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Key Lime Crinkle Cookies

These sweet-and-tart Key Lime Crinkle Cookies are bursting with bright citrus flavor! And because they’re crinkle cookies, they’re a breeze to make.

Overhead view of 4 Key lime cookies on plate

The Best Key Lime Cookies

These cookies came to be when I spied a bag of Key limes at the grocery store. I couldn’t resist popping it into my cart, but once I got home, I had to decide what I was going to do with all those little limes.

Of course, there’s the predictable Key lime pie, but where’s the fun in that? I wanted to try something new, so I got to work zesting and juicing and came up with this recipe for Key Lime Crinkle Cookies. 

I have such a soft spot for crinkle cookies. I just love all those cracks and crevices on top surrounded by all that confectioners’ sugar! And the tart flavor of Key limes lends itself well to these crinkle cookies—that extra bit of sweetness from rolling the cookies in confectioners’ sugar is the perfect complement to the acidic lime juice.

When citrus fruit is in season and Key limes make their debut at the grocery store, these Key Lime Crinkle Cookies are the perfect way to put them to use. As for the rest of the year? Try my Sprinkle Crinkle Cookies or Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies.

What You’ll Need

 Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.

  • All-purpose flour – Learn more: How to Measure Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Key lime zest – Fine zest is best, as it will distribute more evenly into the cookie dough.
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter – Let this soften at room temperature until it holds a thumbprint when pressed but is still cool. Learn more about why this recipe calls for unsalted butter: Unsalted or Salted Butter: Which is Better for Baking?
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs – Put the eggs on the counter with the butter so they can come to room temperature.
  • Key lime juice
  • Confectioners’ sugar – Sift this to get all the lumps out.

Key Lime vs. Regular Lime: What’s the Difference?

Key limes are smaller than standard limes, and they have more of a yellow hue to them. The skin is thinner and they have more seeds, which means a juicer that catches seeds will be your friend when making these Key lime cookies! The juice from key limes is aromatic, with less acidity than regular limes, so they’re a bit sweeter.

Because Key limes aren’t as widely cultivated as Persian limes (the variety regarded as “regular” limes), you’ll usually only find them at the grocery store when they’re in season in Florida, which is June through September. If you can’t find Key limes for this recipe, you can certainly substitute regular limes; just keep in mind that there will be a subtle difference in flavor.

Four Key lime crinkle cookies on plate with napkin in background

How to Make Key Lime Cookies

Like all crinkle cookies, this recipe for Key Lime Crinkle Cookies is practically a no-fail recipe. Just be sure to chill the dough so it’s easy to roll into balls.

Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, zest, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy. Beat in the the eggs one at a time, followed by the lime juice.

Finish the dough. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating until the wet ingredients and dry ingredients are just combined.

Chill. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 30 minutes.

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.

Form the cookies. Scoop a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a ball. Once you have a nice, uniformly round shape, roll the ball in the confectioners’ sugar, making sure it’s coated evenly. Place the cookie onto the prepared pan and repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. 

Bake. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Cool. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. (Learn more: Why Every Baker Needs Wire Cooling Racks)

Tips for Success

Here are some tips for perfect Key Lime Crinkle Cookies. (Be sure to read over my tips for beginning bakers, too!)

  • Let the butter soften. Sometimes we forget to take out the butter before baking, but it’s so important! Softened butter incorporates into the dough more evenly, and it also holds more air when it’s beaten, giving your cookies a light, airy texture, as opposed to being dense and hard.
  • Pop the dough back into the fridge if you have to. If it’s taking you longer than expected to roll the dough into balls, put the bowl of dough back into the refrigerator and let it chill until it’s easy to work with again. This will keep your cookies from spreading, too.
  • Don’t reuse baking sheets. Putting cookie dough on a hot baking sheet is never a good idea, as it leads to spreading and over-cooked bottoms. If you don’t have enough baking sheets to accommodate all of the cookies at the same time, let your baking sheet cool between batches; store the dough in the refrigerator while you wait.
Key Lime Crinkle Cookies on a beige plate

Crinkle Cookies FAQs

If you’ve never made crinkle cookies before, here are some quick answers to common questions you might have.

