Why you’ll love them

This crunchy lemon biscotti (cantucci) has all the flavour of a traditional Italian biscotti with a hint of lemon. This sweet, crunchy cookie is incredibly easy to make and loaded with almonds and pistachios (or your favourite nuts).

The lemon in these biscotti is mild and a lovely combination with the crunchy cookie and the nuts. You can intensify the lemon flavour by adding a little lemon extract too.

If you want a treat that’s big on flavour but low on effort, cantucci or biscotti are perfect. They keep well so they’re great to have on hand at all times ready for when friends pop in or to take on a picnic. They also make a brilliant food gift.

If you love these flavours, you’ll love these almond coconut cookies too.

This recipe was first published here on April 17th, 2018. It’s been updated with new photos and clearer instructions.

A tray filled with biscotti and a glass of coffee.

What Is Biscotti?

Biscotti, also called cantucci, are an Italian biscuit/cookie that originated in Prato, Tuscany. This twice-baked cookie is hard and crunchy and always served with a drink to dip it into – traditionally Vin Santo but coffee is perfect too. The biscotti dough is par-baked as a log, then sliced into individual oblong biscuits and baked a little longer.

The word biscotto (meaning a single biscotti) is where the English word for biscuit comes from and is believed to have originated from a latin word meaning twice-cooked. Biscuits or biscotti were baked until dry and crunchy so they could keep for extended periods and long journeys.

Biscotti is also the all-encompassing term for cookies or biscuits in Italian. The more correct name for this style of Italian biscuit is Cantucci or Cantuccini.

Should Biscotti Be Hard?

Biscotti is a dry and crunchy biscuit just perfect for dunking. They are quite hard but are traditionally served in Italy at the end of a meal with a dessert wine for dunking them into which softens them a little without making them soggy. I think these lemon biscotti are even better dunked in a cup of coffee.

Ingredients you’ll need

Ingredients for lemon biscotti.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Nuts: Almonds and pistachios are the classic nuts used in biscotti however you can swap them for pretty much any other nut you would like. Pine nuts and hazelnuts are also commonly used in biscotti or try cashews, pecans, walnuts or macadamias too.
  • Sugar: Biscotti, while sweet, is not a super-sweet cookie. I just use white granulated sugar here.
  • Fresh lemons: Grab three fresh large lemons. You’ll only want the zest so grab a microplane and grate the zest really finely so it gets distributed throughout. Don’t use the lemon juice here as the extra liquid and the acid will affect the way the cookies turnout.
  • Flour: Just plain flour / all-purpose flour is all you need.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder is used for a little leavening.
  • Eggs: Just regular large eggs.
  • Olive oil: Use a light flavoured olive oil or vegetable oil for these.
  • Vanilla extract: A little vanilla extract because it just tastes so good.

These almond and pistachio lemon biscotti have a just-there lemon flavor, they aren’t meant to have an intense flavour but if you want more lemon, feel free to add a teaspoon of lemon extract too.

How to make biscotti

Showing how to mix the dough.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  1. Start by massaging the lemon zest into the sugar (photo 1) – this releases the lemon oil and intensifies it’s flavour.
  2. Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk well to combine (photo 2).
  3. Add the wet ingredients – eggs, oil and vanilla (photo 3) – then mix well with a wooden spoon until about 80% combined (photo 4).
Microplane / Zester with a lime and lemon.

A microplane is excellent and frankly, the best way to zest your lemons. It gives you nice fine lemon zest rather than big chunky bits that can be bitter.

Showing how to shape the biscotti dough.
  1. Add the nuts and mix those through (photo 5) – it’s easier to use your hands at this point.
  2. Divide the dough in two, then roll each one into a log about 2 inches thick (photo 6).
  3. Place the biscotti dough logs on a baking sheet (photo 7) then press down to flatten them just a little (photo 8).
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
Slicing the biscotti.
  1. Let the biscotti cool for 5-10 minutes – no more – then use a serrated knife to slice into 1cm (<½ inch) slices (photo 9).
  2. Place the slices back on the baking sheet (photo 10) and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Tips and tricks

  • Biscotti is baked twice, at 2 different temperatures. The first bake is to set the dough enough to slice it, then the second bake dries those slices out.
  • Cutting it while still warm will make it much easier to cut through, especially the almonds. But do allow it to cool for 5 minutes so as not to burn your hands.
  • A serrated knife is best for slicing the biscotti and make short slices without too much pressure. Once you get ⅓ of the way through, press down with the knife.
  • If you make thick biscotti like these, then you can stand the slices up on their edges when they bake the second time around.
  • If you want to make the very thin and crispy style of biscotti, you’ll need to lay them flat and cut the second bake time down; just bake until they start to turn more golden.


