Lemon Crinkle cookies are soft, chewy and coated with confectioners’ sugar to create a cracked exterior. Full of delicious sweet and tart lemon flavor, these lemon cookies make the perfect holiday cookie! Find tips below to get the perfect crinkle cookie each and every time!
If you love lemon desserts as much as I do, you must try these chewy lemon cookies. Thick and pillow-soft, iconic crinkle surface and full of tangy & sweet lemon flavor. It’s sure to be your new favorite cookie recipe!
This lemon crinkle cookie recipe has so much real lemon flavor from pure lemon oil, not extract. It’s the perfect sweet-tart lemon cookie for your annual Christmas cookies.
I love making holiday cookie platters or cookie tins for simple, homemade gifts for neighbors, teachers and anyone special in your life. Who doesn’t love homemade Christmas cookies?! This sweet and tart lemon cookie is a wonderful addition to the classic holiday cookies like molasses cookies, Spritz cookies, Christmas sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms and raspberry bars.
We’re lovers of lemon desserts and when someone asked if I could make a lemon sugar cookie, I jumped at the chance! I promise you, these are so addicting and they melt in your mouth!
Why this recipe works
- Uses simple ingredients – Uses ingredients readily available at most grocery stores.
- Ease – Simple steps ensure the perfectly baked lemon cookies each and every time. Made in one bowl with either an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer.
- Soft-baked, chewy lemon cookies – Lemon crinkle cookies have refreshing lemon flavor and coated in confectioners’ sugar.
- Foolproof crinkle cookie recipe – Any level of baker can make this lemon crinkle cookie recipe and have great success!
- Flavor – So much more lemon flavor than other lemon cookie recipes.
- Easy dessert – The most flavorful lemon cookies! Can be made a few days in advance.
What you’ll need
- Butter – Room temperature butter creams together nicely with the sugar.
- Sugar – Cream together with room temperature butter.
- Eggs – With all of our baking recipes, we use large eggs. Be sure and bring eggs to room temperature for this cookie recipe, as they will incorporate into the batter more thoroughly. Eggs act as a binder and a leavening agent.
- All-purpose flour – We prefer a good-quality unbleached all-purpose flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour. It makes a huge difference in baking recipes.
- Baking powder and salt – Salt is always added to baking recipes to enhance flavor. Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps cookies rise properly.
- Vanilla extract – Gives a wonderful flavor to these cookies.
- Lemon zest – This is completely optional, but helps add extra lemon flavor.
- Lemon oil – We highly recommend using a high-quality brand of pure lemon oil. Boyajian pure lemon oil is our preferred brand. Unlike lemon extract which has a large alcohol content, lemon oil is pure from the rinds of lemons. It adds incredible lemon flavor to this cookie recipe.
Fresh lemon zest along with pure lemon oil give incredible tart and sweet lemon flavor. Lemon oil is made from the rinds of lemons. It does not contain any alcohol. (Do not substitute lemon extract! It’s not the same product!)
How to make Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Mix dry ingredients – In a large mixing bowl, combine sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar – In either a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer on low speed.
- Add the eggs – Add the eggs one at a time, be they are at room temperature so they easily incorporate into the cookie batter.
- Add vanilla extract & lemon oil – Add the vanilla extract and lemon oil. (If adding yellow food coloring, add a few drops here.)
- Add dry ingredients – Incorporate the flour mixture only until the batter is combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally. (If adding lemon zest, add here too)
- Chill dough – Transfer dough into a large zip-style bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Scoop cookies – Use a cookie scoop to make even rounds, about 2-inches.
- Roll into sugar, then powdered sugar – Roll into granulated sugar first, then powdered sugar. Place cookie dough onto half sheet pans lined with parchment paper. (12 cookies fit on one half sheet pan)
- Bake – Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Rotate pans for evenly baked cookies.
