These soft Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies are so light and lemony with the perfect chewy cookie center. What truly makes these homemade lemon cookies unique is the use of lemon zest and lemon juice for double the lemon flavor. They truly are the BEST homemade sugar cookies!
It shouldn't surprise you all that a lemon cookie recipe has FINALLY made it to SGTO. For one, sugar cookies are probably my favorite dessert (hence my obsession with my Vegan Funfetti Sugar Cookies and my Vegan Cinnamon Roll Cookies). Tied for a close second, though, is any dessert that is lemon flavored.
There is definitely a fair share of lemon cookie recipes out there, but I have to say, I was disappointed that so many of them ONLY use lemon zest for flavor.
To be honest, most of the recipes I tried before these cookies were just not lemony enough for me! That's why I knew it was time to bring a vegan, dairy-free, & ridiculously chewy lemon cookie recipe to the blog. These lemon sugar cookies are made with lemon zest AND lemon juice for the perfect amount of lemon flavor.
How to make vegan lemon cookies from scratch
One of the best parts about these lemon cookies made from scratch is that they only contain 9 simple ingredients! (Full amount of ingredients in the recipe card below, scroll down for quantities!)
- Vegan butter (I used Miyokos butter for this recipe, but Earth Balance is another great option)
- Organic sugar
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Ground flaxseed (NOT a flax egg, just ground flax)
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
After gathering the ingredients, making these lemon zest cookies with no eggs couldn't be easier.
First, cream the butter & sugar together
Have you ever wondered why we cream butter and sugar together?
Well, this step actually makes a HUGE difference in the texture of a baked cookie. Creaming cold butter and sugar together helps to beat air into the butter and the sugar helps to hold this air in place. Essentially, it ends up giving these cookies a lot more structure. Make sure the butter and sugar turn into a whipped fluffy consistency before adding in other ingredients.
Mix in wet ingredients
Once the butter and sugar are creamed, add in the wet ingredients including the lemon juice, lemon zest, ground flaxseed, and vanilla extract. This recipe uses ground flax+ lemon juice (instead of water) as an egg replacement to make eggless lemon cookies.
Add in sifted dry ingredients
Then, add in the sifted dry ingredients. I know tons of recipes call for two bowls here, but the truth is I always sift my dry ingredients directly into the bowl of wet ingredients.
The key is to add the flour first, then add the baking powder and salt on top and stir it into the flour slightly before mixing. I've never had a problem with this strategy and it leads to less cleanup!
Mix, Chill, Roll, & Bake!
Then, mix just until a dough forms. Once the dough is ready, let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes-1 hour, scoop it into round cookies, & roll it in sugar before baking.
P.S- this lemon cookie dough is slightly sticky before time in the fridge, so don't be alarmed as it will be super easy to scoop after the chill time in the fridge.
Tips for "wrinkly" crinkle lemon cookies
Let the cookies chill 30 minutes- 1 hour
This is another one of those steps you may *want* to skip over, but you really shouldn't. Chilling the cookies solidifies the fat and essentially leads to cookies that spread less while baking. It is essentially one part of what allows cookies to get that awesome crinkly/ wrinkly texture on top. If you skip this step, it is highly likely your cookies will spread too much during baking.
Roll in sugar before baking
Not only does rolling the cookies in granulated sugar BEFORE baking lead to sparkly pretty cookies, but it actually has a scientific purpose.
Essentially, adding granulated sugar to the outside of the dough dries out the outer layer of dough before the interior of the dough can set. That means, when the cookies bake, they will rise and "crack" in spots from pulling apart that outer layer of dried dough. Ultimately, this leads to that desirable crinkly cookie texture we are going for here!
The last trick- bang on the counter
Once they're done baking, these cookies come out relatively fluffy. They will naturally deflate while cooling which is why it's important to let them rest on the pan. However, to get a better texture, gently bang the pan of warm cookies on the counter a few times after baking.
