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Rich, fudgy vegan chocolate crinkle cookies are a classic holiday crowd-pleaser and so simple to prepare with zero eggs or dairy this holiday season!

completed Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies on a white surface
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Rich and Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

It’s officially holiday baking season, and this vegan chocolate crinkle cookies recipe has become a must-make year after year, along with sugar cookies, gingerbread, and double chocolate chip peppermint cookies. Even thinking about all the yumminess has our mouths watering.

These vegan crinkle cookies have a soft, fudgy interior, a deep, rich chocolate flavor, and a crisp, crackled powder sugar outer layer. AKA, they are magical and perfect during the holiday season when hosting, at parties, and for gifting.

They’re easy to make, too, with a few top tips and basic, inexpensive pantry ingredients. The hardest part about this recipe is needing the patience to wait while the vegan cookie dough chills. Otherwise, it’s a fuss-free 10 minutes of hands-on prep. Plus, you don’t have to be vegan to fall in love with them.

They can also be customized in several ways, like making vegan chocolate chip cookies with a drop of peppermint and rolled in powdered sugar. They’re sure to put you, your family, and your guests in the holiday spirit! Check out this list of recipes for vegan Christmas cookies for more inspiration.

The Ingredients and Substitutes

ingredients for Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies on a white surface
  • Cocoa powder: Use a high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder. Dark cocoa powder will create even more contrast against the powdered sugar.
  • Sugar: We used organic white sugar (to ensure it is vegan). However, raw cane sugar or coconut sugar work as less refined options. Brown sugar will also work and add moisture for fudgier cookies.
  • Oil: It’s best to use a neutral cooking oil, like vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Unsweetened applesauce: This acts as a binder while adding moisture.
  • Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla for the best flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: Or, for gluten-free vegan crinkle cookies, experiment with an all-purpose gluten-free blend like King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Cinnamon: For subtle flavor depth and extra warmth.
  • Leavening agents: This eggless crinkle cookies recipe uses baking powder and baking soda to achieve the correct lift and crinkle texture.
  • Sea salt: Or kosher salt, not table salt (otherwise, you need to adjust the amount) to balance and enhance the various flavors in these vegan chocolate crinkles.
  • Powdered sugar: To coat the cookies for the distinct cracked look.

Flavor Variations

  • Chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies: Add about ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract and omit the cinnamon.
  • Chocolate orange crinkle cookies: Add a subtle citrusy twist with orange zest.
  • Matcha crinkle cookies: Replace the cocoa powder with a good quality culinary matcha powder and omit the cinnamon.
  • Instant coffee: Just a small amount enhances and deepens cocoa flavor.
  • Other spices: Increase the warmth further with a pinch of nutmeg, homemade pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, or even cayenne pepper.
  • Mix-ins: There are several ingredients you can stir in for extra flavor and texture. Add a generous handful of:
    • Vegan chocolate chips
    • Chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.)Candies (like candy canes or vegan peanut butter cups)
    • Dried fruit (like cranberries or cherries for a ‘black forest’ flavor)

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • First, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine (about a minute).
  • In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt), then combine the two until fully incorporated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 5 hours (or overnight).
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F/177C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/a silicone mat. Also, place the powdered sugar in a small bowl.
  • To shape the cookies, scoop 2 tablespoons of dough into your hand, roll it into a ball, then roll it in the powdered sugar until heavily coated.
  • Carefully transfer the cookie to the baking sheet, trying to keep the powdered sugar in place. Then repeat with the remaining cookie dough, placing them 2 inches apart on the tray. If you run out of powdered sugar, add more to the bowl.
  • Bake the eggless chocolate crinkle cookies for 10 minutes until the edges are set, and the centers are still slightly soft.
  • Then, remove the tray from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before transferring the cookie to the rack to fully cool (for at least an hour). Enjoy!
post baked Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies on baking tray

It’s important to cool them this way to avoid them breaking – they’re fragile right out the oven.

FAQs

Can I use Dutch-processed cocoa powder?

Technically, yes, but Dutch-processed cocoa has been alkalized, which means its pH level is neutral rather than regular cocoa powder, which is acidic. Therefore, you may need to add slightly more baking soda (try ¼ tsp). We haven’t tried, though, so can’t guarantee results.

Can I prepare the cookie dough in advance?

That should be fine. Simply keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days during the ‘chill’ stage, then continue with the recipe as written.

Alternatively, you could freeze the dough for 2-3 months in a large block wrapped in plastic wrap or rolled into individual balls (flash freeze, then transfer to Ziplock/Stasher). Leave it to thaw, and then carry on with the recipe.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Use high-quality cocoa: For the best rich, intense chocolate flavor.
  • Don’t skip the chill: Chilling the dough is important so they don’t spread too much when baking, AND it helps create the beautiful crackle top.
  • Thoroughly coat them in sugar: This is the key to achieving that distinctive contrasted crinkle look. For a more pronounced look, roll the dough in granulated sugar first, THEN the powdered sugar.
  • Don’t over-mix the dough: It can overwork the gluten and lead to tough cookies. Mix until only just combined.
  • Don’t overcrowd the tray: Space them 2 inches apart to leave space for spreading.
completed Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies on a white surface

Storage Instructions

Leave the vegan chocolate crinkle cookies to fully cool, then store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Bring them back to room temperature before enjoying, though for the best texture.

You can also freeze the cookies for 2-3 months by flash-freezing them for a couple of hours (to avoid sticking) and then transferring them to a Ziplock/Stasher bag, and I always make sure to label them with these labels.. Thaw them at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before enjoying one.

completed Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies in storage bag
completed Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies on a white surface

Vegan Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

5 from 33 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Refrigerate: 5 hours
Total: 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 cookies
Rich, fudgy vegan chocolate crinkle cookies are a classic holiday crowd-pleaser and so simple to prepare with zero eggs or dairy this holiday season!

Ingredients 

  • cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • ½ cup of applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, add the cocoa powder, sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Whisk for one minute.
  • In a small bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for a minimum of 5 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Also, put the powdered sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough into your hand and form a ball. Then evenly roll the ball in the powdered sugar until heavily coated. Carefully place it on the baking sheet, making sure the powdered sugar stays on the cookie. Repeat the process until there is no more cookie dough left. If the powdered sugar runs out, add more to your small bowl.
  • Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet and make sure to leave 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to slightly cool for 10 minutes. Then, carefully transfer them to the wire rack to fully cool for at least 1 hour.

Notes

  • Use high-quality cocoa: For the best rich, intense chocolate flavor.
  • Don’t skip the chill: Chilling the dough is important so they don’t spread too much when baking, AND it helps create the beautiful crackle top.
  • Thoroughly coat them in sugar: This is the key to achieving that distinctive contrasted crinkle look. For a more pronounced look, roll the dough in granulated sugar first, THEN the powdered sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 121kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 176mgPotassium: 56mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 3IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

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