Italian amaretti cookies are almond flavored Italian macaroons that are easy to make and have a perfectly chewy inside and crisp outside covered in powdered sugar that make these cookies a favorite Italian dessert
What Are Italian Amaretti Cookies?
Italian amaretti cookies are one of my favorite Italian pastries, and are a traditional Italian almond cookie made from a combination of almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. Amaretti cookies are often referred to as the Italian macaron for their similar ingredients and chewy texture. But unlike traditional French macarons, these Italian almond cookies are actually very simple to make, and can be ready to eat in under an hour!
Almonds are a big part of Italian baking, especially Sicilian baking (which is where my family is from), where almonds have long been a part of the local food culture and are grown in the native Mediterranean landscape. If I had to think of one flavor that described Italian pastries, it would have to be almond, which can be found in everything from a classic Italian ricotta almond cake, to almond shaved ice, marzipan, and of course amaretti cookies!
While Italian amaretti cookies are most famous for their rich almond flavor, they can easily be made in a variety of other flavors like lemon, and pistachio, which are two of my favorites, but I always come back to almond. Some amaretti cookie recipes will recommend rolling the cookies in cane sugar before baking, but for this Italian amaretti cookie recipe I personally love rolling them in shaved almonds and powdered sugar.
This adds a nice almond crunch to the outside of the cookie, and helps to emphasize those pretty cracks that amaretti cookies are known for.
What You Will Need to Make Italian Amaretti Cookies
The best part about making amaretti cookies is that they are so simple to make, and only require a few ingredients, most of which you probably already have at home in your pantry. To make these Italian almond cookies all you will need is:
- Finely ground blanched almond flour
- Cane Sugar
- Egg Whites
- Almond extract
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered Sugar
This post was written in partnership with the Almond Board of California, to help provide education about sustainability and almond farming in California.
Why Choose California Grown Almonds For Baking?
Almonds are a BIG part of Italian baking, and the key ingredient for making the best amaretti cookies. They also are mostly grown in California, with more than 80% of the world’s almonds coming from the state.
Recently I was able to virtually tour a California almond orchard in partnership with the Almond Board of California. The almond trees were in bloom and the orchards burst into fields of pastel pink.
During our tour, I learned all about the multi-generational nature of almond farming, how 90% of California almond farms are actually made up of small family farmers, and how sustainable innovations in California almond farming impact the way food is grown around the world.
This is something that I had no idea about before doing the tour, and was really excited to learn how ingrained sustainability practices are in almond farming.
Danielle explained to me how most almond farmers will only see 2-3 life cycles of their almond trees, as most almond trees have a 25-year lifespan. This is much of what makes almond farming such a multi-generational type of farming, as decisions that are made to support the health of the almond orchard, such as irrigation techniques, need to be innovative and made with the next 20+ years of the orchard in mind.
How To Choose Sustainable Almonds
Going into the tour I had some preconceived ideas about what almond farming looks like, and how sustainable it really is, especially in a place like California where water has become such a concern with our ever-evolving climate crisis.
After asking these questions during my tour, I was really impressed to learn that most of my sustainability concerns were the same concerns that almond farmers have themselves, and were largely misrepresentative of almond farming as a whole.
Choose Sustainable Farmed California Almonds
During our tour, Danielle explained to me how almonds rely on bees to pollinate their orchards, and produce almonds. She described how more than anyone, almond farmers want to protect and support the bee populations since their crop and livelihoods very much depend on the bees staying healthy and doing what they do best.
To help protect pollinators, Danielle described how the almond community has been leading bee health research since 1995, so almond farmers can confidently provide a safe habitat for pollinators during bloom and beyond.
When I asked Danielle how the average person can make sure that they are choosing the best almonds, and supporting sustainable almond farming, she reinforced something that I fully believe myself: when it comes to supporting sustainability in our food system, we have to start by deciding what we want to eat.
In her opinion, and I would have to agree, she believes that the best way that consumers can make a difference is by choosing food that is grown by farmers focused on continuous improvement, and purchasing the type of foods that we want to see be a part of our diets for the long term.
You can read more on the California almond community’s commitment to taking action in their Almond Orchard 2025 Goals.
