Pignoli Cookies


A perfect addition to any holiday cookie tray, these delicious traditional cookies will be a hit with family and friends alike. To make this cookie, almond flavored dough is rolled in pine nuts, which is then baked until golden brown. These cookies do not store that well, so if I need to keep them longer than a couple of days, I store them in the freezer and remove them as needed.

By baking the cookies a little less, you will have a soft cookie, while baking them longer will give you a chewy cookie. You can decide on the type of cookie you prefer.

Although many Pignoli Cookie recipes do not add flour, I find it really helps the cookie keep it’s shape. Canned almond paste is better than the one found in a tube as it is softer and easier to work with.

The finished cookie should be just lightly golden in color on both the top and the bottom. I cannot let any holiday go by without baking a batch of these delicious cookies!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies

Yield: 2 Dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

A perfect addition to any holiday cookie tray, these delicious traditional cookies will be a hit with family and friends alike.


  • 1 (8 oz) Can Almond Paste
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Medium Egg Whites, Lightly Beaten
  • 8 Ounces Pine Nuts
  • Extra Powdered Sugar To Finish


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, or use silicone linings.
  2. Place the pine nuts in a bowl.
  3. In a food processor, break up the almond paste into small pieces, and pulse with the two sugars and the flour.
  4. Once the mixture is finely ground, begin to add the egg whites a little at a time, just until the dough comes together.
  5. Depending on the humidity, or the size of your egg whites, sometimes you may need all of the egg whites, while other times you won't.
  6. Using a spoon and slightly wet hands, scoop a small spoonful of the dough, and place this into the bowl of pignoli.
  7. Roll the cookie arround until it is lightly coated, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Continue forming the cookies in this manner, placing them 2 inches apart on the baking pan.
  9. Bake the cookies 20 to 25 minutes, and then cool.
  10. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I bake all the time with almond paste but find it very pricy..do you know of a place that sells it wholesale that I can purchase via online … thank you

      1. I bought the Almond Paste 7 oz tube because my supermarket was sold out of the can. Your recipe calls for 8 oz. If I only use the tube will that affect the cookies outcome?

      2. I had done the homemade route and it just doesn’t taste or feel right. I purchased a big can from Restaurant Depot (membership required) and split it up to 1 pound packages. What I don’t6 use, I freeze and that seem to work well.

      1. Deborah, I printed out this recipe from Food Network as you suggested and I am going to make it this week. It really got good revirews so I am giving it a try!!

        Thanks for the info!!


      2. I made the homemade almond paste from Food Network. It worked like a charm. I suggest you make the optional simple syrup to thin it down a bit.

        Thanks Sandy!!

    1. Soak almond in water for an hour, the skin will come right off.  Put in food processor, adding milk slowly until you get the consistency of almond paste.  Much cheaper.

    2. Make your own paste. I am using King Arthur Almond flour, powdered sugar, egg white and pure almond extract…soooo easy. You can even make your own flour from whole blanched almonds in food processor

  2. I was visiting family and did not have my recipe with me for pignoli cookies. I did a searh and liked the sound of your recipe. That little addition of flour made all the difference and everyone loved them. I am ditching my recipe….and that does not often happen. Thanks.

  3. I’m making these for a Community Cooks fundraiser (home cooks providing food for shelters) will let you know how it turns out. This is the best recipe I’ve found. Last year, our local Italian market sold almond paste of $5/lb. This years it’s $10/lb!

      1. I found this recipe of yours about 6 years ago. Have never used another since. Everyone loves them. My family says they are better than the bakery
        Thank you

  4. Hi, I am making these for the upcoming holidays and would like to know how much in advance can I make them to store them away for Christmas? Thank you!

    1. Melissa, you can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month. I do not refrigerate my Pignoli cookies, but do store them in a cool environment.

  5. The. most. perfect. pignoli. cookie. ever. Crisp on the outside, perfectly sweet and chewy on the inside. Simple recipe means you can make them often. And I surely will.

  6. The pignoli cookies are always a favorite. I purchase the almond paste in an italian pastry store. It’s always fresh and much less expenive.