What Are Crinkle Cookies?

Crinkle cookies are a delicious type of cookie made by rolling dough into balls, then rolling the balls into confectioners’ sugar. When baked, the sugar cracks, giving the cookies a distinctive appearance. In fact, crinkle cookies are often a holiday staple because the exterior looks like cracked ice or snow. Crinkle cookies have been around for generations, with recipes ranging from traditional chocolate to these more exotic Key lime cookies.

Why Did My Crinkle Cookies Not Crinkle?

Crinkle cookies are known for their crinkled effect and snowy coating, but you may have noticed that your cookies didn’t turn out quite as expected. This can happen if you don’t chill the dough before baking, or if it is overworked. 

How Do You Keep Crinkle Cookies Moist?

The secret to keeping your crinkle cookies moist is to store them in an airtight container. This will help trap the moisture inside, so they stay soft and chewy with each bite. 

Why Do Crinkles Crack?

The confectioners’ sugar forms a hard shell during the first few minutes a crinkle cookie is in the oven. Then, as the cookies continue to bake, they expand, which cracks the shell.

How to Store

Store Key Lime Crinkle Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.

Can I Freeze These?

Baked Key Lime Crinkle Cookies can be stored in a freezer bag or airtight container and frozen for up to 2 months. Another option is to store the dough in the freezer; roll it into balls, then let the balls thaw on the countertop for 30 minutes before rolling them in the confectioners’ sugar and baking as directed.

More Easy Cookie Recipes

Key Lime Crinkle Cookies

Yield About 30 cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 8 minutes

These sweet-and-tart Key Lime Crinkle Cookies are bursting with bright citrus flavor! And because they’re crinkle cookies, they’re a breeze to make.

Overhead view of 4 Key lime cookies on plate

Ingredients

  • 2 & 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Key lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Key lime juice
  • 1/2 cup (55g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, zest, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the lime juice.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Using a tablespoonful of dough at a time, roll chilled cookie dough into balls. Then roll each in confectioners’ sugar, making sure to coat thoroughly.
  7. Place cookies on the prepared pans, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
  8. Cool the cookies on the pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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This recipe was originally developed for Clabber Girl, where I am a paid contributor.

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    43 Comments on “Key Lime Crinkle Cookies”

  1. I’m just happy that this recipe is not a cake mix cookie recipe like the lemon ones I’ve seen. Thanks. I’ll have to try them!

  2. I stared down a bag of key limes yesterday but I agree, other than key lime pie I don’t think to bake with lime very often so I managed to turn them down. These cookies are a great way to use them though!

  3. These look lovely!
    I have made chocolate crackle cookies before but love the golden colour of these. I must give them a try, thanks for the recipe!

  4. Oh wow – I’m a sucker for lime desserts. These look soooo good!

  5. Have just made these and they are delicious, soft and full of lemony goodness. My husband has gobbled down half the batch so will have to make some more!

  6. Mmmm these are so pretty!! They remind me of sitting out in the patio, with a glass of iced tea – just chit chatting!!

  7. I love key lime flavored treats — these look amazing!

  8. I didn’t think the sour element in these cookies would quite stand out. But it really did, which is important I think with any dessert concerning lime. Thank you for sharing this innovative gem Jennifer.

  9. Question: I made these and the dough was super dry. They did not spread at all and in comparison with other cookie recipes I have (crinkles), there isn’t nearly enough wet ingredient to balance out the dry. Any ideas?

    • Hi, Amy. I’m sorry to hear you had troubles. How did you measure your flour? If you didn’t weigh it or use the fluff-and-scoop method, you might have had too much flour.

