus, it makes the cookies puffy! You do not have to chill the dough. Yet, you will get better results if you do!
Why Did My Cookie Spread So Thin?
As mentioned above, the dough needs to be very cold when it goes into the oven so the cookies don’t spread too thin. If the dough was well-chilled and the cookies still spread, it might mean you mis-measured the flour and there is too little flour in the dough, so the fat ratio causes spreading.
Lemon Crinkle Cookie Variations
Gluten-Free Crinkle Cookies
Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free! Simply swap the all-purpose flour for Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour Mix.
You can also use any type of citrus fruit you like, instead of lemons. Limes and oranges are great options, yet grapefruits work as well! You can also mix the citrus for a well-rounded citrus flavor!
Crinkle Cookie Recipe Add-Ins
Chunky cookie lovers, feel free to add in white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, sprinkles, or dried fruit.
Can you freeze the cookie dough to make quick freezer-to-oven cookies? Absolutely! Simply follow the recipe up until it’s time to pop them in the oven.
Instead of baking, place the cookie sheets in the freezer. Once all the balls are frozen, you can move them to a freezer bag. Then you can take a few cookies out of the freezer at a time and bake them fresh. Each frozen batch will take 11-13 minutes.
More Lemon Cookies Recipes
- Lemon Cookie Sandwiches
- Soft Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
- Lemon Drop Thumbprint Cookies
- Best Lemon Bars Recipes
More Cookies Recipes You Will Love
- Toffee Brownie Cookies
- Soft Chewy Molasses Cookies
- Chai Latte Cookies
- Cinnamon Roll Cookies
- Dulce de Leche Thumbprint Cookies
- Favorite Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
- Best Ever Sugar Cookies
Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (stir, spoon into cup, and level)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2-5 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Place the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Turn on high to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Turn the mixer on low and beat in the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Scrape the bowl again. Then on low, mix in 1 cup of flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and food coloring. Once combined mix in the remaining 2 cups of flour, just until smooth. (Do not overmix the dough!)
- Cover and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (The longer you chill the dough the better for puffy cookies.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Once the dough has chilled, set out a small bowl of powdered sugar. Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the dough into balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar, then set on the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. (Make sure the cookies have a generous coating of powdered sugar. Do not shake them off.)
- Bake for 9-10 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown, and the center looks slightly underbaked. Cool on the baking sheets so the centers continue to bake as they cool.
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My new favourite cookie.
Made as is. Loved the hint of the lemon flavour. Great with a cup of tea.
Wow!! Made these as written and they are amazing! Perfectly flavored with the inclusion of lemon zest, juice and extract. My Bunco gals could not get enough! Thanks!
I don’t use a electric mixer, so I mofied the recipe wen I wrote it down. I used plant butter and came out fine 🙂 . Used natural food coloring and looked great 👍. Yummy!!
Great recipe, but I doubled the zest and tripled the lemon juice for a strong, more tart taste. I added an extra 1/3 cup of flour to compensate for the extra liquid and the consistency of the final cookies was perfect. If you’re using liquid dye and not gel, you’ll probably need more than 2-5 drops of it, I think I used around 8 to get a nice golden color.
Hi, is it o.k to use gluten free flour?
If you have a good GF baking mix you’ve had success with in the past, then yes. Some mixes are definitely better than others. :)
Made this recipe with lemons from a friends lemon tree. Only modification I made was rolling in regular sugar vs powdered. HUGE hit at my work and my husbands work. Making again!
Tried these out yesterday, they were a huge hit with my roommates. However, I couldn’t get the powdered sugar to stick properly to the dough, so they don’t have the nice crinkled look. Any tips or technique I could try?
Try dipping them in a little water or food coloring. Or your dough may be to cold,try letting it sit for a few seconds.
Can you dye the batter?
Yes, you can add food coloring to the cookie dough. I would choose the gel colors instead of liquid food coloring, if possible.
Love the flavor, texture, and coloring of these cookies! Crispy on the outside yet moist and chewy on the inside. Wonderful recipe- it was simple to follow. My daughter, best friend and I had a great time making it. We like less sweet and reduced the sugar to 1.5 cup. Will increase lemon juice next time.
I’ll be making this recipe the first time can I use lemon extract instead of using the zest and lemon juice
Made these this afternoon and they were wonderful! Thanks so much for such a light, summery take on my favorite Christmas cookie!
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If you freeze them do you roll them in powder sugar first?
Yes, I would. That will help them not stick together. :)
This is my first ever crinkles that I made. It’s simple and easy to make and delicious. Gave it to some colleagues at work and they love it. I’m gonna make this again but I will double the lemon juice and zest as I want it more lemony taste.
Loved this recipe! Really tasty and makes lots! I would recommend putting the powdered sugar on after they are baked.
Can I use flax egg?
I’m fairly new to baking & this was pretty easy to execute. I enjoyed making them and they turned out delicious! Thanks for sharingthis recipe!
I used lemon and lime and green food coloring for holiday cookies. They were so fluffy and delicious! Making a new batch for another friend!
These cookies are absolutely INCREDIBLE. This is no understatement they are insanely delicious. I gave them out to friends and neighbors because the recipe made so many and got the best compliments. I’m definitely saving this recipe and will make it many more times!!
