These Italian cookies are soft, almond flavored cookies topped with icing and colorful sprinkles. A classic dessert that’s perfect for the holidays or any other special event.

When the winter months roll around, I find myself baking up plenty of treats for gift giving, including thumbprint cookies, Oreo stuffed cookies, peppermint patties, peanut brittle and these delightful little Italian cookies.

Italian Cookies Recipe | Almond Cookies #cookies #italianfood #frosting #sprinkles #baking #christmas #dinneratthezoo Italian Cookies Recipe | Almond Cookies #cookies #italianfood #frosting #sprinkles #baking #christmas #dinneratthezoo

A plate of Italian cookies with a bite taken out of one.

These Italian cookies are a traditional recipe that never goes out of style. How could anyone resist soft pillowy cookies dipped in icing and showered with sprinkles? You can even switch up the sprinkle colors to decorate them for Christmas or any other occasion.

How do you make Italian cookies?

To make Italian cookies you need to have the perfect dough. Make the dough by beating together butter and sugar with a mixer. Add eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix it all together. Next add the flour and baking powder, and mix until it is just combined. With the dough complete, scoop it out and roll it into balls with your hands. Let the balls chill in the freezer to prevent them from spreading too much during baking. The dough goes into the oven for a few minutes until the edges are lightly browned. When the cookies are cool, they are ready for frosting.

Make a simple and easy frosting by whisking together powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Dip the cookies in this frosting, add a few sprinkles, and when the frosting dries the cookies are ready to eat.

Almond cookie dough in a mixing bowl.

Tips for Italian cookies

  • You can use your favorite flavor extracts such as anise or lemon instead of almond extract.
  • Make sure the balls of dough are completely smooth to get minimal cracking during baking.
  • The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  • When scooping the dough, use a cookie dough scoop or measuring spoon to make sure cookies are all the same size.
  • You can add a little food coloring to the frosting for a fun twist on the classic recipe.

Balls of cookie dough on a sheet pan.

Can you freeze cookies?

These cookies can be frozen in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 months. I recommend freezing the cookies before you’ve frosted them, then thaw and add the frosting and sprinkles right before serving.

Baked almond cookies on a baking sheet.

Can you freeze cookie dough?

This cookie dough can be frozen in balls for up to 2 months. Just thaw them overnight in a refrigerator and bake them as stated in this recipe when you are ready to serve them.

Italian cookies covered in frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

These cute little treats are always a hit with kids and adults alike. I make these every year for Christmas with red and green sprinkles and everyone always asks me for the recipe!

More cookie recipes you’ll enjoy

5 from 12 votes

Italian Cookies

AuthorSara Welch
A plate of Italian cookies with a bite taken out of one.
These Italian cookies are soft, almond flavored cookies topped with icing and colorful sprinkles. A classic dessert that's perfect for the holidays or any other special event.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Chilling Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Serves 18


For the cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

For the frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream can also use milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats.
  • Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer, then beat for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat until smooth.
  • Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl. Beat until just combined.
  • Use lightly damp hands to roll 2 tablespoons of dough into a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
  • Place the sheets of cookies in the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.
  • Bake each pan of cookies for 9-11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
  • Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.
  • For the frosting, place the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and cream in a bowl, then whisk until smooth.
  • Dip the top of each cookie into the frosting, then add the sprinkles on top of the cookies.
  • Let the cookies sit for 1 hour for the frosting to harden, then serve.


Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 234IU | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Love these cookies! Can you tell me how to prevent deep cracks on the top? I did roll them well and they seemed smooth but developed cracks while baking. Wondering if you have any other tips to stop the cracking.
    Thank you!

    1. It’s possible that you may have overmixed the dough a bit. Mine do crack some, but typically on the sides rather than on top, so some cracking is normal and expected.

  2. These are very good flavor but I think I made mine too big (as mine took a lot longer to cook). Should this recipe yield about 16-18 cookies?

  3. 5 stars
    Amazzzzing recipe !! Firm on the outside yet soooo soft inside. OMG Heavenly!!
    Better than any bakery I have had them from.

  4. 5 stars
    These are always one of my favorite treats to make during the holidays. Love the touch of sprinkles; looking forward to giving these a try!