Soft Italian Cookies are dipped in a creamy glaze, topped with colorful sprinkles. They are perfect for holidays and special occasions!!
These tasty cookies are easy to make, make a ton, and are the cutest little cookie for special occasions or to give out as gifts! For more gift-able cookies try Spritz Cookies, No Roll Sugar Cookies, or Turtle Thumbprint Cookies.
Italian Cookies aka Italian Wedding Cookies
Have you ever tried Italian Wedding Cookies before?
Italian cookies are traditionally flavored with anise, but no one in my family likes the taste of black licorice, so I used almond instead, which is a common substitute for a more Americanized Italian cookie version. If you don’t like anise or almond, you can also just use vanilla.
We love that these cookies aren’t only simple, but they are tasty and pretty! They’re great to serve for parties or even holiday functions. And who can deny a cookie covered in glaze and sprinkles?
How to make Italian Cookies
DOUGH. Whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar, and extract in a mixing bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients.
ROLL & CHILL. Roll dough into balls. I like to use a small cookie scoop to make sure the cookies are all the same size. After rolling them into balls, chill them for about an hour, or place them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Chilling the dough helps the cookies keep their round shape. Without chilling, they tend to spread.
BAKE. Bake the cold cookie dough balls at 350° for about 9 minutes, or till the bottoms are lightly brown and the tops are set.
GLAZE. After the cookies are completely cooled, whip up a simple glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, extract of your choice, and warmed milk or cream. I just heated my cream in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.
Note. The cookies are best eaten within a day or two after they are glazed. After that the color from the sprinkles starts to bleed.
Tips + Variations
We prefer almond extract and used that for these cookies, but can you also use vanilla or anise instead.
If cookies end up being flat it is probably because the levitating ingredients weren’t sufficient. Try using less flour next time, the dough may have been too heavy for the egg, oil, and baking powder to lift.
Make sure to let the glaze dry/harden a little bit before adding the sprinkles on top. Having the glaze be kind of “tacky” will help the sprinkles stick to the cookies better, rather than just having the glaze and the sprinkles fall off the cookies.
Use pastel sprinkles, they bleed color less
- Add about 2 cups of chopped nuts into the dough (almonds preferably)
- Top the cookies with sugar crystals
These cookies can be made ahead of time. FREEZE them without the glaze, and add it the day you serve them. Just let them thaw completely before glazing.
Make the glaze up to 5 days ahead of time. You will need to bring the glaze to room temperature before trying to dip the cookies in it.
STORE in an air tight container at room temp for up to a week.
Italian Christmas Cookies
We sure do love these cookies, and especially love that you can change up the colors of sprinkles to match any holiday or celebration.
Since Christmas is just around the corner, I sprinkled a few of my cookies with green and red nonpareils. Wouldn’t they be beautiful on a tray of Christmas cookies?
If you don’t like the crunch that comes with nonpareils, you can also use jimmies (softer and longer sprinkles) too.
For more Christmas cookie recipes, check out:
- Chocolate Drizzled Christmas Cookie Sticks
- White Chocolate Dipped Gingersnaps
- Crazy Christmas Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
- Gingerbread Cookies
Italian Cookies Recipe
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp almond anise, or vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 3-4 Tbsp cream or milk, warmed
- 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 tops are set. Bottoms will be lightly browned, but tops should still be white. Remove cookies to cooling racks and cool completely.
- For glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till smooth, adding enough warm cream to get a thin but creamy consistency.
- Dip tops of the cookies in the glaze, then top with sprinkles.