Aloha, wondering if you can freeze the uncooked dough, then thaw and proceed with recipe? I would like to make them closer to the holidays but prep the dough now. Thank you.
Love this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing! I had an issue with the bottoms burning. Your suggestion to bake until the edges are just turning brown resulted in a cookie with just too much crunch. After throwing away I approximately two trays of burnt cookies, I opted for perhaps a tad underbaked cookies at a lower temp (350⁰f) which brought out the lemon flavor a LOT more! I think 8 mins tops? In any case I will be using this recipe again. :)
I made these tonight. I felt like I had plenty of powdered sugar, but they didn’t come out nearly that pretty. Maybe my better was a little wet. Anyway, they were STUPID YUM and I’ll make them again very soon. Thanks!
Love these. Easy and different. I doubled the lemon zest and juice. They are all gone!! This is a keeper.
Love love love these cookies!!!! Light, fluffy, and lots of it. Followed the recipe exactly and made a perfect 48 count…minus one, because I couldn’t resist tasting just one. 😊 Thank you for this recipe, WILL DEFINITELY BE MAKING ANOTHER BATCH SOON!
First cookies I’ve ever made from scratch and these were so good plus looked nice too.
I like to weigh my ingredients. What weights would you give for this recipe? Thanks, Nancy
You can use the metric option in the recipe card to see weight measurements. Hope this helps!
Hey Sommer, I tried this recipe and used a standard measuring cups and spoons to measure all the ingredients yet somehow, after adding all the flour in it, it took on the consistency of a thick cake batter, rather than anything that resembles a dough. Were the cups to be used for flour larger than the ones used to measure the other ingredients like sugar?
No, I am using standard measuring cups. This is a sticky dough… Is if possible you used liquid measuring cups? That does make a slight difference: https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/ask-the-tk-dry#:~:text=Dry%20measuring%20cups%20are%20designed,%2C%20cooking%20oil%2C%20and%20yogurt.&text=They%20allow%20you%20to%20pour,a%20measurement%20line%20without%20spilling.
I made them & they were good. Next time I’ll add more zest to give it a little more lemon flavor & really coat them in powdered sugar.
Question, once baked can I freeze these cookies? It’s only me & I can’t eat them all in a week. Thank you
Yes, these cookies freeze well, and usually don’t stick together because of the layer of powdered sugar. Place them in a freezer bag and freeze up to 6 months. Then thaw at room temperature.
Just finished these today and they turned out great- kind of like a lemon bar but in cookie form! The only change I made was to swap the food coloring for lemon extract. One of the lemons I used for the zest and juice just wasn’t very fragrant and was quite sour, so that helped give it a little boost. Definitely adding these to the Make Again pile :) Thank you for sharing!
Yes. Loved it! They came out perfect. One of my new favourites.
These cookies are delicious. The lemon zest adds just enough citrus flavor. My husband says its now his favorite cookie. As Sommer mentioned make sure to roll the cookies very well in the icing sugar – really glom it on otherwise it melts into the cookie. Thanks Sommer.
I followed the recipe exactly and mine did not look like the ones pictured at all. The confectioners sugar melted into the cookie. I also think more than two tablespoons of lemon juice is needed to consider these lemon cookies. Mine were basically just sugar cookies. I did like the technique of chilling before baking to give the rounded shape.
Did you add the lemon zest? It offers more vibrant lemon flavor than the juice. I would suggest adding more zest to the dough if you want a stronger flavor, rather than adding more juice. That will upset the cookie dough.
As for the powdered sugar, maybe you needed a thicker layer of powdered sugar. It’s best if the dough balls are heavily coated.
Delicious cookie, mine did not have as nice of a crackle appearance with the powdered sugar, so rolled them again in the powdered sugar after baking. Everyone loved them!
So glad you liked them! Maybe roll them in a thicker coating of powdered sugar next time. See the photos for reference. :)
Does the baking pwd., baking soda,Ad salt,food coloring combo go in separately (ie not combined with the flour)???
In this recipe, there’s no need to mix them in a separate bowl, as long as you add them in the order mention in the recipe. Happy Baking! :)
How long can you refrigerate the dough before baking?
If you wrap it well, you can refrigerate the dough for 3-5 days before baking. :)
Where are you located? I’m asking because I live in high altitude. I want to try this recipe but I guess I need to know if i need to adjust it for high altitude.
I am in the mountains of North Carolina. We are not considered high altitude here.
This is a great post for adjusting recipes for high altitude: https://mountainmamacooks.com/high-altitude/
I made these cookies, but froze them first. Had a great coating of powder sugar on them, but they seem to spread out from the side leaving the layer of powder sugar on the side, so did not look like your crinkle cookie pictures. Have a wonderful flavor, crispy bottoms, just as you said would happen. My mother loved anything lemon, she would have loved these!
These are such a great addition to the holiday cookie platter! The color and flavor are so bright and cheery!
My kids really loved this!! They are requesting me to make it again!
These cookies look delicious! I love lemon anything and can’t wait to try these!
Lemon is my all time favorite! I’d take these over chocolate chip any day of the week!