P.S- if you want your cookies to spread more and have more wrinkles, remove the tray of cookies from the oven every 2-3 minutes and gently bang on the counter before adding them back to the oven. It gives these cookies tons of wrinkles and leads to a chewier texture, though it may take slightly longer to cook the cookies because you are constantly removing them from the heat.
Substitutions & FAQ:
Can I make these cookies refined sugar-free?
Yes, just be prepared for a darker-colored cookie. Using organic granulated sugar keeps the color of these cookies a muted yellow color. Please note, you do have to use granulated sugar for this recipe.
Coconut sugar and maple sugar are great refined sugar-free options whereas maple syrup or agave syrup will not work. If you use coconut sugar it will make these cookies less sweet and maple sugar will make them sweeter. Again, I fully recommend sticking to cane sugar for this recipe, but these other options do work. If you do use a different sugar, I don't recommend rolling the cookies in sugar before baking.
Is there any sub for ground flax in this recipe?
For this recipe, the only sub for ground flax is chia seeds. Since we are not using a "flax egg", a traditional egg replacement won't work in this recipe.
What about gluten-free?
I have tested this recipe works with Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour and it works, though the texture is slightly different. It may work with other flours, but I have not tested them and therefore cannot say for sure.
How long do these cookies last?
In my house? Two days :).
All kidding aside, these cookies can be stored on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days. They can also be frozen up to 1 month and just need to defrost at room temperature before eating. Cookies can also be stored in a closed container in the fridge and will keep up to 2 weeks, but it will make them less chewy.
I'm just going to announce that these Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies are now up there in my top 5 recipes to ever come to SGTO. They're soft, chewy, lemony, and SO easy to make.
Honestly, the next time I make these cookies I'm probably even going to go one step further and top them with my favorite Vegan Lemon Curd for the ultimate vegan lemon dessert. I truly hope you love these lemony cookies as much as I do!
Looking for more vegan lemon dessert recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites!
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Vegan Lemon Sugar Cookies
- ½ cup room temperature vegan butter
- ½ cup+ 2 Tablespoons organic sugar ½ cup for dough, 2 Tbsp for rolling before baking
- 1 Tbsp ground flax
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 cup+ 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- First add the butter and ½ cup of the sugar to a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Then, add in the ground flax, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix together.
- Next, add in sifted flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixing bowl. Mix until a smooth and thick cookie batter forms. Do not overmix or else you will form too much gluten and the cookies will not spread as much and be tough.
- Next, add the bowl of dough to the fridge, cover, and let chill for 30 minutes- 1 hour.
- Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F. Next, remove the dough from the fridge and use a 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop to form your cookie dough (30 grams per cookie of dough). Roll into balls between your palms and then roll in the 2 Tbsp of sugar that was set aside so that each dough ball is coated.
- Place the lemon sugar cookie dough balls onto the baking sheet. If you want flatter cookies, you can slightly press the dough down with your palm, but leave as is for the cookies you see pictured. Make sure that each cookie is kept about 2 inches apart since they will spread while baking.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned and the cookie is cooked through but has slightly soft centers. The cookies will continue baking after they are removed from the oven so the centers should still be soft, but not glossy or raw, when they are removed from the oven.
- Remove the cookie tray from the oven and immediately tap the tray on the counter to produce a more “wrinkly” cookie. Then, let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes. The cookies will be soft and puffy out of the oven and will naturally deflate a little while cooling.
- Once the cookies have cooled, serve and enjoy!
- Cookies can be stored on the counter at room temperature for 3-4 days. They can also be frozen up to 1 month and just need to defrost at room temperature before eating. Cookies can also be stored in a closed container in the fridge and will keep up to 2 weeks, but it will make them less chewy.
- For a more "wrinkly" crinkle cookie, remove the pan from the oven every 2-3 minutes and tap on the counter while baking. For flatter cookies, press the dough down slightly before baking.