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Lemon Crinkle Cookies (Easy Recipe)

Forget those overly spiced and heavy cookies this holiday season and go for something light and bright instead, like these stunning lemon crinkle cookies!

They couldn’t be easier to make, and the zesty-sweet taste is always a hit.

Four Lemon Crinkle Cookies Stacked on Top of Each Other, Two with a Bite Taken Out on Parchment Paper
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Crinkle cookies – more specifically, chocolate crinkle cookies – are super popular around the holidays. They look fun, and they taste great.

And this lemon version is such a fun twist!

Not only are they light and zippy, but the color really stands out in a sea of pumpkin and gingerbread.

So, try these lemon crinkle cookies if you want something different this holiday season.

They’re so scrumptious, you’ll make the recipe in the spring and summer too!

Best Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe

Lemon crinkle cookies are perfect for the holidays, but honestly, they’re fabulous any time of year. 

They’re deliciously soft and chewy, with an incredibly moist center. And they practically burst with citrus goodness. 

And the signature crinkle top? All it takes is a dusting of powdered sugar.

Top View Lemon Crinkle Cookies Cooling on a Wire Rack

Ingredients

  • All-Purpose Flour- Flour adds structure to the cookies. Without it, they’d be a gooey mess.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda- This recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda for optimal lift. And they help perfect the texture, too. 
  • Salt- Salt is needed in pretty much any recipe (sweet or savory) because it enhances flavors. And believe it or not, it helps the cookies to become extra sweet.
  • Granulated Sugar- Sugar is needed for sweetness (obviously). But it also adds moisture, deepens flavors, and creates a tender texture.
    • You’ll want white sugar in this case because brown would add too much caramel flavor, which doesn’t pair as well with lemon.
  • Butter– Without butter, your cookies won’t be as rich or as tender. Butter also contributes to the structure of the cookie. 
  • Eggs– Eggs do so much in baking. They help with leavening and create texture while adding moisture and flavor.  
  • Vanilla and Lemon Extracts – Vanilla enhances all the other flavors in the cookie, while lemon extract ensures each bite is INCREDIBLY lemony.
    • Just be sure to get extract and not essence! That stuff is synthetic and tastes chemically.
  • Lemon Juice and Zest– You can’t call these lemon crinkle cookies without the lemon. That said, fresh lemon is the way to go. It adds so much brightness and a bit of acidity.
  • Powdered Sugar– Powdered sugar creates the crinkle effect that gives this cookie its name. Without it, they’re just lemon cookies – albeit delicious lemon cookies!
  • Food Coloring– This is optional, but a drop or two will make the cookies sunny and vibrant.
Lemon Crinkle Cookie Dough Being Rolled in Powdered Sugar
Lemon Crinkle Cookie Dough, Rolled in Powdered Sugar on a Baking Tray, Ready for the Oven

How To Make Lemon Crinkle Cookies

1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

As with pretty much every butter-based cookie, you’ll start by creaming the butter and sugar.

Creaming encourages the butter and sugar to blend together and adds air to the mix.

You’ll see after a few minutes, the color turns pale, and the mix looks fluffy and soft.

2. Add the wet ingredients.

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Add the eggs one at a time and mix well between each addition.

Then, add the lemon juice and lemon zest, and mix well.

3. Add the dry ingredients.

Whisk the flour, salt, and leavening agents in a separate bowl. This ensures even distribution and prevents any lumps forming in the cookie dough.

Add the dry to the wet mixture and gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Only mix until you no longer see streaks of flour. If you over-mix, the cookies will come out tough and dry,

4. Chill the dough.

This dough is sticky, and chilling makes it easier to work with. It also stops the cookies from spreading too much in the oven.

If you put warm cookie dough straight into the oven, it’ll spread too far, and the edges will likely burn. 

5. Scoop, Press, and Roll.

After about 60 minutes, use a cookie scoop (or small ice cream scoop) to portion the dough.

This ensures the cookies are all the same size and that they’ll bake evenly.

Once you’ve portioned the dough onto baking trays, very gently press the tops to flatten the cookies.

