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Gluten-free italian almond cookies – paste di mandorla recipe

Since I’m so excited about my vacation in Sicily one weeks from now, I have a little Sicilian specialty for you today – paste di mandorla. These gluten-free Italian almond cookies taste heavenly like marzipan. They are also wonderfully soft and go perfectly with coffee. And with this paste di mandorla recipe, I’ll show you how you can easily bake these delicious almond cookies at home.

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paste di mandorla

paste di mandorla

Paste di mandorla are soft, Italian almond cookies. Originally they come from the south of Italy, from Sicily. However, the cookies also have an Arabic influence. This is because the typical ingredients such as almonds and sugar cane were brought to Sicily by Arabs many centuries ago. And since then, it is impossible to imagine Sicily without them. Especially in cafes and bakeries you are always surrounded by their wonderful scent.

While we often bake almond cookies only at Christmas time, Italians eat them all year round. After all, in Italy, they like to be eaten with coffee, just like cantuccini and other cookies. And considering how delicious they taste, I think we should eat them more often too.

And if you’ve ever been to Sicily, you know that they come in many varieties there. You can find them not only in different shapes, but also in various flavors. They range from pistachio to lime and everything your heart could desire. But they all have one thing in common since they taste wonderfully like marzipan and literally dissolve on your tongue!

paste di mandorla recipe

gluten-free Italian almond cookies

However, the cookies not only taste delicious. The paste di mandorla recipe is also very quick and easy to make. After all, you only need a handful of ingredients to make them. Aside from ground almonds, these are sugar and egg whites. That also means you don’t even need flour to make these cookies. So they are even gluten-free. And that makes them perfect for anyone who can’t tolerate gluten or wants to eat less of it.

But how to make these gluten-free Italian almond cookies? To do this, you first mix the ground almonds with the sugar and the egg whites. You also add some bitter almond flavoring. That gives the cookies then the delicious marzipan flavor.

If you can’t find bitter almond flavor you can also use some almond liqueur like Ameretto or some almond syrup. You may need a bit more than 6 drops using one of these alternatives, so pay attention to the consistency of your dough. You might need a bit more ground almonds to balance the amout of wet and dry ingredients.

Before baking, you roll the cookies in some icing sugar. And then you carefully flatten them a little bit. That way you get this beautiful surface. Last but not least, the cookies go into the oven. However, they are baked very briefly. After all, they should still remain quite soft.

paste di mandorla - gluten-free italian almond cookies
gluten-free Italian almond cookies

and here a few more tips

To make sure you succeed with this paste di mandorla recipe, I want to share a few more tips. When you mix the dough together, you might think that it’s way too dry. After all, we use only 2 egg whites on the entire dough. But that impression is deceiving for now. Because if you mix it long enough, you’ll notice that the amount of liquid is perfectly sufficient after all.

Furthermore, it is important to let the dough set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before you begin with forming the cookies. Because otherwise it would not stick together and you won’t be able to form cookies out of it at all. However, it is also important not to keep it in the refrigerator for more than 30 minutes. Because even otherwise the paste di mandorla will not become as they are supposed to do.

Another tip is to use a small ice cream scoop for shaping. I used a small one with 4cm diameter for this. This has the advantage that all cookies are the same size. Thus, they also have exactly the same baking time and none can burn or still be too raw at the end.

Italian almond cookies

The paste di mandorla are also a great gift. Nicely packed, these gluten-free Italian almond cookies make a great gift. You can simply fill them in a pretty cookie jar and present it with a pretty bow around it. By the way, this is also a great idea for grandmas and grandpas. Especially in their case, I find it not that easy to find a suitable gift. However, they are certainly pleased about some home-baked cookies.

But whether you plan to eat these delicious almond cookies all by yourself or give them away, you should definitely try out this gorgeous paste di mandorla recipe. Cause after all, they not only taste amazing, but they’re also really easy to make.

gluten-free italian almond cookies

And a little note to end on. Even though the cookies are gluten-free, they obviously contain a fair amount of sugar. But once the vast majority of our meals are healthy and balanced, one of those regular cookies in between our healthy meals is not a problem at all. Our goals should not be to eat healthy 100 percent of the time. So it’s perfectly fine to occasionally treat yourself to a few delicious paste di mandorla. I personally like them best with an espresso after dinner. 🙂

But if you do prefer sugar-free cookies you shouldn’t miss my almond cookies recipe. That’s because it’s completely sugar-free and pretty reminiscent of those soft Italian almond cookies in terms of flavor.

the Paste di Mandorla recipe

gluten-free Italian almond cookies

Julia Schmitt
The Paste di Mandorla are delicious gluten-free Italian almond cookies. The soft cookies smell deliciously of marzipan and go perfectly with a cup of coffee.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Resting Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 2 mins
Course pastries
Cuisine Italian
Servings 32 cookies
Calories 93 kcal


  • oven


  • 2 ½ cups ground almonds (~300g)
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 6 drops bitter almond flavor Alternatively, you can use some almond liqueur (Ameretto) or some almond syrup.
  • cups icing sugar
  • cup blanched almonds


  • Mix the almonds with the sugar and the egg whites in a bowl using a spoon or spatula to make a slightly moist dough. Add the bitter almond flavoring, stir well one more time and place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
    (If using Ameretto or almond syrup, the dough may be a bit too wet. Then simply add another 1 to 2 tbsp. ground almonds.)
  • After the chilling time, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 160°C/ 320°F top/bottom heat. Transfer the powdered sugar to a deep plate.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, scoop out 30 to 32 equal portions and shape them into small balls with your hands. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar and then roll them once again briefly between your hands so that the powdered sugar is evenly distributed.
  • Gently press an almond seed into the center of each ball and flatten the cookie a bit. Then bake the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes. Afterwards, let them cool completely on a cooling rack and then store them in a cookie jar.


Nutritional values per cookie:
  • calories: 93 kcal
  • fat: 5,5 g
  • carbohydrates: 7,5 g
  • protein: 2.7 g


Calories: 93kcal
Keyword baking, cookies
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