Nothing gets me more excited than a tray of Italian cookies. Each is a little treasure made of butter, sugar, nuts, fruit, spices, and love.
It’s hard to know where to start. They all look so good, so seemingly simple, yet complex and sophisticated in their simplicity.
Italian cookies are a product of Italian tradition. If you’re anything like me, you love Italian cookies too much to wait until the next party, the next family holiday, or the next time you stop by to see your nonna.
With so many different types of Italian cookies, there may be some you haven’t tried yet. There is no better time than the present to make up for lost time and give your taste buds something special.
Luckily you can have them anytime you want! With the recipes below, you can make Italian cookies that would make even your Italian grandmother proud.
Here are my favorite Italian cookie recipes that I’ll be sharing with you.
If you’ve ever had
Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes, Italian Wedding cookies are similar, but with almonds instead of pecans.
These are light, addictive melt-in-your-mouth cookies rolled in powdered sugar.
Italian Wedding Cookies are straightforward to make and are an excellent place for a beginning baker to start with Italian cookies.
There’s something about
sprinkles. No matter how old I get, they always catch my eye and make me happy.
Of course, the sprinkles aren’t the only joyful thing about these cookies.
Flavored with almonds and made with shortening, these lip-smacking Italian cookies have a strong, crumbly texture and go well when paired with your favorite hot beverage.
Even if you don’t have an Italian grandmother, you’ve undoubtedly seen Italian butter cookies in bakeries or cookie tins.
The butter in these cookies gives them a luscious flavor and a softness that makes them easy to savor.
They’re also a feast for the eyes, piped into swirly shapes, dipped in chocolate, or filled with jam.
Here’s a recipe to use that pizzelle iron your grandmother gave you.
Italian pizzelle cookies are thin, crisp, Italian waffle cookies.
Anise gives them a slight black licorice flavor, which I love so much because of the contrast it provides to the sweetness.
And if you don’t have a pizzelle iron, don’t worry. There are many affordable models out there.
A classic solution to a sudden sweet tooth, Italian S cookies are delicious cookies made with oil instead of butter.
They are quick and easy to make. Sweet, but not too sweet.
And since you shape them with your hands, it’s a fun recipe to introduce children to baking and the alphabet.
I had Italian rainbow cookies from an Italian bakery growing up, and making these treats always fills me with good memories.
Italian rainbow cookies are a small stack of almond-flavored cake with jam between the layers and chocolate on top.
The layers are colored to match the Italian flag.
These take more time and effort than other Italian cookies, but they are worth it as
a classic Italian dessert.
If you love Nutella as I do, then you will love Baci di Dama. The name means “lady’s kisses.”
These Italian cookies are two buttery hazelnut cookies held together in a kiss by a layer of dark chocolate.
Excellent with coffee, they are also one of the cookies to disappear the fastest from my holiday cookie trays.
If you love pistachios, these Italian pistachio cookies are quick and easy to make.
Without strong spices or citrus zest, they let pistachio’s subtle, delicious flavor come through and shine.
These are my number one go-to recipe when I find myself with extra pistachios.
Even my family members who don’t consider themselves nut lovers gobble these up.
Reginelle are crunchy little cookie logs coated in sesame seeds.
These are great introductions if you haven’t had sesame seeds in a sweet treat yet.
Reginelle only takes a few ingredients you probably already have. They are simple, easy to make, and enjoyable to bake with children.
Lightly sweet, they’re an excellent Italian cookie to keep around.
Italian fig cookies, or Cucidati, are exquisite and indulgent cookies to add to your holiday tray.
Made from a sugar cookie dough and filled with dates and figs cooked in orange juice and rum, with chopped almonds for texture, everything about them screams holiday.
I also love how they make my kitchen smell!
Italian crescent cookies are another Italian cookie that is quick, easy to make, and requires ingredients most people already have.
These are my go-to whenever I need to whip up a batch of impressive last-minute cookies.
Tender and crisp, Italian crescent cookies are covered in powdered sugar and look like little slivers of moon, making them as wonderful to look at as they are to eat.
