Glazed Italian Christmas Cookies with Colored Sprinkles

These Italian Christmas Cookies make great additions to the holiday cookie plate. These soft cookies are coated with an almond-flavored glaze, then topped with festive sprinkles. This big batch cookie recipe is a delicious one to add to your holiday cookie trays

Unlike the traditional Italian Christmas Cookies, this cookie recipe, rather than anise flavoring, it is flavored with almond and vanilla extracts. They are made with butter flavored shortening to give it that buttery flavor and keep the cookies on the soft side.

Glazed Italian Christmas Cookies with Colored Sprinkles

To make these traditional Italian Christmas Cookies, you will need the following ingredients: Flour, confectioners sugar, shortening, eggs, almond, vanilla, lemon extract, light cream, and colored sprinkles!

A delicious holiday cookie recipe tradition

Making Italian Christmas Cookies has become a regular family tradition. The first time I made these cookies for Grumpy, he fell in love with them! He is a sucker for a cookie that you don’t have to crunch through. These cookies are soft and have that buttery almond flavor that we love so much.

The rest of my family also fell in love with this cookie recipe. I became the go-to person for Italian Christmas Cookies anytime someone wanted a large batch for a party. They would call and ask me to make them for them!

Cookie dough and cookie scoop

The Origin of Italian Christmas Cookies

I was curious about the origin of Italian Christmas Cookies, so I did a search to find out exactly where these came from. I really couldn’t come up with anything other than recipes, so I went to Wikipedia and found a whole list of cookies! There were 9 cookies that were labeled Italian.

Not a single cookie on that list of 9 cookie recipes came close to this recipe. So, while these are called Italian Christmas Cookies, I am not exactly sure why. The closest match in the description and flavors was the Pizzelle.

Cookie dough shaped into a 1" ball.

Tips for making this Christmas Cookie recipe

  • Sift your flour first, then lightly spoon it into the measuring cups, leveling it off with a knife.
  • Add flour 1 cup at a time, stirring until well combined after each addition.
  • If the dough starts to become stiff before all of the flour is added, then don’t add any more flour.
  • Dip the cookies in the icing when they are still warm. This allows the icing to seep into the cookie.
  • Sprinkle with the colored jimmies immediately after you dip the cookie in the icing.
  • If your glaze seems too thin, add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is at the consistency you want.
  • Air-dry the cookies on a cooling rack for 24 hours before storing container.
  • Store the cookies in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze up to 2 months.
Dough is shaped into 1" balls and placed 1" apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Make this Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe your way

Butter is the easiest and best substitute for the vegetable shortening. The cookie texture will not be exactly the same, they will be a little less soft, but they will be absolutely delicious.

If you decide to use butter, be sure it is at room temperature. You should be able to make an indent in the butter with your finger without it going through the stick.

baked cookies on cooling rack

Feel free to flavor these Italian Christmas cookies with any flavors you wish! The sky is the limit here. Just a few ideas on how to change the flavors up are listed below.

  • Use orange extract and substitute orange juice for the heavy cream in the glaze. Sprinkle with colored sugars instead of jimmies.
  • Banana extract in the cookies and rum flavoring in the icing
  • Substitute lemon extract and sprinkle lemon zest over the top of the iced cookie
Italian Christmas Cookies on cooling rack with colored jimmies on top

Other Christmas Cookies you may want to make

If there is one thing I love, it is cookie recipes! If you searched my recipes here, you would find a lot of cookie recipes. I love them so much, I did a round-up of The Best 25 Christmas Cookie Recipes on Grumpy’s Honeybunch.

Italian Christmas Cookies with Almond Glaze and Sprinkles on a white plate.

If you love chocolate, then you are going to LOVE these Black Forest Cookies. They are easy, delicious and no-bake.

Black Forest Cookies

If you are looking for a fun time with the kids and a delicious Christmas cookie, then Try this easy recipe for Santa Swirl Sugar Cookies!

Santa’s Swirl Christmas Cookies

These Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies are a great recipe for those you love who can’t eat eggs!

Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies

Low Carb Christmas Cookie Recipes to share

You may be here for my Italian Christmas Cookie recipe, but since so many people follow a low carb, keto lifestyle I wanted to share with you my favorite cookies that fit that profile!

Keto Cannoli Cookie Cups
Keto Cannoli Cookie Cups

These Keto Cannoli Cookie Cups are my first Christmas Cookie made low carb. These are absolutely delicious and were made to satisfy my urge for a cannoli!

