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These Italian Almond-Orange Cookies are light and chewy with an intense orange flavor. Coated in powdered sugar, the crinkled orange insides show through after the cookies bake.

Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

Hi everyone – it’s Jack here, sharing the recipe for my new, favorite cookie – these Italian Almond-Orange cookies. They are truly out of this world!

Martha and I both belong to an Italian recipe Facebook group where someone recently asked for an orange cookie recipe they remembered enjoying in Italy. It was light and chewy with a soft interior like a macaroon, and had a crinkled appearance under a coating of powdered sugar.

Several group members chimed in. Some called this cookie by the name Ricciarelli – known as a Tuscan biscuit recipe from the city of Siena, while others referred to them as Acetani.

I honestly don’t know which is correct – and perhaps the name varies based on the region of Italy your family comes from. By either name, they looked identical – and all I knew is that I wanted to try making them.


Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

How do you make Italian Almond-Orange Cookies?

If my earlier mention of macaroons has scared you off – please don’t worry. These cookies were very easy to make.

You’ll start by measuring out 1/3 cup egg whites from eggs that have been separated. This could take anywhere from two to four eggs, depending on the size of the eggs you have on hand. (Don’t throw those egg yolks out – make crème brulee or this vanilla ice cream.)

Whisk the egg whites together with granulated sugar, orange zest, and honey. Add almond flour and baking powder – mixing with a wooden spoon or a spatula until all of the dry ingredients are absorbed into the wet. At this point, cover the dough and refrigerate for anywhere between one and 24 hours.

Once you are ready to bake, preheat the oven and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Then start working with the chilled dough – rolling it into a log and cutting it in half. Roll each half into a log – then portion each half into 12 pieces. (After portioning both logs, you will have 24 pieces of dough – yielding two dozen Italian Almond-Orange Cookies once baked.)

Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then roll the ball in the powdered sugar. Place on the cookie sheets and bake.


Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

Your Italian Almond-Orange Cookies will spread a bit as they bake and the tops will crinkle – showing a glimpse of the orange inside. Don’t over bake – the centers of the cookie will be very soft when they come out of the oven.

Allow your Italian Almond-Orange Cookies to cool on the cookie sheet – the outside will become crispy as it cools and the inside will stay nice and chewy.

Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

According to Wikipedia, Ricciarelli are traditionally served Christmas Eve with a sweet dessert wine called Vin Santo. But why wait until then? These Italian Almond-Orange Cookies are so good they should be enjoyed all year round.


See some of my other favorite Italian cookies here:

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Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


1/3 cup egg whites (we separated two jumbo eggs and got exactly 1/3 cup of egg whites, but you may need more than two eggs to measure out exactly 1/3 cup)

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

Zest of one orange

2 tablespoons honey

2 ½ cups almond flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup powdered sugar


In a medium bowl, mix egg whites, sugar, orange zest and honey with a whisk until smooth.

Add the almond flour and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until moist and all of the dry ingredients are absorbed into the wet and combined.

Cover and refrigerate for one hour and as long as 24 hours. I made my dough the night before then baked the next morning.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F with two racks in top two positions.

Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl.

Roll the dough on your counter with your hands into a fat log and cut it into two equal pieces.

Roll each piece out into logs and cut in half then each piece in half again. Then cut each piece into three. This will give you 24 pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball then roll in the powdered sugar then onto the cookie sheets, 12 per tray.

Bake both together for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pans half way through.

The cookies are done when they start to crackle and flatten out and are slightly browned on the bottom. The centers will be very soft so don’t go by the feel of the cookie and don’t lift off the cookie sheet yet.

As they cool on the cookie sheet, they stiffen up and have a crisp outside and a chewy center.

Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Keywords: Italian Almond-Orange Cookies, acetani, riccarelli

PIN THIS RECIPE NOW!Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

Italian Almond-Orange Cookies

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  • Maria wrote:

    Hi Jack and Martha! In Sicily, we call these Paste di Mandorla (or Almond Paste Cookies). Probably one of the most popular bakery case items, aside from maybe cannoli. These cookies are one of my absolute favorites. Sometimes the whites are whipped and other times they aren’t and the cookie is rolled into a more solid ball. Depends on your family or where you are on the island. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you for the additional information and tips Maria! We appreciate it!

