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28 Best Italian Cookie Recipes

There are so many different types of cookies out there, but one of the most famous fall under the umbrella term, “Italian cookies.” There are many types of Italian cookies out there, all of which have very bold, unique flavors such as orange, amaretto, chocolate, and pistachio (as well as countless others.

Italian Cookie Recipes

Since there is so much variety, these are the perfect types of cookies to bake in large batches. One (of the many) reasons why Italian cookies are so popular is because of their unique texture.

These cookies are usually crispy and crunchy on the outside, but very chewy on the inside. This is also what makes them the perfect cookie to dunk in a fresh cup of hot coffee, hot chocolate, or even tea on a cold, wintry night.

If you’re looking for new Italian cookie batches to make for an upcoming event, we’ve got you covered. Here are 29 of the very best!

1. Italian Sprinkle Cookies

These adorable little cookies look almost as good as they taste. While all of the ingredients combine to create something delicious, the secret ingredient is the lemon extract. It gives off the right amount of zest the cookie needs to make every bite refreshing.

If you don’t have lemon extract, you can swap it out with some lime juice instead. Though the recipe calls for the use of rainbow sprinkles, swap them out for anything you like.

You could even dust them in edible glitter for something truly unique and fun!

2. Italian Riccota Cookies

Are you looking for the best Italian cookie recipes to make this upcoming Christmas season? If so, you may have just stumbled on the perfect one. The secret ingredient in this cookie recipe is ricotta cheese, but don’t worry – I promise your cookies won’t come out of the oven tasting like lasagna!

The ricotta flavor burns off while it cooks, so it transforms from something that tastes like cheese to just offering a soft, light flavor and texture. If you don’t have ricotta cheese, you can swap it out for some mascarpone, which is usually used for desserts anyway.

3. Italian Biscotti Recipe

When you think about Italian cookies, biscotti is probably the first thing your mind goes to. After all, they’re the quintessential Italian cookie! Hard on the outside and chewy on the inside, these are the perfect dunking cookie for your after-dinner snack.

The secret ingredient, believe it or not, is a little bit of orange zest. It just adds some citrusy crispiness to the otherwise incredibly dense cookie.

If you don’t have orange zest, you could add a little bit of pulp-free orange juice to your flour mixture, or substitute it with a little lemon zest.

4. Italian Cookies

A simple name for a classic recipe. While you can add all sorts of flavors to your Italian cookies, the secret ingredient in this particular recipe is two tablespoons of almonds.

Of course, you can swap these out with any type of nut you prefer. However, if you’re really interested in keeping the almond flavor, swap the nuts out for a few drops of almond extract instead.

When it comes to Italian cookie recipes, this is one that’s hard to beat. You know what they say, sometimes less is more.

5. Italian Wedding Cookies

You’ve heard of Italian Wedding Soup, but what about cookies? If you haven’t, oh boy, are you missing out because these cookies are absolutely delicious – and super simple to make, too!

Like the recipe before it, the secret ingredient is also almonds, but unlike before, you can swap the other ingredient (vanilla extract) out for either a little bit of honey, maple syrup, or even brandy!

These cookies are very popular at weddings, birthdays, and baby showers, so if you have one coming up – you know what to make!

6. Pizzelle

Like biscotti cookies, pizzelles are another extremely common and classic type of Italian cookie. But in our opinion, they’re the best homemade Italian cookie recipes out there.

Anise is the secret ingredient. Never heard of Anise? We got you covered. Anise extract tastes a lot like black licorice, as they’re both sweet while also a little spicy.

If you don’t have Anise, you can swap it out for a little bit of vanilla or almond extract. Yes, this will alter the flavor but those flavors will still be delicious, so it’s a win-win, right?

7. Italian Christmas Cookies

If you’re hosting a Christmas party this year or simply thinking of it, go ahead and get a jump start on the preparation by trying out this recipe for Italian Christmas cookies.

