The BEST Lemon Powdered Sugar Cookies

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4.97 from 28 votes

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Sweet and tart crinkle cookies bursting with bright lemon flavor.

lemon crinkle cookies on a plate

Welcome to #LemonWeek 2021 hosted by me! What better way to welcome summer than with over 50 recipes featuring bright and sunny lemons? Come join me and my fellow Lemon Week bloggers as we bring you recipes from appetizers to drinks to entrées and desserts!

And so continues lemon week, because I LOVE LEMON in just about every dessert form there is.

I’m talking in the form of biscotti, truffles, curd, bars, mousse, and macarons.

But a cookie? Not many lemon cookies exist in this world (though check out my lemon pepper slice and bake cookies which are a unique kind of treat), so many years ago, I sought to create a lemon cookie recipe that was free of any kind of pudding of cake mix.

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a stack of lemon crinkle cookies on a plate

You will love this Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe– made without pudding or cake mix

What I wanted in a lemon cookie was true, natural, unadulterated lemon flavor. The juice, the zest… I wanted it all! And I found it in a recipe from Lauren’s Latest.

It seemed it was going to fit the lemon bill, but I amped up the lemon flavor a bit more, because I really do feel like you just can’t ever have too much lemon flavor. And this cookie has since lived on my blog and gotten RAVE reviews wherever they go and/or are baked.

lemon crinkle cookies on a plate

In fact, a friend/fan claims they have a cult following from her kitchen, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen these lemon crinkle cookies come out of her oven. Surely more times than they’ve come out of mine, and that’s saying quite a bit.

I am so glad that I stumbled upon Lauren’s easy lemon cookies recipe and made it my own, because these cookies are lemony lemon and so delicious and maybe you put your local grocery store out of stock of lemons for the rest of time because they seriously are that good.

lemon crinkle cookies on a cooling rack

Lemon Cookies with Powdered Sugar = Lemon Crinkle Cookies

So have you ever made crinkle cookies? I think they’re so cute and a fun way to add some pizzaz to traditional cookies (see my red velvet crinkle cookies, gingerbread crinkle cookies, and orange creamsicle crinkle cookies for other crinkly cuties).

a stack of lemon crinkle cookies on a plate

WHAT IS A CRINKLE COOKIE?

Are you perhaps wondering what a crinkle cookie is? It’s pretty much a basic cookie, but the dough gets rolled in powdered sugar before it gets baked.

hand rolling a lemon crinkle cookie dough ball in powdered sugar

As the dough bakes, it flattens out and the surface cracks, exposing the dough under all that powdered sugar and leaving patches of white powder on the tops.

Crinkles! They’re just so darn pretty.

For best results, use a zester & juicer: this is my favorite citrus zester which gets zest nice and small. My favorite citrus juicer is one that has graduations for measuring and a way to catch the seeds.

lemon crinkle cookies alternating with slices of lemon

The batter for these easy lemon crinkle cookies is super uncomplicated. We’ve got the usual suspects (flour, sugar, butter, etc), but we’re using almost all of the lemon! The whole zest and a Tablespoon and a half of the juice, freshly squeezed.

I always add a few drops of yellow food coloring to my cookie batter to make them extra yellow, but this is 100% completely optional.

How to make Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Once your cookie dough is together, you’ll need to refrigerate the cookie dough, but only for an hour. When it’s ready to go, pour your powdered sugar onto a medium size plate or into a bowl, roll the cookie dough into balls, and then coat each dough ball in a ton of powdered sugar.

I mean… Coat those bad boys. I typically wind up with a small heap of powdered sugar on the top of each dough ball because as the cookie flattens, the powdered sugar will do its magic and form those adorable crinkles.

lemon crinkle cookie dough balls coated in powdered sugar on a baking sheet

Once they’ve cooled, watch out. I guarantee you have a hard time stopping yourself from grabbing more cookies!

At first bite, the powdered sugar coating melts in your mouth, and once you sink your teeth into the actual cookie– mannnn oh MANNNN the lemon flavor just completely takes over.

They are pretty sweet, given all of the sugar involved on the inside and the outside of the cookie, but the lemon flavor is tart and bright and blends so well with all that sweet. The perfect lemon complement.

lemon crinkle cookies on a plate

This recipe yields soft lemon cookies with slightly crispy edges, and each bite is packed with so much lemon flavor. They really remind me of lemon bars, but without all the gooeyness and crust.

