These Italian Easter cookies are soft, buttery, and lightly sweet. They are flavored with lemon zest and vanilla, and topped with a thin layer of glaze and sprinkles for a perfect finish.A cake stand of Italian Easter cookies topped with glaze and pastel nonpareils.

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Easy and fun to make – The dough is super easy to prepare. You just whip it up in a large bowl using an electric mixer and chill it in the fridge for an hour. Once the dough is chilled, you can shape the cookies into knots, spirals, twists, or make them into drop cookies. It’s a great recipe for kids to help with. They can shape the cookies and help decorate them.
  • A light and not too sweet cookie – These cookies are a nice change from all the overly sweet treats. They are nice and light. The texture is soft and tender, like a lemony vanilla cake.
  • Keeps well – These cookies stay fresh when properly stored for up to a week. They are great for gifting and making in advance.

A floral plate of Italian Easter cookies.

How to make Italian Easter cookies:

(the ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe card further below)

picture collage of how to make Italian Easter cookies

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment until combined.
  2. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for one hour.
  4. Scoop out small amounts of dough and roll them into 1″ balls. Roll each ball into 5″ ropes. Tie each rope into a loose knot, roll into a pinwheel, or fold in half and twist. You can also simply leave them as 1″ balls (by the third batch, that’s what I usually do).
  5. Place the cookies 1″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake in a 300F preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.

Raw Italian Easter cookies on cookie sheets lined with silicone mats.

Variations:

  • Flavorings – Substitute the vanilla extract for anise extract and turn them into anise cookies. Replace half of the vanilla extract with almond extract for almond cookies.
  • Coloring – Add pastel food coloring to the glaze to make it colorful. You can even double the glaze and divide it into multiple colors for fun.
  • Other names – Italian Easter cookies are also popularly known as Italian love knot cookies, uncinetti, taralli dolci, and nonna’s lemon cookies.

FAQ:

How to store:

Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

How to freeze:

Once the cookies are completely cooled, place them in a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or container. Do not glaze. Before serving, thaw them on the counter for 1-2 hours until they reach room temperature, then glaze and top with sprinkles as instructed. A triple stack of Italian Easter cookies with a bite taken out of the top one.

Other Easter recipes you might like:

Did you make this recipe? Please kindly leave a comment with your star rating below.

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Italian Easter Cookies


  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 60 cookies

Description

These Italian Easter cookies are soft, buttery, and lightly sweet. They are flavored with lemon zest and vanilla and topped with a thin layer of glaze and sprinkles for a perfect finish.


Ingredients

Cookies

  • 6 tbsp (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 & 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp milk or cream
  • 12 tbsp nonpareil sprinkles

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment until combined.
  2. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 300F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Scoop out small amounts of dough and roll them into 1″ balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into 5″ ropes. Tie each rope into a loose knot, roll into a pinwheel, or fold in half and twist. You can also simply leave them as 1″ balls (by the third batch, that’s what I usually do).
  6. Place the cookies 1″ apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. The cookies will remain pale on the surface. Let cool completely before glazing.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk/cream until smooth. Dip the cookies face down into the glaze, let the excess drip off for a few seconds, and place the cookies on a wire rack. Top with sprinkles immediately before the glaze sets.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Italian Easter cookies, Italian love knot cookies

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