Italian Rainbow Cookie Recipe

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Absolutely my favorite cookie of all time, easier than I thought to make myself and a perfect addition to the Christmas cookie tray!

I always was in awe looking at these on every wedding tray when I was a little girl in Utica, New York.

It was the only cookie I picked off those trays, I loved them!

I couldn't wait to make my first batch as I grew up and that was the first cookie on the list of must makes.

There are several recipes all over on these rainbow cookies, this one I found the easiest and held up the best.

Utica is noted for great Italian foods and fabulous bakeries.

Not only did all the local Italian bakeries sell them, but many of my relatives made these cookies a tradition in their homes to make every year around the holiday season.

These cookies are famous everywhere in the world looking like an Italian flag in color and so delicious and can even be found to order online.

I am very proud to have grown up with an Italian family background and friends that kept those traditions going.

These Italian Rainbow Cookies is one that brings back the joys of childhood and I just love how these taste and look!

Plan on taking up most of the day, they're not hard but time-consuming.

Don't be intimidated to try these, they are well worth the time spent and everyone will rave about them.

Also, if you love almond paste cookies, try my bakery style recipe for almond paste crescents and also almond paste homemade from scratch.

Check out Arlene's site where I was inspired and adapted this recipe from.

This printable recipe is below, just scroll to the end and let's bake some pretty Italian rainbow cookies!

this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white with chocolate melted and cut in squares

Italian Food Art

That's what I consider these cookies, Italian food art.

Not only are they delicious, but the prettiest cookies on the tray!

The almond flavor, jam and tender cake is just scrumptious!

When I make these cookies everyone is in awe on the Italian color gems, they sure are a conversation starter for sure!

This cookie is called a Rainbow Cookie, because of tricolored and resemblance to the Italian flag.

this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white with chocolate melted and cut in squares

Some History

These pretty layered cookies originated in Italian communities in the United States during the 1900s, in homage to the community's heritage.

It is written then at the turn of the 20th-century Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe that settled in these communities were intrigued by the rainbow cookies.

Although often called simply rainbow cookies in much of the continental United States.

Some local bakeries gave other names you may have seen such as Napoleon cookies or seven-layer cookies, Tricolor cookies, Venetian cookies or Italian flag cookies.

this is the this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white batter

Easy To Do

Although I know you're thinking these take a long time to make and a little too fussy to make, however, the good news is, they make around 60 squares and freeze well.

Just line them after they dry into a plastic airtight container with wax paper in between.

They will freeze and taste fresh for around 3 months.

Ingredients You Will Need

(all weights and measures on in the printable recipe card below)

  • unsalted butter softened
  • flour
  • sugar
  • almond filling 12.5 oz can found in the baking aisle of your local supermarket (Solo Brand)
  • eggs
  • red and green food coloring
  • seedless raspberry jam
  • apricot jam
  • semisweet chocolate, melted

this is the this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white batter baked


  • Parchment paper is a must to line cookie sheets
  • Dipping a knife in hot water makes these easier to cut
  • Use almond paste if you can't find solo (solo make the cake moist)
  • Always use a toothpick in the center to see if the cakes are done
  • Use your favorite jam warmed, we like raspberry seedless the best
  • After the batter is placed in the pan, tap lightly to release any air bubbles in the cakes before baking

this is the this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white covered in melted chocolate

Pin for later

this is a pin for later 3 colors of the Italian flag called rainbow cookies photo

More Recipes We Love

Anisette Biscotti
Pistachio Biscotti
Cranberry Biscotti
Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Almond Paste Cookies
Sesame Cookies

this is the this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white batter


Honestly, these Italian rainbow cookies are the prettiest cookie on the holiday tray.

If you want a cookie that shouts the Italian colors, this is the one for you to make first.

They go quick and don't be surprised someone wants to order a few dozen for you to make and pay you for them!

Happy baking!

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Yield: 60
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 40 M
During the year we love to add these Italian rainbow cookies to a wedding tray, for special company and holidays. They are 3 colors of cake filled jam with a chocolate ganache coating then cut in squares. The cookies are famous all over the world and this is an easier recipe to start with to get them perfect and pretty for an occasion.


