These easy Lemon Crinkle Cookies are full of fresh lemon zest for a bright flavor, plus a hint of cardamom for spice. They’re one of my favorite Christmas cookies but they also work beautifully for spring and Easter. They’re ready in less than 25 minutes, no chilling required!

Lemon Crinkle Cookies - On Wooden Cutting Board

Crinkle cookies are one of my absolute favorite treats for the holidays, and these Lemon Crinkles are one of my oldest recipes and most beloved cookies.

While Chocolate Crinkle Cookies may be the most popular of all crinkle cookies, I like this lemon version the most. These lemon cookies somehow manage to be both “different” and familiar at the same time, and I always like a good twist on a classic.

The texture here is still the same as other crinkles, with a slightly crisp edge and a delicate balance of chewy and soft in the middle. But the flavor is different! The lemon and cardamom are magical together. It’s the perfect dessert for lemon lovers.

Tips for Best Results

Coat very thoroughly in confectioner’s sugar – In order to get that snow capped, cracked look at the end, you need to roll the lemon crinkle cookie balls very generously in the confectioner’s sugar. It will look like an obscene amount, but a lot of it gets absorbed into the cookie.

Use fresh lemon zest – For bright lemon flavor, we add lots of fresh lemon zest to the dough instead of lemon extract. This gives the cookie a more natural fresh lemon flavor.

Use good butter – Different brands make wildly different tasting butters. Some don’t taste like much of anything, while others have incredibly rich flavor. My favorite is Kerrygold, but Plugra and Vermont Creamery also make great butter. If you look up butter taste tests online, you’ll see that they are definitely not all equal.

Three Lemon Christmas Cookies On A Dark Wooden Cutting Board

Step by Step Overview:

As an overview, we will combine the spiced dry ingredients with the wet until a dough forms, then portion it into balls, roll in confectioner’s sugar, and bake! There’s no chilling required for this recipe.

Additionally, you may make this recipe with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. I find it easier to use the hand mixer.

Assemble the Dry Ingredients

Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, fresh lemon zest, ground cardamom, and salt. Minimal ingredients, but quite fragrant!

Dry Ingredients For Lemon Crinkle Cookies With Flour, Baking Powder, Cardamom, Sugar, Salt, Lemon Zest

Using zest instead of fresh lemon juice gives us all the wonderful citrus aroma we want, without the sourness and acidity.

Ingredient Swaps

The Lemon Zest: Feel free to try other citrus zest here, like orange, lime, grapefruit, or even meyer lemons, which are described as a cross between regular lemons and oranges.

The Cardamom: Feel free to swap in an equal amount of ground cinnamon, or 1/4 tsp of ground cloves.

Start the Wet Ingredients

Cream together softened unsalted butter and granulated sugar using medium speed until fluffy, like this:

Creamed Butter And Sugar In Duralex Glass Mixing Bowl With KitchenAid Hand Mixer Beaters

Add two eggs and a splash of vanilla extract, and mix until incorporated:

Wet Ingredients For Lemon Crinkle Cookies With Hand Mixer Beaters

Combine Dry and Wet to Make a Dough

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix gently until a cookie dough forms:

Lemon Crinkle Cookie Dough In DUralex Glass Bowl With Pink GIR Spatula

Make sure to only mix to the point where the flour just disappears and the dough is cohesive. Take care not to overmix.

Shape and Roll the Balls

Use a medium cookie scoop (affiliate) to portion out equal scoops of the dough, then roll each scoop into a ball between the palms of your hands.

Then roll the ball in confectioner’s sugar:

Dipping Lemon Crinkle Cookie Dough Ball Into Sifted Powdered Sugar

If it looks like there’s an obscene amount of confectioner’s sugar on the cookie dough ball, that’s perfect. Most of it will get absorbed during baking, so you want a lot on there.

Crinkle Cookie Dough Balls Rolled In Powdered Sugar On Silpat Silicone Mat

Bake!

