Perfect melt in your mouth Lemon Cookies. If you love anything lemon then you are going to love these cookies. Light and easy to make, with a tasty lemon glaze, they are sure to satisfy any lemon lover!
When I first started thinking about recipes for my cookbook Authentic Italian Desserts, I knew I had to include a few lemon recipes. And these cookies are one of our favourites.
And these Italian Lemon Cookies are definitely not short on Lemon. These buttery shortbread type of cookie are even better with a simple lemon glaze or if you prefer a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Flour – all purpose with a strong protein percentage at least 11% protein
- Lemon – fresh lemon
- Butter – I use salted
- Powdered Sugar – also known as icing or confectioners sugar
Why is cornstarch added to a cookie recipe?
I have recently discovered that a lot of people add corn starch to cookie recipes, the reason is because it helps create a crumbly and tender texture. It is also considered to help cookies from spreading.
The difference between lemon juice and zest
I use both lemon juice and lemon zest in this recipe. Some insist that the zest has more lemon flavour than the juice. The zest is the oil of the lemon and is therefore filled with the pure lemon flavour.
The juice holds the acidic tart taste of the lemon. Just be sure to grate only the yellow part of the lemon and no white part. The white part will add only bitterness. And you don’t want that!
How to make Lemon Cookies
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, zest and salt. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy about 2-3 minutes. Add half the dry ingredients and lemon juice and beat together.
Then with a wood spoon or spatula mix in the remaining flour until combined. Move the dough to a large piece of parchment paper and form the cookie dough into a log.
Wrap in the paper and refrigerate for an hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate again for about 20 minutes, while the oven is pre-heating.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Once the cookies have cooled completely, then you can top them with a little lemon glaze if desired.
These cookies are delicious anytime, the perfect dessert or even with an afternoon tea. Or why not add the recipe to your Christmas Cookie baking list.
How to keep cookies from spreading
To keep cookies from spreading it helps to chill the dough before baking and the percentage of protein in the flour is a major culprit of flat cookies. I would advise that your flour has a percentage of at least 11% or even higher if possible.
It is also a good idea to chill the dough and also the cookies while the oven is pre-heating.
How to store Lemon Cookies
If the cookies are unglazed then they should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, they will last up to 5-6 days. If glazed then they should keep stored in an airtight container, in a single layer for about 3-4 days.
If your home is warm then I would advise refrigerating in an airtight container. If the cookies are refrigerated they will last up to 7 days.
How to freeze the cookies
You can always freeze them in either a freezer bag or an airtight container, they will keep for up to 4 weeks. The unbaked cookie dough will last 2-3 days in the fridge and two months in the freezer. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and place in an air tight bag.
I had a great time making and deciding on the perfect Italian Desserts that I thought everyone would love to try. I also shared a delicious Italian Brownie Cake / La Torta Tenerina that you also may enjoy.
But if you like anything lemon, then I think you will enjoy these Lemon Cookies, and of course I would love to know what you think. Enjoy!
More Lemon Cookie Recipes you may enjoy!
- Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Easy Lemon Drop Cookies
- Italian Lemon Stuffed Cookies
- Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Italian Lemon Cookies
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch (50 grams total)
- zest & juice of one lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2-1 tablespoon zest)
- 1 pinch salt
- ¾ cup +2 tablespoons butter (softened)* (185 grams total)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
*I use salted butter, if you use unsalted then increase the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. Be sure to use a good quality butter, apparently this year 2022, store brand butter quality is not what it used to be. Less fat could mean a dry not so tasty cookie.
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (strained)
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 zest lemon
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, zest and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat on medium speed the butter and sugar until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Then add half the flour and the lemon juice beat to combine. Then add the remaining flour and with a wooden spoon or spatula combine to form a dough (the dough will be a little sticky, if the dough is too sticky then add 1-2 tablespoons of flour).
- Transfer the dough to a large piece of parchment paper and roll the dough into a log approximately 1 1/2 inches (4cm) wide. Wrap the dough in the parchment paper and refrigerate for one hour.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) slices. Place the slices on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 320F (160C).
- Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, then raise the oven temperature to 350F (180C) and continue to bake for 9-10 minutes. The should be light gold in colour. Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies can be either dusted with powdered sugar or spread with a lemon glaze. Enjoy!
- In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, powdered sugar and zest until smooth.
Updated from August 9, 2019.