These keto pignoli cookies are everything you could want in a low carb Italian cookie – or any cookie for that matter. A meltingly tender almond flour cookie, generously studded with pignoli nuts that get all warm and toasty during baking – it’s a cookie lover’s dream come true!
My love of Italian cookies runs deep, and I have successfully adapted a few of my favorites into keto friendly versions – my most popular thus far being the Keto Almond Crescent Cookies I posted a couple of years ago.
While I still love those cookies, I think this Keto Pignoli Cookie recipe might be a contender for top Italian cookie. It’s a tough call and I’ll have to make both recipes again and try them side by side to truly be sure if I can pick a favorite.
For now I’ll just say that you’re gonna want to give these a try (and maybe the others too, and then you can tell me which one you like best.)
Making a keto pignoli cookie has been on my list of things to do for a long time, but when we were in Italy this summer and I had THE. MOST. AMAZING. pignoli cookies ever, I knew I had to bump it to the top of the list when we got home.
I’ve eaten a lot of pignoli cookies – both homemade and purchased from bakeries all over, including in New York that were super legit. The pignoli cookies I had in a town called San Gimignano in Tuscany though, were the best I’ve ever had. Not surprising that the best Italian cookie I’d eat would be in Italy I guess, but what struck me was how MUCH better they were than the ones I’d eaten in the states.
I’m still not sure what made those particular pignoli cookies so superior – fresher ingredients, better technique… who knows? ?♀️ Whatever it was, I’ll never forget that perfect flavor and texture, which raised the bar for all other pignoli cookies I’ll ever eat in the future.
All that aside, these keto pignoli cookies, which are certainly not in the same league as the ones we had in Tuscany, are pretty close to the flavor and texture that you get in an average (and still great) pignoli cookie.
Pignoli cookies are typically made with almond paste (also called Marzipan,) which is loaded with sugar and a no-no on keto. You can make a sugar-free almond paste if you want to go the more traditional route, but honestly these keto pignoli cookies made with almond flour and sweetener are so much easier to execute.
I know that pignoli nuts (aka. pine nuts) aren’t cheap – they can be quite pricey in fact. I promise that these keto pignoli cookies are worth the splurge! I brought back about 10 packages of pine nuts from Italy because they were so inexpensive there compared to the States, but since most of you don’t have that option, I recommend buying in bulk online.
You can buy pine nuts by the pound on Amazon for around $18, and then store them in the freezer so they don’t go rancid. Be sure to purchase RAW pignoli nuts – not toasted. If you start with toasted then they will likely get too dark when baked into these cookies, which will ruin the look and the flavor. Raw pignoli nuts are also amazing in basil pesto, so it’s nice to have them on hand for that as well.
Keto Pignoli Cookies – Low Carb
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 20 cookies 1x
These keto pignoli cookies don’t require almond paste and are very easy to make. A tasty low carb Italian cookie that is also gluten free and dairy free!
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup granulated erythritol sweetener (I used Swerve)
- 2 cups superfine blanched almond flour (almond meal will not work)
- 1/3 cup pignoli nuts (aka. pine nuts)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Combine the egg, almond extract, salt and sweetener in a medium sized bowl.
- Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes or until glossy.
- Add the almond flour and beat until fully incorporated and a stiff dough forms.
- If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water so it will hold together.
- Place the pignoli nuts on a small plate.
- Pinch off a piece of dough and roll into a ball about 1 inch in diameter.
- Press the top of the ball into the pignoli nuts and then place the cookie nut side up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Lightly press down on the cookie to flatten slightly and ensure that the pine nuts are securely attached.
- Repeat with the remaining dough – you should end up with 20 cookies.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until just lightly golden brown. Do not over bake or they will dry out.
- Remove from the oven and gently transfer the cookies to a rack or platter to cool. Garnish with powdered erythritol if desired.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Net carbs per cookie = 1g
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Category: keto cookies
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 cookie
- Calories: 83
- Fat: 7g
- Carbohydrates: 2g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 3g
Keywords: cookies, Italian, pine nuts, pignoli nuts, treats, keto, Atkins, low carb, gluten free
Can’t get enough keto cookie recipes? Here’s a fantastic collection of low carb and keto cookies from IBIH and some of our other favorite bloggers!
You’ve made my Italian-American family very happy! These cookies have the right taste and the right ratio of crunch to chew. Delightful!
Claudia Vaccaro says
These cookies are amazing. A family favorite!
Can you use regular almond flour and put in a food processor to make fine? Where do you get the flour in the recipe?
Mellissa Sevigny says
You can find all of my recommended products and sources in the Pantry section!
can you add almond paste to this recipe in place of 1/2 the almond flour? and still come out good?
Maureen Luchejko says
Almond paste is not keto friendly as it is loaded with sugar.
You can find a lot of recipes and do it yourself with sweetener; some brands also make sugar-free marzipan or almond paste sweetened with erythritol and or stevia or other keto-friendly sweeteners (avoid those with maltitol). I saw Sukrin made one, but can’t remeber where I had found it and don’t know if it’s still avaible. Anyway, s you see, almond paste CAN be keto-friendly ;-) enjoy!
These cookies we do easy to make and they were so delicious!
Yes! Haha being the meddler I am, I used all coconut oil 6 T, no butter – and you know what? They turned out! Ok, they spread a bit, but as soon as I took them out of the oven and put them on the counter with the parchment paper minus the cookie sheet they started firming up. I took a spatula and kinda scraped the soft edges up had to hurry as they were firming up. They taste delish!
Serenity M Simpson says
I can’t wait to try these. It’s especially hard around this time when everyone is baking. So I am going to make a small variety using the recipes you have shared.
Thank you for all your wonderful recipes and videos. I have to remember to post after I’ve made your recipes. They have all turned out excellent so far!
Pam Virelli says
Would these freeze well?
Pam Virelli says
I can’t wait to try these cookies! Italian almond cookies are my favorite of all time! Do you think these would freeze well if made a couple of weeks before Christmas? Thanks again!
Sharon Huxford says
I love when a recipe is simple and easy lol
Esther A says
I won’t be able to get pine nuts, so what nut would be similar enough to use? They sure look delicious!
I suggest you to try with pili nuts, that are very similar in taste and nutritional values too if you can’t find pine nuts. The main difference, evident since the first sight, is in dimension (pine-nuts are smaller… but really expensive). I add a note for Mellissa, without any criticism, just she made me laught: the italian name for this nut is PINOLI, not “pignoli”(that means someone who’s very precise and perfectionist… as I’m doing now ;-P). Great recipe, thanks Mellissa!
Esther A says
I never heard of pili nuts! What else would work? I guess I would try almond as I think it is the “crunch” that would be needed. :)
Erica B says
Pine nuts don’t really “crunch” much. Sunflower seeds might work as a substitute. Similar size, shape, and texture.
Sliced or slivered almonds will work. I can’t wait to make these!!
Jayme Higginbotham says