Bake the cookies for 13 minutes in a 350F preheated oven, ideally on baking sheets covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat, until the cookies flatten out a little bit and the tops crinkle:

Lemon Crinkle Cookie Recipe - On A Wooden Board With Powdered Sugar Sprinkling Wand

To ensure properly chewy cookies with a soft texture, make sure not to overbake these.

When you pull the tray out of the oven, the cracks in the cookies should glisten slightly and look a little underbaked, as if they need an extra minute. But since carryover cooking will continue to cook the dough further as everything cools, that’s the right time to pull the baking tray.

Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before storing.

How to Serve

Lemon Crinkle Cookies are best enjoyed warm, but they will stay deliciously moist for a couple days. I like to serve them on a platter with other kinds of cookies, like Shortbread Cookies, Simple Sugar Cookies, and Orange Cranberry Biscotti.

Other times, I’ll pair them with non-cookie sweets, like Pecan Praline CandyPeanut Butter Bon Bons, and one of my all-time favorite lemon desserts: Lemon Bars

If you like chocolate more than lemon, these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are basically the same cookie, but in chocolate form. My Peanut Butter Cookies also have a similar crisp on the outside, soft in the middle texture.

Check out all my Cookie Recipes in my recipe index. Happy baking!

Recipe Tips and FAQ:

How do you store leftover Lemon Crinkle Cookies?

These cookies will keep for a few days at room temperature, stored in an airtight container, but not much longer since there are no preservatives. These freeze pretty well, and I recommend that if you don’t plan to finish them within a few days.

Can you freeze Lemon Crinkle Cookies?

Yes, in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I tend to freeze them after they’ve already been baked and cooled, but you could also freeze the raw dough balls, then roll into confectioner’s sugar right before baking. Add a few extra minutes to baking time if you bake straight from frozen. To thaw fully baked cookies, let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Can you substitute the lemon?

You can absolutely use any type of citrus zest here. Orange is wonderful, and you can also do lime or grapefruit.

Can you substitute the cardamom?

Cardamom is a wonderful spice and I think it’s worth seeking out here. But you can also play around with ground cloves (1/4 tsp) and ground cinnamon (1 tsp).

Can you scale the recipe?

Yes, feel free to double or triple the batch, but make sure to use multiple cookie sheets so you don’t crowd the cookies during baking.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Three Lemon Christmas Cookies On A Dark Wooden Cutting Board

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are a classic cookie for the holidays, but did you know you can make them in other flavors too? These chewy Lemon Crinkle Cookies have lots of fresh lemon zest and a hint of cardamom for a bright and exotic flavor!
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Ingredients

  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour, by weight (2 cups, measured)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cardamom, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until fluffy and combined.
  • Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix on low speed until the flour is incorporated. 
  • Use a medium 1.5tbsp cookie scoop to portion out cookies, then roll the portioned dough into small balls, using the palms of your hands.
  • Place the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl, and roll the cookie dough balls in the confectioner’s sugar, coating generously. Place the balls on a sheet pan about 2 inches apart, 12 per half sheet pan.
  • Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, until the surface of the cookies have crinkled and the cookies have flattened slightly. The cookies will not be browned. Cool the cookies on a wire rack and serve.

Notes

Adapted from one of my old recipes for Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies. I increased the flour here and made a few other changes. If you want a flatter/thinner crinkle cookie here, you can use 1.75 cups of flour instead of 2. The bake time will be the same.
Storing leftovers: Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Freezing: You may either freeze fully baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 months, or freeze raw dough balls. Roll in confectioner’s sugar right before baking, then add a few extra minutes to bake time if baking straight from frozen. To thaw fully baked cookies, let sit at rom temperature for 2 hours.
Lemon substitutes: You may try any citrus zest here, like orange, lime, or grapefruit.
Cardamom: You may swap in ground cinnamon instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in March 2021. Originally published November 2017.