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Easy Soft Lemon Crinkle Cookie Recipe (without cake mix)

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Unlike other lemon cookie recipes, this Lemon Crinkle Cookie recipe is made without cake mix, using simple pantry ingredients. With fresh lemon flavor from real lemon juice and zest for the perfect light and tangy cookie. Lemon lovers unite!

With a slightly crisp edge and a soft center, these melt-in-your-mouth lemon cookies will become a year-round favorite. I opted to use less sugar in these cookies, which yield a puffier, more cakey cookie.

Best easy lemon crinkle cookie recipe made from scratch without cake mix.

Unlike lemon crinkle cake mix cookies, I love that these use basic pantry ingredients. Plus, easy instructions to make high-altitude lemon cookies and gluten-free lemon crinkle cookies.

I enjoy giving precise details in my recipe posts to lead my readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “Jump to Recipe” right under the title of this post, and you’ll head straight there!

  • Simple Ingredients | Nothing fancy is needed here, just your basic baking ingredients and fresh lemons.
  • Fresh | These pillowy lemon cookies taste like summer and sunshine!
  • Old Fashioned Recipe | As if she wrote a recipe card and made them herself, these easy lemon crinkle cookies will remind you of grandma.
  • Reminds me of Crumbl Lemon Crinkle Cookies only smaller and better. 
Lemon crinkle cookies on wooden tray.

Top Tip for Lemon Crinkles

All ovens heat at slightly different rates, and most ovens are off +/- 25 degrees. Use an external oven thermometer to determine your oven temperature ahead of time and adjust your oven temperature accordingly. 

Key Ingredients

Salted Butter | Room temperature. Real butter makes all the difference in flavor and texture in your baking. If using unsalted butter, increase kosher salt by ¼ teaspoon.

Sugar | Granulated sugar. I use all-natural cane sugar, you can certainly use white sugar. If a chewier cookie is desired, increase the sugar.

Eggs | Room temperature, large eggs. If you forget, please put the eggs in warm tap water (not hot) and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes.

Lemon | Real lemon zest is the best! Can you replace fresh lemon juice with bottled lemon juice? I suppose so, read more about that below in my FAQ’s. Note: One large fresh lemon should give you 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons of juice. I would plan on 2-3 to be on the safe side.

Vanilla Extract | Use the good stuff! If you’ve never made your own, try my vanilla extract recipe.

All-Purpose Flour | I use organic unbleached all-purpose flour in my baking; I like the texture it yields.

Powdered Sugar | Also called confectioners sugar or icing sugar. We roll the lemon cookie dough in this powdered sugar, which enhances the crinkle look of these cakey cookies. 

Labeled ingredients lemon crinkle cookie recipe.

How to Make Easy Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Step 1 | Prep Your Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175° C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and kosher salt and set aside.

In a small bowl, zest your lemon. In another small measuring cup, juice your lemon. I love this mini liquid measuring cup.

  • Remember to zest the lemon before juicing, making sure only to zest the yellow parts, not going into the white bitter pith. 
  • Roll lemons on countertop using your hand before juicing into a small bowl. This will help loosen the juices.

Step 2 | Mix Wet ingredients

In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream (mix) the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides every few minutes with a rubber spatula.

Keep the mixer on medium speed and add the eggs. Mix the batter for 1-2 minutes or until the eggs are fully incorporated.

Add in the lemon juice, fresh lemon zest, and vanilla extract and mix until light and creamy, don’t worry if your batter looks a little curdled, it will all come together in the next step. 

Pro Tips for the best lemon cookies

  • If you forget to bring your eggs to room temperature, immerse the eggs in a bowl with warm (not hot) water for 5-7 minutes.
  • Make sure your butter isn’t too soft, warm kitchens can make butter softer than it should be which could result in flat cookies.
  • Rub the sugar and zest with your fingers for extra flavor until the mixture feels like wet sand. Cream lemon sugar and butter together as directed.

Step 3 | Add Dry Ingredients 

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients mixing on low speed until just combined. Scrape sides if needed.

Using a small or medium cookie scoop or a large spoon, form cookie dough balls about 1½ inches in diameter. Roll each dough ball in a shallow bowl of powdered sugar until thoroughly coated. The cookie dough is pretty soft and sticky, if too much to roll, then place in fridge for 10-20 minutes and try again.

