Buttery Lemon Crinkle Cookies made with fresh lemon zest and juice, and covered in a dusting of sugar. They’re soft and chewy and bursting with lemon flavour. Plus I’ll show you how to get that white crinkly crust every time.
Sunshine on a plate ☀️
Meet my soft and chewy Lemon Crinkle Cookies. These buttery cookies are filled with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice, and a handful of white chocolate chips.
They’re twice rolled in sugar and then baked to perfection. If you love all things citrus, you’ll fall head over heels for these festive cookies.
They’re perfect for birthdays, celebrations or Christmas (or Christmas in July!).
why you will love this recipe
- These cookies are easy to make
- They’re bursting with real lemon flavour
- They have a stunning snow-white sugar crust
- They keep well for days
These Lemon Crinkle Cookies were an absolute delight to recipe test – probably because even the not-so-great ones were still incredibly tasty.
Essentially, I wanted two things: A soft and chewy lemon cookie flavoured with real lemon zest and juice and a crinkly, snow-white sugar crust.
So naturally, I started by rolling my tried and true Lemon Cookie recipe in a double sugar coating. I learnt when testing my Chocolate Crinkle Cookies that this is the way to go for getting a perfect white crinkle every time (more on that below).
But alas, my cookies spread too much, causing the sugar coating to all but disappear. So next time I chilled the cookie dough first, then rolled and baked.
The result was much better. The taste and texture were spot on – fresh and zesty and soft and buttery – but I still felt they could be a little thicker. I wanted a somewhat plump Lemon Crinkle Cookie.
The difference was remarkable. That one change completely changed the shape and overall thickness of the cookie. While the baking soda cookies were a touch too flat, the baking powder ones were too thick – losing that deliciously chewy middle.
So for the final test, I used half baking powder and half powder soda.
THEY WERE PERFECT.
what you will need
These Lemon Crinkle Cookies don’t require any fancy ingredients. If you have some lemons sitting about, you’re already halfway there. Here’s what you will need to make these cookies:
- Unsalted butter
- Caster sugar: Or granulated sugar.
- Vanilla extract
- Plain flour: Or all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Fresh lemons: We’ll use both the zest and some juice.
- White chocolate chips: Completely optional, but lemon and white chocolate are a perfect match.
- White sugar: Or granulated sugar.
- Icing sugar: Or powdered sugar.
how to make them
These Lemon Crinkle Cookies are fairly simple to make, but you will need to set aside a little extra time to let the cookie dough chill. I found that chilling the dough helped create a better, more defined sugar crust. Here’s how to make these cookies in a nutshell – detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below:
- Make the lemon cookie dough.
- Pop in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
- Roll cookie dough into balls.
- Roll each cookie in white sugar, then icing sugar.
the double sugar roll
When I created my Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe, I learned a few tricks to getting the perfect sugary crust. Sometimes the sugar crust can melt and all but disappear when you bake your cookies, but not these ones. Here are my tips for ensuring the perfect snow-white crinkle every time.
- Chill the cookie dough. It’ll be easier for the sugar to stick to a slightly firmer dough. This will also help prevent the cookies from over-spreading.
- Roll the cookie dough in white sugar (or granulated sugar) first. This helps create a barrier to stop the icing sugar from soaking into the cookie. Caster sugar is too fine – be sure to use white sugar.
- Immediately roll the cookie dough in icing sugar and coat them VERY generously.
- If needed, roll the cookies again before baking.
frequently asked questions
Nope. They are delicious with or without!
It is highly recommended for that snow-white sugar crust. Otherwise, the sugar tends to melt, soak into the cookie and disappear.
Yes, you can make and chill the cookie dough in advance – but you must roll the cookie dough in the sugars right before baking. You can’t do that step ahead of time.
Yes you can. But as above, you will need to roll the cookie dough in the sugar coating when you are ready to bake them. You will also need to slightly defrost the cookie dough first – either leave it in the fridge overnight or thaw it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Lemon Crinkle Cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature.
more cookie recipes
Soft and chewy Lemon Crinkle Cookies made from scratch.
- 115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 245 grams (1 and 3/4 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small ones
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
- 35 grams (1/4 cup) white chocolate chips, optional
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) white sugar or granulated sugar
- 65 grams (1/2 cup) pure icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and egg and beat again until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add lemon zest and juice. Beat briefly until soft cookie dough forms. Stir through chocolate chips, if using.
- Cover cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Line two baking trays with baking or parchment paper.
- Set out your sugars in two bowls ready for rolling. Then scoop out cookie dough, roughly 1.5 tablespoons per cookie, and roll into balls using your hands.
- Roll each cookie dough ball first in the white sugar and then in the icing sugar, before placing on your prepared trays. Leave room for cookies to spread in the oven. Repeat until all cookie dough balls have been coated in the two sugars.
- Do a quick check and if any of your cookie dough balls aren’t looking completely covered in icing sugar, roll them again. Don’t shake off the excess sugar.
- Bake cookies for approximately 12-13 minutes or until they’ve spread out and developed a crinkly top. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Sugar coating: I highly recommend rolling these cookies in both sugars before baking to achieve that snow-white crinkle top. Unfortunately, caster sugar doesn’t work so well as it is very fine, so I recommend rolling them in white sugar (or granulated sugar) first. Then roll them in the icing sugar (or powdered sugar). For best results, use a pure icing sugar, rather than icing sugar mixture which has cornflour in it.
Make ahead: You can make and chill the cookie dough in advance – but you must roll the cookie dough in the sugars right before baking. You can’t do that step ahead of time. You can also freeze the cookie dough. But again, you will need to roll the cookie dough in the sugar coating when you are ready to bake them. You will also need to slightly defrost the cookie dough first – either leave it in the fridge overnight or thaw it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Storage: These cookies will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature.