Breakfast Desserts Holiday Italian Recipes

Ricciarelli : Italian Almond Cookies

Ricciarelli are dense, chewy Italian almond cookies originating in Siena. They are a distant, and much less fussy, Italian cousin to the French macaron — perfect with tea or coffee!

What are ricciarelli?

Ricciarelli are cookies from Siena, Italy, that have a kick-you-in-the-face almond flavor, a lovely dense chewiness, and a beautiful cracked surface. One of these cookies is just perfect alongside a hot cup of Earl Grey or, if you want to live in true Italian style, a cappuccino.

Think of ricciarelli cookies as a cousin to macarons. Technically, I believe, it is actually a type of macaroon – with two o’s – but they made me think of macarons – with one o – as I was making them.

The recipes and techniques of ricciarelli and macarons are actually very similar: In both types of cookie, you fold almond flour and sugar into whipped egg whites, and you leave the shaped cookies on the baking sheet for a while to dry out before baking in order to form a little crust on the outside.

Getting perfectly crackled ricciarelli cookies

That dried-out shell on the cookie dough is also vital to getting the beautifully craggy, crackled effect on the outside as well. With ricciarelli, you roll each ball of dough in powdered sugar before baking. When it cooks, the dough on the inside expands and breaks through the dried exterior, allowing golden cracks to show through the white outside.


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

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