Strawberry Rhubarb Thumbprint Cookies

These Strawberry Rhubarb Thumbprint cookies are delicious. If you made homemade sugar free strawberry rhubarb sauce earlier this year, then you have the filling for these cookies on hand. If not, then feel free to fill with sugar-free jam.

Italian Christmas Cookies pinnable image

*If you made this Italian Christmas Cookie Recipe, please give it a star rating!*

Glazed Italian Christmas Cookies with Colored Sprinkles
Yield: 56 cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Italian Christmas Cookies are a soft ball shaped cookie glazed with an almond flavored glaze and sprinkled with colored sprinkles. A festive cookie everyone will love to find on their cookie tray!

Ingredients

For the Cookies:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2-1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon extract

For the Glaze:

  • 4-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 cup warm light cream
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • colored sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Using a heavy-duty mixer, beat eggs on high speed until light and foamy, about 5 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 5 cups of the flour, confectioners’ sugar and baking powder. Stir with whisk to combine.
  3. On low speed, gradually beat in shortening and extracts until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Gradually add beaten eggs. Dough should be stiff. If it is not stiff enough to roll into a cookie ball, gradually add more flour. (This is where the extra cup of flour comes in). Start with 1/2 cup. If still not stiff enough, gradually add remaining half cup. By this time your dough should be stiff enough to shape into a cookie ball.
  5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. 
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Tops of the cookies will not brown, but bottoms should brown slightly.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk and extracts until smooth. As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly dip two or three times into the glaze.
  8. Place on wire rack to drain and immediately top with sprinkles. Let dry 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.

Notes

Nutrition information calculated using myfitnesspal is provided as a courtesy, but will vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients you use. Please consult with your doctor regarding specific health needs.

Nutrition Information

Yield

56

Serving Size

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving Calories 149Total Fat 9gCarbohydrates 26gProtein 1g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.

62 Comments

  1. Cristine December 5, 2008 at 8:14 am - Reply

    So glad to hear that your MIL is improving. You are all in my thoughts and prayers! *hugs*

    Congrats on your award; you totally deserve it!

    And what are you doing to me???? Those cookies look FANTASTIC! Hmmmm… I think I know what I will be making tomorrow! Thank you!!! 🙂

    • Cassie Jacobson December 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      5 stars
      Can you make just a half of the recipe if he only see 7 dozen?

      • Shelby December 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm - Reply

        You can easily halve the recipe. Enjoy!

        • Cory December 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm - Reply

          I made these last year and loved them. About to make them again but do they need to be refrigerated?

          • Shelby December 23, 2017 at 6:37 pm

            I would say no, they don’t need to be refrigerated, up to a week on the counter is probably the longest I would let them sit though. I’m assuming these will be eaten within a few days. Sometimes refrigeration make the frosting “wet” and it disappears into the cookie.. If you don’t plan to eat them that quickly I suggest not frosting all of them, but freeze them. Then when ready to eat, thaw and glaze.

  2. Bellini Valli December 5, 2008 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I am glad that your MIL is improving everyday. Hopefully she will be well enough by Christmas to leave the hospital and go back home!!!!These cookies do sound easy. You always give us delicious and comforting recipes so deserve this award as well.

  3. recipes2share December 5, 2008 at 9:44 am - Reply

    cookies look great. You are fortunate to live not too far from your family though – I love where we are but we have been expat since early 90’s and sometimes I just wish we had a more normal life where we were able to see family!!

  4. Meg December 5, 2008 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Amazing cookies!
    Glad to hear your mother in law is doing better. I continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers! Congrats on the award!

  5. Jo December 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Congrats! Amazing cookies you made there and wonderful bloggers you picked!

    Glad to hear your MIL is doing better as well. I continue to keep your and yours in my thoughts.

    *hugs*

  6. Linda December 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    AH yes, the MIL thing. We have been going through this for 3 years. When they have the comebacks for you, you know all is right with their world!! Keeping you in my prayers.

    Now as for the cookies, these have been a tradition in our Italian family for years! They are so good and your post is beautiful.
    I will be baking mine this weekend.

    Congratulations on your award…well deserved.

    Hugs!

  7. Bobby December 5, 2008 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    Wow, italian cookies? Simply amazing. I love the ingredients, the additional of both almond and vanilla extract in the glaze is genious. These look great.

  8. Zesty Cook December 5, 2008 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Congrats on the award! Well deserved and thank you so much for passing it on to me. Don’t worry abou tit being girlie. I am in tune with my feminine side as well 🙂

    Cookies look amazing!

    zesty

  9. Lisa December 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Glad to hear yourb MIL is improving! Do these cookies freeze well? They look great.

