Limoncello cookies are popular Italian cookies and for all the good reasons. They have a cake-like texture and are packed with lemon flavor!
If you're looking for a delicious and easy cookie recipe that will WOW your guests try these limoncello cookies!
They're incredibly easy to prepare, making them such a showstopping dessert perfect for any special occasion.
Made with the most simple cupboard ingredients, these traditional Italian cookies have a soft cake-like texture and a delicious citrusy aroma.
Limoncello liqueur has a sweet refreshing taste, and it's packed with citrus flavor, giving these easy Italian cookies a unique and irresistible taste.
The limoncello glaze on top is the finishing touch that makes these cookies absolutely delightful!
I personally make often both these cookies and this limoncello cake to bring to get-togethers and parties, and they're always a hit!
What are Limoncello cookies?
Authentic Italian limoncello cookies are soft and round cookies with a cake-like texture.
Originally from southern Italy, these lemon cookies with limoncello liqueur are often served during gatherings, weddings, and Christmas and Easter holidays.
They're traditionally made with homemade limoncello, but you can of course use a good quality store-bought limoncello.
Limoncello cookies ingredients
This traditional limoncello cookie recipe is made with the most simple ingredients, in typical Italian fashion.
You'll need just 6 ingredients:
- Butter: Use softened butter cut into chunks, it makes it easier to cream it with the sugar.
- Flour: I use regular all-plain flour or Italian 00 flour.
- Egg: Opt for a medium-sized egg.
- Limoncello: Use a good-quality limoncello made with Amalfi or Sorrento lemons and without artificial colors or flavors. I recommend Villa Massa or Pallini limoncello. You can also use homemade limoncello!
- Lemon: Lemon zest adds a beautiful citrusy note to the cookies. Opt for unwaxed organic lemons if possible.
- Sugar: use regular caster sugar for this recipe.
- Baking powder: a little baking powder gives the cookies a nice soft texture.
How to make limoncello cookies
This is a quick overview of how to make the best limoncello cookies with step-by-step pictures.
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Whip the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add the egg and limoncello, beating after each addition.
STEP 2. Add the sifted flour, lemon zest and baking powder and mix until fully incorporated.
STEP 3. Chill the dough for a few minutes, then form small balls.
STEP 4. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Cool them on a wire rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar, or dip them in limoncello glaze and top with lemon zest.
- Before adding the flour, scrape well the sides of the bowl to ensure you have a well-blended mixture.
- Don't over-mix the dough, as it will make the cookies tough.
- The dough is quite sticky, after you refrigerate it, it will be easier to handle, if it's still sticky, flour your hands before shaping the cookie balls.
- The bake time for these cookies should be between 12-15 minutes, but every oven is different. Check the cookies a few minutes early to make sure they're not browning too much.
- The top of the cookies should look dry, slightly puffed, and lightly golden.
- Cool the cookies completely before icing them. Icing the cookies whilst they're still warm will make the glaze runny.
Store your limoncello cookies in an airtight container or sealed jar. Keep them in a cool spot in your kitchen or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Yes, you can freeze them! I like to freeze them unglazed. Once you need them, thaw them in the fridge overnight, then glaze them a few hours before serving.
More Italian Dessert Recipes To Try
Looking for more dessert recipes? Try these traditional Italian desserts:
- Amaretti Cookies - Italian Almond Cookies
- Italian Butter Cookies
- Ciambellone - Olive Oil Bundt Cake
- Limoncello Mascarpone Cake
- Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Italian Ricotta Cookies
- Classic Tiramisu Without Eggs - Authentic Italian Recipe
- Italian Hangover Cake
- Crostata - Italian Jam Tart
- Ricotta Cheesecake - Just 3 Ingredients
Did You Try This Recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
- 65 g butter, softened, approx ¼ cup + 1 tbsp
- 85 g sugar, approx ¼ cup + 2 tbsp
- 1 egg
- 50 ml limoncello, approx ¼ cup
- zest of 1 lemon
- 250 g all-purpose flour or flour 00, approx 1 cups + ½ cup + 1 tbsp
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
For the icing:
- 130 g powdered sugar, approx ¾ cup + 2 tbsp
- 2 tablespoon limoncello
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, optional
- In a large bowl, place the butter and sugar and whisk them together using a hand mixer until you have a light and fluffy mixture, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the egg, then slowly incorporate the limoncello whilst whisking, then add lemon zest. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and whisk until combined.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Mix with a spatula until combined. Do not overmix. You will have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F or with the fan option on at 140°C/280°F. Arrange the baking tray onto the middle shelf.
- Slightly wet your hands and form small balls (around 24 grams/0.8 oz each), you can also use a cookie scoop. Arrange them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cookie tray to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden on top. I like to check on them a few minutes earlier to make sure they don't brown too much. The cookies may crack a bit as they puff up during the baking process, that's ok! Remember that they will be covered in glaze.
- Remove the limoncello cookies from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then arrange them on a wiring rack and cool completely.
- Once the cookies are cool, sprinkle them with powdered sugar, or dip the tops of the cookies in glaze and return them to the wire rack. Immediately top with lemon zest and allow the glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.
For the limoncello glaze:
- In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and limoncello until smooth, adding 1 teaspoon of water or milk to thin as needed ( don't add too much milk, it should be a quite thick glaze).
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.