I am a big fan of cookies that can last year round, and I’ve used this lemon crinkle cookie recipe for both summer time cookie baking as well as Christmas cookie baking (a lemon Christmas cookie– how does that sound??). There’s never a bad time for lemon or cookies, so you better just tuck it away in your “all the time” cookie recipe bank.

lemon crinkle cookies on a cooling rack

Plus, maybe you’ll gain a following like my friend! That’s not a bad title to have, Lemon Cookie Queen/King. But if you find yourself in that title with my beloved lemon crinkles… Invite me over for a taste, would ya?

Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe substitutions and variations

If you’re really wanting a super punch of lemon flavor, you can consider adding 1 teaspoon of lemon extract in addition to the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Powdered Lemon Cookies storage

These lemon crinkle cookies will last well over a week if stored at room temperature, covered tightly, without sacrificing any of the flavor or texture.

SHOULD CRINKLES BE REFRIGERATED?

Crinkle cookies do not need to be refrigerated.

Lemon Powdered Sugar Cookies FAQs

If your crinkle cookies aren’t crinkling, you may not have rolled them in enough powdered sugar. The cookies will absorb some of the powdered sugar during baking, so it’s important to really load them up when you roll the cookie dough balls. I always make sure there is a little pile on top of each cookie dough ball before they go into the oven.

As crinkle cookie dough bakes, it flattens out and spreads, creating “cracks” in the powdered sugar coating.

You likely overbaked your crinkle cookies. You want to look for the edges to be just set. The cookies will look underbaked and puffy but will continue to bake and deflate when they come out of the oven.

Crinkles were allegedly invented by Helen Fredell of St. Paul, Minnesota and originally of the chocolate variety.

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lemon crinkle cookies on a plate
4.97 from 28 votes
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Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe

Sweet and tart crinkle cookies bursting with bright lemon flavor.
Prep Time15 minutes
Bake Time14 minutes
Chilling Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 29 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 and ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature1
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and ½ Tablespoons (23mL) fresh lemon juice2
  • zest of one lemon
  • 4 drops yellow food coloring if desired3
  • ½ cup (60g) powdered sugar

Instructions

  • In a medium size bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
    1 and ½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (approximately 2-3 minutes). Add the egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat again until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
    ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 and ½ Tablespoons (23mL) fresh lemon juice2, zest of one lemon
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Add the food coloring, if using. Mix until just combined. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. If chilling longer than 1 hour, allow to sit at room temperature about 15 minutes before rolling into balls.
    4 drops yellow food coloring
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  • Pour the powdered sugar onto a small plate. Using a cookie scoop (I use this #50 cookie scoop for all of my standard size cookies), scoop the dough out of the bowl and roll into a ball with your hands. Roll the ball of dough4 generously in the powdered sugar. Place no more than 8 balls of dough on a baking sheet at one time (4 rows of 2). Chill dough you are not using.
    ½ cup (60g) powdered sugar
  • Bake cookies for 13-14 minutes or until cookies look mostly matte (not wet or shiny). Remove cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 10 days. Baked cookies freeze well, up to 2 months. Rolled cookie dough can be frozen up to 3 months. Roll in powdered sugar before baking and bake frozen. Add another 1-2 minutes to baking time.

Notes

  1. Room temperature egg: it is always a good idea to use room temperature eggs when using room temperature butter. It incorporates into batter much more easily.
  2. Fresh lemon juice: do not use bottled lemon juice for this. If you want to really amp up the lemon flavor, you can also add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract.
  3. Food coloring: this is totally optional, as the cookies are yellow as is. Adding color brings a brighter and richer yellow to the cookies.
  4. Rolling the dough: I like to roll all of my dough before coating in powdered sugar to minimize mess (otherwise, I get a lot of powdered sugar in the cookie dough bowl and all over my cookie scoop).
 
Adapted from Lauren’s Latest
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 171IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
4.97 from 28 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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73 Comments

  1. HOORAAAAAY for BABY APRIL and HOORAAAAAAAAY for delicious lemon crinkle cookies. I am a lemon addict – I’ve been known to eat them straight (don’t tell my dentist) – and just CANNOT say no to anything with fresh lemon in it. I’m definitely going to be making these soon!!

