You will love this original recipe for these soft Italian bakery-style amaretti cookies! The perfect recipe for leftover egg whites from Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera) or Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera).
More Italian cookie recipes: Lemon Ricotta Cookies (Italian Recipe), Basic Italian Biscotti (Cantucci) Dough, Simple Italian Wedding Cookies (Anginetti), Italian Fig Cookies Recipe (Cucidati), Heart Thumbprint Cookies Recipe with Jam, Italian Butter Cookies Recipe (bakery style) or Homemade Italian Ladyfinger Recipe (Savoiardi), and BEST Italian Pignoli Cookies Recipe (pine nut).
Why I love this recipe
The outside of the cookies stays a slightly crunchy crust from the sugar meringue crust. The inside is deliciously soft and tender, an almost chewy cookie, with a sweet almond flavor. Bonus: they are naturally gluten-free!
- Almond flour
- Powdered sugar
- Egg whites
- Lemon zest
- Almond extract
- Whole almonds without skin
- Sugar for topping cookies
- Optional: add vanilla extract
Variation: add orange zest
See the recipe card for quantities.
Make this recipe with the leftover egg yolks: Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera)
Italian Amaretti cookies only use almond flour and are naturally gluten-free.
I recommend a super fine ground almond flour such as Bob's Redmill brand. You can buy it on amazon HERE, or in most grocery stores.
How to Make Soft Amaretti Cookies with Step-by-Step Photos
The perfect smooth texture and pretty cracks on the surface of these chewy amaretti cookies depend on incorporating exactly the right amount of egg whites into the ground almond mixture.
That’s the challenge!
Here is the process! Overall, it is a very easy recipe!
Combine the sugar, almond flour, lemon zest, and salt. Use a whisk to get out any small lumps.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks form. Add almond extract. Fold in the almond flour, with a rubber spatula, a little bit at a time to the whipped egg whites.
Eventually, you end up with a thick and sticky dough.
Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies
These soft amaretti (amaretti morbidi) cookies are my absolute favorite Italian cookie that is particular to the Sardinian region of Italy where I was born.
Every summer when we visit my family always has a bag of these waiting for me from my favorite little shop.
I grew up on these cookies and I know you will love them too! I hope you create many happy memories by making them with you and yours.
History of Sardinian Amaretti Cookies (Italian Recipe)
The word amaretti (amaretto singular) is similar to Italian macaroons made with sugar, sweet and bitter almonds, and egg whites.
These cookies came about in Italy in the Middle Ages, these cakes can be hard amaretti di Saronno from Lombardy, or soft as the amaretti of Sardinia.
The Italian island where I was born! Sardinian amaretti are flavored with lemon zest. In some cities of Sardinia, a whole almond is placed in the center of each amaretto.
They are so unique and remind me of my childhood every time I make or eat them. They have an irresistible rich almond flavor.
The surface of these chewy amaretti cookies has a slight crunch that I love!
Hard and crunchy (the most well-known) amaretti cookies come from Northern Italy.
These soft amaretti cookies are from Sardegna (Sardinia) and are typical to that region of Italy.
How to Shape Soft Amaretti Cookies
You can shape the amaretti cookies in two ways:
1. By Hand. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to get a portion of the dough to roll into a ball. With slightly damp hands, press your palms into the plate of sugar.
Roll each dough ball with your sugar-coated palms and then again in the sugar found on the plate. Place on a lined baking sheet.
2- Use a pastry bag. Place batter into a pastry bag with a large round tip and make small rounds on prepared cookie sheets.
Sprinkle tops with sugar. This is the way you see them in the photos here. In Sardegna, Italia they make them similar to this with pretty peak tops. I like them both ways.
Adding the almond on top is traditional in Italy. You do not have to add them. They do add a special touch!
How to Shape Soft Amaretti Cookies (Video)
Serving Suggestions for Italian Amaretti Cookies
Enjoy these cookies with Authentic Thick Italian Hot Chocolate.
Made with Amore, Elena.
From My Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
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How to Store Amaretti Cookies
These homemade amaretti cookies have a long shelf life! They will last up to one month. This is what makes them so great. Store the cookies in an airtight container or tin box.
You will love these classic and simple amaretti biscuits. They are a true taste of an Italian sweet that you can't miss!Print
Soft AMARETTI Cookies Sardinian Recipe
Sardinian amaretti cookies are a soft and chewy almond cookies with a touch of lemon zest. These cookies are slightly crunchy on the outside from the sugar meringue crust and a deliciously soft and tender on the inside with a sweet almond flavor. Bonus: they are naturally gluten free!
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 20-24 servings 1x
- 2 ½ cups (250 g) almond flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (110 g) powdered sugar (more for topping)
- 3 egg whites (large eggs)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 36 almonds without skin (optional)
- Plate with ½ cup of sugar for rolling cookies
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in the center. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk almond flour and sugar together. Add grated lemon zest and salt and whisk a few more times. No lumps or clumps. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to a soft peak stage. Whisk in the almond extract.
- Gently incorporate the egg whites to the dry ingredients. Once the dough is completely moist, you are done.
- You can shape them two ways: 1. Use a tablespoon to get a portion of the dough to roll into a ball. With slightly damp hands, press your palms into the plate of sugar. Roll each ball of dough with your sugar coated palms and then again in the sugar found on the plate. Place on lined baking sheet. 2- place batter into a pastry bag with a large round tip and make small rounds on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sugar.
- Gently place the whole almond in the center of the cookie (you do not have to add the whole almond you can bake without).
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden brown in color.
- Cool before storing at room temperature in airtight containers. Will keep for 1 week.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Sweet
- Method: Italian
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: cookies, soft cookies, Italian cookies, amaretti, almond cookies
I think I was a little too heavy-handed when I folded the flour into the egg whites because the texture was heavier than I expected. But the almondy, lemony flavor was delicious! Loved them!
Hi Marisa! They are an absolute favorite!!
These are so good! They taste just like the ones I had in Calabria. I have been on the hunt to find an authentic recipe and this is the one!! Thank you!
Happy you love them! They are one of my very favorites 🙂
Nina Stylianou says
I love these biscuits, but I noticed the conversion is slightly wrong. If you 2x it still shows 250g Almond Flour, the same as 1x.
Maybe it is easily corrected. Can't wait to try your recipe. I make mine without lemon peel, but I add almond essence and vanilla to them.
Buon Natale 🤗
Hi Nina! You are right. It only converts the first measurement it sees (in this case cups). If you change the scale to (M). It will convert it that way. In any case, if you double it- you will need 500 grams of almond flour. I hope you love them!