  7. These look wonderful, I will be making them soon. I actually prefer there to be flour in the batter, as I am used to making cookies with flour in them. Could I use a hand blender when I whip up the ingredients?

  8. I found that I had to make my oven 325 F because they were not cooking at the 300 F as in the directions. It’s possible that because I made them rounded in shape they were taking longer, but after 25 minutes at 300 F they were still not golden and had to continue for 10 more minutes
    . The flower added made them less sweet than the ones I am used to , and I found that to be a plus. I will make them again.

  9. made these gluten free by using almond flour. I also reduced the sugars to 1/4 cup each and used a 10oz can of Love n Bake almond paste. The cookies were so delicious!

  10. If I bake in convection oven what temperature should I use and what rack position should I use? I have a Wolf 36″ oven.

  11. Hi Deborah, a few questions, what size spoon is used for scooping the mixture? Then it goes on a sheet to bake in a “rounded” (?) form with pignoli nuts that encrust the entire cookie, bottom too? Can I used buttered Reynolds wrap to bake them on (on an oven shelf liner?

    1. I just use my fingers to form the balls about 1 1/2 inches in size. Yes. you roll the ball in the nuts so there are some on the bottom. I always bake my cookies on parchment lined baking sheets.

      1. Thank you for your reply! I got the paste on sale ($5), just need to get the right amount of pignoli nuts now! I’m from NY (now in WA state) and miss these cookies! I didn’t get them often because of their price, about $24 a pound several years ago. I’m excited to make them seeing all the great review your recipe received. Plus see that the flour may keep them from becoming too flat as with other recipes.

  12. I made the cookies and they were delicious, I think even better than the Italian bakery in NY where I used to buy them! I did make one cookie to see how it would come out, not that I’m a baker and would know how to adjust anything. I felt the inside was not done, so I made them a little smaller & pressed then down a tad when putting them in the pignoli nuts. Too small and they won’t be nice and chewy, so you don’t want to go that route. This recipe is perfect. I’ve seen ones w/o flour and people complain they are too flat.

  13. Searched through many recipes before choosing this one to make my first try at pignoli cookies for my very picky husband and son. Thank you so much, they are an absolute success!! My husband gave them a 10 and my son said they were absolutely ridiculous (which translates to stupendous). A definite addition to my year round – nit only Christmas baking list….thank you!!!!!

  14. This is more of a question. I have gluten free guests during my Holiday Open House. Can I use almond flour in place of all purpose flour?

  15. I make this every year but mine always come out runny and flat, not dome shaped like yours.  I even added flour this year but it didn’t help.  Am I over mixing??  Also, they’re sticking to the parchment/silicone mat.  Just not like grandma used to make.  I’m using marzipan almond candy dough, the 7 oz tube.  Is this the same??  Thanks!

  16. I have tried another pignoli recipe with only white sugar and 4 tablespoons of flour and they still came flat.  It also called for a teaspoon of baking soda.  The dough was soft and sticky.  I want to try your recipe because they don’t look flat.

  17. I only had large eggs. Added 1/3c more flour. Came out great. I used a one tablespoon scoop. Just a slight spread during baking. Look like the ones I used to get in New York.

  18. First recipe I tried for this type of cookie, I rarely bake. The directions were easy, I found parchment paper worked much better than silpat. It also took a few extra minutes in the oven than specified, but they came out perfect and tasted great!

  19. I find the outside cooks and the inside is soft when I try to pick them up to see if the bottom is cooked the top comes off and the bottom and inside remains.. am I doing something wrong 🙁 

  20. I made my own almond paste and my pignoli  cookies are coming very flat, this never happened when I purchased my paste from the bakery. I recently moved to to Florida  and can’t find a bakery that sells it. Help!

    1. Make sure that the dough isn’t too wet. Refrigerating the cookies before baking may help. Also, I have added a little baking powder (1/2 tsp.) to the dough might help.

  21. Hello Deborah, would a e.g. whites form a carton work? I need to make about 150 or theses and liquid egg whites that I could measure by weight would stream line the process!
    I making these for my son’s wedding in a month,  I even splurged on pine nuts, I often use slivers almonds instead, when I am being cheap :).

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