Italian Christmas Cookies

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Italian Christmas Cookies are soft, buttery, fluffy and melt in your mouth delicious. Flavored with a hint of vanilla and a sweet glaze, these tasty treats are a perfect holiday treat. Take them to your next cookie exchange, party or just for fun occasion!

These will be perfect on a plate along with some Christmas Gooey Butter Cookies, Christmas Crack  and Snow Kiss Cookies for a festive dessert platter. Everyone will love these, and you’ll love how easy they are to make!

Sweet, buttery Italian Christmas Cookies

Easy Italian Christmas Cookies

These Italian cookies are often made with anise, which is a licorice flavor. Not everyone loves that flavor so I swapped it out for vanilla and topped it with an amazing almond glaze. They are fluffy and decadent and very festive. They are a great cookie for kids to help with.

This recipe makes quite a big batch, which is perfect for gift giving and having enough to eat too. You can double the recipe if you need more and you can half the recipe if you’d like less. Perfect!

Christmas Cookie Ingredients

Ricotta cheese is the secret ingredient for moist tender cookies

  • Butter: Soften the butter but don’t melt it.
  • Sugar White sugar not brown.
  • Flour: All purpose flour or unbleached flour all work
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder: Raising agents for fluffiness
  • Ricotta cheese Look for ricotta cheese with other Italian cheeses in the refrigerated section
  • Eggs: Binder for the cookies
  • Vanilla: Delicate flavor

Whipping Up Italian Christmas Cookies

These are quite easy to make, have to love that!

  1. Beat: Place the butter and sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer and beat till fluffy, can also use a hand mixer
  2. Add: Add in the ricotta and eggs and mix till incorporated.
  3. Separate: In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and powder. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat till combined
  4. Scoop: Scoop the dough by teaspoon size and roll into a ball. Drop on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake: Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven till just set.

Ingredients for Italian cookies

Almond Glaze Ingredients 

  • Powdered Sugar: Base of the glaze
  • Milk: Add slowly so not to make the glaze too runny.
  • Almond Extract: Gives it the almond taste
  • Sprinkles: Pick the color and style you desire

How to Glaze the Cookies

In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and almond extract till you get the desired consistency. Frost and sprinkle the cookies once cooled.

Cooking and decorating Italian Christmas Cookies

Tips and Variations

These are sure to please any crowd and with these tips and variations they’re a winner!

  • Glaze: Add a tablespoon of milk one at a time to get the desired consistency instead of all at once. You can make it thick or thin, it’s up to you.
  • Sprinkles:  Change the color of the sprinkles for the holiday, or occasion. Example Black and orange for Halloween or pink or blue for a baby shower. You can serve these cookies anytime of the year despite their title!
  • Flavoring: These are very flexible cookies. Change out the vanilla extract for peppermint, almond, coconut, or any other flavoring and add a complimentary flavoring in the icing, orange, cocoa, etc.
  • Don’t Over-bake  These shouldn’t be brown on top. If you over bake them, they’ll be dry.
  • Frost: If you glaze the cookies while slightly warm, the glaze can seep into the cookie, yum. Always decorate with your sprinkles right after you glaze so that they’ll stick.
  • Scoop:  If you have one use a cookie scoop so they are the same size, they’ll cook easier that way.

Red, white and green decorated Christmas Italian cookies

Storing Italian Cookies

You probably won’t be able to keep these around for too long, they’re just too fun to eat!

  • Storing:  Let the cookies set for up to 24 hours before transferring to an airtight container to keep for up to a week. Letting them set up will keep the glaze from becoming wet and slimy.
  • Freezing: You can freeze these unglazed once they’ve completely cooled or freeze them glazed. They’ll keep for up to 2 months in a freezer safe container or bag. Just remember freezing the cookies glazed could create the sprinkles to dissolve and the glaze to become melty when thawed. Glaze frozen cookies once thawed.

Decorated Christmas Italian Cookies on a plate.

