Homemade lemon cookies coated in powdered sugar on a baking sheet.Pin

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

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Just like Christmas Cookies, these lemon crinkle cookies are soft-baked and chewy, coated in confectioners’ sugar, and practically melt in your mouth. Lemon lovers will appreciate that the zingy flavor comes from real fresh lemon, not extract. I call them “very lemon” because they burst with natural lemon flavor!

Freshly baked lemon crinkle cookies with a dusting of powdered sugarPin

This recipe is part of my annual holiday cookie countdown, known as Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on new cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy. It’s the biggest, tastiest event of the year on my website!

I always love a variety of flavors on my Patisserie Flour Cookies Recipe and enjoy including something unexpected among classics like Easy Wedding Cookies Recipe and Peanut Butter Cookies . In previous years, lemon coconut drop cookies and apricot thumbprint cookies have been favorites! Today, I’m introducing a zesty and festive sweet-tart lemon cookie to your annual lineup of Christmas cookies.

Here’s Why You’ll Love These Lemon crinkle cookies

  • Mouth-watering sweet-tart flavor: The zingy lemon flavor is truly delightful.
  • More lemon than other recipes: The recipe uses more lemon juice and zest, providing an intense lemon flavor.
  • No artificial ingredients: The cookies use fresh lemon juice and zest, without any food coloring or artificial flavoring.
  • Thick and pillow-soft: The cookies have a wonderfully soft texture.
  • Crinkly sugar coating: The confectioners’ sugar coating adds beauty and requires no additional decorating.
  • Melt-in-your-mouth goodness: Enjoy them warm from the oven for the best experience.
  • Versatility: Feel free to replace the lemon with other citrus fruits like Meyer lemons, grapefruit, orange, or lime.
Delicious homemade lemon cookies ready to be enjoyedPin

Tips for Getting Perfect Crackly-Top Crinkle Cookies

We’ve mastered the art of making crinkle cookies, and while they’re not difficult to bake, these tips will ensure you achieve that perfect crackly top every time:

  • Don’t Chill Your Dough: To achieve the right amount of spread and avoid round snowball-like cookies, don’t refrigerate the dough. If you prepare the dough in advance, let it sit on the counter for about an hour to return to room temperature before baking.
  • Double Rolling in Sugar: Roll the dough in both granulated sugar and powdered sugar. The granulated sugar helps the powdered sugar adhere to the dough and prevents it from dissolving into the moisture of the cookies, ensuring a beautifully coated crinkle.
  • Avoid Overbaking: Slightly underbake your cookies to maintain a soft, gooey texture. Remember, cookies continue to cook on the baking sheet even after being removed from the oven. If they look fully baked when you take them out, they’ll end up overbaked by the time they cool.

How to Make Perfectly Tart Lemon Sugar

A secret to enhancing lemon desserts is lemon zest-infused sugar. Here’s how to do it:

  • Rub the Lemon Zest into the Sugar: Instead of simply folding the zest into the sugar, use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar. This releases the lemon oils into the sugar, intensifying the lemon flavor and deepening the taste of any lemon dessert.

This technique makes a significant difference and brings out a more robust lemon flavor in your baked goods. Enjoy experimenting with these tips and tricks to create the perfect crinkle cookies and lemon-infused treats!

Close-up of lemon crinkle cookies cooling on a baking rackPin

Like Chocolate, But With Lemon!

If you’ve made chocolate crinkle cookies or Nutella crinkle cookies before, you’ll find that these lemon crinkle cookies are similarly thick and soft-baked, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and iconic crinkle surface, but with the fresh flavor of citrus. Unlike lemon ginger cookies or lemon coconut shortbread cookies, these cookies focus solely on the lemon flavor, making them a new favorite, no matter the time of year.

Can You Freeze Lemon crinkle cookies ?

Yes, and also no. Let me explain. Powdered sugar can behave a bit oddly when it freezes and defrosts because the cookies emit moisture as they thaw. While they’ll still taste delicious, the moisture from the cookies can cause the powdered sugar to dissolve.

If you want to prep these cookies ahead of time, I recommend freezing the dough balls first. When you’re ready to bake, roll the frozen dough balls in granulated sugar and powdered sugar, then bake as directed. This method ensures the cookies have that perfect powdered sugar coating.

If you have leftover cookies you want to freeze, you can store them in an airtight plastic bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Just keep in mind that the powdered sugar might dissolve when you defrost them.