  • Paola wrote:

    These look amazing and the idea of orange or lemon zest is so appealing. I have made amaretti before and just wanted to confirm for this recipe you just need to mix the egg whites not beat them to any sort of peaks? Thanks in advance. Looking forward to trying these.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Paola – We didn’t beat to soft peaks and our cookies baked up to a flatter, rounded chewier cookie. I think you probably could beat the egg whites to soft peaks as part of the mixing – I’m guessing that the cookies will bake up into a taller, more mounded shape.

  • Angela Grimsby wrote:

    Per my last comment, these are still amazing. My family loves the orange and lemon zest versions and they receive nothing but praise when I share them with friends. I did try the monk fruit substitution and unfortunately it did not compare. The taste and texture were not good at all. They remained in the same shape as when they went in the oven, powdered sugar disappeared, and they ended up crunchy and so sweet they were inedible. Almost like they didn’t bake at all. I’m grateful to have the original recipe and will continue sharing and enjoying for a long time to come!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Angela – we always appreciate knowing which substitutes work (or not!)

  • Emily Leonard wrote:

    Can I freeze these for a couple weeks?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Emily – We’ve never tried freezing these ourselves, and I do think they would be best freshly baked. But if you try freezing them, I’d suggest laying them flat in a single layer on a cookie sheet and putting a piece of parchment paper in between the layers of cookies so they don’t stick to each other.

  • Angela wrote:

    This recipe is perfect! I’ve tried it exactly as written and have also made several batches with lemon, using 2-3 depending on size. Amazing, can’t get enough of them. My next batch I will try substituting sugar with Lakanto, hopefully they turn out well. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you are enjoying the recipe as much as we do Angela! Please let us know how they come with the monk fruit!

  • Maria wrote:

    Thanks for looking for the recipe. I appreciate you efforts and love your blog!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Maria! Hope one of the recipes I emailed to you will work!

  • Patricia wrote:

    I haven’t actually made these yet but gave them 5 stars based on the picture! My question is, do I have to roll out the dough into logs and cut them, or can I just eyeball the amount and continue with the directions?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Patricia – Rolling the dough into logs is the easiest way to evenly divide the cookies into portions, but if you want to use a different method, you can do so. (Perhaps use a small scoop?)

  • Bob wrote:

    I’m trying to cut down on sugar. I’ve baked before with monk fruit as a sugar Substitute . Do you think it would work ?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Bob – We haven’t tested this recipe using any substitutes so I can’t say for sure. We use a monkfruit-erythirtol blend here in our own kitchen and I know that they promote it as a 1:1 sugar substitute. But without testing, I don’t know how or if it would change the texture of the cookie. If you do end up trying it, please let us know how it comes out!

  • Lynda Taschek wrote:

    I would like to make these cookies but my daughter is allergic to nuts. What kind of flour can I substitute for the almond flour and still get the same texture? Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lynda – We’ve only made the recipe as written. Without some recipe testing, I really don’t know – I’m sure you’d have to make some other adjustments to the recipe as different flours have different moisture levels and other baking properties. I don’t think it’s just a simple flour swap, unfortunately. You might like this recipe instead (although I don’t know if the texture will be the same as ours…)
      Hope this helps!

  • Maria wrote:

    These look wonderful. I’ll pin them and look forward to making them. After seeing a bunch of Italian cookie recipes on your site, I wonder if you have ever made an Italian cookie (seen a lot in bakeries) called “champagne cookies”. The best way to describe them – they are similar in texture to shortbread, they appear to be a rolled/sliced cookie, they are usually multi-colored pastels, and the sides are rolled in colored sprinkles. They are a family favorite, but I cannot find a recipe for them (I’ve searched and searched). I appreciate your time. Thank you.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Maria! I know the exact cookies you are asking about, but we don’t have a recipe for them on our blog. But – I’ll look in some of our cookbooks and if I find one, I will email it to you (and possibly do a blog post as well!).

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