Italian Lemon Cookies (Anginetti)

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!Until recently, I didn’t realize exactly how similar Texas and Italy are.  Italy has pasta, and Texas has….beef.  Italy has ancient buildings, and Texas has…wide open plains.  Ok, so maybe they don’t have that much in common.  This recipe for Italian Lemon Cookies would be much appreciated in Texas, though.  And why is that?  Well, because it makes a boatload of cookies…and we all know that everything in Texas is bigger, right?

I was born in Texas, and although my wife is from Pennsylvania, her family has strong Italian roots.  That’s fine by me as it means we get to snack on Italian Antipasto Salad every summer and ravioli and meatballs every Christmas.  (Yes, Christmas dinner features a turkey along with a huge pot of ravioli and meatballs.  I usually go straight for the ravioli.  Just sayin’.)

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!When my wife and I moved to upstate New York several years ago, I was surprised at the heavy Italian influence in this area.  I grew up all over the Southeast, and there just isn’t a huge Italian presence in the southern part of the U.S.  (I somehow still managed to develop a love infatuation for all things Italy, though.)  Here in our area, we’re lucky enough to have Italian markets all over the place.  That means we have access to some really awesome authentic Italian ingredients.  Given my love for Italian food, that almost makes up for all of the snow that dumps on us every winter up here.  Almost.

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!I discovered these Italian Lemon Cookies (aka Anginetti) after a coworker at the school where I taught brought in a big batch of them one morning.  One bite and I was hooked.  Like seriously hooked.  These cookies are soft and crumbly and full of lemony goodness.  I personally think they partner quite well with a cup of coffee…which means you are totally allowed to eat these bad boys for breakfast!

The key to these cookies is the lemon glaze.  Without that, I hate to say it…but they’d be a bit boring.  Anginetti often have multi-colored sprinkles on top, but I chose to keep it simple and just sprinkle a tiny pinch of lemon zest on the top of each cookie.  I also added in a tiny bit of anise extract to the dough.  Anise is somewhat of a polarizing flavor.  I get it.  You either love anise or you hate it.  I’m not one to eat a bowl of black jelly beans (I pick around the black ones), but I do enjoy the hint of anise in these cookies.  But feel free to leave the anise out.  I’ve made these cookies both ways, and they’re both delicious.

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!What is your stance on eating cookies for breakfast?  More importantly, do you eat the black jelly beans?

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!

Italian Lemon Cookies (Anginetti)

These light and crumbly Italian Lemon Cookies are perfect with a cup of coffee!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 48 cookies
Calories: 124kcal


For the Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp anise extract optional; see note
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder

For the Lemon Glaze

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


For the Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Using a countertop mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, lemon juice and anise extract (optional); mix until well combined.
  • Add the flour and baking powder; mix until well combined. (Tip: Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to ensure batter is well mixed.)
  • Scoop ~1 tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan and gently press top of cookie slightly. Repeat until all dough has been used.
  • Bake at 375°F for 13-15 minutes, or until cookies are light golden in color. Let cookies cool slightly before icing.

For the Lemon Glaze

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients (powdered sugar, melted butter, milk, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest). Whisk until smooth.
  • Place a wire rack over a piece of parchment paper. Using a spoon or small spatula, frost the top of each cookie with the Lemon Glaze. Set frosted cookies on rack to dry slightly before serving.


The anise flavor in these cookies is subtle, but if you aren't an anise fan then feel free to omit it. You could also substitute almond extract in place of the anise.

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  1. David, I was born and raised in Texas too!! Dallas. . and went to the University of Texas at Austin. . dude, for a guy, you bake such pretty cookies!!! I’m floored!! 😉 love these, David! just pinned them twice! 😛

    1. Haha! So my family is definitely a UT-Austin family. Dad, uncle, aunt, granddad…the list goes on. I probably would have gone there, too, had we not moved away when I was young. I remember my Dad reaching me the Hook ’em, Horns sign when I was like 7 years old. 🙂 Thank you so much for pinning…you totally rock, Alice!

  2. These cookies look divine! I love Italian food so much – definitely my favourite cuisine! 😀 Italian style cookies and biscuits are mine and my sisters favourite! Definitely thinking of giving these a go – adore that lovely lemon flavour!

    1. I love everything Italy, too, Jess! In fact, I’m pretty sure I would pick up and move to the Italian countryside in a heartbeat. As long as I had access to cookies and lots of Italian food, of course. 🙂

  3. OOh, I LOVE all things with “lemony goodness” – and these look so pillowy and soft and ooh…I have no more words! I am going to visit my sis in Dallas this summer and I am thinking she would love a big batch of these – but, if I take her some – I would actually have to let her eat some right? Now that would be a problem! These look too good to share! I also happen to love anise – though, I usually use it in savory dishes.

