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Tricolor Cookies

Italian Rainbow Cookies

This is the best recipe for Italian Rainbow Cookies! These cookies are an Italian tradition, made with delicious almond paste and coated in rich, dark chocolate. These are classic Italian cookies and so perfect for the holiday season.

  • Total Time: 55 minutes + at least 4 hours of chill time
  • Yield: 96 cookies 1x


  • 2 c unsalted butter (at room temp)
  • 6 large eggs (separated, at room temp)
  • 1 ⅓ c sugar (divided (we’ll start with the 1/3c, then add the 1c later)
  • 12 oz almond paste (chopped into small pieces)
  • 2 ¾ c + 1 Tbsp, all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Red food coloring (add more or less to your liking)
  • 1 tsp Green food coloring (add more or less to your liking)
  • ¾ c orange marmalade
  • About 4 oz of melted bittersweet or semisweet chocolate but you may need more depending if you use larger pans + 1 tsp of vegetable oil (do not melt until step 18)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Line three, 13 x 9 x 2 baking sheets with parchment, allow overhang to make it easier to transfer the cakes.
  3. Put egg whites into mixer with whisk attachment and beat to soft peaks. Add ⅓ c sugar slowly and beat to stiff peaks.
  4. Transfer the egg whites to a large bowl, cover and chill.
  5. Next, blend together the almond paste and remaining 1 cup of sugar. There are two methods you can use:
    1) Use the paddle attachment of a stand up mixer to combine- you'll need to mix for about 5 minutes.
    2) (Recommended) Use a food processor to pulse the paste & sugar until fully incorporated. Once done, place the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer.
  6. In the bowl of a stand up mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the almond/paste sugar mixture and the butter, beating until fluffy.
  7. Add the egg yolks, then flour and salt. Mix until just combined.
  8. Remove the egg whites from the fridge and gently fold them into the almond paste/butter mixture. Do not be alarmed if the egg whites fall a little bit. The batter will still be fairly thick after this step.
  9. Divide batter evenly among three bowls and mix the red and green food coloring into two of them.
  10. Spread each batter color separately into the prepared pans.
  11. Bake one tray at a time for about 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through until just set, no longer ‘shiny’. Feel free to test the center with a knife or toothpick.
  12. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool fully.
  13. After all 3 cake layers are baked and cooled, you can start to assemble them. To make them easier to work with, I remove all cakes from their pans and assemble them on top of a large cutting board.
  14. Place the orange marmalade into a microwaveable bowl. Heat for about 1 minute on high until the jam is warmed through and "liquidy". Strain the marmalade using a fine mesh strainer to remove all the fruit pieces.
  15. Spread half of the strained marmalade over the top of the green cake and carefully transfer the white layer on top. Spread remaining marmalade over the white layer and put the red cake over the top.
  16. Cover the cake with aluminum foil and place in the fridge. Place another cookie sheet on top of the cake and add weights (books, cans, whatever you can find) evenly distributed over the sheet.
  17. Let rest in the fridge for minimum of 4 hours, or overnight (ideal).
  18. Once ready, remove the cake from the fridge and prepare the chocolate coating. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (stirring ever 15 seconds until smooth).
  19. Spread the melted chocolate in a thin layer over the top. Refrigerate uncovered or freeze to set the chocolate.
    Once that layer of chocolate is set, prepare to do the other side. Cover the finished side with parchment and invert onto another baking sheet (flip the cake). Glaze with a thin layer of chocolate. Refrigerate or freeze to set.
  20. Once that other layer of chocolate is hard, use a large sharp knife to trim and slice the cake into small rectangle pieces.


A few tips:

  • Bake each sheet one at a time on the middle rack to maintain even heat distribution.
  • You don’t want these to brown at all. The cookies are done baking when the top is no longer glossy looking in the oven. Feel free to use a knife if you want to.
  • Avoid using white chocolate to coat the cookies, unless you know how to properly temper. White chocolate sets up well, but will shatter when you go to slice.
  • These cookies freeze REALLY well.

Recipe adapted from: