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Italian Pignoli Cookies

Easy Italian Pignoli Cookies Recipe

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4.9 from 16 reviews

  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 33 cookies 1x


Classic Italian Pignoli Cookies Recipe – soft, chewy almond flavored centers with a crispy, crunchy exterior that’s covered in golden, toasted pine nuts. Super quick and easy to make!


  • 16oz (454g) almond paste
  • 1 1/2 cups (298g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites (90g)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6oz (170g) pine nuts
  • Optional: powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Break up the almond paste into 1 inch pieces and put it in the bowl of a food processor. Add the sugar and salt and pulse until combined, about 30 seconds. It should resemble corn meal.
  3. Add 2/3 of the egg whites and process about 30 seconds. Slowly add what is needed from the remaining egg whites until a sticky dough is formed. The dough will be wet and sticky, but you will be able to roll it into balls between your hands.
  4. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and roll into 1 inch balls, about 25 grams each.
  5. Roll the balls in the pine nuts. The stickiness of the dough will help the nuts stick.
  6. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake until the nuts are starting to turn golden, about 15-18 minutes. Don’t overbake.
  7. Optional: Dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar.


Don’t overbake the cookies. Bake until the nuts are just starting to turn golden. You want the insides to remain moist and chewy.

Use the correct size of eggs. Large egg whites should weigh about 30 grams each. Too little egg whites and the dough will be dry and the pine nuts won’t stick. Too much, and the dough will be too sticky and difficult to roll into a ball. If you don’t have large eggs on hand or live outside the US, be sure to measure your egg whites.

Adding 2/3 of the egg whites first, then adding the remainder as necessary prevents the dough from becoming too wet and loose. 

If you find the dough isn’t sticky enough for the pine nuts to adhere, dip the rolled dough balls into beaten egg white before rolling in pine nuts.

If the dough seems too sticky, roll the balls with wet hands.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 18
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Italian