Italian Biscotti is such a versatile cookie recipe. You can add all kinds of flavours and add-ins. Try some of these options.

  • Lemon: swap the lemon for orange or even lime.
  • Add a glaze: While not traditional, you can also drizzle a lemon icing over them after they’ve finished baking. Just combine icing sugar (powdered sugar) with some lemon juice until it’s the desired consistency.
  • Almonds / pistachios: use any of your favourite nuts in place of the almonds and pistachios.
  • Chocolate: Try your hand at this chocolate pistachio biscotti.
Closeup of a slice of lemon biscotti.

How To Store lemon almond biscotti

Biscotti have a good shelf life of 2-3 weeks if stored in an airtight container in the pantry. It’s because of their shelf life that they make a wonderful food gift as well – think birthday or Christmas gifts with a batch of biscotti in a nice glass jar. 


Are biscotti healthier than cookies?

Biscotti are just a type of cookie with all the regular cookie ingredients so they aren’t necessarily healthier than another type of cookie.

Should biscotti be hard or soft?

Authentic biscotti should be hard and crunchy. It was originally created to have a long shelf life and be good for long journeys and is served with a drink to dip it in.

Are biscotti supposed to be dry?

For the same reason as the last question, yes biscotti are supposed to be dry.

Should biscotti be hard out of the oven?

Biscotti will have just a touch of softness left straight from the oven and will firm up as it cools.

What’s the difference between biscotti and cantucci?

Biscotti is used as a collective term for many types of cookies. The technical name for the biscotti you see here is cantucci.

Do they have biscotti in Italy?

With Tuscany being the birthplace of biscotti, yes, they most definitely have biscotti in Italy.

A pile of lemon biscotti in a tray.

Did you try this Italian lemon biscotti recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!

Hungry for more? Subscribe to the newsletter for free recipes straight to your inbox. Also, follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Top down view of biscotti pieces in a tray.
4.8 from 6 ratings
Homemade biscotti is easy with this lemon biscotti recipe. Filled with almonds and pistachios, this crunchy Italian cookie is perfect for dipping your coffee.


  • 1 cup whole almonds & pistachios, mixed or just one (150g)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar (200g / 7oz)
  • 3 large lemons, zest only, finely grated
  • 325 g plain flour (all purp flour) (2 ½ cups / 11.5oz)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ¼ cup light flavoured olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



  • Preheat the oven to 160C (140C fan forced) / 320F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Place the almonds on a baking tray lined with baking paper and toast in the oven 10 minutes. Let them cool. Leave the oven at the same temperature.
  • In a large bowl, massage together the sugar and lemon zest to release the lemon oils and amazing aroma.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the same bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs to break them up, then add the oil and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until about 80% combined.
  • Give the almonds a rough chop making sure they’re still quite big pieces and mix them along with the whole pistachios, into the biscotti batter. You might find it easier to bring it together with your hands at this point.
  • Divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape into long logs about 5cm / 2 inches wide. Place the logs on the baking sheet, lightly wet your hands, and flatten the dough out to about 2cm / ¾ inch thick.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until starting to turn golden on the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and let the logs cool for 5 minutes before using a serrated knife to cut them into 1cm / ~½ inch thick slices. Very gentle, short strokes is best and once you get ⅓ of the way through, just press down.
  • Now stand the biscotti on their edges back on the same baking tray and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown on the outside.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. These cookies have a subtle lemon flavor, they aren’t meant to have an intense flavour but if you want more lemon, feel free to add a teaspoon of lemon extract too.
  2. While not traditional, you can also drizzle a lemon icing over them after they’ve finished baking. Just combine icing sugar (powdered sugar) with some lemon juice until it’s the desired consistency.
  3. Biscotti are meant to be dry, hard and crunchy. They’re traditionally dipped in vin santo or coffee to eat them. If you want them to be a little softer in the centre, just cook the second time round for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Biscotti
Amount Per Serving (33 g)
Calories 115 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.002g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 45mg2%
Potassium 66mg2%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 21IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More Italian Recipes (Sweet)

More Italian Recipes (Savoury)