Cookies recipe

Best Italian Lemon Cookies Recipe


Italian lemon cookies – AKA tarallucci al limone or taralli al limone – are a traditional treat from southern Italy. Originally served at weddings (to symbolize marriage), they are now commonly found at Easter or Christmas. A soft but solid dough is flavored with lemon juice and zest, then rolled into a knot. After baking, it is dipped in lemon glaze and finished with more zest. Arrange them on a tray of Italian cookies like pignoli cookies and chocolate amaretti cookies.

Rolling and knotting dough is a fun group project, but it’s easy enough to do solo too. Put one batch in the oven, then start rolling the next batch while it bakes! This recipe calls for three rimmed baking sheets, but can be easily made with less. Just make sure the baking sheet is completely cooled before adding more cookies, and keep the cookie dough wrapped in plastic while you wait.

Use leftover lemons from the zest in Citrus Olive Oil Cake, Lemon Meringue Pie, and Lemon Pepper Chicken.

Store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days. Freeze formed, unbaked dough for up to 3 months.

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Preparation time:





Total time:






1 ea.

(200 g.) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp.

extra virgin olive oil

1 C.

pure vanilla extract

5 1/4 tsp.

(630 g.) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface


1 1/2 tsp.

(170 g.) powdered sugar

4 tbsp.

fresh lemon juice, divided

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and granulated sugar on high speed until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is lightly frothy, about 3 minutes. Beat in oil, cream, lemon zest and juice, baking powder, vanilla and salt on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the flour and mix on medium speed until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into 3 portions. Cover 2 portions with plastic and set aside.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 12 portions (2 tablespoons) (about the size of a golf ball). Roll each into an 8″ rope. Wrap the rope into a circle, then tuck one end into the center to create a knot. Arrange on a prepared sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing 2″ apart with 12 per sheet .
  5. Bake cookies until lightly browned, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.


  1. In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice until a thick glaze forms. Stir in more lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a thick but runny glaze forms.
  2. Dip top of each cookie in frosting, then place on a wire rack or parchment-lined baking sheet. Grate lemon zest over top of cookies before frosting is completely set. Let set before serving, about 15 minutes.
  3. Get ahead: Cookies can be prepared 5 days in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Italian lemon cookies covered with white icing and lemon zest


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