    1. Haha! Matt does the same thing– eats them right up! I… Can’t QUITE do that, but sometimes I make lemon things JUST so we can have rinds and leftovers for putting into water. WHY ARE LEMONS SO DELISH?!

  2. Oh these look so good! My christmas baking list is getting too long! Tomorrow is a week till Christmas Eve! Eeek! On Monday I made your eggnog chocolate chunk cookies (I didn’t have chunks so I used chips). Amazing! Yesterday I made your chocolate peppermint biscotti (so delish!!) and another double batch of eggnog cookies (this time I used mini chips) that I have to bake today! And now I have to make these and your gingerbread rice krispies treats and your carrot cake macaroons and you snowballs and your…

    1. Hahahaha, Naomi, you crack me up. I’m so glad you loved the eggnog cookies! I’m taking them to my work Christmas party on Friday and I’m betting they will be gone in a snap. Thanks for being a loyal fan– you’re the best! xoxo

  3. *gasp* Oh my word!!! Congrats! How many weeks are you? How exciting! I’m so happy for you! That baby is going to have a sweet tooth, I know! I hope the pregnancy goes well! about the lemon cookies….YUM! I was going to make the thumbprint cookies this weekend but now I want to make these! Seriously, you need to stop posting so many cookie recipes so I can make them all and catch up! I have to get through high school over here, don’t have time to make so many cookies! (although I wish I did 😉 )

    1. Thank you so much, Aria! I am a little over 13 weeks today and so far so good. No morning sickness, no throwing up– just a couple “icky” days there in the beginning and some extreme fatigue most days. But it’s been pretty smooth sailing for the last 2 months! I’m sorry about all the cookie recipes… But not really! Hahahaha. I have 3 left!! I think you can hang! Just make the Christmasy ones now and save the others for later! I promise not to post many cookies for awhile– deal? 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I made these on Saturday, along with Sally/s chocolate crinkle cookies. Crinkle cookie Saturday, sounds like it should be one of those national days. Everyone loved the Lemon cookies. Even my stepdaughter who is a chocolate lover at heart loved these. Thanks for a lemony recipe that didn’t call for lemon extract. (because I didn’t have it in my cabinet) Congratulations to you & Matt on baby April. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  5. Hi Lynn! I’m fairly new to your blog, but it’s high time I did leave a comment. First of all, warmest congrats on Baby April!! So happy for you, and so glad the sailing has been smooth so far. All the best! Second of all, the first thing I made from your cookie arsenal was the cappuccino cookies… and they are now firmly installed in my arsenal as well. They definitely get made whenever certain friends come to visit. And now these lemon crinkles…. Swype wanted to say “crimes”, which may not be too far off! They are amazing! Lemon is one of my favorite flavors too. Yes, these will also be great for the spring and summer. Thanks so much!!

    1. Erin! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! We are so so excited about our new addition and are looking forward to figuring out how to do life all over again, haha. And those cappuccino cookies?! Seriously a favorite of mine. And lots of readers and friends! I have a girlfriend who makes them literally every week to keep her cookie jar full! And the lemon ones quickly became an April family favorite here as well, and I made them 3 times during the week of Christmas! I’m likely going to make up an orange recipe in the near future, so stay tuned! Happy New Year and thank you for being a reader! xoxo

    2. Oooo orange crinkles? Or orange anything?? You bet I’ll stay tuned! Happy New Year to you ‘n’ yours, too! 🙂

    3. Orange crinkles! I guess I wasn’t very clear on that. But orange IS one of my favorite flavors ever, and this baby boy is loving citrus these days, so I have no doubt there will be some orange/lemon/grapefruit business coming in the next few months!

  6. 5 stars
    Oh wow these are good! I didn’t have lemon zest so I just added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and it was so tasty! Thanks for sharing this simple but amazing recipe!

    1. I’m sorry to hear they didn’t turn out for you. I’ve had many, MANY people make these cookies and no one has ever reported anything but great reviews.

  7. 5 stars
    I love anything lemon.These cookies are really easy and fabulous.I was warming up eggs in my bra,I know why I have never done that before.I forgot they were in there and i wacked myself with refrigerator door.Anyhow i had to clean myself up a bit and eggs werent room temp but worked out fine anyway.I will plan ahead a bit instead of using my great ideas.I still think it was a good idea.

