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Traditional Italian Christmas Cookies are soft and buttery, topped with a sweet glaze and festive sprinkles!

These bitesized cookies are a holiday version of our classic Italian Cookies, with similarities to our Snowball Cookies and Mexican Wedding Cookies.

A plate filled with glazed Italian Christmas cookies.

Italian traditions

Italian Christmas cookies are a family favorite during the holiday season. They’re a holiday twist on our classic Italian Cookies Recipe that taste amazing!

There’s so much to love about them!

  • Simple. Don’t be intimidated by how long they take to make! Most of it is chill time. The cookies and glaze are both very easy to make.
  • Bite sized. They’re so cute and bite-sized – great for parties and cookie plates.
  • Festive. You can use all kinds of decorative sprinkles to make them festive for Christmas, or any holiday for that matter!

Ingredients

  • large eggs – Room temperature eggs incorporate best with other ingredients.
  • vegetable oil
  • sugar
  • almond extract – Traditional Italian Christmas cookies use anise extract, which tastes a bit like black licorice. I opted to use almond extract, but lemon extract, vanilla extract, or orange extract can also be used.
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • powdered sugar
  • salt
  • heavy cream – or milk
  • Christmas sprinkles – I love the classic Christmas nonpareils sprinkles or other holiday sprinkles. Red or green sugar crystal sprinkles would also work.

How to make Italian Christmas Cookies

  1. COOKIE DOUGH. Whisk together eggs, oil, sugar, and extract in a mixing bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. CHILL. Roll dough by tablespoonfuls into balls. Chill balls of dough for at least an hour, or freeze for 15-20 minutes. 
  3. SCOOP. Use a cookie scoop, to scoop out dough, roll into balls and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  4. BAKE. Bake at 350° for about 9 minutes, or till the tops are set. Bottoms will be lightly browned, but tops should still be white. Remove cookies to cooling racks and cool completely.
  5. GLAZE. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till smooth, adding enough warm cream to get a thin but creamy consistency.
  6. DIP. Dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, then top them with Christmas sprinkles.
A bowl filled with glaze for topping Italian Christmas cookies.

Recipe Tips

  • Baking temperature. Since ovens can bake differently, bake 1-2 test cookies before making a larger batch and adjust the timing accordingly. They should only take 8-10 minutes in a 350°F oven.
  • Texture. A tough cookie texture can be caused by overmixing the gluten so try not to overmix the dough. 
  • Flat cookies can be caused by expired baking powder or not enough flour.  
  • Mix-ins. Mix in up to 1 cup of chopped nuts (almond, pistachios, or walnuts) or mini chocolate chips or even a dash of cinnamon.
Italian Christmas cookies topped with glaze and festive sprinkles.

Storing Info

Make ahead of time. The glaze can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Warm it up a bit to add it easily to the cookies. 

STORE baked Italian Cookies (with or without the glaze).

  • Room temperature: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days.
  • Freezer: Place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3-4 weeks.

STORE cookie dough for up to 4 days in the fridge, just be sure to roll the dough into a ball and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.

FREEZE cookie dough. Roll into balls, then line them up on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until they are solid. Transfer them to a freezer Ziploc and freeze for 2-3 months. (You can also freeze the dough in a log form wrapped with plastic and again with foil.)

Close up of Italian Christmas cookies piled on a white plate.

For more holiday cookies, try:

4.98 from 182 votes

Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Traditional Italian Christmas Cookies are soft and buttery, topped with a sweet glaze and festive sprinkles!
Servings: 30 cookies
Prep: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients 

Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, or vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons cream or milk, warmed
  • Christmas sprinkles

Instructions 

  • Whisk together eggs, oil, sugar, and extract in a mixing bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Roll dough by tablespoonfuls into balls. Chill balls of dough for at least an hour, or freeze for 15-20 minutes.  Place cold dough balls on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350° for about 9 minutes, or till the tops are set. Bottoms will be lightly browned, but tops should still be white. Remove cookies to cooling racks and cool completely.
  • For the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till smooth, adding enough warm cream to get a thin but creamy consistency.
  • Dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze, then top them with Christmas sprinkles.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 106kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 8mg, Potassium: 48mg, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 20IU, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




41 Comments

  1. These were pretty easy to make. Not everyone raved about them but those that liked them loved them. I would make these again.

  2. 5 stars
    These cookies are wonderful! Like little individual cakes, they’re sure to please!!! Don’t eat them all if you plan on sharing!!