Soft Amaretti Cookies (Italian Recipe)

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Soft Italian Amaretti Cookies (Italian Recipe)– a soft and chewy cookie with a touch of lemon zest. These cookies are easy to make and absolutely delicious!

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).

Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on sheet pan
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Why you’ll 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, yielding to chewy cookies, with a sweet almond flavor. Bonus: they are naturally gluten-free! You will love these traditional Italian cookies. Make them during the holiday season and serve with a cup of tea.

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).

Simple Ingredients

You only need simple ingredients to make these traditional Italian almond cookies.

  • 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)

How to Make 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.

Here is the process! Overall, it is a very easy recipe!

Amaretti process

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.

Amaretti process steps

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.

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 in the palms of your hands coated with sugar and then again in the sugar 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!

Recipe Video

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.

And if you love Sardinian desserts, then you’ll love this Sardinian Pardulas recipe.

Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on sheet pan

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy these cookies with Authentic Thick Italian Hot Chocolate.

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Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on a cake plate

How to Store

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!

Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on sheet pan
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Soft Amaretti Cookies Italian Almond Cookies on a cake plate

BEST Soft AMARETTI Cookies Recipe

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4.8 from 4 reviews

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: 2024 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 1/2 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 1/2 cup of sugar for rolling cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in the center. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to a soft peaks stage. Whisk in the almond extract.
  4. Gently incorporate the egg whites to the dry ingredients. Once the dough is completely moist, you are done.
  5. You can shape them in 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 a prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sugar. 
  6.  Gently place the whole almond in the center of the cookie (you do not have to add the whole almond you can bake without). 
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden brown in color.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack before storing at room temperature in airtight containers for up to 1 week.
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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9 Comments

  1. Hi Elena,
    Thank you for sharing your recipe. I made these yesterday & they’re incredible!! I love the crunchiness from the outside & softnesses in the inside. I’ve made so many amaretti cookies but this is my new favourite. They’re so easy to make & I will definitely be making them again. Happy New Year!!






  2. 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!






  3. 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!






  4. Hi Elena,
    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 🤗

    1. 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!
      Elena