Place 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes. Be sure not to overbake!

For best results, allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the baked cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Keep an eye on your cookies as they are baking – the best cookies always appear slightly under-baked and will finish baking as they cool.

High-Altitude Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe

  • Increase unbleached all-purpose flour by 2 tablespoons.
  • Decrease the baking soda to ¾ teaspoons.
  • Bake at 375°F (190° C) for 8-10 minutes.
Baked lemon crinkle cookies on baking sheet.

Gluten-Free Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe

As with many of my recipes, I love to provide options to make our favorite recipes gluten-free! And these cookies are so simple to convert to a Gluten Free Lemon Crinkle Cookie!

  • Swap the Flour | Swap out the regular AP flour for a good Gluten Free AP Flour (my favorite).
  • Or use a combination of GF All purpose flour (1 1/4 cups) and either GF Almond Flour or Oat Flour (¾ cups for a total of 2 cups).
  • Bake at 350°F (175° C) and watch your cookies; gluten-free baked goods are better when slightly underbaked and allowed to cool on the baking sheet.

That’s it! Super simple to make gluten-free lemon crinkle cookies by substituting one key ingredient and you will have the best gluten-free lemon crinkle cookies around!

Variations & Substitutions

  • Add a teaspoon of lemon extract or a few drops of lemon oil to the dough for an extra burst of lemon flavor. Additionally, you can add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest for a natural flavor boost.
  • Experiment with different citrus fruits such as limes or oranges.
  • Chocolate crinkle cookies would be delicious; check back soon for more recipes!
  • Vegan Lemon Crinkle Cookies: Replace butter with coconut oil or vegan butter and replace eggs with flax eggs or your favorite vegan egg replacement.
  • White Chocolate Chips | Add ½-⅔ cup of good quality white chocolate chips
  • Food Coloring? If you want your lemon crinkle cookie recipe to be really yellow, then add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring into the cookie dough, but they don’t need it and that way you aren’t adding unwanted chemicals into the cookies. 
Lemon crinkle cookies on cooling rack.

Chewy Lemon Crinkle Cookies

These cookies are light, airy, cakey – not dense and chewy, similar to my Pumpkin cookies in texture. However; if you prefer a chewy and gooey lemon crinkle, then try these adjustments.

  • Reduce egg to 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • Increase sugar to ¾ cup
  • Chill the cookie dough for 1 hour before rolling and baking.
  • You can also try using melted and cooled butter.
  • Bake at 350° F (175° C) regardless of altitude.

Crumbl Lemon Crinkle Cookies

If Crumbl-sized cookies are desired, use a large cookie scoop and scoop heaping amounts of dough before rolling the lemon cookie dough balls into powdered sugar.

To help control the spread of these giant cookies, I would suggest only placing 5-6 cookies on lined baking sheets and chilling in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.

Love Crumbl Cookies? Try my famous copycat Crumbl Chocolate Chip Cookies, these Crumbl Frosted Sugar Cookies, or these Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cookies

Lemon crinkle cookies on marble.

Best Lemon Facts

  • How to Choose the Best Lemons | Choose lemons that are firm but yield to gentle pressure, with smooth, thinner skin. The lemon should not have blemishes, be pale or have any green; this indicates unripeness. Good lemons for juicing should be heavier relative to their size.
  • How Best to Store Lemons | Lemons stored on the counter look pretty but dry out within a week. Lemons stored in the fridge will last longer, about a week to 10 days; lemons stored in a sealed plastic bag last up to a month!
  • Zesting | It is much easier to zest your lemons before cutting in half to juice them. Wash and dry lemons before zesting, and do not zest too far down; the white part, called the pith, is bitter.
  • Juicing Lemons | To get more juice from your lemon, try ONE of these two tricks: 1) Place the lemon on a cutting board or counter and firmly roll with the palm of your hand until it starts to yield slightly, OR 2) Place lemon in the microwave for about 10 seconds, then roll and squeeze.
  • An average lemon contains about 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons of juice.

Lemon desserts are one of our favorites! Bright, citrusy, full of flavor! Try my Old-Fashioned Lemon Bars or this easy no-bake Lemon Ice Box Pie and enjoy any of these with my super lemon gelato

Lemon cookie on wooden spatula, removing from baking sheet.

