Italian Easter Cookies

Italian Easter cookies
The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Chill: 60 mins
  • Servings: 12 servings
  • Yields: 24 cookies

These lightly sweet and adorable Italian Easter cookies go by many names, such as uncinetti, anginetti, and taralli dolci. No matter what you call them, these cookies are sure to be a favorite at your Easter brunch or supper. The little knots of sweet and tender dough are coated in a lemony icing and topped with cute, festive sprinkles.

You can make them in lots of different shapes, like knots, drops, rings, or twists. Or you can simply scoop them out with a cookie scoop. They're a fun project with kids: after you chill the dough, let kids form their own cookies into shapes before baking.

Ingredients

  • For the Cookies:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • Garnish: Nonpareil sprinkles 

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for italian easter cookies
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Or cream together it in a bowl with a hand-mixer. 

    creamed butter and sugar
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Beat for 1 to 2 minutes until light and fluffy. 

    creamed butter, sugar, and eggs
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  4. Beat in the milk until incorporated.

    milk beaten into italian cookie batter
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney  
  5. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Gradually add the flour into the wet mixture. Mix until everything is just incorporated and be careful not to over mix. The dough will be soft and sticky.

    finished italian easter cookie dough
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and add it to the fridge. Chill for at least 1 hour.

    chilled italian easter cookie dough
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  7. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

  8. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out small balls of the dough. You can either roll them in your hands to form balls or roll them into rods.

    cookie scoop in bowl of dough
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  9. If you roll them into rods you can form them into knots, twists, rings, or pinwheels.

    italian easter cookie dough formed into pinwheels
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  10. Add the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will not brown on top but will brown on the bottoms. Let the cookies cool completely. 

    baked Italian easter cookies
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  11. While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. 

    ingredients for Italian Easter cookie glaze
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney  
  12. Whisk the powdered sugar with the lemon juice and milk. Add more milk if the glaze is too thick. It should coat the back of a spoon easily. 

    glaze for Italian Easter cookies in a bowl with a whisk
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney
  13. Dip the top of the cookies into the glaze and top with the nonpareil sprinkles immediately. 

    Italian cookies sprinkled with sprinkles
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 
  14. Allow the glaze to dry, then serve.

    finished Italian Easter cookies on a baking sheet
    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

Tip

  • These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week. 

Recipe Variations

You can add other flavorings to the cookies if you like. Just add sparingly since extracts are strongly flavored and can overwhelm the cookies. Some options include:

  • Anise extract
  • Lemon or orange extract
  • Almond extract

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