With Spring in the air there is no better way to brighten up your day than a batch of these gluten free limoncello cookies. Some people call these cookies Italian lemon drops because of their bright lemon flavor. They are also known as lemon meltaways because their texture is soft and simply melts in your mouth.
They get their lemon flavor from the addition of limoncello, a lemon flavored liquer made in Italy. The baked cookies are then dipped in a thin lemon glaze which is the perfect finishing touch!
Why You'll Love These Limoncello Cookies
- They literally melt in your mouth.
- The dough is very versatile - it can be used for a drop cookie, a slice and bake, cut out cookies or even with cookie stamps (like I show here).
- They are gluten free and dairy free.
- You can easily substitute lemon juice for limoncello if you don't want to use liqueur.
- Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour - I use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Flour Blend in all of my recipes. You can use the flour blend of your choice just make sure it has xanthan gum. Different flour blends may produce different results. For the best outcome, weigh your flour.
- Sugar - This recipe only uses plain white sugar. You could also use powdered sugar in the same measure.
- Egg - The egg provides structure for the cookies.
- Vegan Butter - I use Miyokos Vegan Butter or Country Crock Plant Butter in all of my baking. You can also use regular butter in the same measure if you're not dairy free.
- Vanilla & Salt - To balance the flavors.
- Lemon Zest & Limoncello - The recipe calls for both to get a real lemon flavor. If you don't want to use Limoncello then you can substitute lemon juice in the same measure.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - use dairy butterin the same measure.
- Make it Vegan / Egg Free - The egg acts as a binder in this cookie, try 3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk as a substitute.
- No alcohol - If you don't have limoncello on hand or prefer to avoid alcohol, you can replace it with the same amount of lemon juice.
How to Make Limoncello Cookies
STEP 1: Rub freshly grated lemon zest into the sugar to transfer the oils and increase the lemon flavor.
STEP 2: Add the sugar and butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy.
STEP 3: Add the egg, vanilla and limoncello to the sugar mixture and beat for another 60 seconds.
STEP 4: Turn the mixer to the lowest speed. Add the salt and flour and mix until just combined.
Cover and chill the dough for 4 hours up to overnight.
Once your dough has chilled, you can prepare it for baking in several ways.
- Use a cookie scoop to make balls of dough. Place them on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly until they resemble hockey pucks.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper until ¼" thick. Freeze for 15 minutes. Then use cookie cutters to cut into shapes.
- Scoop dough into dough balls and place on a cookie sheet. Press down using a cookie stamp as shown in the photos.
How to Make Lemon Icing for Cookies
The icing or glaze for these lemon cookies turns out very similar to a donut glaze and it's very easy to make.
- Sift your powdered sugar into a small bowl.
- Add Limoncello and lemon zest to the sugar.
- Stir together until smooth.
Once your glaze is ready, dip the cookies one at a time and place on a wire rack to dry. After the glaze is completely dry you can move the lemon cookies to a storage container.
Is Limoncello Gluten Free?
Limoncello should always be gluten free. It is made by infusing lemon peels in grain alcohol (usually Vodka) and then combining the resulting liquid with sugar. Some celiacs do react to Vodka although it is considered gluten free.
These limoncello cookies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The glaze will keep the cookies fresh for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze these cookies for later. Package them in an airtight container or freezer bag and store for up to 2 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.
More lemon recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
For the cookies
- 2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
- ¾ Cup Sugar
- ¾ Cup Vegan Butter use vegan or regular butter
- 1 Egg
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 Tablespoon Limoncello Liqueur sub lemon juice for non-alcoholic
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 2 ¼ Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend (333 grams) I use Bob's Red Mill
For the lemon glaze
- 2 Cup Powdered Sugar sifted
- 6 Tablespoon Limoncello Liqueur sub lemon juice for non-alcoholic
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
For the cookies
- Combine lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar to impart the lemon oils.2 teaspoon Lemon Zest, ¾ Cup Sugar
- Combine lemon sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until light in color and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl.¾ Cup Vegan Butter
- Add the egg, vanilla and limoncello and beat another 60 seconds until combined. Scrape down the bowl.1 Egg, ½ teaspoon Vanilla, 2 Tablespoon Limoncello Liqueur
- Turn the mixer to the lowest speed. Add the flour and salt. Mix until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.¼ teaspoon Salt, 2 ¼ Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend
- Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator and scoop into balls about the size of a golf ball. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten using your hand or a cookie stamp. The cookies will not spread much so you can space them about an inch apart.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until cookies are setup but not browned on top.
- Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the lemon glaze
- Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl.2 Cup Powdered Sugar
- Add the limoncello and lemon zest to the sugar. Mix together until smooth.6 Tablespoon Limoncello Liqueur, 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- Working one at a time, dip the cookies into the glaze and then place them on a wire rack to dry. Once the glaze has dried, the cookies can be stored in an airtight container.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.