      • I have to agree with Amy. I measured carefully and def sifted the dry ingredients as well as whisking them together. I also double the amount of key lime juice and the zest. The cookies spread out some (but could have spread a little more for my liking) but they were just slightly dry. I will def make again but I will triple the amount of key lime juice and zest. I really want to be able to get the full flavor of the key limes.  I usually serve citrus cookies and brownies so the cookies really need to pop with the citrus flavor. 

  10. Love that these are both crinkly and citrusy! It’s rare to see the two combined.

  11. I’ve got a soft heart for cookies, they just have total control over me! These look dangerously good with the lime adding a little freshness into the mix.

  12. This recipe was incredible! I almost never make cookies because they always turn in complete mess in my oven.But this was such a good recipe and so tasty, that I was super happy about it for two days. 🙂

  13. Baking them right now and will keep you posted.

  14. Made a double batch and they are all gone. Very yummo!!

  15. They came out wonderful I added 2 cups of white chocolate chips and 3 drops green food coloring

  16. These cookies are the bomb! I made them and they disappeared quickly so I tried the same recipe using lemon and it’s was a hit too. This is a keeper

  17. What are the weights for this recipe, none was posted 

    • Hi, Meg. At this time, I generally don’t include weight measurements in posted recipes, although it’s on my to-do list to add them in the future. Here are the weight measurements for the larger ingredients: 2 & 1/2 cups of AP flour = 300g, 1/2 cup butter = 227g, 1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar = 250g, and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar = 55g.

  18. Well it took me a while, but I finally made these cookies. My only excuse as such is that down the road from where I live, here in Spain, they grow citrus fruits. I was waiting for our local limes to be harvested. I always try and use in-season local produce.

    The cookies are fantastic, so thanks for sharing the recipe. I will be making more before the local lime season draws to a close!

  19. I make a chocolate crinkle cookie at Christmas so I saw this recipe and couldn’t resist trying them. They were delicious even my kids loved them. I also make a key lime pie that is a huge hit, these cookies are definitely a favorite!!!

  20.  These cookies are easy to bake and very moist. I had to cook them a little longer than the time allotted but they’re really great. maybe I made them too big? Tried to keep the tablespoon size… added just a tad bit more key lime juice… I like the citrusy flavor. excellent recipe thank you!!! Also used the bottled Nelly and Joe’s Key West  lime juice with regular lime zest 

  21. The taste remind me of fruitloops believe it or not.. lol.. I followed the recipe exactly as written; it was easy to follow and easy to make and although we all liked it I honestly think the recipe could have used a little more lime flavor as these just had a light lime flavor.. I’ll play with that but I really liked this recipe. Thank You!!

    • I’m glad you liked them! It can be tough to get really bold citrus flavor without using artificial flavors. You can bump up the lime, but just be careful of adding too much liquid.

  22. These look delicious! I need to bake a bunch of cookies for a wedding and I would like to add these to the list!  How long in advance do you think I could bake these?  Thanks!

    • Hi, Carolynne. They should keep for a few days in an airtight container. They tend to absorb the confectioners’ sugar, so you might have to add more before serving.

    • I just made these, and I’m happy with the outcome! I would add a bit more lime zest and a bit more juice next time, or possibly omit the icing sugar and make a lime glaze instead as I like a really potent citrus flavour. Thank you!

  23. Yum. I just made them. 10 minutes is enough. 15 they burned on the bottom.

  24. I am so excited to try! I do have a few questions if you have time to answer:

    – This recipe uses butter but I’ve seen a handful of recipes use oil instead; why did you choose to use butter?
    – What ingredient makes for the more rounded (rather than flat) shape of the crinkle cookie?

    • Hi, Christine! I rarely bake with oil. Butter adds a far superior flavor. It’s not so much one ingredient as the ratio of ingredients that would affect the overall shape. More of some ingredients (like flour or leavening) or less of others (like sugar or fats) will generally make them not spread as much.

  25. There is such a brief window of time that fresh key limes are available…can one zest and juice them and freeze the zest and juice?

  26. These are good, but I will double or triple the amount of lime juice next time. It was very subtle which is not what I’m looking for if something is lime flavored.

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