It wouldn’t be the holidays without a cookie or two... or more than a few!
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a cookie or two…or more than a few! If you’re searching for some Italian inspiration for an upcoming cookie swap or holiday party, you’ve come to the right place.
As is often the case with Italian sweets, many of these goodies are traditionally made to help celebrate religious holidays like Easter or saint’s days. But we’re here to say they’re delicious all year round—and every one of them would make a welcome addition to your winter baking repertoire.
Here are some of our favorite Italian cookies:
Baci di Dama
Brutti ma Buoni
Looks aren’t everything when it comes to these “ugly but good” gems. Studded with fragrant roasted hazelnuts, these gluten-free macaron-like cookies are chewy, crunchy, and melting all at the same time. And they couldn’t be easier to make!
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies are famous for a reason! These melt-in-your-mouth bites are soft and cake-like, with a perfectly puckering glaze.
The icon from Saronno, these crisp-chewy almond-scented cookies have been beloved since the Middle Ages. Two surprising amaretti facts: They’re made with apricot kernels, not almonds, and they’re gluten-free! Plus, they come wrapped in tissue paper twists that are like opening a little present every time you snack.
From Abruzzo, these anise-flavored beauties are a Christmas showstopper. They’re cooked one by one in a special, intricately detailed waffle iron and can be rolled or shaped into cups while still warm before they cool into a thin, crisp wafer.
Chewy Almond Cherry Thumbprint Cookies
Almond flour cookies are common in Italy, and the result is always a cookie that's deliciously chewy and soft all at once. The addition of cherry jam makes these irresistible.
Loaded Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies
How to give a classic chocolate chip cookie the Northern Italian spin: hazelnuts. A match made in dessert heaven, hazelnuts and chocolate come together to make the classic cookie even better.
Nutty and soft, these cheerful swirls are a specialty of Sicily. The name means “curls,” and they are traditionally piped into a festive rosette to maximize the crunchy edges to contrast the soft, almond-paste interior.
Apulian Almond Cookies
A southern Italian favorite around Christmastime, these cookies are a standout in Italian-American bakeries, too. A moist, egg white-and-almond paste dough is rolled in buttery, slightly bitter pine nuts for an elegant balance of flavors that pairs perfectly with an after-dinner glass of vin santo.
Italian Wedding Cookies
Nothing says party like the shower of snowy icing sugar that results from taking a bite of these buttery shortbreads. Similar cookies go by different names across the globe, from polvorones in Mexico to kourabiedes in Greece—there’s a universal appeal in their melt-in-your-mouth texture and sweet extravagance.