Limoncello Cookies

Sometimes it’s fun to just go with the flow when making our food. A little spontaneous dash of this and that in a recipe can keep things from getting boring. But I’ve found over the years that going with the flow when cooking (as in preparing meats and vegetables) usually works but having that attitude when baking (making cakes, breads, or cookies) can be a whole ‘nother thing.  Baking usually requires more accurate measuring and random additions of this or that can be more risky. But I let myself experiment a bit this week with baking these limoncello cookies and I’m happy to report that going with the flow worked just fine!

Recipe for limoncello cookies - soft and chewy limoncello cookies with limoncello glaze

Adding Limoncello To Sugar Cookies

To make these limoncello cookies I started with my most reliable and favorite sugar cookie recipe that I’ve used before as a template to branch out to make other flavored cookies.  I’ve learned that I can add a new “wet” ingredient to this recipe (like molasses or peanut butter) if I cut back a bit on the butter the original recipe called for. I still had some of my homemade limoncello that I’m using up and decided to see if this could be a new “wet” ingredient to add to my sugar cookie recipe. And it worked!

How to make limoncello cookies

Limoncello is an Italian liqueur that’s tasty for sipping or adding to cocktails but is often used in baking too. So I’m glad I figured out a simple way to use my limoncello in my baking just by tweaking one of my favorite cookie recipes. You might be able to use this strategy with one of your own favorite sugar cookie recipes too. And if you can’t find limoncello in the store, this is the easy method I use to make my own limoncello.

Once the dough is mixed together for these cookies, I roll them into balls between the palms of my hands and flatten them just a bit before I put them on the cookie sheets for baking.  I’ve been using my silicone baking mats that I received as a gift and they work great for cookie baking.

How to make limoncello cookies

The Finishing Limoncello Touch

For a little extra lemon flavor I made a quick icing glaze using powdered sugar and limoncello. This is one of my favorite ways to add a little frosting to a cookie because it will dry up hard which means you can then pile your cookies on top of each other on a plate or in a container and they won’t stick to each other. Before the glaze hardened I added a few yellow sugar sprinkles for some extra color.  A bit of grated lemon zest could also be used as a topping for these cookies.

Homemade limoncello cookie recipe with limoncello glaze

It’s also easy to vary the consistency of this icing glaze.  If you want a thin glaze, just add a little more liquid (in this case limoncello) and it will be a consistency better for drizzling.  If you want a slightly thicker consistency use less liquid and you’ll have a consistency better for spreading. My recipe below calls for 5 teaspoons of limoncello in the icing which was somewhat thin but still worked for spreading. You may want to add the limoncello to the powdered sugar one teaspoon at a time until you have the consistency you prefer.

So I guess this recipe gives us some opportunities to go with the creative flow after all, even if we are baking!

Limoncello Cookies

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Dessert


  • 2-1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 Cups Butter – Softened (12 Tbl or 1-1/2 sticks)
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Limoncello Liqueur
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Limoncello Glaze

  • 3/4 Cuup Powdered Sugar (Confectioner Sugar)
  • 5 tsp Limoncello Liqueur


  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, egg, limoncello, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture to form a soft dough.
  • Roll the dough into small balls and flatten slightly. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cookies can be finished with a limoncello icing glaze as follows:

  • Combine the 3/4 cup powdered sugar and the 5 teaspoons of  limoncello in a small mixing bowl.  The glaze consistency should be a little bit on the thin side.
  • Spread a thin layer of the icing glaze on each cookie. Sprinkle with decorative sugar or a bit of lemon zest if desired.
  • Note:  if you would like a thinner glaze that can be drizzled over the cookies, just add a bit more limoncello to the icing mixture until you have the desired consistency.

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    1. Usually using oil (instead of butter) in a cookie recipe will result in a cookie that will spread more when baked and could have a denser consistency. If you still want to give it a try, use a little bit less oil than the amount of butter called for in the recipe.

    1. Did you perhaps use margarine instead of butter? Sometimes I’ve noticed that different margarines can create moister dough.

    1. I’ve often wondered if some limoncellos are more potent than others. Especially if you make your own, you could have different strengths of lemon flavor in your limoncello which could account for different results in the cookie recipe too.

  1. Just made these delicious cookies last night. They turned out awesome. I was a little worried they would be too dry, so I cut back the baking time from 10 min. to 8 min. They came out perfectly. I also added lemon zest to the glaze, it was the icing on the cake! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. It’s definitely a keeper!!

  2. I made these cookies today. They are the prettiest little cookies and I know my son will love them. (they’re for his birthday). Thanks for posting this recipe.

  3. I just finished making these…. they came out incredible! I didn’t have all-purpose flour but I had bread flour and they still were a hit! I’m planning to add this recipe for my Christmas cookie platter! Thanks they were simple quick and tasty!?