    1. So here’s the problem, Shashi. If you bake a big bag of these cookies and then take them with you on the plane…well, there’d be no cookies left by the time you got to Dallas. But it would mean that you had a heck of an awesome flight munching away on cookies. 🙂 I can’t decide if I prefer these cookies with or without the anise…so that’s why I put it here as optional. I guess it depends on my mood! (Not that I need an excuse to make more cookies…haha…)

    1. Haha! Me, too, Christina. Just slap “Italian” in front of something, and I’m instantly intrigued. That’s probably what got my hooked on these cookies when my coworker brought them in several years ago. That and the wonderful lemon flavor…perfect for spring and summer!

    1. I had never heard of these until a couple of years ago when a coworker brought them in. She’s from a huge Italian family, and this was a recipe that had been passed down. She didn’t even know the true Italian name for them. After some Googling, we figured out they were a twist on Anginetti. You often see these cookies with sprinkles on them in Italian bakeries, but I opted for the lemon zest instead. It just seemed appropriate! P.S. They are delicious with coffee!! 🙂

  4. Does Texas have Gondola’s and Sachertorte gelato with actual sachertorte pieces in it?

    Maybe. How could you omit the sprinkles? Way to wreck the momentum. However, these look epic without them and eating cookies for breakfast = always acceptable. Black jelly beans…not so much.

    1. That is indeed a great question, Arman. I bet if we look hard enough, someone has a gondola in Texas, and maybe someone else has gelato. Sachertorte gelato might be pushing it a bit, though.

      Hahaha….I thought the sprinkles weren’t necessary since I went with the lemon zest instead. But you’re right, sprinkles do indeed make everything better. And while these aren’t the no-bake, protein-packed beauties that you have in your cupboard, I still give you permission to eat them for breakfast. And we need to figure out a good way to use all of the black jelly beans in the world. Maybe someone can develop a way to use them as energy for cars. That would be appropriate.

  5. Totally loved reading it, the beginning was so perfect:)
    I love tangy flavours-be it lemon or orange…lemon cookies are always welcomed. WIll try this David

    1. Thanks, Shweta…you are too kind! But I do agree with you–citrus cookies are always a good option. And citrus cookies in the spring when it’s finally warming up from a cold winter are an even better option! I know I loved discovering these cookies a couple of years ago. They are bright and flavorful, but they are crumbly…so they’re perfect for dunking into a cup of coffee!!

  6. Where do I start with this post? One, I HATE black jelly beans. LOL! Two, I’m totally onboard with cookies for breakfast. Three, you had me at anything lemon flavored. Four, now I want meatballs. LOL!

    1. Hahaha…I totally busted up laughing at your #4, Tamara! But hey, you can have meatballs and ravioli for dinner and then Lemon Cookies for dessert, right? That way you can kill two birds with one stone! I also hate black jelly beans. Blech. (But every once in a while, I like just a little bit of anise…usually when talking about Italian cookies of some sort. Go figure!)

  7. I’m one of those people that normally is not an anise fan. Sometimes, if used super subtle fashion, I’m cool with it… but I loathe licorice flavor with a passion (I’m not a fan of fennel for that very reason). But these cookies look totally legit dude. My wife is a HUGE lemon fan, so I’m pretty sure if I made these she would eat half of the batch before I got a can to even grab a photo of them! #wolfpackbakes

    1. That would be so rude if your wife stole all of your cookies before you could take photos! I go back and forth with the anise in this recipe…I guess it depends on my mood. I say you surprise your wife with a huge batch of lemon cookies. Just don’t tell her you’re making them!

    1. Haha…well, thank you, Ben! Italian cookies are definitely a favorite around here. These bad boys are lemon-y and crumbly…which means they are perfect to dunk into a mug of hot coffee!

  8. I’m all about that glaze, these look so tasty! That anise and lemon combo is a good one and as far as I know a cookie is good ANYTIME, but I’m not a big black jelly bean fan. Red licorice for me. Weird, no? 🙂

    1. So you’ll take the red licorice but not the black licorice? Weird! Just kidding, of course. I’m not a huge licorice fan, and I typically avoid the black jelly beans…but every once in a while I like making these cookies with the lemon + anise combo. Go figure!

    1. Ah, so now I know who to send all of my black jellybeans to, Greg! And based on the comments above, I think I might have a few more people who would love to send you some licorice beans, too. You’ll be overwhelmed by black jellybeans! 🙂

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