Besides wine, pasta, and pizza, the Italians are also known for their many delicious cookies. From biscotti to cantucci to torcetti, there is a wide array of delightful treats you can sink your teeth into while traversing the boot country.
Like other Italian dishes, replicating these tasty cookies is challenging. But with the best Italian cookie recipes I’ve compiled, it will be a fun experience in your kitchen.
Without further ado, get your ovens hot and ready. Look for your favorite recipe and start making the best-tasting cookie dough for the best-tasting cookies.
1. Italian Butter Cookies
We’ll start our list of delicious recipes with something more homey and familiar: Italian butter cookies. Butter cookies are famous worldwide, but I bet you’re interested in this Italian rendition.
These cookies have the perfect texture and flavors. They’re deliciously buttery, have a slightly crunchy feel, and melt beautifully on your tongue, tea, and coffee.
To make these simple treats, you need all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, butter, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. You can make these cookies in batches. A simple tip for maintaining their freshness is to store them with some white bread on top.
2. Italian Christmas Cookies
Many Christmas celebrations worldwide include cookies, and the Italians are no exception. It’s a magical and tasty experience to munch on these Italian Christmas cookies while waiting for Santa to come down the chimney.
These sweet treats are well-known for their cake-like texture and complex flavors, courtesy of anise and sugar glaze. They’re incredibly adorable with colorful sprinkles on top, almost like biting on a cake slice.
To make these cookies, you’ll need butter, powdered sugar, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and anise extract. Meanwhile, the glaze needs powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and sprinkles.
3. Italian Wedding Cookies
Of course, the Italians must also have their special cookies for weddings. The variety of Italian cookie recipes is astounding, just like these wedding cookies made with nuts, powdered sugar, and butter.
Yes, you read that right – these cookies are full of nuts, specifically walnuts and hazelnuts. It’s also made with quality organic butter, which you can easily swap for vegan butter if you want a vegan recipe.
Besides those, you’ll also need vanilla, flour, and powdered sugar. You’ll only need parchment paper (no greasing) when baking the cookies. The buttery cookies are non-stick by themselves.
4. Italian Sprinkle Cookies
Italian sprinkle cookies are all about the sprinkles. They are so crucial to the cookie’s look and taste that the author included tips to help them stick, with or without glaze.
This Italian cookie recipe calls for eggs, flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, shortening, almond extract, and lemon extract for the cookies. Thus, you can expect these baked goods to have a pleasant yet complex flavor profile from the lemon and almond.
As for the glaze, you’ll need confectioners’ sugar, 2% milk, almond extract, vanilla extract, and colored sprinkles. If you want unglazed sprinkle cookies, check the post for tips!
5. Italian Ricotta Cookies
Ricotta is a well-known Italian cheese. While it is popular for various dishes like pasta, cheesecakes, and pies, ricotta also lends itself to sweet and moist cookies.
These soft Italian cookies need flour, baking powder, salt, unsalted butter, granulated sugar, lemon zest, ricotta, vanilla, and eggs. You can use either whole milk or fresh ricotta, as either will still lead to moist and fluffy cookies.
You can also make a glaze using butter, powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice, vanilla, and milk. If you prefer an almond taste, swap the lemon flavor components in this recipe for almond extract.
You can’t have a compilation of traditional Italian cookies without torcetti. Torcetti is a type of twisted cookie that resembles ropes once baked and done.
Braiding and twisting torcetti dough is a fun experience you can share with your family, even the little ones. Supervise kids to avoid giving them dangerous tasks, like loading the prepared cookie sheets with dough onto the oven.
You’ll need flour, butter, shortening, active dry yeast, 2% milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar to torcetti. Knead, shape, and roll dough on floured surfaces until you have your cookie ropes.
The intricate pizzelle designs never fail to amaze me. These Italian treats are a cross between a waffle and a cookie. They’re easy to make, despite the intimidating patterns.
You only need six ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, anise or vanilla, and baking powder. While all those are pretty easy to find, what may be challenging for you is to find a pizzelle maker or iron.
Making pizzelles is similar to making waffles. Mix the batter, pour into the machine, close, and cook. After you let the pizzelles cool completely, dust them with powdered sugar before serving.
8. Amaretti Cookies
Amaretti cookies bring together the best textures. You get a crispy, cracked shell that encloses a soft, chewy inside that bursts with unique flavors.
Amaretti cookies are not only one of the best chewy cookies; they’re also gluten-free! That’s because instead of the usual all-purpose flour, it uses almond flour, thus avoiding gluten.
Besides making the recipe gluten-free, the use of almond flour emphasizes the almond flavor palette of this cookie. Amaretti cookies earned their name after the use of amaretto or almond liqueur. This recipe uses almond extract for convenience, but you can use both amaretto and extract.
9. Anginetti (Italian Lemon Knot Cookies)
There are two critical features to an anginetti: the knot shape and the fresh lemon flavoring. So if you’re fond of intricate cookies with bright flavors, this one’s for you.
This recipe ensures you won’t miss the lemon flavors by including a limoncello glaze recipe. With white sprinkles on top, the glaze doesn’t just complete the flavors; it also adds to the looks.
You’ll need flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, butter or shortening, milk, salt, lemon zest, extract, and sprinkles. Once you have your cookie knots, load them into a baking sheet and bake for up to 15 minutes.
10. Biscotti Regina (Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies)
I ate a lot of sesame seed cookies, so it pleased me to find this Italian version: the biscotti regina. These cookies originated from Sicily and are well-known for their crunchy exterior and unique flavors.
A recipe for biscotti regina calls for flour, sugar, ammonium carbonate (or baking powder), salt, butter, egg, milk, orange zest, and sesame seeds. To elevate the flavors, you can also add vanilla or toast the sesame seeds.
The traditional recipe uses strutto or lard instead of butter. So, if you want to stick to the original version, you may want to swap your butter for that.
11. Baci di Dama
If you’re especially fond of sandwich cookies, you’ll enjoy this baci di dama recipe. Baci di dama consists of dark chocolate sandwiched between two hazelnut cookies.
Hazelnut and chocolate are a pretty classic combination, as Nutella proves. Thus, although baci di dama is still a traditional Italian treat, you’ll find its flavors rich, familiar, and comforting. Moreover, people of all ages (kids or adults) will likely enjoy them.
To make the hazelnut cookies, you’ll need roasted and skinned hazelnuts, flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt, butter, and vanilla. Meanwhile, the filling is just melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Pignoli is a cookie loaded with nutty flavors and unique textures. It finds the balance between crunchy and chewy, just as a great cookie should.
Because of their simplicity, they’re effortless to make and call for a few ingredients only. Moreover, they’re gluten-free, which is great for those cutting down on gluten consumption or who have problems digesting gluten.
How is it gluten-free? Unlike most cookies, there’s no flour at all. Pignoli needs only almond paste, granulated and powdered sugar, egg white, kosher salt, and pine nuts. If there’s no almond paste, substitute it with ground almonds or almond flour.
12 Traditional Italian Cookie Recipes
Have a taste of Italy with these traditional cookie recipes.
Italian Butter Cookies
Italian Christmas Cookies
Italian Wedding Cookies
Italian Sprinkle Cookies
Italian Ricotta Cookies
Anginetti (Italian Lemon Knot Cookies)
Biscotti Regina (Sicilian Sesame Seed Cookies)
Baci di Dama
- Select your favorite recipe.
- Organize all the required ingredients.
- Prep an Italian cookie in 30 minutes or less!