Best Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

Sunday, November 17, 2019
These are the Best Italian Sesame Cookies I have ever had.

Once you try them you'll see why no other recipe will compare to these authentic style cookies.

Grandma from Rome, Italy, made these often to go with her espresso, there was always sesame seed cookies on a tray for company.

We were spoiled and never had to ask for these cookies, once they were gone another batch was made immediately.

That is long ago, and now I carry on that same tradition and make these almost as often.

Everyone loves them in the family, lemon-flavored being the favorite flavor of choice.

If you love sesame seed Italian cookies, this will be bar none, the last recipe you will ever have to look for.

I continue to make these in Grandma's memory all year long, the best cookie on the Christmas tray that's gone first.

For years I made these for my brother John (they were his favorite cookie on earth!) but as of 11/16/2019, he became an Angel, and now I will make them in his memory along with Grandma's, as she watches over him and they are now together in heaven.

Keeping their memory alive in the kitchen is very important to me.

If you love Italian cookies, try some of the ones on my one-stop cookie shop roundup, they're delicious also!

Scroll down for Grandma's authentic Italian cookie recipe.

these are cookies on a dollie with espresso, a espresso spoon and sesame seed Italian cookies

My brother John and me and a photo of each of us with his favorite sesame seed cookies I made for him

My Brother John and Sesame Cookies

My brother John was my biggest fan of these cookies, he couldn't get enough of them.

On November 16th, 2019, cancer took his life.

My whole world shattered that night, he was my best friend, a loving brother and I will miss him so much.

John would ask for these cookies every time we got together I had to make a double batch, a memory that will live on of with him in my heart and in the kitchen.

As I write this I am heartbroken but know when anyone bakes them, he will be thought of every minute with beautiful memories from everyone that knew him.

I hate cancer and pray for everyone that has to battle this horrible life taking disease.

I pray he is with mom, dad grandma and the rest of the family eating as many as he wants there.

Please make them and keep his memory alive.

My brother was so kind to everyone with a super big heart, talented and most loved piano man.

He continued with total bravery to battle cancer, still worked playing piano and never complained.

He showed us a pillar of strength with the hope to beat this.

He will always be in my heart and soul as I make these sesame seed cookies, this one's for you John, until we meet again.

A cookie sheet full of sesame Italian cookies baked golden brown

Family Favorite Cookie in the 60s

These were always in the cookie jar when I was a child back in 1960 something.

I am not sure who loved them more, my father or my brothers.

At the time I wasn't a huge fan.

Being a child I liked the typical sweet cookies like chocolate chips and other chocolaty delights.

As I grew up I really learned to appreciate Italian cookies and now miss my mom's and grandmother's baking.

Anisette, lemon cookies, oh and my favorite pistachio biscotti . or any other kind of flavored biscotti, are my favorite dunking cookies!

I have to make them every time my brother John comes to visit, he would be so disappointed without bringing a batch home. They are his ultimate favorite cookie.

this is a tray of unbaked sesame seeds cookies on a cookies sheet ready to bake

Ingredients You will need for Best Italian Sesame Seed Cookies

  • flour
  • shortening
  • sugar
  • egg separated
  • milk or half and half
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • vanilla, almond, lemon extracts, anise, orange..... anyone of those will do well.

this is a tray of unbaked dough for cookies called sesame cookies

The Dough

This should be smooth and firm, not wet and not dry, if yours doesn't come together like the photo, it's not correct.

I use an industrial mixer to make the dough evenly formed.

This can be done by hand like my grandmother and mom made them, it does take a little time.

Ensure the dough is a solid smooth uniform ball.

this is  pie plate of sesame seeds and a plate of beaten eggs whites and a whisk

Tools You Will Need for Sesame Cookies

  • Wire Whisk
  • Pie Plates
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Silpat mat or parchment paper
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing spoon
  • Electric mixer or stir ingredients by hand
  • Egg separator

this is a frying pan with sesame seeds toasting in it

Toasting the Seeds

The best flavor comes from toasted sesame seeds.

If you can't find them toasted, I will also give those instructions in the recipe card below, it's pretty simple.

You can either toast them on top of the stove or in the oven.

I recommend toasting them to get an even nuttier flavor out of the sesame seeds. I explain how easy it is to toast them. You can buy them toasted but will pay twice the price.

these are the worlds best sesame seed cookies with a cup of espresso

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cookies with sesame seeds and a cup of espresso

Other Italian Delicious Cookie Recipes You May Enjoy!

Almond Paste
Rainbow Cookies
S Shaped Cookies

My brother John and me and a photo of each of us with his favorite sesame seed cookies I made for him


As I close this recipe with family at heart, please join me in celebrating in your kitchens to keep their memory alive.

Time goes by so fast, hug your kids, tell the people in your lives how important they are and that you love them.

I had a wonderful journey with my brother, it was an honor to be his sister, and I will treasure all the days we spent together, laughs and good times.

A family favorite, especially with my brother John Colenzo, may he rest in peace until we meet again.

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Yield: 25
Author: Claudia Lamascolo
Best Italian Sesame Cookies

Best Italian Sesame Cookies

These are the best Italian sesame seed cookies ever. Really, one bite and you'll be addicted. If you have tried others, you won't be disappointed as these an Authentic recipe handed down by my Grandmother from Rome Italy.Nothing compares trust me.
Prep time: 25 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 40 Min


  • 2 heaping cups of flour
  • 2/3 -cup Crisco shortening
  • 3/4- cup sugar
  • 2 egg separated (keep whites in a bowl) you need the yolks for the cookie dough
  • 1/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, almond, lemon extracts, anise, orange..... anyone of those will do well.


  1. In a separate bowl add sesame seeds in it to roll cookies into
  2. 1- 1/2 cups of toasted sesame seeds.
  3. Mix everything in a large bowl except the egg whites.
  4. Beat the whites and set aside.
  5. Roll into egg-shaped logs, dip in the egg whites, roll into the sesame seeds.
  6. Place on a greased cookies sheet.
  7. Bake at 375 preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. The longer you bake them the crunchier they will be.
  8. Note to toast seeds:
  9. When toasting, use a wide frying pan.
  10. I spray mine with cooking oil.
  11. They will pop on high heat.
  12. If you have a silicone
  13. splatter cover to place on top and keep a close watch.
  14. Heat the sesame seeds
  15. on medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally.
  16. Remove the seeds when they darken and become fragrant.
  17. For toastingInside the oven:
  18. preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  19. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet on parchment paper
  20. Bake until the seeds brown and become fragrant.
  21. For both methods, allow the toasted seeds to cool.
  22. Store in a covered jar at room temperature.
  23. Tips: It usually takes 3 and 5 minutes to toast sesame seeds
  24. in a frying pan, and about 15 minutes using the oven.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

6.25 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.7 g

Carbs (grams)

13.85 g

Fiber (grams)

0.27 g

Net carbs

13.58 g

Sugar (grams)

6.15 g

Protein (grams)

1.34 g

Sodium (milligrams)

51.35 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

16.4 mg

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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Here are more of our favorite cookie recipes:

24 One-Stop Cookie Shop

Fried Bow Tie Cookies

25 Holiday Cookies

these are cookies on a dollie with espresso, a espresso spoon and sesame seed Italian cookies

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2009. It was edited and re-published in 2019.