Italian Lemon Cookies

Do you ever find yourself buying that bag of lemons at the store because they are on sale and you have so many grand ideas as to what you are going to make with them. Then a month goes by and you find that you only cut up one lemon so you could add slices to your water. Ok, well I have…. But not only are lemons inexpensive and delicious but they are so versatile!

This is obviously a food blog, so we will eventually get to a recipe. But first, a few more ideas to use up those lemons, especially if they are getting past the edible stage. I love adding the juice and zest of a lemon in with some coconut sugar and vitamin e oil to make a quick and natural body scrub. You could add the peel or rind to a bottle of vinegar for a scented, natural cleaner. Half of a lemon and some coarse salt does wonders for those stubborn stains on your old cutting board!

There are plenty more ways to use up those lemons around the house, but I would rather talk about how you can incorporate them into dishes. Besides the obvious suggestion of adding them to waters and cocktails, or using them in marinades and dressings. Lets think laying thin slice under fish while grilling or baking, or roasting lemon wedges with chicken quarters, or charring your lemon wedge in the same pan you sear your steak in.

Candied lemon slices add some nice color to your holiday treats, or candy the rind for a zero waste option. Or.. of course juice and zest them and add them to all the baked goods. Like these delicious, buttery lemon cookies. I opted to use a traditional zester so I could get thicker, longer pieces of lemon zest, but feel free to use a microplane to get fine lemon zest. Keep these ideas on hand for the next time you snag that on-sale bag of lemons, you’ll be glad.

Do I have to chill my dough?

I know patience can be a difficult thing when baking, but chilling the dough is necessarily in the recipe. The dough itself is too soft to form into a cookie and the butter is to warm, which will only lead to the cookies flattening out during baking. Chilling the dough is crucial to allow the butter time to set back up, it also makes forming the cookies much easier!

Can I freeze my cookie dough?

Absolutely, I have yet to meet a cookie dough I couldn’t. I still recommend allowing the dough to chill the dough as called for. Once chilled, slice dough and transfer to a cookie sheet, place in the freezer in a single layer until completely frozen. Transfer to a Ziploc bag or airtight container, freeze for 6-9 months. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and let sit on a prepared cookie sheet for 15-30 minutes until they start to soften, and bake as the recipe calls for. I would recommend making the glaze when needed, not ahead of time.

Can I scoop my cookie dough instead of slicing?

Even though I am a big fan of cookie scoops and the perfect cookie they do make, these cookies do best when they are sliced into even rounds. While the dough seems like the perfect consistency to scoop, the butter in this dough will cause the cookies to flatten out weird, you would also have to adapt the baking time to reflect a thicker cookie, which would again cause funky things to happen with the butter. So, just stick to slicing your cookies on this one!

Want more cookie recipes?

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and lemon zest, set aside. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy, this should take 4-5 minutes.

Mix in half of the flour mixture and the lemon juice, mix until combined and scrape down the sides. Add in the rest of the flour mixture. If the dough is too sticky add in 1 tablespoon of flour until a desired consistency is reached. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper, I recommend using a dough scrapper to make this process easier! Roll into a log, roughly 1 – 1 1/2 inches wide, the length of the roll will determine how many cookies you can get. Wrap the dough tightly in the parchment and chill for an hour.

Remove from the fridge and slice into thin, even slices using a sharp knife. Layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and bake at 325 for 8 minutes, than up the temperature to 350 and bake for another 8-9 minutes. The cookies will be light golden brown and fragrant. They will still be soft, allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool the rets of the way.

Repeat with the remaining cookie dough, while cookies are cooling make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, zest, and powdered sugar. Whisk until combined and smooth. If the glaze is too thin simply add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time until it is thick enough. Pour onto the cooled cookies and if desired, top with more lemon zest for garnish, you may also dust the tops with extra powdered sugar. Serve and enjoy!

Italian Lemon Cookies

Soft, buttery, lemon shortbread cookies with lemon glaze
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Cost: $
Servings: 2 dozen


  • Cookies Sheet
  • Parchment Paper
  • Zester or Microplane


Lemon Cookies

  • 1 cup Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup Powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • Juice and zest of two lemons

Lemon Glaze

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups Powdered sugar
  • Zest of one lemon, plus extra for garnish if desired


  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, zest and salt, set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add in half of the flour mixture along with the lemon juice. Once combined, add the rest of the flour mixture, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. The dough will be sticky to touch, if it is too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until you reach desired consistency.
  • Transfer the dough to a large piece of parchment paper, using a dough scraper will make this easier. Roll the dough into a log, about 1- 1 1/2 inches wide, wrap tightly and refrigerate for an hour.
  • Once chilled, remove the dough from the fridge and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Transfer the slices to a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Bake at 325 for 8 minutes, then raise the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies will still be soft, allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes than transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • To make the lemon glaze, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, and powdered sugar. If the glaze is too thin add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until you reach a desired consistency. Once the cookies have cooled completely, pour the glaze over the top, if desired top with extra lemon zest for garnish, serve and enjoy!

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