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Lynn,

    I doubled the recipe and they turned out fabulous…..I made them for my niece’s wedding shower….they are soooo yummy. Perfect for spring a lovely cookie for this time of year! I’m adding to my list of favourite and easy cookies to bake….thanks

  9. 5 stars
    I made these today…they are delicious! My batter/dough was stickier than it should have been so some of the powdered sugar was absorbed during baking. Easy enough to correct next batch. These are a perfect summer cookie. 🙂

    As an aside, I *love* figuring out the cost of my homemade adventures. It’s my hobby, albeit a quirky one. I live in northeast US where prices are high; even so, this batch cost less than $3 for 2.5 pounds of deliciousness. (as of 23 July 2017)

    Thank you for sharing this gem! ~Kim

    1. Thanks for sharing your feedback, Kimberly! You may have put a little more lemon juice into your batter than I usually do, but as long as they worked, no worries! Glad you enjoyed them. Also glad to know that the scratch baking is really super cost-effective!! Thanks for that 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    Ok, I just made these a couple weeks ago, and am making them again now. I did not have fresh lemon’s or zest, so found out I substitute 2 Tbs of lemon juice for 1 tsp. of zest! They are one of the best cookies ever. I know if you want more lemon flavor, the zest probably brings out the stronger flavor. I also use the Italian Volcano lemon juice from Cosco, which comes in a 2 bottle package for about $8.00. it is such a good pure lemon juice which we now use all the time. Thank you for this very good recipe! We appreciate it! Many liked my cookies, thanks to you!

  11. Hey, I just came upon this recipe and decided to make it tomorrow with the rest of my Christmas cookies this year!
    My sister is allergic to chocolate, so I’m always happy to find recipes she can enjoy too.
    Not to mention I am a complete citrus fruit addict.
    I won’t try it for Christmas, since my list is already so long, but I’m itching to try tweaking this recipe for other citrus fruits as well!
    Green for lime, orange for oranges, reddish orange for blood oranges, pink for grapefruits!
    The possibilities are endless! Lol.

    Thank you for your recipes and your hard work!

    1. Butter too warm, oven too warm, didn’t chill the dough long enough… I’ve had many many readers make these cookies, and I myself have made them plenty of times, so without being there with you, there’s no way for me to tell you what went wrong.

    1. Hey, Liv! Unfortunately, I’ve never made these without butter, so I can’t advise. If you’re comfortable using butter substitutes, I encourage you to try it out and let me know how it goes!

  12. 5 stars
    Hi! I’ve been using your recipe for multiple times already and all the people I’ve given them to absolutely LOVED them! Thank you so much for sharing this! All the cookies had that perfect lemon kick.

    I made another batch last night and they turned out quite flat on the lemon “kick” I used to be able to achieve before. The only tweak I did was to substitute a bit of granulated white sugar with brown sugar because I ran out. I did the lemon juice and lemon zest right but I’m still wondering which part I went wrong. Could you please help me figure out where I went wrong? How can I get that lemon “kick” back? Really looking forward to your reply!

    1. Hey, Thezza! So glad you’ve been enjoying these cookies. I’m not sure I can tell you exactly what went “wrong” this time, because it could really just have everything to do with the potency of your lemons. I doubt swapping sugar would make much of a difference, so I would say it was just a fluke. Hopefully next time is back to normal!

  13. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe for the first time at thanksgiving! Such a hit! .. Both kids and adults ranted and raved. I didnt even get one ☺

  14. 5 stars
    These cookies are delicious!! My first batch didn’t quite look the same because the powdered sugar baked right into the cookie. SSI the next batch I rolled in granulated sugar then rolled it into the powdered sugar and they looked just like the picture. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hmm, try rolling them HEAVILY in the powdered sugar! I’ve never had a problem– I make crinkles all the time! But I’m so glad you liked the recipe 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. I actually use it as a base recipe, and sub the lemon flavoring agents out for mint extract and creme de menthe, and fold in some white chocolate chips to make a mint vanilla crinkle. It was really hard to find a non chocolate crinkle recipe so this was great!

  16. I just made these, followed the recipe exactly, but mine hardly flattened at all and the bottoms are all burnt! Any idea what went wrong?