The secret ingredient is unsalted butter. If you go with salted, it just alters the flavors around, but by all means, go ahead and swap it out if you’re comfortable with it.

The same applies to vegan butter or another butter alternative. Like other recipes, this calls for sprinkles, but they would taste just as good with a little bit of storebought frosting, as well!

8. Cinnamon Walnut Croissant Cookies

This recipe combines the best of two worlds: breakfast and cookies. While these aren’t croissants in the traditional sense, they’re shaped like the famous flaky pastry and look adorable on a serving platter.

This recipe incorporates a lot of ingredients but the secret one is actually sour cream. The strong flavor of sour cream burns off while cooking, but it leaves you with a mild flavor that pairs perfectly with the cinnamon.

If you don’t have sour cream, you can swap it out for some plain Greek yogurt to achieve the same level of consistency.

9. Italian Fig Cookies

Do you like figs? Great! This recipe is for you! If you don’t like figs, hear us out: one bite of this tasty cookie and you’ll be a lover of them, I promise.

Though they’re in the name, figs aren’t the secret ingredient. Lemon zest is! Figs are an incredibly bold flavor and the lemon zest helps offset it so tastes more like a dessert than a fruit your parents would have forced you to eat as a kid.

If you don’t have lemon zest, swap it out for some lime juice. Or, if you really can’t stand the idea of figs, use this recipe as a base for a jam filling.

10. Italian Rainbow Cookie Recipe

Now we’re talking! This is by far one of my favorite Italian cookie recipes. Almond paste. Jam filling. Chocolate. Seriously, what’s not to love?

The secret ingredient is not really a flavor, but a coloring: food coloring that is! This is needed to achieve those beautiful rainbow colors. Best of all, you can use any type of food coloring you want.

Mix up the flavors of jams and correspond them to your preferred color. This is a creative dessert – and delicious, too.

11. Ricciarelli: Chewy Italian Almond Cookies

Remember when we mentioned that Italian cookies are hard on the outside but chewy on the inside? Well, this recipe demonstrates that perfectly.

The secret ingredient is actually a two-for-one deal: orange zest and lemon juice. Since these cookies are already pretty dense (and the flavor even denser due to the almond flour), these citrus flavors really perk everything up.

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have almond flour, you can always swap it out with vanilla or almond extract to get a similar flavor.

12. Italian Lemon Cookies

Cookies made of lemon? Sign me up. When you’re in the market for a recipe for Italian cookies, you might be looking for something simple and sweet.

Well, these cookies check off all those boxes. The secret ingredient is, of course, going to be the freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice that will be used to create the lemon glaze and in the body of the cookie itself.

Of course, you can always swap it out for a little lime juice or lemon extract. You could even swap it out with some white wine if you’re feeling adventurous.

13. Italian Anise Cookies

This is one of those recipes that if you tried it at a friend’s house, you’d be calling them up asking what are the names of Italian cookies?

As mentioned in other recipes, anise has a unique flavor that’s both spicy and sweet, so when paired with the other ingredients such as vanilla extract and sugar, it creates something truly unique and tasty.

It’s no surprise why it’s the secret ingredient on this list. If you don’t have anise extract, you could swap it out with a little bit of sambuca. Strange, yes? But does it work? Also, yes.

14. Amaretti Cookies

If you’re looking for easy Italian cookie recipes, don’t pass this one up. These are an Italian cookie staple and they’re so melt-in-your-mouth, ooey-gooey in the middle (great, now I want one).

Almond flour is the secret ingredient, as it gives this recipe a little bit of a kick. But, if you don’t have almond flour, you can go ahead and swap it out with wheat, oat, or even coconut flour.

This will change the flavors, yes, but not enough to totally transform this cookie into something else.

15. Classic Italian Sesame Cookies

I know, I know…sesame seeds? On a cookie? Shouldn’t they be on a bagel? While they’re a delectable topping on a bagel stuffed with cream cheese, they’re just as perfect on top of an Italian cookie.

