Lemon Italian Knot Cookies

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I was intrigued when I saw some photos of Italian Knot Cookies recently and thought that they looked very good and would probably taste great, with a lemon flavour.  So today I am making some.

Although the recipe is quite simple the dough is very sticky to work with, so when rolling dough into lengths to knot plently of extra flour needs to be available to make it easier.  When the cookies are baked they are quite pale and are enhanced by some glaze, or icing, also flavoured with lemon.  For mine I made the glaze with a mixture of lemon juice and limoncello but lemon juice only will certainly work fine.

I am very happy with how the cookies turned out, they are light, firm and have a fantastic lemon flavour.  Those who dont want too much lemon can substitute some milk instead. It should also be said that they can be shaped in any way you wish, or find easiest.

Lemon Italian Knot Cookies

Lemon Italian Knot Cookies – Video

For the cookies:

  • 310g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 160ml flavourless oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice(or milk)
  • 3 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • pinch of salt

For the glaze:

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice(or 4 tbsp if not using limoncello)
  • 2 tbsp limoncello
  • Lemon zest for sprinkling, if desired.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the eggs and sugar until fully combined.
  2. Add the oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until all is combined.
  3. Mix the baking powder, salt and flour together and add to the wet mixture.
  4. Mix on a low speed until the flour is fully combined and you have a sticky, pliable dough.
  5. Add a little more flour if the dough is still extremely sticky.
  6. Place the dough in some plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350 F.
  8. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  9. Liberally flour the work surface.
  10. Take balls of dough, about 30-35 grams and roll into a sausage shape of about 6 inches long.
  11. Tie the sausage of dough into a knot, or make into a loop and plait the ends, or any shape you wish.
  12. Place on the baking tray.
  13. Bake in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes until the cookies are baked and just beginning to change colour around the edges.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  15. Mix the lemon jiuce and limoncello together.
  16. Add it to the icing sugar, retaining a little in case you don’t need all the liquid.
  17. Mix together to form a paste of the thickness you want.
  18. Either dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and place on a rack to set, or brush the glaze over the tops of the cookies.
  19. Sprinkle a little lemon zest over the top of the glaze, if desired.

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