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Grandma’s Yummy Italian Cookies Recipe Finds its Way into Every Holiday

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Grandma’s Italian Cookies Recipe – A Delicious Family Tradition

Grandma’s Italian cookies recipe is a delicious family tradition that dates back many generations. Add seasonal colors to your dessert table and create long-lasting memories. Making these cookies is a fun activity to do with kids, too. They’ll love getting their hands messy as they help to form the dough into balls, and then press their thumb into the center of each ball to create an indentation. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, they can have fun decorating them with colorful icing and sprinkles. [Read: Best Wedding Gift Ideas | 25 Kitchen Gifts for Couples]

Since this recipe makes quite a few cookies, it's perfect for family gatherings or to have on hand for impromptu visitors during the holidays. Be sure to have a plate of Grandma's Italian Cookies ready when friends and family drop by for your special event or holiday. They're sure to be a hit!

[Recipe: Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing]

Italian Cookies Recipe Ingredients

Italian Desserts


  • 4 cups flour (sift with two tablespoons cornstarch)
  • Four teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Three eggs
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1–1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure anise extract
  • Approx. 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
There’s nothing like a batch of homemade cookies to bring the family together. And what could be more special than a recipe that is being passed down through the generations? Grandma’s Italian cookies are a delicious tradition that will fill your home with the warm scents of vanilla. These cookies are perfect for adding a little festive flair to your holiday dessert table. They’re also a fun activity to do with kids. They’ll love getting their hands messy as they help to form the dough into balls and then press their thumb into the center of each ball to create an indentation. Making these cookies is a great way to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Traditional Italian cookies are some of the best cookies


  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream (6–7 tablespoons if you prefer a thinner icing)
  • 1–1/2 teaspoons pure CLEAR vanilla extract for a true white icing
  • Pinch of salt

Italian butter cookie recipe


Dessert Sprinkles & Decorations

  • Special occasion dessert sprinkles are available at many retailers, including Williams Sonoma, Amazon, and Target
  • Choose your occasion or holiday theme and color palette
    • Coordinate with your serving ware
    • Or, consider mixing and matching for a more Boho-inspired gathering

Italian Cookies Recipe Instructions

What do they call cookies in Italy? Biscotti is the plural of biscotto, the Italian word for cookie.


Old World Italian Cookies Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs.
  • Add vanilla, anise and milk and beat until smooth.

Electric Mixer

  • In a large bowl use an electric mixer to combine all of the dry ingredients including the flour sifted with cornstarch, baking powder and granulated sugar.
  • Blend dry ingredients with butter / shortening until mixture is similar to cornmeal.
  • Next, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, place shortening / butter and blend until mixture is similar to cornmeal using an electric mixer.
  • Add the liquid mix (eggs, vanilla & milk) with the mixer placed at the lowest speed. Mix until thoroughly combined, and the dough becomes soft and pliable. If necessary, add a splash of milk for the right consistency.
  • Turn the dough onto your floured work surface, scraping the sides of the bowl. Divide the batter in half and knead each piece until blended (do not over knead).
  • Next, divide the dough into approximately 30 pieces for small cookies.
    • I like to place the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool the batter down – it’s easier to form cookie shapes.
  • Use themed cookie cutters or simply form into the shape of a ball.

Baking and Cooling

Nonna cookies recipe – baking and cooling.


Best Italian Cookies

  • Place cookie shapes on the lined cookie sheet and bake for 14-18 minutes until lightly golden. Baking time will vary on the size and thickness of the cookies.
    • If cookie shapes are on the smaller side, check cookies at the 10 minute mark to gauge how quickly they are baking.

Remove from the Oven

  • Remove the cookie sheet(s) from the oven
  • Let cookies cool on the sheet for five minutes
  • Gently remove cookies and place on cooling racks.
  • Refrigerate until cooled.
  • To make clean up easy, leave the decorated cookies on the cooling rack and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

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Cookie icing instructions


  • Using a spoon or rubber spatula, blend in the confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla extract and salt until well blended and smooth.
    • Although you want the glaze thicker than heavy cream, it still has to be thin enough to spread and drizzle without clumping.
    • Adding cream a drop at a time will adjust the consistency if needed.

Grandma’s Italian Cookies Recipe to create holiday and special event memories.



  • With cookies on the cooling rack drizzle the cookie icing onto the cookies.
  • Allow the icing to lightly “set” for a minute and then add the desired sprinkles or decoration.
    • If placing sprinkles before the icing has a chance to “set” the decorations will also drip as icing drips on parchment paper.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

We would love to hear about your favorite family recipes and traditions. Please share in the comments below or on social media, and be sure to tag us so we can see them too! In the meantime, we hope you’ll give our Italian cookies recipe a try – it’s sure to become a new family tradition. Buon appetito!

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[tasty-recipe id=”6797″]


What do they call cookies in Italy?

Biscotti is the plural of biscotto, the Italian word for cookie.

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Gigi Day
Gigi Dayhttps://themoddaily.com/
Gigi Day is a designer and writer. Her blog, The Mod Daily, is full of life-enhancing home décor, lifestyle tips, and advice to optimize life at home.

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