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Vegan Lemon Crinkle Cookies (Sugar Free and Gluten Free options)

Stop the search for the perfect summertime cookie – you’ve found it!  Lighter than air with a cake-like consistency, and the perfect mix of tart from the lemon plus sweet from the powdered sugar, these vegan lemon crinkle cookies will quickly become your new go to recipe to impress friends & family!

Close up of one completed cookie on a white background

There’s something really satisfying about crinkle cookies.  I mean, obviously the taste is immensely satisfying, but I more mean watching the cookie blossom from a powdered dough ball into a bright art deco looking beauty showing its true colors from the inside.

Is this too deep for setting up a cookie recipe blog post..?  Let’s go back to normal.  These vegan lemon crinkle cookies are DELICIOUS.  They are EASY.  They’ve got the brightness of lemon and the sweetness of powdered sugar (or powdered sweetener), AND you can still make them even if you don’t have access to fresh lemons, it can work with bottled lemon juice!

Last thing I’ll say before we get into the technique – the texture is really special.  This cookie is LIGHT and SOFT, I wasn’t kidding when I said “lighter than air” earlier.  It’s so fluffy, it’s more like a cakey cookie, which I think works in perfect harmony with the lightness and brightness of the lemon. 

Small stack of two cookies, the top one with a big bite taken out of it to see the fluffy insides

How To Make Them

These vegan lemon crinkle cookies are easy breezy lemon squeezy (sorry).  Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t even need fresh lemons if you don’t have any laying around, you can get away with just bottled lemon juice!  Nothing is stopping you from making these immediately!

Start by making your flax eggs.  Haven’t done this before?  It’s so easy!  Just measure out 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed, mix with 5 tbsp of water, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it turns to a gel-like consistency.  Flax eggs are an amazing ingredient for vegan baking, specifically for cookies.  I often try to avoid using them since I know some people aren’t into them, but honestly in these cookies it’s what helps achieve the lighter than air texture while still keeping the cookies bound together, not too crumbly. 

While the flax egg is setting, melt your vegan butter, let it cool a bit, and then mix in a large bowl with the granulated sugar (or see the Ingredients Needed section to learn how to make these sugar free!).  Add in the flax eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, and mix fully again for a few minutes.  Then add in the gluten free (or all purpose) flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Three quick notes here:
  • The texture of the dough here will be much more like a cake or cupcake batter, not like a cookie dough you’re used to, as you can see from the photo.  That’s correct!  This is why we will chill it for 2 hours to solidify more.
  • I add 2 tbsp of lemon juice, it can be fresh or bottled.  You can do a little less if you want, down to 1 tbsp will work, but I wouldn’t suggest doing more as it can start to alter the consistency of the dough and change how the cookie will bake.  If you want more lemon flavor, either add a little lemon zest to the batter, or feel free to make a lemon flavored icing to go over the top.  You can check out a recipe for that on my lemon blueberry scone page.
  • Lastly, you will notice my dough and my cookies are really vibrantly YELLOW.  I added a little bit of yellow food coloring to amp up the color for the photos.  Without it, they will be more of a light brown, like a neutral cookie color.  If you want to do the same thing I did, I keep this food coloring set in my pantry at all times for food coloring emergencies, and I added ¼ tsp of the Lemon Yellow one to this dough.

OKAY back to the baking.  Once your dough is fully mixed, and like I mentioned above it’ll be sort of a cupcake or cake batter consistency, cover it and put it in the fridge for at LEAST 2 hours.  You can leave it longer, you can leave it overnight, whatever you want, just do not do it before 2 hours or your crinkles may be a bit more like puddles.

Lemon crinkle cookie dough in a glass bowl
Time to bake them!

When you are ready to bake, scoop out 2-tbsp sized balls of dough.  I strongly recommend using a trigger scooper, since the dough will still be very sticky, and the trigger scooper is your best friend in this situation.  You will wind up with 13-14 cookies total.

FUN SECRET TRICK ALERT – you can totally just roll each ball in powdered sugar, BUT if you want the powdered sugar to stick better and really give that beautiful final look you see here, what you want to do first is roll each ball in regular old granulated sugar, and THEN roll it in powdered sugar!  Trust me!  And again, in Ingredients Needed I suggest sugar free alternatives to both of these.

Space the cookies out on parchment lined pans and bake for 13 minutes.  Of course alter slightly if you know your oven runs hot or cool.  Make sure to let the cookies keep cooking and firming up on the pan for about 10-15 minutes once they’re out of the oven, and then move to a cooling rack from there. And voila! Vegan Lemon Crinkle Cookies.