Cantucci is an orange-flavored biscotti with almonds. Because they are biscotti, they are baked twice, first in a log, then once again after you slice them.
They are still relatively easy cookies to make, and they go well with hot beverages.
I love having them around for a mid-morning coffee with friends.
Next time you’re shopping for lasagna night, pick up an extra container of ricotta and give these Italian ricotta cookies a try.
These are soft, scrumptious, cake-like cookies drenched in a sweet glaze and covered with your favorite sprinkles.
I love this recipe because it makes a ton, perfect for a party or a little snack during online holiday shopping.
As an almond lover, amaretti cookies are one of my favorite Italian cookies.
They are crisp on the outside but so soft and chewy inside.
Amaretti cookies use
almond flour instead of wheat flour, so they are not only delicious but also gluten-free and should be part of your cookie spread.
These Italian pignoli cookies are easy and quick and only require four ingredients!
A fantastic chewy cookie with a crispy outside, these are covered in pine nuts, and they are naturally dairy-free and gluten-free.
I typically make these either for special occasions or when I have pine nuts left over after making homemade pesto.
These Italian lemon drop cookies or anginetti are delicious, soft cookies covered in glaze and topped with sprinkles.
They are another quick and easy Italian cookie.
While I often include them in Christmas cookie trays and platters, their lemony goodness also makes them a great part of Easter or spring cookie baking.
If you want to take your biscotti game up a notch and make the ultimate biscotti, I highly recommend this recipe.
There are several
different types of nuts. They have cranberries for a chewy zing and are dipped in chocolate.
If you want to really go nuts, you can coat the chocolate with additional pistachios, almonds, or anything your heart desires.
Italian toto cookies pack a surprising punch.
They might look like a typical chocolate cookie, but they are spiced with cinnamon and clove and stuffed with walnuts, chocolate chips, and cherries.
I love this recipe because the cookies have an indulgent chocolate orange frosting.
They make a wonderful dessert and are great with an after-dinner espresso.
Italian spumoni cookies are another classic Italian tri-colored cookie.
Each layer has its own color and flavor. Brown for chocolate. Green for pistachio or your favorite nut. Pink for rum or cherry if you don’t do rum.
It’s a stunning flavor combination and makes a striking and festive addition to an Italian cookie tray.
I love these ricciarelli Italian cookies.
Made with almond flour and aquafaba (the liquid found in cans of chickpeas), they are naturally dairy-free and gluten-free and would be a great cookie to make for the vegans in your life.
While they are very soft and chewy in the center, they are coated with a layer of thin, crispy almonds, giving them a wonderful, varied texture.
Anise is a delightful, complex flavor that tastes like licorice.
It can be a very divisive flavor, but this recipe is terrific because it includes substitutions for those who aren’t fans of the sharp, herbal flavor.
Do what I do and make everyone happy with a batch flavored with anise and another flavored with lemon!
Ciambelle are ring-shaped Italian cookies covered in glaze and topped with sprinkles.
These ciambelle are crumbly and tender lemon cookies.
Flavored with lemon juice and zest, the cookies and glaze have a naturally clean, bright lemon flavor and go amazingly well as a buttery sweet palate cleanser in a cookie tray full of chocolate and nuts.
Who doesn’t love filled cookies?
Pizzicati or Italian pinch cookies are butter cookies with a generous amount of filling spread in the middle.
Two sides of the dough are brought into the middle and pinched together to make these perfect little cookie envelopes.
They are quick, easy, impressive, and irresistible. Make them with two or three different fillings for extra variety and excitement.
I love Italian cookies and
Italian cuisine in general. There are so many different types and so many variations of those types. The possibilities are endless.
While Italian cookie recipes are usually handed down from generation to generation, you don’t have to wait for your Italian grandmother to bless you with her secret recipes. You don’t even have to have an Italian grandmother.
These are all fantastic recipes, most of them quick and easy to make with just a few ingredients. If you haven’t tried all these cookies yet, what are you waiting for?
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.