They shouldn’t be like pancakes! Just press them until the top is flat and they’re still pretty thick. Remember, they will spread in the oven.

Then, roll each cookie in powdered sugar until it’s snow-white on all sides.

6. Bake.

Bake until the cookies look matte and are no longer glossy.

They should be barely golden on the edges and have a white cow print pattern on the top.

7. Enjoy! 

Top View of Lemon Crinkle Cookies on a White Plate on a White Marble Table with Lemons

Tips for Perfect Lemon Crinkle Cookies

  • Use room temperature ingredients. This helps everything incorporate well, so you get the best bake.
    • This is true of almost every cookie recipe, but a few do call for cold butter. So be sure to always read the recipe and instructions well before starting. 
  • Chill the dough for at least one hour. Three hours is ideal if you have the time. Or make it the night before you need to bake them. 
  • Coat each round completely in powdered sugar. This is easiest in a deep bowl with tall sides, so the sugar doesn’t spill out.
    • I like to add one or two cookies at a time and toss them around until they’re white.
  • Remember, baking times vary depending on your oven. For that reason, you should always check the cookies about five minutes before the time is up. Similarly, if you put the sheet near the top or bottom, you may see more color than if you put the sheet in the middle.
    • If possible, get an oven thermometer, so you’ll know exactly how hot your oven runs.
  • Don’t overbake the cookies. They should be soft and chewy, not hard, dry, and crumbling. That means taking them out of the oven when they’re barely golden.
  • Feel free to add fun extras! White chocolate chips, freeze-dried raspberries, and nuts are all great options. You could also try dark chocolate chunks.

Can I Use Other Citrus Flavors?

Absolutely! Like any other types of cookies, you can easily modify this with lime, orange, or whatever citrus flavors you like best.

Just swap out the lemon juice, zest, and extract for another flavor.

You may also want to omit or swap the food coloring to a different color. Try green for lime or orange or red for orange cookies.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies Stacked on Top of Each Other on Parchment Paper with Powdered Sugar and Lemons in the Background

How to Store and Freeze Lemon Crinkle Cookies

To Store

Lemon crinkle cookies will keep at room temp for up to 5 days, and a bit longer in the fridge. Either way, store them in an airtight container

To Freeze

For baked cookies: Let them cool completely, then add them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They will last about 2 months. 

For cookie dough: Instead of baking, put the portioned cookie dough tray into the freezer for an hour.

When each piece is mostly frozen, remove the tray and put the cookies in a freezer bag or airtight container. These will last about 2 months. 

When you’re ready to bake, simply put them on a lined baking tray and bake from frozen. No need to thaw! Just add a few minutes to the baking time.

More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Coffee Cookies
Italian Wedding Cookies
Lemon Drop Cookies

Lemon Crinkle Cookies (Easy Recipe)

Servings

24

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

114

kcal

Forget those overly spiced and heavy cookies this holiday season and go for something light and bright instead, like these stunning lemon crinkle cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

  • Optional Ingredient
  • 1 drop of yellow food coloring, more as desired

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until it’s soft and creamy (about 2 minutes). Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld mixer.
  • Add the egg, extracts, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the butter mixture. If you’re using food coloring, now is the time to add it. Give it a good mix, and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat again until everything is fully combined.
  • Add the flour mixture and gently stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. There should be no streaks of flour, and the dough should be sticky.
  • Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C).
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop it into 1 1/2-inch rounds. Use a spoon, cookie scoop, or a small ice cream scoop. Then, gently flatten each round with a glass until it’s about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Pour the powdered sugar into a shallow dish. Place each dough round in the sugar and toss until completely coated. Use a fork to remove them and place them on the prepared baking tray.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will be soft with a crackled top. Let them cool on the tray for about 5 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Notes

  • Cooking times may vary, depending on your oven. Keep a close eye on your cookies to avoid burning them.

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author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

2 thoughts on “Lemon Crinkle Cookies (Easy Recipe)”

  1. Hi Kim,
    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful and usually easy recipes. I appreciate all of them and love the fact that I don’t have to spend hours making great food for my family.
    Becky

    Reply

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