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Pizzicati (Italian Pinch Cookies)

Pizzicati (Italian pinch cookies), are delicious buttery cookies filled with jam, gently pinched in the center, and then finished off with a dusting of powdered sugar.  Better than any bakery cookies, these delicate Italian shortbread cookies are tender and lightly sweet with just a hint of citrus in the dough.  

A square plate of cookies stuffed with jam and Nutella.

Pinch cookies are often part of an Easter, Christmas or wedding dessert tray, along with other Italian favorites such as Sicilian Pignoli Cookies,  CuccidatiChocolate Spice Cookies and Ricotta Cookies.  But they are so delicately sweet that they make a delicious little afternoon snack. Now if you were enjoying them in Italy, you might have Pizzicati cookies for breakfast with a cappuccino! Go ahead and pretend that you are in Italy!

What Does Pizzicati Mean?

These delicious cookies get their name from the Italian word for “pinched”, pizzicati.  They are also referred to as biscotti pizzicati and in Italy you will often find them sold in local bakeries.  But this one bowl recipe is super easy to make at home.  Even a novice baker will feel like they have mastered the art of baking Italian cookies!

Ingredients for Pizzicati Cookies

  • Flour: Simple all-purpose flour works best in this recipe.
  • Corn Starch:  There is a significant amount of corn starch in this recipe.  It is what gives this soft cookie its tender texture.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar:  Also known as powdered sugar.  I don’t recommend substituting granular sugar.
  • Egg: The egg should be at room temperature so that it easily combines with the other ingredients.
  • Unsalted Butter: The butter should be soft but not melted.
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla extract:  You can substitute almond or any flavor you like.
  • Lemon Zest:  This is optional, but I like the hint of citrus combined with the jam filling.
  • Jam/Nutella:  Use your favorite fruit jam or preserve.  I like to fill some with berry jam and some with Nutella for my chocolate-loving family.
4 photos showing, cookie dough in a bowl, a large round ball of dough, cut out unbaked cookie dough with filling and baked cookies on a cooling rack.

Easy Instructions for Making Pizzicati

  1. Make and chill the Dough: Combine all the ingredients, except the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using an electric mixer.  Beat until the dough forms.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, just until the dough is smooth.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
  2. Cut out and fill the cookies:  Roll the chilled cookie dough on a floured surface until it is the thinness of a pie crust, about 1/4″ thick.  Use a small round cookie cutter to cut out cookie circles and repeat with any remaining dough.  Place about 1/2 teaspoon of your filling in the center of each cookie.  Then lift the opposite sides of the dough and pinch the edges firmly in the center with your fingertips. 
  3. Bake the cookies:  Place the pizzicati on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart.  The cookies will not spread very much while baking, so you can fit a lot on one cookie sheet.  Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes.  The tops of the cookies will be pale, but the bottoms will start to turn golden.  Place the cookies on a baking rack and when they are completely cooled, dust them with a little powdered sugar. 

Baking Tips

  • Make sure the egg and butter are at room temperature before mixing the dough.  They will blend more evenly with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Measure the flour by spooning it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off with the flat side of a knife or pastry cutter.  This will make sure that you don’t add any more flour than you need and keeps the dough from being too crumbly.
  • Chilling the dough will make it easier to roll and cut out.
  • Sometimes the center of the cookies will open while baking.  To keep this from happening you can either brush the edges of the dough with a tiny bit of water before pinching it or pinch the dough and then wet your fingers and go back and pinch it again.  This will seal the cookies securely.
Jam filled cookies on a lattice plate surrounded by flowers.

Storing and Freezing Italian Pinch Cookies

Pizzicati will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 4 days, if stored in an airtight container.  Place a piece of wax paper between each layer of cookies to keep the jam filling from sticking.

These are also the perfect make ahead cookie because they freeze well.  Place them in an airtight container and then wrap the container in plastic wrap and you can freeze them for 2-3 months.

More Italian Cookies and Desserts

If you love pizzicati cookies and are looking for more easy Italian cookies to try, you will love my Sicilian Sesame Cookies, Lemon Ricotta Cookies and my mom’s Orange Cookies.  But if cakes are more of what you are looking for then you want to make my very popular Almond Cake.  It will not disappoint! 

My Apricot Crostata, Ricotta Cheesecake or Chocolate Budino will make a decadent and impressive ending to a fabulous meal.

I love to get your feedback so if you tried this recipe for Pizzicati Cookies or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

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Recipe

A lattice plate with jam filled cookies and a pile of cookies in front of it.

Pizzicati – Italian Pinch Cookies

Super easy to make, tender buttery jam filled cookies. These popular Italian bakery cookies are
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 76 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Round Cookie Cutter

Ingredients
  

  • cup All purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Corn starch
  • ½ cup Confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Egg large
  • ½ cup Butter unsalted, softened
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest optional
  • ¼ cup Jam or Nutella

Instructions
 

  • Combine flour, cornstarch, confectioners' sugar, baking powder and lemon zest in a large bowl. Mix until completely blended.
  • Add the egg, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix with with an electric mixer until a dough is formed. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough is smooth. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about ¼" thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Repeat with any dough scraps.
  • Place ½ tsp of jam or Nutella in the center of each cookie. Pull up two opposite sides of the cookie and pinch together in the center. Wet your fingers and pinch them again to seal them.
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will be pale in color but the bottoms will get lightly golden. Remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before dusting them with powdered sugar.

Notes

Baking Tips

  • Make sure the egg and butter are at room temperature before mixing the dough.  They will blend more evenly with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Measure the flour by spooning it into your measuring cup and then leveling it off with the flat side of a knife or pastry cutter.  This will make sure that you don’t add any more flour than you need and keeps the dough from being too crumbly.
  • Chilling the dough will make it easier to roll and cut out.
  • Sometimes the center of the cookies will open while baking.  To keep this from happening you can either brush the edges of the dough with a tiny bit of water before pinching it or pinch the dough and then wet your fingers and go back and pinch it again.  This will make sure the cookies are securely sealed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 35mgPotassium: 13mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 102IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Almond cookies, holiday cookies, christmas, Special occasion cookies, easy cookie recipe, italian cookies, Sicilian cookies, Butter, jam, nutella, filled holiday, cookies, easy, homemade, Italian cookie
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