Limoncello Italian Wedding Cookies

Also known as Russian tea cookies, Italian snowball cookies, anginetti, polvorones, Russian tea cakes, butterballs, and Mexican wedding cookies, Italian wedding cookies are a bite-sized sweet treat that always tastes best when homemade. These sweet little balls have limoncello as well as lemons and vanilla to flavour them, so you can imagine how wonderful these powdered sugar-topped cookies will taste.

A stack of homemade limoncello Italian wedding cookies. Also known as Russian tea cookies, Italian snowball cookies, anginetti, polvorones, Russian tea cakes, butterballs, and Mexican wedding cookies.

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These delicious little wedding cookies are too good to only enjoy at weddings. In fact, they’re so tasty and popular, you’ll want to make and savour them often!

There are so many gorgeous-tasting Italian cookies and baked delicacies to add to your cookie tray. Consider panetonne, Italian rainbow cookies or gingerbread pizzelle. And for something completely different, campfire apple crisp is seriously addictive!

Italian wedding cookies made with homemade limoncello.

Why You’ll Love Them

Tasty: The tangy bite of lemon pairs with the sweetness of powdered sugar, the crunch of pecans, and the aromatic hint of vanilla, with the result that this Italian wedding cookies recipe will surely delight your tastebuds.
Easy: Making Italian wedding cookies isn’t difficult. The recipe is largely a case of combining the ingredients, baking the wedding cookies, and then letting them cool completely. Even a beginner home baker will love the simplicity.
Versatile: Despite their name, Italian wedding cookies are ideal for all kinds of occasions, certainly not just weddings. Pair one or two with your mid-morning coffee, or enjoy one with some iced tea or soda in the afternoon. They are good with your after dinner coffee. They also make great Christmas cookies, and you can gift them as well.

Classic Italian wedding cookies.

Ingredients in Italian Wedding Cookies

Italian wedding cookies are made with lemons, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, flour, salt, limoncello, pecans, and confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners sugar is the same thing as powdered sugar. Use purchased limoncello or try my recipe for homemade limoncello.

Ingredients to make Limoncello flavoured Italian wedding cookies.

How to Make Them

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

The first steps: Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the ingredients: Massage the lemon zest into the sugar.
Add more ingredients: Cream butter with the lemon sugar by hand or with a food processor, then add vanilla salt, and flour, mixing until the dough is crumbly.
Add the remaining ingredients: Add the limoncello and pecans.
Shape the cookies: Roll the dough into balls (measuring them out first with an ice cream scoop or cookie dough scoop) and arrange the Italian cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the Italian wedding cookies: Give them 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven or cook until just starting to turn golden.
Roll in powdered sugar: While still warm, roll the Italian wedding cookies in powdered sugar (also known as confectioners sugar or icing sugar) then let them cool. You can then add another powdered sugar coating.

Putting icing sugar on the cookies.
A plate of powder sugar coated wedding cookies.

Substitutions and Variations

Almonds, macadamias, or walnuts can be used in place of the pecans, or you can use a combination of different nuts. You can omit the limoncello if you don’t want to use alcohol. Swap the vanilla extract for almond extract or anisette extract for a different flavour.

Homemade Italian cookies on a cutting board.

What to Serve with Italian Wedding Cookies

Like many other cookie recipes, Italian wedding cookies pair beautifully with any drink. They’re perfect as part of a buffet or potluck supper and might well become one of your favourite cookie recipes. Other cookies that you could include on an Italian cookie platter are chocolate chestnut tortelli cookies, Baci di Dama, pignoli cookies, nutellotti or canestrelli cookies.

A stack of authentic Italian wedding cookies.

How to Store Homemade Limoncello Cookies

Store:  Keep Italian wedding cookies on a tray loosely wrapped with plastic wrap or foil. If you opt for a plastic airtight container instead, it will get moist and spoil faster. Kept loosely covered, they should stay fresh for three or even seven days.
Freeze:  You can either freeze the dough or freeze Italian wedding cookies that are already cooked. If you’re freezing the dough balls, you don’t have to thaw them before baking. They should be fine, baked or unbaked, for up to a few months in the freezer.

Wedding cookies with lemon flavour.

Italian Wedding Cookies FAQs

How did these cookies get their name?

There is often a sweet table at weddings, and these Italian cookies with finely ground pecans, walnuts, or almonds, and extra powdered sugar coating certainly deserve their place. These pillowy, soft shortbread cookies were probably created in Russia, and then they made their way across Europe, eventually reaching the United States.

What do limoncello cookies taste like?

Texture-wise, these are light, crumbly, and soft. Flavour-wise, you can expect a sweet, nutty taste along with the sweetness from the powdered sugar coating. Because these pair so well with liqueurs such as amaretto, they are often enjoyed after dinner with a coffee and a shot of your preferred liqueur.

An Italian wedding cookie with a bite removed.
Cookies made from an Italian wedding cookie recipe.

Limoncello Italian Wedding Cookies

5 from 34 votes
Course: Sweets
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 30 Cookies
Calories: 147kcal
Author: Bella Bucchiotti
These delicious limoncello Italian wedding cookies are are a bite-sized sweet treat that always tastes best when homemade
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Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.
  • Combine the granulated sugar with the lemon zest. Use clean hands to massage the zest into the sugar.
  • Add the softened butter to the lemon sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt, and beat again.
  • Add the flour and mix until the dough is crumbly and pebbly in texture. Add the limoncello and mix until combined.
  • Add the chopped pecans and mix one last time to incorporate.
  • Use a 1.5" cookie scoop to scoop the dough, then roll into a ball and place onto the prepared baking sheet 2" to 3" apart.
  • Bake the cookies in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until very lightly golden brown.
  • Roll the cookies while they are still warm in the powdered sugar and set aside to cool. Once completely cool, roll in the powdered sugar again and let sit for 30 minutes before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition

Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
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The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Authentic, traditional Limoncello wedding cookies with their wonderful powdered sugar coating just melt in the mouth. They are perfect for any special occasion or gathering because everyone will love Italian wedding cookies. They’re easy to make and are sure to disappear fast when everyone tastes one and realizes how delicious they are.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

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Recipe Rating




  1. Tracy wrote:

    5 stars
    Make this recipe every year!

    Posted 7.2.23 Reply
  2. Tina Elliot wrote:

    5 stars
    Really light and delicate, a bit like biscotti but less dry, more crumbly and more tasty. Still pretty good with a cappuccino though!

    Posted 10.24.23 Reply