While sesame seeds are the star, the secret ingredient is actually sea salt. Sea salt is a lot stronger than traditional salt, but it also doesn’t have as much of a salty flavor. Too much salt with this recipe could be disastrous and make them inedible, which is why sea salt is recommended.

If you don’t have sesame seeds or really don’t like them, try swapping them out with poppyseeds instead. This will still work since many popular desserts still incorporate the use of poppyseeds anyway.

16. Italian Spumoni Cookies

These layered cookies bring three distinct flavors to the table and combine them into one deliciously sweet treat. The secret ingredient for this one is hazelnut liqueur.

This brings the hazelnut flavor out of the cookie and compliments the flavors of the pistachios and maraschino cherries excellently.

If you need to change anything out, try swapping the all-purpose flour with a flour of your choice such as oat or coconut. While this might make for slight flavor and/or texture differences, you can also come up with a way to make your own healthy alternative to this recipe.

17. Tender Italian Sugar Cookies

These sweet treats are an excellent Italian twist on a classic. The secret ingredient for these is the shortening. It’s an excellent alternative to butter since it traps air bubbles and has a higher melting point.

Plus, it helps provide structural stability to the cookie on the inside. If you need to swap something out, try swapping vanilla extract for an almond extract for a healthy alternative.

These cookies are the perfect treat to bring along to your next party with friends.

​​18. Italian Torcetti Cookies/Biscotti

These cookies taste sweet and have a unique look to them. While they’re definitely cookies, they’re braided like a pretzel, providing a distinct look while also just being a great-tasting cookie.

The secret ingredient for these is vanilla. This vanilla might not seem like the largest ingredient here but it gives the cookie its flavor. If you need to change something up, you can use either heavy cream or whipping cream when making these cookies. Try these out if you’re looking for something different.

19. Easy Italian Pignoli Cookies

I’m sure your eyes perked up when we mentioned “easy.” This Italian classic not only tastes great but is easy to make and bake. The secret ingredient in these is the pine nuts.

Not only do these add flavor but they also add texture to the cookie, making them an essential part of the cookie as a whole. If you’re looking to switch things up, try dusting the cookies with powdered sugar for an extra level of sweetness that everyone is sure to enjoy.

20. Cuccidati

Are you looking for Italian cookie recipe ideas for the holiday season? These Italian fig cookies are a Christmas staple and maybe they’ll become a staple of your Christmas, too!

The secret ingredient in these is the dark raisins. They add depth to the flavor and provide an extra level of sweetness that you couldn’t get without it.

If you have to substitute something, try swapping out the hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts for nuts of your choosing. Next holiday season, try out these cookies on your friends and family. They won’t be able to put them down!

21. Italian Lemon Drop Cookies

These delicious lemon-flavored morsels are perfect for the next time you have guests over. The secret ingredient in these is the lemon extract.

While this might not seem like the biggest secret considering it’s in the name, the lemon extract provides all of the flavor of these cookies, making it essential to the recipe.

If you need to change things up, try swapping out the all-purpose flour for flour of your choosing.

This might change up the flavor a little bit depending on the flour you use, but it also gives you the option to create healthy alternatives to this recipe if you use coconut or wheat flour instead.

22. Italian Almond Cookies (gluten-free biscuits, Ricciarelli)

This gluten-free treat is a great way to enjoy sweet Italian cookies if you’re on a gluten-free diet or dietary restriction. The secret ingredient here is the almond meal.

This makes up a lot of the flavor and texture of the cookie while also being a binding agent for the other ingredients. If you’re looking to change things up, using granulated sugar instead of caster sugar is just as good with the only real difference being the size of the grains.

If you’ve been looking for traditional Italian cookies with a lot of flavor, this one’s perfect.

