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Italian Wedding Cookies Recipe

Italian wedding cookies are like little bites of heaven! Soft, buttery, crumbly, and nutty, these treats are downright addictive.

They look super fancy, but they’re so easy to make. So whip up a batch for Christmas, parties, tea time, and more.

Soft and Buttery Italian Wedding Cookies with Powdered Sugar
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The Best Italian Wedding Cookies

Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, snowballs – Italian wedding cookies go by many names.

No matter what you call them, these treats melt in your mouth!

They’re soft, pillowy, light, and buttery shortbread cookies packed with nuts and powdered sugar.

An extra sugary coating on the outside creates the signature snowball effect.

They’re so heavenly that they’re mostly reserved for weddings and special occasions.

But because they’re such a breeze to make, there’s no need to wait for a holiday. Just whip them up anytime!

Fresh baked Italian wedding cookies on parchment paper and bowl of powdered sugar ready to be coated.

Ingredients

Most of the ingredients for these Italian cookies are common pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Butter. Unsalted butter works best for this recipe because you’ll add extra salt later.
  • Powdered sugar. Also called confectioners’ sugar, powdered sugar is the star of these cookies! Use some for sweetening the dough and coating the baked cookies.
  • Salt. A simple flavor enhancer.
  • Finely ground almonds. These nuts make up the majority of the cookie dough. They add a delightful light, nutty taste, and chewy texture.
  • Vanilla extract. For extra warmth and flavor.
  • Flour. Regular all-purpose flour works fine for these cookies.

How to Make Italian Wedding Cookies

These dreamy Italian cookies are super easy. You can whip up a big batch with just a few simple steps. 

Here’s the process:

1. Preheat the oven. Set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Beat the butter, powdered sugar, and salt. Beat the butter with an electric mixer. As the butter softens, gradually add 3/4 cup powdered sugar and salt. Beat for about 5 to 7 minutes. 

3. Add the ground almonds and vanilla. Beat until well combined. 

4. Add the flour. Use a spatula to gently mix in the sifted flour.

3. Shape and bake. Shape the cookie dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Cool and coat. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes. Pour the remaining powdered sugar into a bowl. Roll the warm cookies until they are well-coated on all sides. Enjoy!

Italian Wedding Cookies in a Green Plate

Tips for Making the Best Cookies 

Italian wedding cookies look so elegant and festive. And yet, they’re simple enough for beginner bakers to make.

Just keep these tips in mind for the best results:

  • Toast the almonds beforehand. For a nuttier flavor, toast the almonds in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. About 8 to 10 minutes will do the trick.
  • Refrigerate the cookie dough. The dough will be very sticky, making it harder to shape. A simple solution is to put the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Chilled dough is much easier to work with.
  • Let the butter soften slightly. Take the butter out of the fridge 10 minutes before use. If you forget, pop it in the microwave in 15-second increments.
  • Don’t grease the cookie sheets. Doing so will result in spreading. The cookies contain a lot of butter, so they’re less likely to stick. If you want to be sure, line the pan with parchment paper. A silicone mat also works.
  • Use an ice cream scoop. It helps create uniform cookies. Just be sure the diameter isn’t bigger than 1 inch. Otherwise, the middle may underbake.
  • Don’t let the cookies touch. If they do, they’ll lose their shape.
  • Double coat the cookies in sugar. Roll them once as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. Then again, once they cool completely, to create that elegant snowball look.
  • Sift the sugar first. Powdered sugar can be clumpy. Sifting it will remove any small “rocks”, so they don’t end up in the dough.
A bunch of powdered sugar coated Italian wedding cookies in plate.

Recipe Variations

There are all sorts of delectable ways to customize this cookie recipe. Just pick your favorite mix-ins and experiment with fun variations. 

Here are some ideas:

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  • Try different nuts. Try the recipe with walnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, or hazelnuts. Just be sure to ground them up finely beforehand.
  • Add some chocolate. Mix mini chocolate chips in with the dough. It will make the cookies extra decadent!
  • Use almond extract. Just replace the vanilla extract with it. Doing so will give you a richer, nuttier flavor. It’s strong, though, so don’t overdo it.
  • Make them vegan-friendly. Use vegan butter instead of regular butter. 
  • Give them a Christmassy flair. Roll the cookies in crushed candy canes instead of powdered sugar. You can also add crushed peppermints to the dough. Either way, these Christmas cookies will fly off the platter!
  • Use almond flour. It makes the cookies extra nutty and scrumptious. Just use 1 cup almond flour and 2 cups all-purpose flour.
Bunch of Anginetti cookies with sugar glaze and sprinkles on plate.

What Are Anginetti Cookies?

Anginetti cookies are another Italian classic often confused with Italian wedding cookies. But they’re not the same.

Also known as Italian Lemon Drop Cookies, Anginetti cookies are traditionally flavored with lemon. Anise, vanilla, and almond are also common flavorings.

Other differences you’ll notice are the dough and decorations. 

Anginetti cookies call for flour, butter, eggs, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Instead of powdered sugar, they get a sweet glaze adorned with nonpareils or sprinkles.

Here’s how they’re made:

1. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar. With an eclectic mixer, beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.

3. Add the eggs and lemon. Beat in 3 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon extract. 

4. Add the dry ingredients. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until combined.

5. Shape and bake. Form 1-inch cookie dough balls and line them on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

6. Make the glaze. Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon of extract of choice (lemon, anise, or almond). 

7. Decorate and serve. Frost the cooled cookies with the glaze. Top with sprinkles or nonpareils. Enjoy!

How to Store Italian Wedding Cookies

This Italian wedding cookies recipe yields a lot. So store the leftover cookies on the counter or the fridge

You can also freeze unbaked cookies. I recommend avoiding the freezer for baked cookies, though. The powdered sugar coating doesn’t thaw well.

To Store: Store leftovers in an air-tight container at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.

You can also keep them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Just note their texture may change.

To Freeze: Place the raw cookie dough (without the powdered sugar coating) on a baking sheet. Freeze for about 2 to 3 hours until rock-solid. Then, transfer to a freezer bag, label, and freeze.

When ready to eat, bake for an extra 1 to 2 minutes. Enjoy within 3 months.

More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Gumdrop Cookies
Chocolate Icebox Cookies
Lemon Cake Mix Cookies
Cowboy Cookies

Italian Wedding Cookies (Easy Recipe)

Course: Snacks, Dessert
Servings

40

servings
Prep time

45

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

103

kcal

These Italian wedding cookies are so easy to make! Learn the simple recipe, plus, get tips for making the very best wedding cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (for the finish)

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed, gradually adding 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and salt. Beat until it’s light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Beat in ground almonds and vanilla extract. Then, gently mix in the sifted flour with a spatula until well combined.
  • Scoop teaspoonfuls of batter, shape them into balls and place them onto the cookie sheets. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit while the dough chills.
  • Bake cookie dough balls for 15 to 20 minutes. The cookies should still be pale in color, not brown. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Place the remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the slightly-cooled cookies in the sugar. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • For a nuttier flavor, toast the almonds in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. About 8 to 10 minutes will do the trick.
  • Don’t grease the cookie sheets, or your cookies will spread.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 103kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 18mg
  • Sodium: 44mg
  • Potassium: 29mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Calcium: 12mg
  • Iron: 0mg
Italian Wedding Cookies

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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