Zesty lemon cookies with a crinkled surface on parchment paper.Pin

Why is it Called a Crinkle?

Crinkle cookies get their name from the way the confectioners’ sugar coating cracks apart as the cookies bake and puff up, leaving a crinkled surface. This differs from snowball cookies and peppermint snowball cookies, which are coated in sugar after baking.

Lemon crinkle cookies ingredients

The recipe is based on my coconut lime cookies, with a notable amount of lemon juice. Here are some key ingredients:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour provides the structure.
  • Cornstarch: Adds softness to the cookies.
  • Baking Soda: Helps the cookies puff up and create the crinkle effect.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors.
  • Butter: Room temperature butter creams nicely with the sugar.
  • Sugar: Provides the right balance to the tangy lemon.
  • Egg: Binds the dough together.
  • Lemon Juice and Zest: Fresh lemon juice and zest offer the best flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds extra flavor.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar: For rolling the dough before baking.
Freshly baked citrus-infused cookies cooling on a rackPin

How to Make Lemon Crinkle Cookies

  1. Make the Dough: The dough will be soft and fluffy, so chill it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to make it easier to handle.
  2. Roll and Bake: After chilling, scoop and roll the dough into balls, coat generously in confectioners’ sugar, and arrange on a lined baking sheet. Bake until the edges are set but the centers are still soft.

Success Tip: Chill the Dough

Chilling the dough for at least 3 hours is essential. The dough is soft and sticky due to the lemon juice, and chilling it helps prevent spreading and makes it easier to handle. Chilled dough bakes thicker cookies.

Can I Use Other Citrus Flavors?

Yes! You can try these crinkles with grapefruit, orange, or lime. If you can’t get enough lemon flavor, try my lemon thumbprint cookies next.

Homemade lemon cookies coated in powdered sugar on a baking sheet.Pin

Lemon Crinkle Cookies FAQ

Why are my crinkle cookies spreading?

Why are crinkle cookies not flat? Chilling the dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much during baking, resulting in thick, soft cookies.

Why did my crinkle cookies not crinkle?

If your crinkle cookies are flat, the issue might be with the leavening agent. Basically, use only baking powder; baking soda will cause the cookies to spread. Additionally, baking powder helps the cookies puff up, creating that nice crackle on the surface.

How do you soften crinkle cookies?

Afterward, the trick works wonders. Basically, the only thing you need to soften up a batch of day-old cookies is a slice of bread. Additionally, this trick, which I learned from my mom after she noticed me turning up my nose at slightly crispy chocolate chip cookies (I’m a self-proclaimed gooey, chewy cookie fiend), indeed works wonders.

How to know if crinkles are expired?

If your crinkle cookies have gone bad, they will typically feel overly hard and dry, losing their soft and chewy texture. When bitten into, they will lack flavor, and the texture will be noticeably off. If you see any visible signs of mold growth, discard them immediately.

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Homemade lemon cookies coated in powdered sugar on a baking sheet.Pin

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

This citrus twist on a crinkle cookie is a lemon lover’s dream. Chilling the cookie dough is crucial as it allows the flavors to develop, prevents the cookies from spreading, and makes the sticky dough easier to handle. Ensure you have a citrus juicer and zester on hand.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 32 minutes
Servings: 40 cookies
Calories: 160kcal


  • 2 and 1/2 cups 313g all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 12 tablespoons; 170g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons 225g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup 60ml fresh or bottled lemon juice, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest packed tablespoon, it’s a lot of zest!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Rolling:

  • 3 tablespoons 35g granulated sugar (optional, see step 6)
  • 1 cup 120g confectioners’ sugar


  • Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute. Add the egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. The mixture will appear curdled, which is okay. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. The dough will be thick, creamy, and sticky.
  • Cover the dough tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. If the dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to make it easier to scoop and roll.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  • Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 tablespoon each (20g), into balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar first (optional) and then very generously in confectioners’ sugar. Place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 12–13 minutes or until the edges appear set and the centers still look soft. If the cookies aren’t spreading by minute 9, remove them from the oven and lightly bang the baking sheet on the counter 2–3 times to initiate the spread. Return to the oven to finish baking.
  • Cool cookies for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will slightly deflate as they cool.
  • Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Enjoy the zesty delight of lemon crinkle cookies, perfect for any time of year!


Calories: 160kcal

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