Italian Cookies

Italian Cookies – these soft round cookies are dipped in creamy glaze, then topped with colorful sprinkles. A fun cookie for any occasion, and especially for holidays.

Italian 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

How to make Italian Cookies:

Whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar, and extract in a mixing bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients.

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 the cold cookie dough balls at 350° for about 9 minutes, or till the bottoms are lightly brown and the tops are set.

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.

Italian Wedding Cookies

Italian Anise Cookies

Italian cookie Recipe FAQ

How many cookies does this recipe make? This recipe makes about 30 cookies, but it can easily be doubled. The cookies are best eaten within a day or two after they are glazed. After that the color from the sprinkles starts to bleed.

Can you make the cookies ahead of time? Yes, you can freeze them without the glaze, and add it the day you serve them. Just let them thaw completely before glazing.

How to store Italian Cookies? Keep an air tight container at room temp for up to a week.

Do you have to use anise, if you don’t like licorice flavoring? Of course not. We prefer almond extract and used that for these cookies, but can you also use vanilla too. 😉

Italian Christmas Cookies

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:

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Italian Cookies Recipe

4.8 from 15 votes
Italian Cookies - these soft round cookies are dipped in creamy glaze, then topped with colorful sprinkles. A fun cookie for any occasion, and especially for holidays.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 106 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp almond anise, or vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt


  • 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.

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About the Author

Kara Cook

Hi! I'm Kara from Creations by Kara, and I'm addicted to creating pretty and yummy things. I love sharing home decor ideas, DIY projects, tasty recipes, and simple tips! I hope that I am inspiring women everywhere to use their creativity to build a better life.

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Recipe Rating


    1. 5 stars
      My family has MADe Italian cookies for decades, my mom learned to make them from her mother-in-law, my grandma, who came to the U.S. from Naples as a little girl. these cookies bring back such fond memories, and it was a taste of my youth. this recipe is very similar to our family RECIPE. if you find the dough TOO oily to roll when you first make it, try refrigerating it first, then roll into balls and pop them in THE oven right away. i love anise, but when i used to make these when i was a girl i would use almond for the dough and vanilla for the glaze as no one else in my family likes anise. i don’t suggest using butter in this recipe, it would totally change the flavor, and possibly the texture of the cookies. i stopped making these years ago and my younger sister is the one who now carries on the tradition and she’ll mail me a batch for Christmas every year…now i can go back to making my own! thank you for the recipe!

  1. Hi, i followed this Recipe step by step and the dough is just INCREDIBLYyy oily? Is there a typo online with how much oil is supposed tO be added? I dont wAnt to give this a poor rating, they look beautIful online! Would love to make these pRoperly 🙁

  2. Hi! I have queStions!
    What kind of oil is used for this vegetable? OLive?
    What is better to use Thr almond or vanilla?
    Whats Better cream or milk? And what kind of cream, like heavy cream?

    1. I would use vegetable oil & I personally love almond, but really it’s a preference. And, yes, heavy cream or milk works perfect too. No wrong way 🙂 Hope you like these!

  3. Havent tried your recipe but I will. My family always used lemon flavor in ours and we use it in the cookies not the glaze. I have a distant cousin that used to make them a bunch for the weddings in the area my mom grew up but when I asked for her recipe she either didnt give it to me right(shes weird about giving people her recipes and i swear she intentionally sabotages) or she is losing it and made some errors(shes over 80 so its possible). So I am in the market for a recipe that isnt dry as can be.
    I am ok with it being on the oilier side because I really just dont want a dry cookie. I felt like hers were always a bit dry anyway. I will rate it once I make it

  4. 5 stars
    This is so good! I followed each step with this Recipe. It came out just like the picture. So easy TO make! Very sUccessfulLy. They taste so great that we finished within 30 mins (i only made half amount of the Recipe). It taste good with or without the sugar coating. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Ill make it again in the Near FuTure. Thank you.

    1. You are so welcome! Thank you so much for saying that! I am so glad you tried them & liked them, as much as we do!

        1. i have always glazed and sprinkled them right after they’ve cooled off. but don’t refrigerate them, that will cause a type of condensation and the color from your sprinkles may run. i pack them in saran wrap in sealed tins or Tupperware, and they keep nicely (if you hide them from everyone, for several days). Glaze shouldn’t melt unless you live somewhere really warm.

  5. 5 stars
    Excellent cookie and so easy to make. My husband’s family are Italian cookie makers and they couldn’t stop eating these!

  6. Can anisette be used in place of the anise extract? I have a whole bottle & can’t find the recipe i wanted to use it for? If it can be substituted, how much should be used? These cookies look delicious and would be great with my coffee right now!!! Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried using that. I know the anise is a flavor, but the anisette is a French alcoholic liqueur flavored with anise, so not sure how they would turn out.

  7. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Turned out just like the photos. Made some with almond extract, and some with vanilla extract. I’m not a fan of nuts, so I didn’t like the almond ones much, although my mother liked them a lot, she said they tasted like ones her grandma made), so that’s just my flavour preference. Overall everyone really liked them, and the recipe was very easy to make. I recommend trying them.

  8. 5 stars
    Tried making these cookies for the first time today. I substituted with avocado oil instead of regular oil and added about a tablespoon of egg whites to the mix. The cookies came out incredible. My mom always used to make these cookies for me. First time trying and I have to say I’m proud of myself.

  9. HELP! I am attempting these cookies for the first time and the dough is very dry. Crumbly, actually. It won’t hold together.
    Did the recipe to a T. Any suggestions??

    1. Hmm..I wish I knew why it isn’t holding together. It should be. Maybe add a splash of liquid. Maybe a teaspoon or 2 of milk. I know sometimes, if my ingredients aren’t fresh, the dough is tougher. Good luck!

  10. 5 stars
    First time making these and I made them because I grew up in an Italian family and these were always my favorite. I used almond instead of anise and they were absolutely perfect and delicious! I froze them overnight, took them out, baked them and frosted them later in the day. They have stayed perfectly in a baggie, did not get stale or hard, absolute perfection! Thank you for this recipe!