Limoncello Macaroons

These limoncello macaroon cookies are golden-crusted, powder-coated, almond-citrus gems spiked with limoncello liqueur.

Limoncello Macaroons

I packed a number of things for last weekend's getaway to Mendocino. One pair of flip-flops, one book, a stack of magazines, a bottle of bubbles, ten rolls of film, three cameras, a tripod and a bag of limoncello macaroons. I bookmarked these Pinched Orange Macaroons a while back, and when my sister gave me a bottle of limoncello (made from lemons in her yard), I decided to do a twist on Patrick Lemble's cookies using the homemade citrus liqueur and zest. I thought they'd be a nice little treat for the cabin.

Close-up of Limoncello Macaroons on Baking Sheet
The cookies are made primarily from almond paste and they bake into golden-crusted, powder-coated, almond-citrus gems. A tad messy to make, but well worth it. They've become one of my all-time favorite little cookies.

Perfect Place for Macaroon Treats - Cabin in Mendocino Woods

Before we dive into the minutiae of macaroon cookie making, I thought I'd share a few photos. For those of you who have missed previous mentions of the cabin, it is waaay off the grid, and a bit rustic - in the very best way possible. I like to sit on the porch and do a whole lot of nothing. We played board games and cards, cracked jokes, and talked a lot about the mountain lion that has been spotted at the cabin over the past few months.
Limoncello Macaroon Recipe

The mountain lion seemed like an abstract concept to me. Abstract in the way that I know there are bears around when I go camping, but I don't really think about it much because they don't bother me. There's a difference here. This mountain lion has apparently killed a couple goats in the area. And then, there's that photo up above. Lori & Lisa's cousin rode down the driveway on his quad one afternoon to show us. He'd rigged a motion capture camera near his cabin, just up the road a bit, and apparently the camera captured that frame. It's hard to tell from my picture, but I assure you, that cat is large.
Limoncello Macaroon Recipe
So, for the most part we stuck around the cabin. Or traveled in a pack when we were out and about. On the food front, Lori made an amazing grilled eggplant, arugula, and mozzarella salad as part of our dinner Saturday night, and if she posts it or publishes it at some point, I'll be sure to link to it and give you all the heads up. Strong, garlicky, and good. She makes a mean panzanella as well.

Limoncello Macaroon Recipe

As far as the limoncello macaroons are concerned, let me say a few things. First off, they travel quite well. And while they seemed to be at their absolute peak roughly thirty minutes after baking, I placed the cooled cookies in a sealed plastic bag, and they were delicious for days. There wasn't as much textural difference between the outside crust and the super-moist middle after being bagged, but they were still 90% as good. They're perfect for a holiday cookie assortment.

Limoncello Macaroon Recipe
They're also made from one of the simplest batters imaginable. I made one batch following Patrick's original technique, then took a shortcut with the second batch which you'll see reflected in my version of the recipe below. In short, I found I didn't really need to do an egg wash/powder. I found the dough was quite moist. I threw a good amount of powdered sugar down on the counter top and shaped the cookies from there. They had a nice powdered sugar coating without the extra step. If you find you're not getting enough of a powdered sugar coating before baking, give each ball of dough a light brushing of egg white and a quick roll in more powdered sugar.
Limoncello Macaroons on A Baking Sheet
If you're still on the hunt for more treats, here's where you can find all the cookie recipes. I'll forever love classic shortbread cookies, I'd argue these are the best ginger cookies and please, please give these snickerdoodles a go. They're kissed with saffron and vanilla, really something special. For the lemon lovers? Try this glazed lemon cake!

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Limoncello Macaroons

5 from 3 votes

The original recipe is an almond paste base enhanced with Grand Marnier as a flavor accent. But I can imagine taking these cookies in many different directions. This time around I went the lemon route, but if you can imagine an ingredient pairing well with sweet almonds, you might try it here. I used two tubes of Odense almond paste here, but be interested if any of you know of a good, pure almond paste make from organic almonds. Also, be sure to buy almond paste, not marzipan.

  • 1 large egg white
  • 14 oz / 400g almond paste
  • 1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus quite a bit more for surface and coating
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • scant 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Beat the egg white, the almond paste, confectioners' sugar, and almond extract together either by hand or with an electric mixer, until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the zest, limoncello, and salt and beat until combined, another 30 seconds.
  3. Coat a clean/dry surface with a generous handful of sifted confectioners' sugar then turn the dough out onto it. Shape and roll out the dough into two 3/4-inch thick logs, roughly 18 inches long. Cut each log into 24 equal pieces (see photo). Make sure each piece is entirely coated in sugar, tapping to remove excess.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. They don't spread much so you can crowd them a bit more than you might with other cookies. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F / 180C degrees. Use three fingers to gently pinch each piece of dough to form an irregular pyramid shape of you like, or you can leave them pillow shaped. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, I also like them deeply golden, it's a matter of personal preference really, but baking for a few extra minutes will achieve this. Transfer the cookies from baking sheets to wire racks, and let cool completely. These cookies keep well in an air-tight container for a few days.