  10. HoneyB December 5, 2008 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    whew! glad you don’t mind Cory! lol

    Thanks everyone…and Lisa, I think they probably would freeze well. I know this is a cookie Grumpy loved! He told my cousin that I had to charge $4 a cookie! he he.

  11. Barbara Bakes December 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Attitude can make such a big difference – a stroke is such a scary condition. The cookies look great!

  12. Happy cook December 5, 2008 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Cookies look so delicious. Glad to hear that your MIL is doing better.

  13. Reeni December 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Cookies look melt-in-your mouth delicious! Good to hear that your MIL is getting better and is in great spirits!

  14. Peggy December 5, 2008 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    You are amazing with all that you do. Glad your MIL is getting better and you can stay close. These cookies look amazing.

  15. Doberlady December 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Glad your MIL is getting better.

    Question about the cookies (they look amazing). What shortening are you using for this recipe?

    TIA!

  16. Sabrina December 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Those are so pretty!!

    and I love the cookies and the colors on them on the top of the page!

  17. Mari at Once Upon a Plate December 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Honey, I’m so glad to hear the good news about your mil.

    Congratulations on your award! You certainly deserve it.

    Your cookies look delish!!! So colorful and cheery. Good job!

  18. Pam December 5, 2008 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    I could eat way too many of those cute and tasty cookies. Delicious.

    Congrats on your award – you deserve it.

  19. priscilla December 5, 2008 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    mm, those cookies look so good. they would dissepaer here in no time. glad your mother-in-law is feeling better!

  20. noble pig December 6, 2008 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Glad your MIL is doing better, that’s great news. How interesting that this recipe uses lemon and almond extract, how does that come together? I love colored jimmies.

  21. HoneyB December 6, 2008 at 3:39 am - Reply

    Doberlady – when I use shortening I always use regular Crisco. I’m not a fan of the no name brand shortening. I don’t make a lot of recipes that call for shortening. I’m more of a butter in the batter kind of girl but these cookies looked way too good!

    Cathy, the lemon and almond together came out awesome. Grumpy loved them! I saved a few for his lunch box and when I got home tonight and was taking care of his box, I see he ate every one of them!

    • Nancy December 16, 2016 at 11:02 am - Reply

      Can you use butter rather than shortening?

      • Shelby December 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm - Reply

        You could try it. I have not used butter in this particular recipe. I think the texture may not be the same if you did. Butter tends to make cookies crisp where shortening/oil keeps them softer. I don’t think it would make them terrible, but they may not turn out the same as if you used shortening.

  22. Katypi December 6, 2008 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    The Italian cookies look great. I make a very similar cookie, but it has one added ingredient; add 1 tsp anise extract with the lemon and vanilla extracts to the cookie dough. Now we’re talking! Reminds me of my favorite Boston bakeries….so good!

  23. Chef E December 6, 2008 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    My weakness is sweets…and those look just like something I would get into…nice and crunchy with the sweet icing and sprinkles!

  24. PaniniKathy December 6, 2008 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    What gorgeous photos! The cookies sound terrific, especially with the sweet little sprinkles 🙂 Very glad to hear your mother-in-law is improving and is in good spirits.

  25. Debbie December 7, 2008 at 2:45 am - Reply

    yes, those photos are great! I printed off the recipe, because this is one cookie I am going to make. thanks again for the award…and I’m sure my husband and grumpy would be great friends! LOL

  26. Robin Sue December 9, 2008 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Honey B- Thanks so much for the award. That is so nice of you to think of me when there are so many great blogs out there. Love these cookies. My mom makes them every year! Have a great day!

  27. CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta December 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Congrats on the Butterfly award and thanks for the recipe! I remember these from when I was young and just might make them this Christmas. 🙂

  28. Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats December 15, 2008 at 11:05 am - Reply

    What beautiful little cookies. I am going to make them for next weeks office party and also copy the idea of the frosting for this week’s TWD. Congrats on your award!

  29. Kirstin December 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you sooo much for posting this recipe. My mom's family is Italian and we used to have these growing up, although my cousin tells me my great grandma used anise instead of almond and lemon. I also remember my mom making them. She has been gone 6 years. I made these yesterday and had so much fun and it brought back wonderful memories. I'm going to write a post on them now (C: Using my own pictures..hee hee and I do plan to put a link to your blog saying you are where I found the recipe. I really enjoy your blog and was just reading the macadamia cookie recipe…ummmmm…YUM!!!! Have a wonderful Christmas.