23. Italian Holiday Cookies

These sweet cookies are the perfect cookie to serve up around the holidays. The secret ingredient for this one is the honey which provides the kind of sweetness to the cookie that you can only get out of using honey.

If you need to change anything up, try swapping out the vanilla extract for almond extract. It should provide a similar taste while being a little bit more healthy for you.

Bring these in for your co-workers around the holidays. They’ll be lining up to ask you for the recipe.

24. Italian Butter Cookies

Are you looking for authentic Italian cookie recipes? If so, this is the recipe for you! These cookies are so delicious, one could say that the flavor is buttery smooth.

These traditional Italian cookies are so good that you’ll be asking for more. The secret ingredient for this cookie is actually not so secret. It’s the butter.

The butter not only provides flavor for the cookie but is the basis for all of the other ingredients to come together and form the cookie. If you need to change anything out, try swapping the all-purpose flour with a different flour of your choice.

25. Italian Chocolate Spice Cookies

If you’re looking for a recipe to spice up your chocolate cookies, then this is the recipe for you. The secret ingredient for this recipe is the cloves.

Being one of the spices in this recipe, the cloves add a different dimension to the flavor that you wouldn’t normally expect from a chocolate cookie, but the flavor of the cloves compliments the sweetness of the chocolate.

If you’re in a pinch, you can always substitute the granulated sugar for brown sugar if it’s all you have nearby.

26. Italian Easter Cookies/Uncinetti

This next recipe is great to serve up to friends and family for dessert after sitting down to a delicious Easter dinner. The secret ingredient for this one has to be the lemon zest.

It informs the flavor of the cookie while not being too overpowering. If you’re looking to change things up, we recommend that if you use unsalted butter instead of the salted butter suggested in the recipe you add a ¼ teaspoon of salt to make up for the lack of salt.

27. Gocciole Italian Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love a delicious chocolate chip cookie? This next recipe is an Italian twist on a classic that is sure to make you drool at the smell of them baking in the oven.

The secret ingredient for this one is cocoa, which gives this cookie its chocolatey flavor. If you need to substitute anything in this recipe, we recommend changing out the cornstarch for rice flour if you want to go for something a little bit healthier.

We guarantee that your family with love these so much that there won’t be a crumb leftover.

28. Italian Cookies (Baci di Dama)

This Italian classic is not only great for a snack at any time, but also doubles as a perfect Christmas cookie as well! Your secret ingredient here is going to be the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

These get melted down to become the literal glue that holds the two halves of the cookie together but also provide an extra touch of sweetness with every bite.

If you are looking to change things up, try swapping out the vanilla extract for some maple syrup. It should give that extra little hint of flavor while providing something slightly different and a little thicker.

Italian Cookie Recipes

28 Best Italian Cookie Recipes

Yield: about 7 dozen
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These cookies are simply adorable. Plus, they’re easy to make and always a big hit at special gatherings with friends and family.


  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c confectioners' sugar
  • 5 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c shortening
  • 2 tbsps plus 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 3 tsp almond extract


  • 1/2 c warm 2% milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Colored sprinkles
  • 3-3/4 c confectioners' sugar


  1. In a mixer, beat eggs on high for approximately 5 minutes. Once the time is up, your eggs should be light and foamy.
  2. Next, grab a large bowl and add baking powder, flour, and confectioner’s sugar. On a low speed, gently add in your extracts and shortening until it’s turned into a fine powder/crumb-like consistency. Add in eggs.
  3. Roll your dough into 1” sized balls and place them about 2” apart on a baking sheet. Make sure the baking sheet isn’t greased.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 13 minutes. Don’t wait until the tops of the cookies are brown, as this could result in burning.
  5. While these are cooking in the oven, go ahead and mix the sugar, milk, and other extracts until smooth. As soon as the cookies are done baking, quickly dip them into the glaze.
  6. Once glazed, place on a wire rack and add sprinkles.
  7. Let them dry for 24 hours before adding them to a Tupperware dish.

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