Storage Tips

  • Store cookies in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days. Or, store cookies in the fridge for up to 7 days. Storing your cookies in the fridge will help prevent them from drying out as fast.
  • If you are preparing ahead of time, I recommend freezing the dough balls and then rolling them into powdered sugar after you take them out of the freezer to bake, rather than freezing the baked cookies.
  • However, you may freeze the baked cookies in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months, considering that powdered sugar might dissolve when you defrost them!
Stacked lemon crinkle cookies with fresh lemons behind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bottled lemon juice in place of freshly squeezed lemon juice? 

Yes? Bottled lemon juice tends to have preservatives in it and can have off or chemical taste. Squeezing a couple of lemons is so simple and the zest adds amazing flavor to this lemon cookie recipe.

What if my dough is too sticky to roll? 

If your cookie dough is too sticky to roll, try chilling the dough for about 15 minutes. You can also add a little flour (1-2 tablespoons), but only a little bit of extra flour as it will change the texture of the cookie.

Why do my cookies spread too much during baking? 

The most common culprits in spreading cookies are: 1) Butter temperature: if your butter is too soft, that will impact your spread. 2) Oven temperature: make sure your oven is heating accurately, and if your first batch spreads too much, 3) Chill: pop your cookie dough balls into the fridge for 10 minutes before baking to firm the fat back up. 

Why are my cookies not crinkling?

Try baking one sheet of cookies at a time. Doing so ensures the top of each cookie will dry from exposure to heat, giving the cookie the crinkling effect as it spreads.

Hand holding lemon crinkle cookie with bite taken out.

Best Salads to Serve with Lemon Crinkle Cookies

For a light and refreshing meal, try these delicious salads with your Lemon Crinkle Cookies:

Easy Healthy Mexican Chopped Salad in large bowl with wooden serving tools nearby.

Best Healthy Mexican Chopped Salad with Lime Dressing

A Healthy Mexican Chopped Salad recipe with honey lime dressing full of fresh corn, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, jicama, and black beans.

Classic Southern tuna salad on butter lettuce with grapes and tomato slices.

The Best Southern Tuna Salad Recipe

Are you ready for the Best Southern Tuna Salad Recipe? Made with canned tuna, hard-boiled eggs, silky mayo, pickle relish, and a dash of smoked paprika, my classic recipe takes a regular ho-hum tuna sandwich into a great tuna salad sandwich.

Panera Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing.

Green Goddess Salad with Chicken (Panera Copycat)

Copycat Panera Green Goddess Cobb salad recipe! This Panera Cobb salad is packed with fresh veggies, tender chicken, and a creamy basil dressing, a healthy and delicious option for lunch or dinner.

Best Main Dishes to Serve with Lemon Crinkle Cookies

The citrusy notes of the cookies complement a variety of dishes like this Coconut Lime Chicken Marinade or these other favorites.

One pot lemon garlic pasta recipe in pot with wooden spoon.

One-Pot Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe

This scrumptious One Pot Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe is so satisfying, with bold garlic and bright lemon flavors delivered to your table in under 30 minutes. Enjoy this zesty Gemelli pasta recipe on its own, add in more veggies, or top the dish with protein!

Cooked halibut filets on plate seasoned with red paprika and garnished with parsley.

Easy Air Fryer Halibut Recipe with Lemon Butter Sauce

Try this Air Fryer Halibut Recipe with Lemon Butter for a crisp and flaky fish with tangy golden lemon butter sauce. This recipe is an Air Fryer Halibut Recipe with No Breading made in just 30 minutes.

Tamale pie with cornmeal crust.

Easy Tamale Pie Casserole Recipe with Cornmeal Crust

Easy Tamale Pie Recipe with Cornmeal Crust is cheesy, beefy, tamale tasty – and it is easy too. Made with simple ingredients and tamale spices, this perfect tamale pie recipe is an excellent idea for your Cinco de Mayo meal, a special occasion, or any night of the week.

More Recipes Made with Lemons

Be sure to thoroughly coat your cookies in powdered sugar because much of the sugar will dissolve into the cookie as it bakes. You will not get that classic crinkle look if you do not coat the dough with enough powdered sugar.

Soft and fluffy lemon cookies stacked, to pin.

I hope you loved this easy Lemon Crinkle Cookie recipe— if you did, would you share your creation on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest? And be sure to comment below!