Makes 4 dozen bite-sized cookies.

These cookies are a riff on the Pinched Orange Macaroons by Patrick Lemble (executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons restaurant, New York City) highlighted in the December 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


These look wonderful! Normally I'm not a huge macaroon fan but I love the idea of something a little tarter... will have to give these a try

Feast on the Cheapf

I was excited to come across your website and this recipe. I just made the cookies and not sure what I did wrong. The cookies expanded quite a bit and as soon as I took them out of oven they fell flat ... pancake flat. Any tips or suggestion for next time?


Oook! I'm going to try to make them! I love limoncello. I think that i'll love macaroons too!

migliori giochi online

these look fantastic-I'll definitely be trying them out! thank you!


FYI most almond paste is NOT gluten free, the odense brand has glucose syrup in it which contains wheat starch. HS: Thanks Sara, will update.


They *do* look fantastic...

Scott at Real Epicurean

This is a brilliant combination. Can't wait to try these. We plan on making some homemade limoncello first.

Poor Taste

Hi Heidi, This look so delicious. I don't cook or eat any sugar, but I love baking with your recipes. So when they do have sugar, which is only sometimes, I usually adapt them with honey, agave nectar, molasses, etc. And I've been dying to cook with almond paste. Any idea where to buy almond paste with alternative sweetener or how I could make my own and still get that heavenly almond taste? Thanks!

Rebecca O

Oh. My. Goodness. Limonchello cookies! Who would have thunk it. Now I can EAT Limoncello as well as drink it! Love it


Your blog is beautiful...I'm always looking for an interesting recipe for macaroons...I will definitely try these!

Sheila @ Dinner at Sheila's

I really dont think you needed to be concerned about the lion! They are elusive creatures and would not confront a human unless ambushed. Looks like a wonderful place to have holidays. And the macaroons - gorgeous as ever!


I found the batter to be a bit too sweet, so I doubled the limoncello and added some Meyer lemon marmalade. They're still a bit sweet for my taste, but the marmalade gives them a nice bite. And, thanks for introducing me to limoncello! Took a few "tastes" of that, too while cooking! Love this blog! It's how I got started cooking 2 years ago when I was living abroad and couldn't find good chocolate chip cookies ANYWHERE. I found a great recipe here and have since totally conquered my fear of cooking (I don't just make cookies, I promise). I definitely eat a lot better now that I make nearly everything from scratch...except for Acme olive bread--I leave that to the experts. THANKS for the great blog!


Your photos are beautiful. And the recipe looks so yummy. Thank you for brightening up my day.


I made these today they were GREAT thank you sooooo much for the recipe!!!!


Just made the macaroons for a party this weekend. Definitely better with the fresh crust, hot out of the oven. I'm amazed at how quick this batter/cookie comes together. Great recipe, thank you!


I fell in love with limoncello when I visited Italy years ago. I'll need to find a time to try the recipe!

Justin Chen

HS: This is a reply to your comment on Sept. 5--sorry for the slow response time! To answer your question, I've lost the wrapper for the stuff, but it was labeled as both "Almond Paste" and "Marzipan". It was a very generic log-shaped almond/sugar product. It certainly was not almond butter. We ended up playing around with our overly liquidy batter, and ended up creating a new monster: by adding flour we were able to thicken it enough to get it to hold together enough to make thin, flat, almost lacy-oat cookies using parchment paper and low heat. Delicious (but very different). We'll try again with a different almond paste and let you know how it goes!


I love it that you say you packed ten rolls of film. In this the ϋber digital world there is another celluloid lover.

Jennifer Z

I will (shamefully) admit that I have never had a limoncello. With the almond and the zest nothing can go wrong. I am wondering what I can use if I do not have the limoncello. Is the almond paste you have used sweetened?


Oh! I would love to get lost in the woods with a cabin like that. I love that you share these wonderful photos with us. I love the recipe, too. I made some the other night and they did not last long at my house.


    It's the best! So glad you enjoyed the cookies. xx!

    Heidi Swanson

Please gently nudge Lori on that salad -- it sounds awesome!

jen maiser

Gotta love them macaroons and marcarones!!

Mark @ Ghillie Suit Warehouse

Made these tonight and the batter tastes amazing! Heidi, you rock!

Amy and Justin

Wow, what a nice collection of photos and the macaroons are gluten-free by default. Perfect! I love these kinds of recipes. Thank you! Melissa


Heaven! It all sounds like heaven. Now I need to coax someone else into making these macaroons for me...

The Rowdy Chowgirl

I have never heard of limoncello macaroons! This sounds perfect for an end-of-summer dessert. I have long been intimidated by macaroons recipe but the ingredients list looks do-able! I will be trying this for a friend's birthday this weekend :)


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