Italian Christmas Cookies are sweet, tender cookies with an almond-flavored glaze and colorful, festive sprinkles. They will be the perfect addition to your list of Christmas cookies! Check out my Snowball Cookies and Pfeffernüsse Cookies for more popular holiday treats!

Plate of Italian Christmas Cookies from overhead on a white table.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Dough: The cookie dough is a simple recipe made with many ingredients you probably already have on hand with adding almond or anise extract.

Extract: I added almond extract to the cookie dough and glaze. For the traditional Italian Christmas cookies, anise extract (like the flavor of black licorice) is used in the dough, which you can certainly use in this recipe. Or, try the cookies with a different extract! It’s easy to experiment with different flavors like peppermint, orange, or lemon extract.

Dipping Italian Christmas Cookie into glaze.

Glaze: The simple glaze is added to the top of each cookie. Like with the dough, you could use almond or anise extracts.

Sprinkles (Nonpareils): Grab your most festive sprinkles to add a little color and holiday spirit to the cookies!

Sprinkles going on Italian Christmas Cookies.

Why Chill The Dough?

Chilling the dough is an important step in this recipe. Chilling the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour before baking helps the cookies keep their higher shape without spreading out when baked.

Plate of Italian Christmas Cookies from overhead on a white table.

Can I Make The Dough Ahead Of Time?

Sure! Once you get the cookie dough mixed together, wrap it in plastic wrap. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Or, freeze the dough for up to 2-3 months! To freeze, form the dough into balls. Then, freeze until solid and store them in a freezer-safe bag for 2-3 months. Let the dough thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

Stack of Italian Christmas Cookies with top cookie broken in half showing inside texture.

How To Store Italian Christmas Cookies

Once baked, Italian Christmas Cookies can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer.

Room Temperature: Store the baked cookies, with or without the glaze, in an airtight container. They will last up to 5 days.

To Freeze: To freeze Italian Christmas Cookies, I recommend freezing the cookies without the glaze. They will last up to 2-3 months in a freezer-safe container. Let them thaw before adding the glaze and sprinkles.

Plate of Italian Christmas Cookies from overhead on a white table.
5 from 2 votes

Italian Christmas Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 23 minutes
Italian Christmas Cookies are sweet, tender cookies with an almond-flavored glaze and colorful, festive sprinkles. They will be the perfect addition to your list of Christmas cookies!

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract, or anise extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

Glaze

  • 1 cup (125 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract, or anise extract
  • cup Christmas sprinkles (nonpareils)

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, mixing until light and fluffy.
  • Add the almond extract. Then, add eggs, one at a time, until combined, mixing well after each addition.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix until the dough comes together.
  • Once the dough has formed, use your hands to roll it into 1-inch balls. Place the dough balls onto the lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place the chilled cookie dough balls onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-2 inches of space between each cookie.
  • Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden. Let the cookies cool completely.
  • While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and almond extract. Mix until the glaze is smooth and well combined. Add more milk as needed until the glaze reaches your desired consistency.
  • Once the cookies are fully cooled, dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and immediately sprinkle them with Christmas sprinkles (nonpareils).
  • Set aside to set completely.

Did you make this recipe?

Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.

This recipe is adapted from Lil’ Luna’s Italian Christmas Cookies.

What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:

Autumn

These cookies belong on your dessert table this Christmas! Bite-sized, buttery, and full of almond flavor, these little Christmas cookies are going to fly off the cookie tray!

Elizabeth

I love the little bite-sized cookies with lots of almond flavor! They are so festive with the sprinkles on top. And, they seem easy to make, too!

Rachael

Cute little buttery almond cookie. They look so festive for Christmas and a beautiful little cookie to add to a cookie tray!

Bella

These are adorable and addicting. I tried one cookie and ended up snacking on more and more! They are so conveniently tiny. I love the flavor of these, especially from the almond extract.

Annabelle

These cookies are so cute and so tasty! Perfect for Christmas parties or just a treat at home!

Selena

Such a lovely little cookie! I love the almond flavor and how buttery they are!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. My mama would bake these at different times of the year and give them to friends. We had cookies of all colors all over the house. Great memories

    1. Sure – this is what is written in the post above.

      How To Store Italian Christmas Cookies
      Once baked, Italian Christmas Cookies can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer.

      Room Temperature: Store the baked cookies, with or without the glaze, in an airtight container. They will last up to 5 days.

      To Freeze: To freeze Italian Christmas Cookies, I recommend freezing the cookies without the glaze. They will last up to 2-3 months in a freezer-safe container. Let them thaw before adding the glaze and sprinkles.

  2. I grew up on these cookies. Been baking them myself for 57 years. You can’t eat just one. they are very versatile. You can form them into small logs. knots, or larger with an easter egg in the center. Not to sweet so they are good for toddlers to have a treat. Vanilla is preferred by our family, Yummy

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