Italian Lemon “S” Cookies

Are you ready for some holiday baking? These Italian Lemon “S” Cookies are the most popular cookie in Italy, and for good reason. These cookies have a crisp exterior with a crumbly interior along with a delightful hint of lemon flavor. They’re ideal for dunking in a coffee for breakfast (the Italian way) or enjoyed in the afternoon with tea.

Recipe for Italian “S” Cookies!

  • This is the original recipe with no modifications made to it. 
  • Our grandmothers made this recipe with simple, staple ingredients that still work today.
  • You can freeze them, take them to parties, gift them, or treat yourself to some cookies with your morning coffee!  YUM!
  • If you prefer, you can keep the entire batch for yourself … we won’t judge!  πŸ˜‰
  • In addition, some of favorite lattes, Easy Low-Fat Caffe Lattes, Nutella Caffe Latte, and Easy Pumpkin Spice Lattes would go perfectly with these cookies.

You are going to LOVE these cookies!

A family friend shared her Italian (from Sicily) grandmother’s cookie recipe with me. And, I was delighted to make them with her as a surprise for my Sicilian husband because it was his favorite cookies from his childhood.

His mom (my mother-in-law) would add a shot of espresso to his morning cup of warm milk making it the perfect place to “dunk” these cookies. So making these S cookies would be perfect for not only him but for my entire family.

A platter filled with "S" cookies. by


Whether you make them for your loved ones or a gift for dear friends, rest assured that EVERYONE will enjoy them!

Italian lemon “S” cookies are delightful to serve at breakfast, or at brunch. Serve them plain, or with a drizzle of sweet glaze on top, as I did today.

Serve them as a holiday treat, or enjoy a cookie or two in the afternoon with some tea or coffee.

On a wire rack, the glaze is drizzled on the S cookies. by


How To Make Italian Lemon “S” Cookies?

For these Italian “S” Cookies, you will need the following ingredients. (!Full amount of ingredients in recipe card below)

Ingredients needed for these lemon “S” cookies:

  • all-purpose flour
  • (2 sticks) of “Crisco”
  • baking powder
  • lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • granulated sugar
  • some milk

For the Lemon Glaze:

  • powdered sugar
  • milk, or non-dairy milk
  • some lemon zest
  • nonpareils rainbow sprinkles

How to Shape the Cookie Dough into the letter “S”?

Follow these 4-easy-steps to shape these cookies into the letter S: 

1.  First, grab some cookie dough by the tablespoon.

2.  Then roll it into a ball.

Steps to shaping the cookie dough into S Cookies. by

3.  Next, roll the ball in the middle of your palm, and roll back and forth until the ball elongates into 2 to 3 inches long.

4.  Then shape it into the letter S, and make it a tight S, so it will bake without losing its form.

Steps to shaping the cookie dough into S Cookies. by

WATCH VIDEO! A short video on How To Shape the Cookie Dough into the letter ‘S’? (35 seconds)

Quick & Important Tip for Success:

  • If the first cookie creates cracks while you are shaping it into the letter S – it means the dough needs a little more moisture.
  • Therefore, you will need to add a little more milk to the cookie dough. Work it in.
  • Then start over.
Shaping the cookie dough into the letter S. by

Additional Notes for Italian Lemon “S” Cookies…

  • Don’t overwork the cookie dough, or your cookies will turn out hard.
  • If the dough feels dry or tends to crumble while you are forming your first S cookie, you will need to add a little “splash” of milk and work it back into the dough, then start again.
  • All ovens vary, once the cookies start to turn golden on top, they are ready and you can remove them from the oven. So keep an eye on them.
  • Allow the cookies to completely cool before drizzling the lemon icing over them.  And, of course, the sprinkles are optional.
  • The original recipe calls for using “Crisco”  instead of butter, which was widely used in baking goods for decades.  So we followed her grandmother’s exact recipe and used Crisco.

Questions and Tips…

1. Can these cookies be made gluten-free? 

Since this was the first time I made these lemon “S” cookies, I have not yet made them gluten-free. But if you do, please leave a comment and share your outcome and experience along with which flour you used.

2. Can we use butter instead of Crisco? 

The original recipe calls for Crisco, but I imagine you can use butter.  My girlfriend, Christine told me it might change the texture of these cookies.  If you prefer butter, it’s worth a try.

3. Is Crisco considered dairy-free? Yes. Crisco claims that they are only using vegetable oils, which would mean their product is egg-free, and therefore it is dairy-free.

4. Can we use dairy-free milk? You can use any dairy-free milk, like coconut or almond milk.

5. How to store these cookies? Store these Italian cookies in a container and at room temperature.

6. Can we freeze these cookies? Yes, you can. Place them into a plastic ziplock bag and freeze. They will freeze for up to 2 months.

Italian Lemon "S" Cookies by

This recipe for Italian Lemon “S’ Cookies is very easy to whip up and bake.Β You only need a little time to shape each ball into the letter ‘S’ (be sure to watch the video), but it’s worth it!

Finally, when we surprised my husband with these cookies – he had tears in his eyes….. it just melted my heart… gotta love him. πŸ˜‰

Thanks to my dear friend, Christine for sharing her grandmother’s recipe.  (You are the best, Christine!)