  30. Jen at The Three Little Piglets December 14, 2011 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    My seven year old just peeked over my shoulder and said, "Those are the most beautiful cookies. Can you make some?" It's all about the sprinkles!

    So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Will be thinking of you and your family and wishing her well.

  31. Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Thinking about making these for a World History Project! They look amazing (:

  32. Anonymous December 21, 2012 at 5:40 am - Reply

    These cookies are fabulous! Easy to make too. Definately added to our annual Christmas cookie list. Thank you!

  33. Cindy Eikenberg, Little Miss Celebration November 13, 2013 at 11:35 am - Reply

    I love these cookies and this totally takes me back to my childhood days with my grandmother! Thank you so much for sharing and pinning! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  34. DesignedByBH November 14, 2013 at 8:33 am - Reply

    These look great! Thanks for sharing them today on the Daily Blog Boost! Pinning!
    ~ Brooke ~

  35. Maria January 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    I absolutely loved these! I made them for Christmas and will continue to make them! I had made several different kinds of cookies that all had almond extract so to mix things up I actually replaced the almond extract in this recipe with vanilla bean paste and they were delicious! Next time I will make these with the almond as well!! Thank you!!

  36. Joan October 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    If you put the cookies on a cookie rack, you can just drizzle on the icing be sure to put newspapers under the racks to catch all the drippings, so much easier and clean up is easy. Been making these cookies for years. The recipe came from my Italian Aunt.

    • Shelby October 27, 2017 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Joan, thanks for the tip!

  37. […] Italian Christmas Cookies | Grumpys Honey Bunch […]

  38. Alyssa December 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Do you dip the cookies in the glaze when they are still warm or do you wait until they cool and then dip them?

    • Shelby December 17, 2017 at 7:22 am - Reply

      Hi Alyssa, you will dip the cookies in the glaze when they are still warm from the oven and top with the sprinkles, then let them cool/dry. Enjoy!

      • Alyssa December 17, 2017 at 9:05 am - Reply

        Thank you! 🙂 Will definitely be making them for Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.

  39. Karen November 3, 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    These are gorgeous, both with the thin and thick glaze. And of course, it’s all about the sprinkles, and the ones you used are adorable.

  40. Colleen - Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck November 3, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    The perfect excuse to break out the sprinkles!!!

  41. Hezzi-D November 3, 2018 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    These are fabulous! I love colorful cookies!

  42. Anne Lawton November 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    These cookies are so festive looking – just perfect for the holidays!

  43. Ellen November 7, 2018 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Such a pretty and festive cookie. This will make a lovely addition to my holiday cookie tins.

  44. Nikki November 8, 2018 at 7:18 am - Reply

    We love to make cookies for Christmas! I love the almond and lemon in these!

  45. Karen December 1, 2018 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Can I make the dough and freeze it to make them at a later date? I think freezing the baked cookie alters the fresh baked flavor.

    Thanks.

    • Shelby December 1, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Karen, Freezing it will not alter the taste of the baked cookie unless you freeze them too long. I would think 3-4 weeks would be fine in an airtight container. I have frozen these before. However, you can shape the dough into balls and then freeze the balls. Take them out to bake when you’re ready. Your baking time may change because they are frozen, but I’m fairly certain it would work.

  46. […] Italian Christmas Cookies from Grumpy’s Honeybunch […]

    • Wendy January 3, 2019 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Would love to make these but want to know what can I use instead of butter flavored shortening? Can I use coconut oil? Or what do you suggest? Thank you!

      • Shelby January 4, 2019 at 8:25 am - Reply

        Hi Wendy, I have not tried this with coconut oil so I can’t guarantee it would work. It is definitely something I would try though because coconut oil, much like shortening, will harden when it’s cold. I would recommend cutting the recipe in half for testing purposes if you do try. Please do come back and let me know how it worked if you do try it! Thanks for stopping by!

  47. […] Italian Christmas Cookie recipe is Grumpy’s favorite. He loves this softer cookie and the entire cookie is coated in a […]

  48. […] Italian Christmas Cookies is the top Christmas Cookie Recipe on Grumpy’s Honeybunch. This is a big batch recipe that is perfect to make for christmas cookie exchanges or to take to holiday parties. Everyone loves this soft dough cookie coated in icing and sprinkles! […]

  49. Anonymous October 4, 2019 at 9:01 am - Reply

    5

  50. Miriah October 27, 2019 at 11:05 am - Reply

    5

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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