Anise Cookies

4 Min Read

Italian Anisette Cookies

An Italian style Christmas cookie, these tender and pretty anise cookies are begging to join your Christmas cookie tray! They have a distinct anise flavor; if you’ve never had it before, it tastes like black licorice. Not everyone enjoys its potent taste, but if you do, you’ll love these cookies!

These cookies are hearty, not chewy, and almost biscuit-like. They melt in your mouth (unless you over-bake them, make sure the bottoms are JUST barely light golden at most) and are just very unique.

I actually developed this recipe last year and have made them quite a few times since then. I can’t wait to hear how you all like them!

What You Need

All of these ingredients are pretty straightforward, although you may need to buy some anise extract if you aren’t baking with it regularly.

  • Anise extract. A key ingredient! If you’ve ever made classic Italian biscotti, you’ve ever probably tried anise extract. If you aren’t a fan of anise, you can make these cookies without it; check out my tip below for instructions.
  • Sugar. We’ll sweeten our anise cookies with granulated sugar and then use powdered sugar in the icing.
  • Eggs. Your eggs should be at room temperature for the best results. If you forgot to set yours out ahead of time, use my trick to quickly bring eggs to room temperature.
  • Corn syrup. This is optional, but it will help your icing set up with a firm, glossy finish (just like my sugar cookie icing!). Remember, corn syrup is not the same thing as high fructose corn syrup!
  • Nonpareil sprinkles. A classic topping, rainbow nonpareils are optional but add some fun to what would be an otherwise very simple cookie appearance. Of course, you could use any sprinkles here really; festive colors would be pretty too!

Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Make Anise Cookies

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Stir in the eggs and extracts on low speed.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the wet ingredients.
  4. Roll 1 tablespoon scoops of dough between your palms before placing on parchment lined baking sheets (if you don’t have parchment, just use an ungreased baking sheet). Bake, then let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before covering with icing.


  1. Whisk together the sugar, milk, corn syrup, and extracts. Check the consistency: the frosting should ribbon off the whisk. If it doesn’t, add more milk a small splash at a time.
  2. Spoon the icing over the cookies, then top with nonpareils if desired. Once the frosting has set, enjoy!
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