Like this recipe?
Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Lemon crinkle cookies on cooling rack.

Easy Lemon Crinkle Cookie Recipe (low-sugar)

Author: Kathleen Pope
5 from 7 votes
Unlike other lemon cookie recipes, this Lemon Crinkle Cookie recipe is made without cake mix, using simple pantry ingredients. With fresh lemon flavor from real lemon juice and zest for the perfect low-sugar, light, and tangy cookie. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Cookies, Sweets
Cuisine American
Servings 24 -30 servings
Calories 100 kcal


  • ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ½-1 cup granulated sugar, I used all-natural cane sugar, increase for more chewy cookies
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (taken from fridge 20-30 minutes before baking)
  • 2 ½-3 tablespoons lemon juice, about one large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, about 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, Increase by 2 tablespoons for high altitude
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, decrease to ¾ teaspoons for high altitude
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon if using unsalted butter
  • ¼-½ cup powdered sugar, for rolling cookie dough


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175° C). In a large mixing bowl, with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium-high speed cream the butter (½ cup) and sugar (½ cup) together until light and creamy.
  • Keep the mixer on medium speed and add the eggs (2 eggs). Mix the batter for 1-2 minutes, or until the eggs are fully incorporated.
  • Add in the lemon juice (2 1/2 -3 tablespoons), lemon zest (from one lemon), and vanilla (1 teaspoon) until light and creamy. The batter may look curdled after this step, don't worry it will all come together.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour (2 cups), baking soda (1 tsp), and salt (¼ tsp). Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  • Using a small or medium cookie scoop or a large spoon, form balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter.
  • Roll each ball of dough in the powdered sugar until thoroughly coated place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet, for 8-12 minutes. for dryer, more cakey cookies, bake a little longer, for softer, less cakey bake on the lower side.
  • Allow the cookies to cool 2 minutes then, transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

✱ Kathleen’s Tips

Storage | Store cookies on the counter in an airtight container 3-4 days. In fridge for up to 7 days and freeze up to 3 months. 
Chewy Lemon Crinkle Cookies
If you prefer a chewy and gooey lemon crinkle, try these adjustments:
Reduce to 1 egg
Increase sugar to ¾ cup
Chill the cookie dough for 1 hour before rolling and baking.
You can also try using melted and cooled butter.
Bake at 350° F (175° C) regardless of altitude.
High Altitude Lemon Crinkle Cookies
  • Increase unbleached all-purpose flour by 2 tablespoons
  • Decrease the baking soda to ¾ teaspoons
  • Bake in 375°F (190° C) for 8-10 minutes.
Gluten-Free Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Replace all-purpose flour with ½ cup for cup Gluten-Free all-purpose flour, I like King Arthur and ½ Almond Flour or Oat flour. When baking, watch your time, do not overbake gluten-free lemon crinkle cookies.
Vegan Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Replace butter with coconut oil or vegan butter and replace eggs with flax eggs or your favorite vegan egg replacement.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract or a few drops of lemon oil to the dough for an extra burst of lemon flavor. Additionally, you can add 2 tablespoons of lemon zest for a natural flavor boost.
  • Experiment with different citrus fruits such as limes or oranges.
  • Vegan Lemon Crinkle Cookies: Replace butter with coconut oil or vegan butter and replace eggs with your favorite vegan egg replacement.
  • White Chocolate Chips | Add ½-⅔ cup of good quality white chocolate chips. 
  • Food Coloring? If you want your lemon crinkle cookie recipe to be yellow, add a couple of drops of yellow food coloring into the cookie dough, but they don’t need it, and that way, you aren’t adding unwanted chemicals to the cookies.


Serving: 1 serving Calories: 100 kcal Carbohydrates: 14 g Protein: 2 g Fat: 4 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g Trans Fat: 0.2 g Cholesterol: 26 mg Sodium: 106 mg Potassium: 20 mg Fiber: 0.3 g Sugar: 5 g Vitamin A: 141 IU Vitamin C: 1 mg Calcium: 6 mg Iron: 1 mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

The Fresh Cooky is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. 5 stars
    Oh, these Easy Soft Lemon Crinkle Cookies are an absolute delight! I gave them a whirl, and they turned out to be a zesty burst of happiness in every bite