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 can almond filling 12.5 oz can found in the baking aisle of your local supermarket (Solo Brand) or use almond paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 drops each red and green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate, melted (use high-quality chocolate, not chips)


How to cook Italian Rainbow Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get three 12- 1/4 x 8-1/4 x 1-1/4 aluminum baking pans ready lined with parchment paper on the bottoms and lightly oil sprayed on anything exposed on the sides set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add almond pastry filling, beat until smooth around 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add flour beat just until combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into 3 bowls. Add the 12 drops of green food coloring to one bowl, 12 drops of red food coloring to another bowl, and leave the third bowl plain white. Blend the food coloring into each batter to mix evenly.
  7. Using a spatula, spread each colored batter into each separate prepared pan. Bake each pan until just beginning to brown on the edges, 10-15 minutes. Make sure the middle is set. Cool completely.
  8. Heat jams separately in glass bowls in the microwave for every 30 seconds heating and stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
  9. Place green cake on a clean solid tray or cutting board using wax paper on the bottom. Spread using a spatula heated apricot jam over the green cake. Top with plain (white) cake for the middle. Spread heated raspberry jam over the plain white cake and top with red cake. Press down lightly. 
  10. Chill cakes to set jam, 1 hour.
  11. Using a sharp knife, trim cake edges to form an even block. 
  12. Slice the cake in long lengthwise into 1 1/2" wide logs (5-6 of them). Separate the bars/logs so you can spread the chocolate down the sides. 
  13. Use a cake decorating spatula to spread melted chocolate over top, sides of each long bar, and smooth chocolate over the ends of each bar until completely covered. 
  14. Note: You can use a hot knife method to make the smooth on top by dipping your metal spatula in hot water and smoothing the chocolate in one direction.
  15. Chill to set chocolate, then slice into 1/2" thick cookies.
  16. Notes and Tips:
  17. One of the hardest things I found was how hard these were to cut without cracking the chocolate off. Once the chocolate gets hard you will need a very sharp knife.
  18. Two things worked better. 
  19. Freeze them first then cut or the second thing that worked was leaving them out 10 minutes or room temperature, then placing the knife in hot boiling water, wiping it off and slicing through the hard chocolate made it easier and didn't crack so easy. 
  20. I hope that helps.
  21. Any other tips out there feel welcome to comment.
  22. These will stay fresh for two weeks in the refrigerator and they also freeze well.
Fat (grams)
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Italian rainbow cookies, Easy rainbow cookies, rainbow cookies, 3 colored rainbow cookies, holiday cookies, Christmas cookies, Italian bakery cookies
cookies, desserts, Italian pastry, Italian cookies
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for later

this is a pin for later 3 colors of the Italian flag called rainbow cookies photo

Don't forget to try my other favorites:

Italian Lemon Ice
Half Moon Cookies
Pizza Fritte Feast Fried Dough

this is a triple colored cookie that looks like the rainbow in pin, green and white with chocolate melted and cut in squares

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2012. It was edited and re-published in 2019.


  1. Hi Claudia, that's a beautiful rainbow cookies. It look so good and tempting. Thanks for the step by step photos and recipe.

    Have a nice weekend. Regards.

  2. Okay you talked me into it. I too have wanted to make these for the longest time but they seem so scary. This year I will do it!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  3. Claudia made the rainbow connection. These cookies seem to capture the Christmas spirit with the red, green and white colors.

  4. Your rocked this one, Claudia! Perfect for the holidays!!!

  5. Claudia, Gorgeous! I make these just about every Christmas…so delicious and impressive!

  6. Such beautiful cookies for Christmas! I love the chocolate on top! Brava!

  7. Una fantastica e originale idea!!! Bravissima!!!

  8. Claudia, your cookies came out perfectly! They are hard to cut. I like your idea of freezing them partially first. I have a second recipe for these--from Lidia Bastianich--and I'm conflicted as to whether to go with the tried and true, or try hers. So many cookies, so little time. Thanks for linking to The Food of Love. Merry Christmas to you and yours (and the cookies are delicious frozen, too, lol).

  9. These are so pretty and perfect for Christmas!! I love the colors, and they taste so yummy!

  10. We make these for our Christmas cookie trays every year! It's the best cookie recipe out there!

  11. Yum! My favorite cookie, too, and the ones I always grab from the cookie tray. Thanks for the nod. I'm still too busy with Thanksgiving to think about Christmas, but now you have me raring to go! Happy Holidays!

  12. Sometimes I buy the prepackaged version of these little cakes at the convenience store near me as a guilty pleasure, but now I'll be making them on my own! Love this recipe!

  13. Now that's amore! :) Lovely idea! For an Austrian even easier to make, only red and white is needed. :-D

  14. These cookies are so festive!! I can't wait to add them to our holiday cookie party menu next weekend!

  15. This is such a great recipe! I'm so happy I found it!

  16. Such a fun treat and perfect for the holidays! Adding this to my baking line up for Christmas; looks too good to pass up!


Remember to use the search option for a recipe you're looking for and thanks for all your kind words and support. We love our readers all the best Claudia