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Soft Italian Cookies are dipped in a creamy glaze and topped with colorful sprinkles. They are perfect for holidays and special occasions!!

These tasty Italian 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 giftable cookies try Spritz Cookies, No Roll Sugar Cookies, or Turtle Thumbprint Cookies.

Italian Cookies topped with glaze and sprinkles with one missing a bite.

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.

Almond 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 Italian Butter Cookies are not only simple, but they are tasty and pretty! They’re a great dessert to serve at parties or even holiday functions. And who can deny a cookie covered in glaze and sprinkles?

How to make Italian Cookies

COOKIE DOUGH. Whisk together eggs, oil, sugar, and extract in a mixing bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.

CHILL. 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. Bake in the oven at 350°F 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.

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 with sprinkles.

The cookies are best eaten within a day or two after they are glazed. After that, the color from the sprinkles starts to bleed. Pastel colors bleed less.

Close up of Italian cookie balls on a sheet pan ready to be baked.

Recipe Tips

Italian Sprinkle Cookies are an easy treat, but here are a few tips and variations to help!

Flavor. The vanilla extract can be substituted with almond extract, lemon extract, or anise extract which has a black licorice-like taste.

Flat cookies. 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.

Glaze. 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.

Nuts. Mix in up to 1 cup of chopped nuts (almond or walnuts) or mini chocolate chips. 

Different shapes. These cookies should hold their shape pretty well.

  • Round: Roll the dough into balls and they bake up with a nice, rounded top.
  • Flat: Place the dough balls on the baking tray and use a glass cup dipped in flour or powdered sugar to gently press the tops of the balls a bit flat.
  • Shape: Roll the dough balls into a short rope and form it into a squat “s” shape or tie it into a knot.  

Sprinkles. I love the classic nonpareils sprinkles but you can use any type of sprinkles, including holiday shapes or sugar crystals, making them a perfect cookie to serve year-round.

Chrismas Version

We sure do love these Italian cookies, and especially love that you can change up the colors of sprinkles to match any holiday or celebration. The kids love that they also taste great!

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I sprinkled a few of my cookies with green and red nonpareils. Be sure to check out our Italian Christmas Cookies recipe for more holiday specific tips there. 😉

If you don’t like the crunch that comes with nonpareils, you can also use jimmies (softer and longer sprinkles) too.

Topping Italian cookies with glaze and sprinkles.

SToring Info

STORE baked Italian Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

FREEZE. Make these cookies ahead of time then freeze them without the glaze. Thaw before glazing.

Make the glaze up to 5 days ahead of time. Bring the glaze to room temperature before trying to dip the cookies.

STORE the dough. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

FREEZE the dough in a large ball by wrapping it with plastic and again with aluminum foil. Or form the dough into balls and place them on a baking tray and into the freezer.

Once the dough balls are solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe Ziploc. The dough can keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw before baking.

A close up of glazed Italian cookies topped with sprinkles.

For more Christmas cookies:

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4.98 from 463 votes

Italian Cookies Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Soft Italian Cookies are dipped in a creamy glaze and topped with colorful sprinkles. They are perfect for holidays and special occasions!!
Servings: 30 cookies
Prep: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients 

Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract, or vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3-4 Tbsp cream or milk, warmed
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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 with 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 Kara

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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4.98 from 463 votes (404 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




134 Comments

  1. Julia Porter says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe, but it is extremely hard to access the instructional video for this without tons of pop-up ads. Thus, I’m trying to use your recipe in my middle school FCS class, and I can’t run it. Do you have your instructional video anywhere else?

  2. Adriana says:

    5 stars
    The recipe is very precise and easy to understand. The cookies turned out great too. Best recipe ever!!

  3. Jo says:

    Just a few comments
    These cookies typically use butter not oil.
    Personally think butter adds better flavor.
    Also I used anise extract but 1tsp is waaaay too much. Unfortunately I can not serve these at Easter becuz the anise flavor is overwhelming.

  4. Kara says:

    5 stars
    Loved the ease of making these cookies since I’m not a baker. I used almond extract as my flavoring. They are delicious when paired with a cup of coffee. Glazed or no glaze just yummy!

  5. Marcy Uyehara says:

    What size scoop do you use?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      I typically use a medium size scoop.

  6. Lauren M says:

    5 stars
    These were so delicious, followed your exact recipe, only addition I made was a splash of Galliano liqueur to the glaze & they came out great. Thank you.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  7. Katie says:

    Can I substitute vegetable oil for another oil?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Absolutely!

  8. Tania says:

    Second Christmas making these, yum!
    I use vanilla. They disappeared, they were loved so much. Thank you! Keeping this recipe on my cookie list for sure.

  9. Fenster says:

    5 stars
    I truly do not understand how you can screw this up so badly that your dough is goopy. Just follow the steps. My dough was perfect and the cookies turned out great.