These Italian sprinkle cookies (also known as Italian wedding cookies) are delicious, soft cookies dunked into a sweet glaze and topped with colorful sprinkles. You’ll be looking for any excuse to make and serve these sweet little bites.
They look even better than they taste, and that’s saying something because these are showstoppers.
Italian Wedding (Sprinkle) Cookies
If you’ve never had Italian sprinkle cookies, you are in for a treat! They are basically soft sugar cookies in ball form that have been submerged in a sweet glaze and topped with sprinkles. As my queen, Ina Garten, would say, “How bad can that be?”
From what I understand, traditional Italian sprinkle cookies are made with anise, which is the taste of black licorice. I feel like that is a flavor you either love or hate – and I am not a fan.
You’ll notice in my recipe that I used almond, lemon, and vanilla extract instead. This creates a really delicious flavor combo that I can certainly get behind. Sorry, anise.
LOOKING FOR MORE COLORFUL COOKIE RECIPES? TRY THESE:
- Orange-Almond Mushroom Cookies
- Whipped Shortbread Cookies
- Sprinkle Cookie Cups
- Cream Wafer Cookies
- Sugar Cookies with Cotton Candy Frosting
Frequently Asked Questions about Italian Wedding Cookies
Before we get to the Italian wedding (sprinkle) cookies recipe, here are some questions people often ask about it. If you don’t see your question in this list, please leave it in the comments.
Why are they called wedding cookies?
These are some of my favorite types of cookies to place on a wedding cookie table. A wedding cookie table is a Pittsburgh-area tradition that started in the early 20th century when Italian and Greek immigrants brought their traditions with them to Pennsylvania.
At Italian and Greek weddings, large platters of cookies are very common. My Italian wedding cookies are delicate, white, and topped with festive sprinkles.
Can you freeze Italian wedding cookies?
Yes, you can freeze these cookies. I suggest freezing them before you add the glaze and sprinkles. Bake them and let them cool completely. Then, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the freezer.
After the cookies are completely frozen, transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
When you are ready to eat them again, let them thaw in the refrigerator and then add the glaze and sprinkles.
Are Italian wedding cookies the same thing as Mexican wedding cookies?
They are very similar but come from different areas in the world. Both Mexican and Italian wedding cookies are round and white and served at weddings.
Mexican wedding cookies are made with butter, sugar, vanilla, and flour and often include chopped nuts. Then, they are covered in a dusting of powdered sugar.
Italian wedding cookies are made with powdered sugar, not granulated sugar, and flavored with almond and lemon extract. Then, they are covered in a sweet glaze.
Do Italian wedding cookies have nuts?
Nuts in Italian wedding cookies are completely optional. I used almond extract instead of adding chopped almonds.
I used ingredients that are easy to find, so you can just go shopping and make these delicious wedding cookies whenever you want. Here’s what you need to have when you make them.
- Eggs: These are the emulsifier in the recipe and keep all the ingredients together.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour or 1:1 gluten-free flour.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: This is what gives the cookies the melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Baking Powder: The baking powder enhances the overall texture of the cookies, making them lighter.
- Shortening: This is the fat that creates an undeniably smooth cookie. I prefer Crisco – it’s the best!
- Almond and Lemon Extract: I replaced the traditional anise flavor with a combination of almond and lemon extract.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: I always use powdered sugar in my buttercream frosting or glaze recipes because it creates the ideal consistency.
- Whole Milk: Make sure the milk is warmed.
- Almond and Vanilla Extract: This combination mirrors the flavors in the cookie dough.
- Kosher Salt: Salt enhances all the other flavors.
- Colored Nonpareils: Use your favorite colors for the decorations.
These sprinkle Italian wedding cookies are really simple to make too. The dough comes together quickly – there’s no chilling time required. Then, you dip the cookies into the icing right out of the oven. The longest waiting period is allowing that sweet glaze to cool.
The recipe I worked from to create these Italian sprinkle cookies made seven dozen. Yikes – that’s a lot of cookies. So, I pared it down to three and a half dozen. That said, if you want a batch of seven dozen, just double the ingredients in the recipe card below, and you’ll be good to go.
I also made a Christmas version of this recipe. (Don’t get too excited, I just changed the color of the sprinkles.) It’s fun and festive!
If you’ve never made this type of cookie before, do give them a try. And have fun changing up the nonpareil sprinkle colors to suit the celebration, occasion, or holiday.
Now, on to the recipe!
Kitchen Tools I Recommend for This Recipe:
Whether you’re wondering what equipment you’ll need for this recipe, curious about my favorite utensils, or if you are just looking to stock your own kitchen, these are the tools I recommend for this recipe:
Want more? You can find the list of My Ultimate Kitchen Essentials HERE.
How to Make Italian Wedding (Sprinkle) Cookies:
After making them once, you’ll be a huge fan of how easy they are! Here’s how to make these simple and delicious Italian wedding cookies.
Mix dry ingredients
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and baking powder. Mix on low speed.
Add shortening and extracts
Gradually beat in the shortening, almond extract, and lemon extract until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Add eggs until dough is stiff
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs until light and foamy. Slowly add the beaten eggs to the flour and shortening mixture. The dough will be stiff.
Bake the cookies
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will remain white, and the bottoms will be slightly browned.
Make the cookie glaze
In a small bowl, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, almond extract, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth.
Glaze the cookies
As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, glaze them. Working in batches of about four cookies, add them to the bowl of glaze, turn them around with a fork, and then remove them from the glaze.
Use the fork to place the cookies on a cooling rack to drain. Immediately top this set of cookies with sprinkles. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
When glazing your cookies, I recommend placing a piece of wax paper under your cooling rack to make for easy clean-up.
Store the cookies
Once the cookies are cool and the glaze is set, pack them in an airtight container.
And That’s a Wrap on These Italian Sprinkle Cookies!
Trust me on this one, they look as delicious as they taste. While these are perfect for the holidays and other celebrations, I also love them just as much when served with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s the perfect combination and just enough of a treat to satisfy any sweet tooth.
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Italian Sprinkle Cookie Recipe:
Italian Sprinkle Cookies
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and baking powder. Mix on low speed.
- Gradually beat in the shortening, almond extract, and lemon extract until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs until light and foamy. Slowly add the beaten eggs to the flour and shortening mixture. The dough will be stiff.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will remain white, and the bottoms will be slightly browned.
- In a small bowl, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, almond extract, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth.
- As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, glaze the cookies. Working in batches of about four cookies, add them to the bowl of glaze, turn them around with a fork, and then remove them from the glaze. Use the fork to place the cookies on a cooling rack to drain. Immediately top this set of cookies with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cookies.
- Once the cookies are cool and the glaze is set, pack in an airtight container.