Lemon Crackle Cookies with Cayenne

lemon crackle cookies with cayenne

These sweet, crumbly Meyer lemon crackle cookies lash the tongue just a bit with the unusual combination of tart lemon and spicy cayenne. But don’t worry it’s a gentle tongue lashing. Just when the cookie is nearly gone, the cayenne flickers, reminding you its there.

Lemon Crackle Cookies with Cayenne 

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*You may substitute another type of lemon. In which case add another teaspoon of granulated sugar to the creamed butter mixture.

lemon crackle cookies with cayenne


  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cup all-purpose flour (scooped and leveled)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda (scooped and leveled)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (scooped and leveled)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (plus more for optional sprinkling)
  • ½ cup Meyer lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar (for rolling)


Place the oven racks in the top and center positions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl beat the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer set on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and add eggs and vanilla until just blended.

In a separate large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper; add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternating with the lemon juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Continue mixing until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Place the confectioners sugar in a separate bowl. You may re-use the bowl that held the flour mixture if you like. Scoop the dough by generous tablespoons, and shape into 1 ½‑inch balls; roll in the powdered sugar. Place cookies 2‑inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Add a very light sprinkling of cayenne for an extra kick if you like. Be sparing.

Bake in the heated oven for 16 to 18 minutes, switching the sheets between racks halfway through baking. The cookies are done when they barely begin to brown at the edges. Cookies will still be soft in the middle. Cool on the baking sheets a few minutes then slide the parchment sheet with the cookies in place onto a wire rack to cool completely.