More Christmas Cookie Recipes to Taste

Italian Christmas Cookies

4.25 from 4 votes
Italian Christmas Cookies are soft, buttery, fluffy and melt in your mouth delicious. Flavored with a hint of vanilla and a sweet glaze, these tasty treats are a perfect holiday treat. Take them to your next cookie exchange, party or just for fun occasion! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 24 Cookies


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Almond Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Christmas sprinkles for topping


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy with the paddle attachment. Add in the ricotta cheese and eggs, vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  • In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and powder. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat together until combined.
  • Scoop the dough into teaspoons and roll into a ball. Drop on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just set. Remove onto a wire rack to let cool.

To make the glaze:

  • In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and almond extract until you get the desired consistency. I like to dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and let them set on parchment paper. Sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles immediately.


Serves: 24

Calories164kcal (8%)Carbohydrates22g (7%)Protein4g (8%)Fat7g (11%)Saturated Fat4g (20%)Cholesterol34mg (11%)Sodium79mg (3%)Potassium46mg (1%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar13g (14%)Vitamin A222IU (4%)Calcium49mg (5%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian, Italian American
Keyword italian christmas cookies, italian cookies
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 4 stars
    These comments were very helpful! Yes, the batter is sticky, which I was glad to read since I thought I did something wrong. I refrigerated it and that helped. I was able to roll them into balls albeit lumpy ones! I prefer to have them a little more done than the recipe calls for. They also flattened out, but still tasted good! Thank you!

  2. I’m struggling here to the “1 15 ounce” … how much is that’s in grams? I was trying to convert it with google but the amount just doesn’t fit right to me… 🙁

  3. 5 stars
    I wanted to make this recipe because the ricotta intrigued me. I love Anise, but most family doesn’t. I wanted an alternative.
    The batter is sticky! However, I was able to roll it. I felt it needed a minimum 13+ minutes to bake. I made a hella more than 24 cookies! Lol. Which is cool. Over all not bad!

    1. Ok I’m answering my own question… they turned out fine but they taste very biscuit like so probably not an OK substitute or the recipe is supposed to be bland until frosted?

  4. As stated before, this recipe makes well over 24 cookies. I got over five dozen out of it using my small cookie scoop. Also, the dough is much too sticky to roll into a ball. And yes, bake them for at least 12 minutes unless you want raw cookies.

  5. I made this recipe as well. I substituted vanilla rum for vanilla extract because silly me forgot to buy some and I realized this after the batter was mostly made. I also left my cookies in for 12 minutes just so they were golden brown on the bottom as after 10 minutes they still looked raw and wet in the middle. Dough was too sticky to form into balls so I used my cookie scoop instead. I expected them to come out as balls but they flatten out as they cooked and became flatter as they cooled. Either way they were still good.

  6. 4 stars
    OK I followed the recipe perfectly. first of all it says it makes 24 cookies but I still had 1/3 bowl of batter left after 2 dozen were baked – also the recipe says 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. I baked the first dozen at exactly 10 minutes and they were still wet batter in the middle, uncooked. So I increased the time at 2 minute intervals, finally I arrived at 16 minutes being just right as a firm cookie, not brown but firm. It made 30 cookies and they are large – I used a teaspoon cookie scoop to do my balls. Other than that timing of the baking time, the cookies are very good and large – I made my glaze but it did not take 2-4 tablespoons of milk to just one cup of powdered sugar, that was real runny and just like water, I thickened it up a bit to look like the picture. I would give it 5 stars but needed to bring this to attention about the baking time.

  7. 4 stars
    These cookies are delicious! However, the batter was very sticky and would not roll into a ball. I had to add more flour.

    1. Made these cookies, the biggest mess ever! Won’t be making them again. They were flat as a flap jack…disappointed to say the least. Can’t roll them into ball because they cling to your hand like glue.

  8. I’m so excited you shared these! I have the family recipe in an old cookbook but it’s helpful to have an online copy. These are a family staple not just at Christmas but all holidays. We color our icing (instead of sprinkles) to reflect the Italian flag :D.

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