This delicious lemon pizzelle recipe is an Italian cookie that will brighten up any dessert cookie tray. These Italian cookies are easy to make and taste amazing with just the right amount of lemon flavor. They are perfect for the Christmas holidays, Easter or even at weddings.
About this Lemon Pizzelle Recipe
This recipe uses a pizzelle recipe that we’ve used for generations in our family. Although the original family pizzelle recipe is for anise pizzelles, I decided to use the same batter and swap the flavorings used.
The result? Delicioso!
There are actually a variety of ways to add lemon flavor to your pizzelle cookies, and I’ll get into that further down in the substitutions section below.
You can expect to spend between 45 minutes and an hour making these from scratch. That includes the mixing of ingredients and the actual process of making each pizzelle in a pizzelle maker. A single batch of my lemon pizzelle recipe will produce about 16 cookies.
PRO TIP: Our family recipe does not use baking powder. Many pizzelle recipes out there call for this ingredient. But baking powder is a leavening agent and we want thin and crispy lemon pizzelles, not thick ones that rise!
What’s a Pizzelle?
Odds are you probably already know what a pizzelle is otherwise you wouldn’t be here. But if you’re new to pizzelle making I’ll give you a quick definition.
A pizzelle is a traditional Italian waffle cookie. They are very thin and should be crispy, although some people prefer them not so crispy.
For a detailed explanation about pizzelles, check out my article, How to use a Pizzelle Maker.
Pizzelles are formed using an electric pizzelle iron or press, very much like a waffle iron. After they are pressed and baked, they emerge with imprints on both sides. One side is of a floral design, the other represents the weaving of a basket.
They are often a little misshaped and have an edge that extends beyond the imprint. This is normal of any classic pizzelle recipe.
Often they are coated in confectioner’s sugar, but sometimes they aren’t, such as for a chocolate pizzelle. I like my pizzelle cookies coated with the sugar, especially these lemon ones.
Here’s the kitchen equipment you’ll need to make lemon pizzelles.
Specific measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. As you can see this is a very simple pizzelle recipe using simple ingredients.
- Lemon extract. I am a fan of using extract but if you have fresh lemons, you can grate and use the rind of a lemon. Just make sure not to scrape the white pith as that is very bitter.
- Olive oil. Use regular olive oil. You want an oil that has very little flavor and regular olive oil will provide that. Avoid extra virgin olive oil. You can also use vegetable oil but I avoid this due to the high fructose corn syrup it usually contains.
- Butter. This will need to be melted and cooled before you can use it.
- All Purpose Flour
- Confectioner’s sugar. This is used for coating the pizzelles after they have cooled on racks.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the instructions for how to make lemon pizzelles. It’s very easy and I’ll step you through the recipe process step by step with images and tips.
Making the batter
1- Start by melting the butter in a small pan over low heat and then let it cool. Meanwhile, start getting the other ingredients together.
2- Once the butter is cooled, in a large mixing bowl combine all the wet ingredients – the eggs, lemon extract, olive oil, and the melted butter. I use a spoon or whisk to mix everything together.
3- In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients so they are evenly combined… the sugar, flour, and salt. Do not add the confectioner’s sugar – that’s for later.
4- Next, gradually add a little bit of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until well incorporated. Then add a little more and repeat until everything is well blended. You’ll end up with a batter that is thick and slightly sticky.
PRO TIP: If you scoop up some of the batter with a spoon and let it fall back into the bowl, the batter should slowly slide off the spoon. If it’s too runny, add a little more flour. If too thick, add a drop of water.
Cooking the pizzelles
5- Plug the pizzelle maker in and heat it up until it is ready. This usually takes about 4 to 5 minutes. When ready, drop a small amount of the batter, about a tablespoon, on the center of each pizzelle plate. You can use a spoon or a medium size cookie scoop to place the dollop of batter on the plates.
6- Lower the lid and press down until it latches. This will flatten the cookie and start cooking it. Depending on the maker you’re using, times will vary. For the one I like to use, it’s about 40 seconds. You want them to be golden brown, not burnt.
