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Classic Italian Sesame Cookies Recipe {Reginelle Cookies}

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven-Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Made with sweet cream butter, sesame seeds and a hint of lemon, these Italian sesame cookies are a classic family favorite. They can be made in advance and kept for several weeks- at room temperature or frozen- in an airtight container. Recipe adapted (with changes) from Italy Magazine.


  • 250 g (2 cups, lightly spooned & leveled) all purpose flour
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 113 g (8 tbsp. or “1 stick”) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (cold-ish)
  • 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for coating)
  • 2 tbsp. milk (full fat or any %)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tbsp lightly packed (optional). 
  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds, plus more as needed

Notes & Tips

You won’t need the full 3 egg whites for coating the dough in sesame seeds (1-2 is plenty). Feel free to portion out only what you’ll need and save/freeze the rest for another recipe.


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. By hand or with a stand mixer: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter. With your finger tips (or paddle attachment if using a mixer) rub the butter into the flour mixture; the texture should look like coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using. Mix until the dough holds together (it should be smooth- not sticky or dry). Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes- 1 hr or overnight.
  4. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll into (8x) 5-inch long logs. Cut the logs into (24x) 1 1/2-inch pieces, like gnocchi but bigger.
  5. Dunk the dough in the reserved egg whites and then roll in the sesame seeds. Place onto the sheet pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until light golden brown.
  7. Once completely cool, store the cookies in an airtight container for several weeks. Freeze for up to 1-2 months.

Keywords: Italian sesame cookies, sesame seed cookies, Regina cookies, Reginelle cookies, egg whites, all purpose flour, egg yolks