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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 a 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!

Decorated Christmas Italian Cookies on a plate.

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, 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. Plate them with these classic Linzer Cookies, these Peppermint Meltaways, or these Eggnog Cookies, and you will have the most delicious cookie plate that is perfect for Christmas!

Ingredients in Italian Christmas Cookies

Ricotta cheese is the secret ingredient for moist and tender cookies. Check out all of the ingredients at the bottom of the post for all of the exact measurements!

  • Butter: Soften the butter, but don’t melt it.
  • Sugar: The sugar makes these cookies nice and sweet.
  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Baking Soda and Baking Powder: These leavening agents help make the cookies soft and fluffy.
  • Ricotta cheese: The ricotta cheese is the secret ingredient to making these cookies nice and soft.
  • Eggs: The eggs bind all of the ingredients together.
  • Vanilla: This is what makes these cookies so good!
  • Powdered Sugar: This is the base of the glaze
  • Milk: Add this slowly so you don’t make the glaze too runny.
  • Almond Extract: This gives the Italian Christmas cookies an almond taste.
  • Sprinkles: I use red and green for Christmas but feel free to change those up and serve these all year round.
4 pictures in a collage showing how to mix the dough.

How to Make Italian Christmas Cookies

These cookies are simple to make, and I love adding on different sprinkles. In fact, change up the sprinkles with different colors, and you can use them all year long!

  1. Use Hand Mixer: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 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, eggs, and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  2. Whisk: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and powder in a medium-sized bowl. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat together until combined.
  3. Drop and Bake: Scoop the dough into teaspoons and roll it 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.
  4. Make 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 the Italian Christmas cookies with sprinkles immediately.
Cooking and decorating Italian Christmas Cookies

Tips and Variations

These are sure to please any crowd. Here are some tips so yours turn out perfectly every time.

  • Add the milk to the glaze slowly: 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, depending on what you like.
  • Sprinkles:  Change the color of the sprinkles for the holiday or occasion. You could use black and orange for Halloween or pink or blue for a baby shower. You can serve these cookies any time 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 overbake: These shouldn’t be brown on top. If you overbake them, they will turn out to be dry.
  • How to glaze the cookies: If you glaze these Italian Christmas cookies while they are slightly warm, the glaze can seep into the cookie! 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 Leftovers

These Italian Christmas cookies are so delicious you won’t be able to stop at one! This recipe makes a lot, so this is how you can store leftovers:

  • At Room Temperature: Let the cookies set for up to 24 hours before transferring to an airtight container. Letting them set up will keep the glaze from becoming wet and slimy. They will last for about 5-7 days when stored at room temperature.
  • In the Freezer: Once the cookies are cooled and before you add the glaze, place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag (label it with the date), and they will last for about 2 months. Glaze the frozen cookies after they are thawed.
Sweet, buttery Italian Christmas Cookies

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Italian Christmas Cookies

4.50 from 6 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
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 a fun occasion! 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 24 Cookies

Ingredients 

Almond Glaze:

Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Originally Posted on November 30, 2020
Updated on December 14, 2023

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 79mgPotassium: 46mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 222IUCalcium: 49mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian, Italian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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33 Comments

  1. I am a seasoned baker and cook. I was excited to make these for my after-Christmas Party. I made two batches because I wanted a lot of cookies. I had a lot of cookies that I thought had zero taste! The dough was not easy to work with either. I would not recommend these cookies and will never make them again. Very disappointed. I will stick to my tried and true recipes like spritz, Mexican wedding cakes, and sugar cookies. I wasted a lot of product and I threw every single cookie out!!!!

  2. I plan on making this recipe during the holidays. My concern is the cookie yield. A similar recipe with same ingredients, had a yield of 8 dozen. Your recipe calls for 2 dozen. Does it then come down to the size of your rolled drops? Walnut sized vs. teaspoon. Either way, I plan on using my smaller scoop.

      1. Has anyone ever used cottage cheese in place of ricotta? Several times in other recipes I have replaced ricotta with c.c. ,& worked out ok. Thanks. S.S.

  3. These cookies look so delicious, I would love to make them but I do not have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a paddle . Can these cookies be made by hand nor with a standard hand mixer? Thank you so much , Linda

  4. 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!

  5. 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… 🙁

  6. 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!