PRO TIP: It will take a few tries to get the timing right. Expect pizzelles to not come out perfectly shaped – this is normal and what we want. If it’s undercooked, they won’t be crispy. Don’t worry if the color is not even across the pizzelle – that’s okay.
7- Gently remove the pizzelles from the press and transfer the hot cookies to a cooling rack. I place my cookie racks on top of a cookie sheet to catch any loose bits.
8- Once the lemon cookies are cooled, take a regular plate or pie pan and put the confectioner’s sugar in it. Then coat each pizzelle with the sugar on both sides by pressing the pizzelle into the sugar. Make sure to tap off as much excess sugar as you can.
9- Place in ziploc bags or an airtight container until ready to serve.
Recipe Substitutions & Variations
Here are some modifications you can make with this recipe.
- Use lemon rind by slightly grating the exterior of a whole lemon. This should produce about 2 tsps of lemon zest which will still give a wonderful lemon flavor. The best type of lemon to use are meyer lemons, although you should only need one unless it’s very small.
- If you prefer not to use lemon at all, or want to make it more citrusy, then try adding a bit of orange zest as well.
- I don’t recommend using lemon juice or oils in this recipe. Lemon juice is too tart, and lemon oil is more intense and provides too strong a lemony flavor in my opinion. Here’s a good article on the differences.
Cooking and Storage Tips
Here are some important tips for making and storing your cookies.
- The batter can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to a day. Make sure to let it get to room temperature and mix well before using.
- Most standard pizzelle makers will produce a 5” pizzelle. If using a mini-pizzelle maker, these make smaller ones, so adjust the timing and quantity of the batter used accordingly.
- Once these lemon pizzelles are coated, store them in ziploc bags or in airtight containers. If storing in containers, place wax paper on the bottom and top of the stack of cookies.
- These don’t need to be refrigerated. Treat them like regular cookies.
- You can also freeze these pizzelles after you make them. I recommend freezing them before coating them with the confectioner’s sugar.
More Lemon Cookies and Desserts You May Enjoy
These Anginetti cookies are also known as lemon drop cookies. They are cake-like and are made for Christmas and weddings in Italian culture.
My Ricotta Lemon Pie is an easy Italian dessert recipe that is slightly similar to a cheesecake but is made with ricotta instead.
Here’s a recipe for Italian lemon cake. This single layer cake is delicious, refreshing, and light.
I hope you enjoy my Italian lemon pizzelle recipe. Let me know in the comments below if you have your own special method for making lemon pizzelles or special family traditions. If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider rating the recipe below.
Lemon Pizzelle Recipe
- In a large bowl mix the wet ingredients together using a whisk or spoon.3 eggs, 2 tsp lemon extract, 1/4 cup regular olive oil, 1/4 cup melted and cooled butter
- In a smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.3/4 cup sugar, 1 pinch salt, 1 1/2 cups flour
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time making sure to mix while adding. The end result should be a thick batter that is slightly sticky.
- Use a spoon or a medium cookie scoop and drop a small amount onto each pizzelle imprint/plate.
- Lower the lid of the pizzelle maker and press down to flatten. Let the pizzelle cook until it is golden brown but not dark brown. This can vary, but mine usually take about 40 seconds. Yours may be longer or shorter depending on the maker you use. It's okay if the pizzelle is not the same even color.
- Let the pizzelles cool completely by placing them on a cookie rack.
- When fully cooled, they are ready to coat with the confectioners sugar. Do this by pouring some of the sugar onto a flat plate. Press each side of the pizzelle into the sugar and then tap the pizzelle to remove excess clumps of sugar. You just want it to be coated with the sugar. Repeat for each pizzelle.confectioners sugar
- You can use either lemon extract or freshly grated lemon rind. I prefer the extract simply because it’s more convenient to keep on hand.
- You don’t have to coat with the sugar, but I find that it helps balance the flavor.
- If storing in the freezer, there is no need to coat the pizzelles until they are thawed and at room temperature.
- Store in an air tight container. They don’t need to be refrigerated, but don’t leave them out for more than a day. If stored in the fridge, they may soften.
- For detailed steps and images, see the text in the post.