Grandma’s Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe Makes Holiday Spirits Bright by Ann Marie Patitucci

Grandma’s Italian Christmas Cookies Recipe Makes Holiday Spirits Bright

As a kid I didn’t appreciate shortbread the way I do now. I used to be a chocoholic, and still am, but that doesn’t mean I can’t branch out a little! I think I began to enjoy shortbread during my study abroad experience in England in 1996, and have grown to love it in the years since.

This delicious Italian Christmas cookies recipe has a buttery shortbread flavor and a creamy and sweet (but not too sweet) icing, topped with festive sprinkles. They’re perfect for your holiday cookie platter. They remind me of the homemade cookies on holiday trays that were passed around by Italian grandmothers and great-grandmothers when I was a kid.

Great news: Shortbread is easier to make than I anticipated, so much so that this is a great cookie recipe to bake with little ones at the holidays. Bonus: This is a delicious dessert recipe to make ahead of time. The cookie dough can be whipped up in advance and then sliced and baked when convenient. You can refrigerate the dough for up to a week or freeze it for even longer. This is great for party or holiday dinner prep! When hosting a holiday dinner or party, I love to have some make-ahead options so I don’t have to do everything all at once.

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 15 minutes to chill 
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: Makes about 3 dozen



  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons cream or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Add butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and almond extract to the bowl of a large food processor. Process until smooth, using about eight 1-second pulses. Add flour and pulse until mixture looks chunky and crumbly, using about six 1-second pulses.
  2. Roll the dough out onto a work surface and shape into a rough ball. Cut ball in half and form each piece of dough into a long log, about 7 1/2 to 8 inches. Wrap each log in plastic wrap tightly and freeze for 30 minutes to one hour (or refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to a week). Chilling is essential for this recipe. It will help the cookies keep their shape. Without chilling, they will likely flatten.
  3. Place rack in center position of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one log of dough from the freezer or refrigerator. Cut the dough into slices, about 1/4- to 1/3-inch thick, rolling the log every few slices to maintain the cookies’ round shape. Arrange cookies on lined baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cookies just barely turn a light golden color around the edges. Cool cookies on baking sheets.
  4. Repeat with the second log of cookie dough. Once cookies are completely cool, make the icing: Whisk all icing ingredients together. Spread over each cookie and add sprinkles. Allow the icing to set before serving. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Note: 30Seconds is a participant in the Amazon affiliate advertising program and this post contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission or fees if you make a purchase via those links.

Recipe cooking times and servings are approximate. Need to convert cooking and baking measurements? Here are some kitchen conversion charts. Here's how to submit your recipes to 30Seconds.

Take 30 seconds and join the 30Seconds community, and follow us on Facebook to get recipes in your newsfeed daily.

Related Products on Amazon We Think You May Like:

30Second Mobile, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Food Processors $30 & Up
Powdered Sugar $2 & Up
Flour $2 & Up
Almond Extract $3 & Up
Vanilla Extract $3 & Up
Sprinkles $4 & Up

Button Shortbread Cookies Recipe: Tiny Vanilla Cookies Are Cute As a Button

Tangerine Slice Cookies Recipe: An Unexpected Tasty & Beautiful Holiday Cookie

Easy Cherry Spritz Cookies Recipe Is the Cherry on Top of Your Holiday Cookie Tray

The Best Basic Spritz Cookie Recipe for Holiday Baking

Elisa Schmitz
I'm with you on all of this - how amazing the taste of shortbread is, how easy it is, and how awesome it is to make ahead of time. I also love the classic, old-fashioned goodness about it!
Grandmas make the best Christmas cookies. Love this recipe.

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

Fried Mozzarella Sandwich Recipe (Mozzarella in Carrozza): An Italian Favorite

Ragù Alla Bolognese Recipe: This Easy Bolognese Sauce Recipe Is Italian Comfort Food at Its Finest

30-Minute Creamy Tarragon Chicken Recipe: An Easy One-Pan Dinner