ENJOY … and make these cookies!   You will love them as much as we do.


More Delicious Breakfast Treats…

Additional Lemon Treats!

Yield: 3 dozen

Italian Lemon S Cookies

Italian Lemon "S" Cookies are old-fashioned cookies shaped into the letter "S." They are crisp on the outside and crumbly on the inside.Β  A delightful favorable hint of lemon flavor in every bite makes these the cookies we love to dunk in our coffee.Β 

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 4 cups ( 544grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) (191grams) of "Crisco" (at room temperature)
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 3 eggs - beaten
  • 2 cups ( 400grams) of sugar
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp. milk ( or non-dairy milk)
  • 2 cups ( 224grams) of powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. milk, or non-dairy milk
  • zest of half of a lemon
  • nonpareils rainbow sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190.6 C).
  2. Best and cream shortening with sugar and eggs, lemon zest, and baking powder. Add in 2 tablespoons of milk. Then gradually beat in the flour. Use a large wooden spoon to help mix in the remaining flour. The cookie dough should be pliable, but very thick.
  3. Test the dough, and try to make one cookie. If the cookie easily cracks while shaping it, then it needs a little more moisture and it needs more milk. Add in a little milk to help moisten the dough to make it work to shape into S cookies.
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Then grab some cookie dough by the tablespoon and roll it into a ball. Then roll the ball in the middle of your palm and roll back and forth until the ball elongates into 2 to 3 inches long. Then shape it into the letter "S," and make it a tight "S" so it will bake without losing its form. Continue to make as many cookies, until all the dough is gone.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are a soft golden color.
  6. Remove and set them aside to cool completely before drizzling the glaze on top.
  7. yields: 3 dozen cookies

To Glaze the "S" Cookies:

  1. Place the cookies onto a cookie sheet or on a wire rack with wax paper underneath. Using a fork or spoon to drizzle the icing over the cookies, swaying back and forth across the cookies.
  2. Sprinkle on top with colorful Non-Pareil sprinkles. Allow the cookies to set with the glaze.
  3. Then you can store the cookies in an air-tight sealed container.


See the Video and/or Photos in the post!

  • Don't overwork the cookie dough, or your cookies will turn out hard.
  • If the dough feels dry or tends to crumble while you are forming your first S cookie, you will need to add a little "splash" of milk and work it back into the dough, then start again.
  • Allow the cookies to completely cool before drizzling the lemon icing over them.Β  And, of course, the sprinkles are optional.

Nutrition Information:


3 dozen ( 36 cookies)

Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 6.3gCarbohydrates: 28.7gFiber: .4gSugar: 17.8gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Mention @2sistersrecipes on Instagram or tag #2sistersrecipes!

…Thanks for Pinning!

Italian Lemon "S" Cookies by

Have a great day everyone!   

If you try our recipe for Italian Lemon “S” Cookies, let us know and leave a comment! Have fun and snap a photo and hashtag it on Instagram @2sistersrecipes, and Pinterest We’d love to see what you bake!

Don’t forget to join our baking and cooking family and enter your email in our ‘Subscribe Box’ and get our recipes “FREE” every time we post and reminders of great older ones too!

For more delicious baking ideas, follow us on Pinterest and Facebook!

Happy Baking! πŸ™‚

Thanks for stopping by!

xo anna and liz

anna and liz selfie

Welcome! From Anna and Liz

We believe the kitchen is the center and the heart of the home. It is where we cook, eat, and unwind with family and friends, creating memorable traditions! Read more…

Sign Up For Our Email List

Something delicious for your inbox! Subscribe and join our email list and get all our recipes FREE!

Leave a Reply

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


  1. These cookies are my absolute favorite from growing up and I couldn’t be happier with how your recipe turned out. They were delicious, my kids ate them in 2 days!! Will definitely be making again. Thank you Anna!

    1. Aw, thanks so much Lisa! So glad you enjoyed these lemon cookies, they are one of our favorites. Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas!

  2. Italian S cookies! These are a family delicacy and such a fun activity to do with my kids! They loved these! Very delicious

    1. Aw, thanks Ben! …and welcome to our blog, it is so nice to meet you. Happy Holidays!

  3. Have made S cookies for years. Only with butter. We tried and made with the Crisco. They were delicious. So glad we switched it up.

    1. Wow Janis, that is so nice to hear! So glad to hear you had a great outcome. We love these cookies as well, and thanks for leaving a sweet comment. Have a great weekend. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much, Susan. They are really good with your morning coffee. Relatively easy recipe, I hope you will try it. πŸ™‚

  4. Hello Anna & Liz,
    Oh my goodness! Love that you posted this recipe! My grandmother was from Sicily too, and my Italian Mom and Aunts made these many years ago. I remember watching my mom make “S’s” and “O’s” and they looked exactly like these. Unfortunately they all relied on memory and there was no written recipes. So glad you posted this, it brings back great memories. I’ll have to make them soon!
    Thank you ( I love your recipes!)

    1. Hi Janet! So glad to hear! It’s so true, and it’s the same with our mom, who cooked mostly by memory and had never had anything written down to pass onto us. So you can imagine how ecstatic I was and grateful that my friend Christine told me she had her grandmother and aunt’s recipe written down. Thanks so much for your email!