Uncooked balls of cookie dough covered in powdered sugar on a pan
Cooked cookies still on the pan

Storage

After the cookies have fully cooled, seal air-tight in plastic wrap or a large Tupperware, and keep at room temperature.  They will stay good around 3-5 days.

Pro Tips & Tools

  • Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method.  Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
  • Make sure you measure your liquid ingredients using liquid measuring cups.  This will ensure accuracy!  I love this set.
  • This tip goes for all cookie recipes – if it is your first time trying a new cookie recipe, if you have the time, I always suggest baking one cookie first before putting the full batch in the oven.  That way if something is not working right for your batch, you can adjust before you’ve wasted all the dough.  If it spreads too much, adding a little more flour is usually a safe fix.  If it’s too dry and not spreading at all, it may need some more liquid ingredients, in this case perhaps a touch more melted butter or lemon juice, or even use a little bit of non-dairy milk.
  • Get yourself a trigger scooper for cookie dough! I am strangely obsessed with mine.
  • If you want to add a little yellow food coloring to these like I did, I suggest keeping this food coloring set in your pantry at all times.

Ingredients Needed

  • Ground flaxseed – to mix with water to make the flax eggs. I use this brand, but any will work!
  • Granulated sugar – If you are trying to cut back on your sugar intake, I love using this Monkfruit Sweetener in place of the granulated sugar.
  • Vegan butter – I use Earth Balance sticks
  • Lemon juice – this can be fresh squeezed, or bottled
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour – Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method.  Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
  • Baking powder – I recommend using baking powder that has no added aluminum. This one is my go-to.
  • Salt
  • Yellow food coloring gel – totally optional! I like adding a tiny bit to these cookies to give them a vibrant yellow color. I keep this set in my pantry at all times for just such an occasion.
  • Lemon zest – optional, I didn’t use any in the batch for these photos, but you can add a little bit to the dough for more lemon flavor, or even over the top of the finished cookies
  • Powdered sugar – for rolling the cookies. If you want this part to be sugar free, you can use this Monkfruit Powdered Sweetener in place of powdered sugar.
A bunch of cookies on a white background, also some lemon slices

What To Bake Next

Close up of one completed cookie on a white background

Vegan Lemon Crinkle Cookies (Sugar Free and Gluten Free options)

Stop the search for the perfect summertime cookie – you’ve found it!  Lighter than air with a cake-like consistency, and the perfect mix of tart from the lemon plus sweet from the powdered sugar, these cookies will quickly become your new go to recipe to impress friends & family! 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Chill Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 23 mins
Course Birthday Party, Dessert, Lunch Box, tea party
Servings 13 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 5 tbsp water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar + a little more for rolling the cookie dough balls *if you want a sugar free option, this links to my favorite sweetener, you can substitute it 1:1 in place of regular granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup melted vegan butter
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp yellow food coloring gel optional
  • cups gluten free flour can sub all-purpose if desired. This links to my favorite store bought gluten free flour blend that works best with all of my recipes, or see “Ingredients Needed” section for further info.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar for rolling the balls of dough. *if you want a sugar free option, this links to my favorite powdered sweetener, you can substitute it 1:1 in place of regular powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Start by making your flax eggs by mixing the ground flaxseed with water and setting aside for a few minutes to turn into a gel-like consistency.  During this time also melt your vegan butter and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Add the melted butter and granulated sugar to a large bowl and mix on its own for a few minutes.  Then add in the flax eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.  I use 2 tbsp lemon juice, but you can use slightly less if you want a more subtle lemon flavor.  You can also use ¼ tsp of yellow food coloring gel if you want to get the vibrant yellow color you see in these photos.
  • Next, mix in the gluten free flour, baking powder, and salt.  Optionally you can also add some lemon zest if you want to add even more lemon flavor.  The dough will seem more like cake or cupcake batter in consistency.  Cover and put in the fridge for at LEAST 2 hours, and as long as overnight.
  • When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a pan with parchment paper.  Remove the dough from the fridge and use a 2-tbsp trigger scooper to scoop 13-14 cookie dough balls.  Roll each one first in granulated sugar, then in powdered sugar, before placing a few inches apart on the parchment lined pan.
  • Bake for 13 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies continue to cook and firm up on the pan for 10-15 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool entirely.
  • Eat and enjoy!
Keyword crinkle cookies, lemon cookies, lemon crinkle cookies
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