Italian Pignoli Cookies

Italian Pignoli Cookies

Classic Italian cookies with soft almond paste middles and a crunchy pine nut coating. They’re a must for any holiday cookie tray, even if you’re not Italian, and will be the first to disappear. {Hide some. . .}

They’re revered for their striking almond flavor that comes from a trio of almond including almond paste, almond extract and almond flour. They’re gluten-free and only call for a small amount of almond flour that reinforces the rich almond flavor that is already present due to the almond paste. Mother of all almonds.

You can bake them so they’re on the softer side, the way I like them, where just the outsides are crisp and the insides are super soft and moist or you can cook them a few minutes longer if you like a crisper, chewier cookie. I find the almond is more pronounced when they’re softer.

For a sweet little surprise you can tuck a maraschino cherry half into the middle of them.


Pignoli Cookies

These freeze well if you want to get a jump start on your holiday baking.

Italian Pignoli Cookies

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 24 minutes

Yield: about 20 cookies

Italian Pignoli Cookies

Classic Italian cookies with soft almond paste middles and a crunchy pine nut coating. They're a must for any holiday cookie tray, even if you're not Italian, and will be the first to disappear.


1 cup almond paste (I used homemade )
1/4 cup (1 + 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 + 5/8 ounces) almond flour
1 large egg white
1 + 1/2 cups (7 + 1/4 ounces) pine nuts (pignoli) (I use these )
confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Place the almond paste in a medium bowl and break it apart. Mix in the sugar, salt, both extracts, and almond flour. The mixture will be crumbly.
  3. Add the egg white and beat on low speed until smooth. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Place the pine nuts in a shallow dish. Working one at a time scoop up tablespoon-sized pieces of the dough and form them into balls.
  5. Drop them into the pine nuts and roll to coat, pressing them on gently with your hands. Place them on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 20 minutes for a softer cookie 22 - 24 for a harder cookie.
  7. Cool on pans 5 minutes then move to wire racks and cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place up to 1 week.


Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

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  1. Matteo says

    Hi, I’m italian and I know these delicious cookies. BTW, in italian, pine nuts are named “Pinoli”, not “Pignoli”. The term “pignoli” in Italy is used to say to a person that is fussy. 😉

  2. says

    These cookies are new to me, but I love that they use almond paste AND pine nuts! Sounds really delicious with all the almonds in them. I think I’ll pin these for a potential holiday cookie this year!

  3. says

    These cookies look lovely, Italian, exotic and delicious 😀


    P.S I seem to have lost around 1000 subscribers on my blog and I don’t know how, so if you were subscribed, could you resubscribe please? it would really help me out!

  4. says

    I love almond in cookies but have never seen these before! They look pretty simple so I’ll have to make some!

    Moon, we’re halfway to Caturday! Hope you’re having a great week! Purrs, Angel & Isabella

  5. Doris says

    Hi Reeni!
    A happy Wednesday to you dear! Well, you have hit a huge home run here! This is the best and most popular of all Italian cookies (my opinion , of course) and I do hope all the other posters on your site try them. Yes, they are expensive to make—pignoli nuts are costly but I promise , they are so worth it. My fondest memories of my Aunt Jessie’s meals ended with these delectable morsels. Hugs to you and Moon!

    • says

      I agree Doris! One of the best Italian cookies! I love them and can’t wait to make them again for the holidays. Have a great rest of the week and thanks for stopping by! It’s always great hearing from you. xoxo

      • Doris says

        Hi Reeni!
        I am going to Trader Joe’s today for my pignoli’s and almond flour. They will be on the Thanksgiving table this year—why wait for Christmas? Happy weekend to you and Moon. XOX back to you!

      • says

        I just restocked my pignoli too Doris! I hope I get a chance to make them for turkey day. Happy Weekend! Thanks for dropping by again! xoxo

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