Lemon biscotti sound like a dainty little something served alongside a civilized cup of coffee or tea taken midafternoon. And they can be. But they’re equally welcome–Renee Schettler Rossi

The half-moon biscotti cookies on a yellow glass plate

Lemon Biscotti

5 / 2 votes
These lemon biscotti have a characteristic crunchy texture thanks to cornmeal and a pronounced lemon smack given the triple hit of lemon zest, lemon oil, and lemon vodka.
David Leite
Servings36 cookies
Calories90 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours


  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 1/2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon oil, such as Boyajian brand
  • 1/4 cup lemon vodka or limoncello


  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and light in color, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon zest, lemon oil, and vodka or limoncello and mix until combined.
  • Using a spoon or the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, stirring until completely combined. (If the dough is incredibly crumbly, you can add a little cold water, a few drops at a time, until it comes together. You'll probably need no more than 2 tablespoons.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter a baking sheet and lightly dust it with cornmeal.
  • Divide the dough in half. Using your hands and working on a lightly floured surface, form each half into a log 9 inches long by 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them well apart.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. The logs will be very pale in color.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C). When the logs are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cutting board and cut on the diagonal into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Place the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet and bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Turn them over and continue baking until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  • Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely before demurely noshing or dipping them in any warm liquid. (You can keep these in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)
The Olive Harvest Cookbook by Gerald Gass

Adapted From

The Olive Harvest Cookbook

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 90 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 1 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 2 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 17 mgSodium: 17 mgPotassium: 32 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 93 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 5 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2004 Gerald Gass. Photo © 2004 Maren Caruso. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love biscotti. I was a little unsure how these would turn out with the lemon flavor but they were so good! Just the perfect amount of lemon. It was there but not overbearing. Just right!

I used limoncello. I had to bake them a little longer on the second side. Otherwise these are perfect little nuggets of deliciousness. Also, they go perfectly with a cup of Earl Grey.

Biscotti are usually quite dry a great to accompaniment to drinks in which they’re dipped. The Italians eat them with a Tuscan wine, vin Santo. But they’re also perfect to accompany tea or coffee.

The use of cornmeal in this recipe makes these biscuits a little softer and the lemon zest, as well as the oil and Limoncello, give these small biscuits a very pleasant flavor.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Scottish Shortbread

This tender, buttery, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth Scottish shortbread is as authentic as it gets.

1 hr 25 mins

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

These easy-to-make icebox cookies are bejeweled with cranberries and pistachios to create a standout holiday cookie.

3 hrs 35 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Got a new double oven, blizzard conditions outside, hot coffee – what was missing was biscotti. So I came to my favorite site to see what kind I could make. Passed by this one because there was no way I was making vodka – then I read the comment about Limoncello – something I always have in my freezer – and gave it a whirl.

    The raw dough didn’t smell appetizing, maybe because I used lemon extract? But I figured what the heck, if I was going to improvise I might as well add slivered almonds. And the cornmeal addition intrigued me. (I’m in my new grits zone so anything corn is worth a try).

    I sliced them after the initial 30 minutes and they crumbled somewhat probably due to the amount of almonds loaded in them. But some of them remained cookie-like and I baked the whole lot of them–crumbs and all–at the remaining reduced temp.

    I can’t stop eating them–lemony, not too sweet, crunch of the almonds, with the added bonus of all those crumbs just perfect to sprinkle over ice cream.

    1. Marilyn, so glad you enjoyed them. The smell could have been due to using the extract, and the texture is surely due to the almonds. Since this recipe was created, there has been an abundance of lemon/citrus vodkas that I removed the instructions to make your own. Who wants to wait three weeks to make biscotti?

  2. No comments?!?!? Well, I’ll have to break the ice.

    I wonder if Limoncello would work for this. It’s got a lot of sugar, but I don’t think it should throw anything off, since a relatively small amount. I’m happy to see the cornmeal in there. I’ve been thinking that might make a nice addition to some cookies and now I have a recipe. 😉

    1. ruthie, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think so. Why not give it a try and report back! (Update: Ruthie, Marilyn used limoncello, and it worked beautifully.)