How to Make Italian Amaretti Cookies
The best part about making Italian amaretti cookies is that they are so simple to make, only require a few staple ingredients, and can be ready to eat in under an hour.
- Step One: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Step Two: Remove eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
- Step Three: Separate egg whites from yolks, discard yolks, and place the whites in a large bowl or stand mixer.
- Step Four: Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Once soft peaks form, add almond extract and vanilla extract to egg whites and mix until combined.
- Step Five: In a separate large mixing bowl combine almond flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Whisk well so that all the ingredients are well combined.
- Step Six: Gently add the egg whites to the dry ingredients and mix using a spatula until a soft dough forms.
- Step Seven: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Step Eight: Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough into round balls and roll in shaved almonds (if desired) and then again in powdered sugar.
- Step Nine: Place the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheet and gently flatten using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.
- Step Ten: Place the amaretti cookies in the oven and bake for 23 minutes. The bottom of the cookies should be just slightly golden brown, and the cookies should still feel quite soft when removed from the oven.
- Step Eleven: Allow the amaretti cookies to cool completely, this will help to set the cookies, and results in a perfect crunchy outside and a soft and chewy inside.
- Step Twelve: Store in an airtight container for up to one week, but these cookies are best enjoyed within a few days.
Tips for Making the Best Amaretti Cookie Recipe
While Italian amaretti cookies are an easy cookie to make, the following tips will help make sure you end up with the best tasting cookies possible!
- Make Sure That Your Eggs Are at Room Temperature: Whenever you are whisking eggs to form a foam for your baking recipe it is always best to allow the eggs to come to room temperature first before beating them. This will result in a much better foam, that is less likely to be over beaten.
- Don’t Over Beat the Egg Whites: For these amaretti cookies you only need to beat the egg whites for a few minutes for soft peaks to form. You can tell that you have reached the soft peak stage when a fluffy foam begins to form and when you remove your whisk it leaves soft peaks in the foam that slowly melt back into themselves. Avoid over beating your egg whites, as this will result in a collapse of the foam and you will need to begin again.
- Don’t Over Mix the Dough: Try your best to only mix the dough until all the ingredients are well combined. Personally, I like to fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients and begin to gently mix them together. Once they are almost completely combined I will use my hands to finish the mixing process, which I find to be the easiest way to avoid over mixing.
- Adjust the Dough If It Is Too Wet Or Dry: The dough should hold its shape well when rolled into a ball without sticking too much to your hands. If the dough is too sticky/wet add a little more almond flour. If the dough is a little too dry/crumbly, add a little more whipped egg whites.
- Choose High Quality Almond Extract: The almond extract you choose will significantly impact the flavor of your cookies, so my advice is to choose a high-quality almond extract for the best flavor.
- Press Cookies Before Baking: Gently pressing the tops of each cookie dough ball to slightly flatten the cookies will help encourage these amaretti cookies to get their beautiful cracked appearance after baking. All you have to do is gently press on the tops using a spoon or the back of a measuring cup.
- Don’t Over Bake: These cookies should be slightly golden brown on the bottom and still soft to the touch. As these amaretti cookies begin to cool the outside will crisp up and the inside will form a soft chewy texture, so avoid the tendency to over bake. Over baking will only result in a drier cookie.
- 3 egg whites (medium size eggs)
- 2.5 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup shaved almonds
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
- Separate egg whites from yolks, discard yolks, and place the whites in a large bowl or stand mixer.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Once soft peaks form, add almond extract and vanilla extract to egg whites and mix until combined.
- In a separate large mixing bowl combine almond flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest.
- Whisk well so that all the ingredients are well combined.
- Gently add the egg whites to the dry ingredients and mix using a spatula until a soft dough forms.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough into round balls and roll in shaved almonds (if desired) and then again in powdered sugar.
- Place the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheet and gently flatten using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.
- Place the amaretti cookies in the oven and bake for 23 minutes. The bottom of the cookies should be just slightly golden brown, and the cookies should still feel quite soft when removed from the oven.
- Allow the amaretti cookies to cool completely, this will help to set the cookies, and results in a perfect crunchy outside and a soft and chewy inside.
- Store in an airtight container for up to one week, but these cookies are best enjoyed within a few days.
Keywords: Amaretti Cookies, Italian Amaretti Cookies, Amaretti Cookies Recipe