Tips on how to get perfectly cracked tops on crinkle cookies
These are tips for getting the perfectly cracked tops on lemon crinkle cookies. Follow these steps in our recipe for perfect results each time. (This applies to our recipe, not others.)
- Chill the dough – After testing these cookies over and over, we found the powdered sugar sticks so much better if the dough is chilled for 1-2 hours. Don’t do anymore or the dough will be too cold and cookies won’t spread properly.
- Roll in granulated sugar and powdered sugar – Rolling in granulated sugar first helps the powdered sugar stick better and not get absorbed into the cookie dough. Achieving the powdered sugar crinkle look each and every time!
- Use a tablespoon – Use a tablespoon to help you rotate the cookie dough rounds in powdered sugar. This keeps your dough cold and not warming up from the heat of your hands.
- Don’t overbake – Every oven is different, so we recommend using an oven thermometer. Bake them for the recommended time. Cookies continue to bake and set as they cool on a baking rack. That way they are perfectly soft inside and crunchy texture outside.
- Bake one pan at a time – We found that baking one pan on the top rack, scooping the next pan and then rotating them about half way through the baking process worked best. (Rotate pans 180 degrees and from the top rack to bottom, the new batch of cookies goes on the top rack.)
How to keep lemon cookies moist
- My secret ingredient to keeping pound cake, cookies and bread moist and super fresh is dough conditioner. Professional bakers, such as my mom add this to all of their baking recipes. Add 1 teaspoon of dough conditioner to 1 cup of flour.
- Don’t over mix the cookie batter. Overmixing cookie batter can overwork the gluten and cause soft cookies to be tough.
- Add room temperature eggs one at a time and only until combined.
- Use high-quality butter, unbleached flour and fresh ingredients.
- Don’t overbake lemon crinkle cookies! They’ll continue to bake as they cool and you want them to be soft in the centers.
Dough conditioner can be added to baked goods, including cakes, cookies and bread recipes to keep them moist, fresh and last longer. Be sure and try adding it to Pound Cake, Lemon Bundt Cake, Coffee Cake, Sourdough Bread and White Bread.
We recommend freezing scooped cookie dough of these cookies. Prior to baking, roll them in granulated sugar and powdered sugar.
If you freeze baked lemon crinkle cookies, the powdered sugar can melt and get absorbed. They won’t look as pretty, but will certainly taste good.
Do not use lemon extract instead of lemon oil. These two products are not interchangeable. Lemon oil is much more potent and intense lemon flavor, while lemon extract has added ingredients such as alcohol.
The the powdered sugar dries as the cookies bake. As the cookie expands, it cracks the powdered sugar, creating a cracked exterior.
More easy baking recipes
- Lemon Bundt Cake
- Lemon Loaf Cake
- Banana Bread
- Buttermilk Biscuits
- Pound Cake
- Raspberry Bars
- NY Style Cheesecake
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Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter softened
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pure lemon oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour sifted
- Zest of one large lemon optional
- a few drops of yellow food coloring optional
- granulated sugar for rolling cookies
- powdered sugar for rolling cookies
Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar gradually.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing only until combined. Add the vanilla extract, lemon oil, and lemon zest. (If adding yellow food coloring, add a few drops here.)
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Sift the flour into a bowl, add the salt and baking powder. Incorporate the flour mixture until combined.
- Place about ½ cup of granulated sugar and powdered sugar into small bowls.
- Transfer the dough into a large zip-style bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Chill the dough for 1-2 hours, maximum. Any more and the dough will be too cold and won’t spread properly.
- Use a cookie scoop to make even rounds, about 2-inch cookies. Roll the dough lightly into granulated sugar and then into powdered sugar. Transfer cookie dough onto half sheet pans lined with parchment paper, leaving space in between for them to spread a little (12 cookies will fit on a half sheet pan)
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for about 15-18 minutes. Rotate the sheet pans about half way through the baking process. Let cool completely before removing from the baking pans.
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