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+ servings

Italian Cookies

Italian cookies are a soft baked delicious classic cookie.  Also, called Italian Christmas cookies, this cookie is welcomed year-round in my house. This version is gluten-free and dairy-free and every bit as tasty! Plus, included is an easy fantastic frosting recipe!  Plus, lots of tips!

Course Cookie, Cookies, dairy-free, Dessert, gluten-free
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 18
Calories 286 kcal
Author Christine Galvani


  • 3/4 cup palm oil shortening
  • 3 cups flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs (large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons palm oil shortening
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I use dairy-free milk)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk together. (Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) Set aside.

  3. Using an electric mixer, cream the shortening and sugar together. This will take a few minutes.

  4. Then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.

  5. Then add the vanilla extract and mix together.

  6. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. You can also

  7. You can also add chopped walnuts, raisins, or chopped chocolate bits to the cookie dough if desired.

  8. You can cover and refrigerate this dough if you choose. I usually bake up the cookies right away.

  9. Using a small ice cream scoop, roll the dough into the size of a walnut. Place cookies on the baking sheet a few inches apart.

  10. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until cookies are slightly golden at edges.

  11. Take out of the oven and cool completely before frosting.

  12. To make the frosting, add the confectioner's sugar to an electric mixer along with the shortening and a tablespoon of milk.

  13. Beat for a few minutes and add milk as needed to get a creamy silky frosting.

  14. Using an icing spatula, swirl the frosting on the top of the cookies. Keep plain or add sprinkles.

Recipe Notes

Recipe/Baking Tips:

  • Try to have all ingredients at room temperature.
  • You can refrigerate this recipe before baking if you choose.  Put the dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several hours.
  • I would imagine this recipe would work with flax eggs, but I have not tried this substitute.
  • Optional:  to the dough, you can add chopped walnuts, raisins, mini chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate bits.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  These freezer-friendly cookies can be stored for up to 3 months.

Frosting Tips:

  • Mix the ingredients for several minutes before adding additional milk.
  • Add additional milk slowly as it doesn't take much for the frosting to get to a liquid.
  • If the frosting is too liquid in texture, add a bit more confectioner's sugar.  
  • If adding sprinkles, make sure to top the cookies as soon as you frost them so the sprinkles "stick".

The original recipe:

The original recipe from the recipe tin was written in a traditional way.  Before I was gluten and dairy-free, this is the way I always enjoyed them.  I'm so glad to have this new version to enjoy.

However, most of my family does not follow a special diet, and to make this recipe for them, I simply use All-purpose flour for the gluten-free flour and either shortening or butter for the palm shortening.

For the frosting, the traditional recipe calls for confectioner's sugar, shortening or butter, and milk using the same measurements in the recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Italian Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 286 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 28mg9%
Sodium 80mg3%
Potassium 133mg4%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 47IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.