Ever tried homemade Cantucci? These crunchy Italian almond biscotti are easy to customize and great for gifting and cookie trays—always a hit!

Make them ahead and store them in a closed container; they stay fresh for weeks!

Close up of a bowl filled with homemade cantucci.

Cantucci, also known as Biscotti di Prato, are some of Italy’s best-known cookies. Each family has its own recipe, passed down through generations.

These cookies are made with simple ingredients and are double-baked. First, you bake them as logs, then you slice and bake them again until golden brown and crispy.

Traditionally, cantucci are dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. But they’re just as delicious when enjoyed with your favorite drink, like coffee, tea, or even homemade hot chocolate.

Cantucci vs. biscotti

While many non-Italians use the term “biscotti” to describe those long, crisp, twice-baked treats, in Italy, the word actually refers to all cookies in general! Cantucci, baci di dama, brutti ma buoni, savoiardi—they’re all biscotti.

Did you know? The word “biscotti” is actually plural! You can have one biscotto or many biscotti!

Why you’ll love cantucci

  • Easy to customize: replace almonds with hazelnuts or pistachios, add chopped dried fruit, or sprinkle in some chocolate chips.
  • Perfect homemade gifts: their long shelf life makes them ideal for gifting.
  • Beginner-friendly: with a straightforward recipe and readily available ingredients, anyone can create these delicious Tuscan cookies.
  • Make-ahead convenience: prepare them in advance and store them in an airtight container. This way, you’ll always have a delicious treat on hand.

Ingredients & substitutions

Ingredients needed to make cantucci on a marble table.

Here are some helpful notes about the key ingredients for Italian almond biscotti:

  • Flour: all-purpose flour works best, but you can substitute pastry, plain, or even gluten-free flour with a 1:1 ratio.
  • Sugar: granulated or caster sugar create the perfect texture. I’ve also experimented with a combination of granulated sugar and honey, achieving equally delicious results! I don’t recommend reducing the sugar, as the cookies are already subtly sweet.
  • Eggs: use eggs at room temperature. Large eggs are ideal, but medium ones work too. If you’re short on time, simply place them in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.
  • Flavorings: feel free to replace vanilla extract with almond extract or use grated lemon zest instead of orange zest. Choose organic, unwaxed citrus.
  • Almonds: raw, unpeeled, whole almonds. However, if you’re not a fan, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, or walnuts are excellent alternatives.

See the recipe card below for a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions.

How to make Italian almond biscotti

  1. Prepare the dough: mix all the dough ingredients until well combined. Then, knead in the almonds until evenly dispersed.
  2. Shape the logs: divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a log, aiming for a length of roughly 30 cm (12 inches) and a diameter of 5 cm (2 inches).
  3. 1st bake: transfer the logs onto a baking sheet, leaving enough space between them, and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Slice and 2nd bake: let the logs cool slightly for 10 minutes, then, using a sharp serrated knife, slice them diagonally into pieces about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Bake the slices for 10-15 minutes, until they are dry and crisp.

While this recipe is easy to make, it always helps to watch a quick video. You can find it before the recipe card.

Recipe variations

Feel free to experiment with endless combinations.

  • Mix-ins: add up to 1 cup of your favorite ingredients like dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, or figs), nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, or pistachios), or chocolate chips. For a festive twist, try my cranberry orange biscotti recipe!
  • Spices: incorporate a dash of warming spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Chocolate twist: swap ¼ cup of flour with unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey flavor.
  • Make it gluten-free: use a 1-1 gluten-free baking flour instead of regular flour.
  • Chocolate coating: dip the end of your biscotti in melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
  • Drizzle melted white or dark chocolate over the cooled biscotti.

Tips for success

  1. Use ingredients at room temperature for even mixing.
  2. Measure the flour correctly with a scale or with the spoon and level method.
  3. The dough will be slightly sticky, but avoid adding too much extra flour. Use damp hands to help you shape the logs.
  4. Leave space between the logs on the baking sheet, as they will spread.
  5. Bake the logs to your desired crunchiness. For less crunchy cantucci, bake them for a couple of minutes less during the second bake.
  6. Let the baked logs cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Use a serrated knife with a sawing motion for smooth and even slices.

Storage & freezing instructions

Storage: store your biscotti properly to maintain their delicious crunch for a couple of weeks. You can use a tin box lined with baking paper, a glass jar that has an airtight lid, or an airtight container. Don’t store cantucci in plastic bags to prevent softening.

Freezing: you can freeze the cookies for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before enjoying them.

A plate of cantucci in the middle of a marble table. One hand holding an espresso cup, another hand taking a cookie from the plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between cantucci and cantuccini?

Both names refer to the same delicious cookies! Cantucci are the classic, regular-sized biscotti, while cantuccini are smaller versions.

Why did my biscotti crumble when I cut them?

To avoid crumbling, let the logs cool for 10 minutes after baking, then slice them using a serrated knife with a gentle sawing motion.

Are cantucci supposed to be hard?

Yes, cantucci are meant to be dry and crisp, which makes them perfect for dunking in warm beverages or sweet wine.

Can I skip the second bake?

While the second bake is what makes them crunchy, it’s not mandatory. If you prefer softer biscotti, simply stop after the first bake and let them cool completely. However, be mindful that they will soften further as they sit.

Watch how to make cantucci

Have you tried these crunchy Italian biscotti yet? Share your feedback, variations, or any questions you have in the comments below. We’re here to help!

How To Make It: Easy Cantucci Recipe (Almond Biscotti)

(5 stars) 93 ratings
Homemade cantucci are easy to make, requiring no butter or oil, and are twice-baked for a satisfyingly crisp texture. While these almond biscotti are popular as a holiday treat, they are the perfect choice for any occasion. Enjoy them as a sweet snack, an afternoon pick-me-up, or even as a delightful dessert.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups+1 tablespoon (250 g) all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon (185 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4.4 oz (125 g) raw unpeeled almonds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Prepare the dough

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  • Add the eggs, orange zest, and vanilla extract, and knead until all the ingredients are well blended.
  • Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a slightly sticky, smooth dough.
  • Add the almonds and knead again until they are evenly distributed.

Shape the logs

  • Divide the dough into two equal portions. Shape each portion into a log approximately 12 inches (30 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide.
    Wet your hands; it will be easier to shape the dough.

1st bake

  • Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet. Make sure there is enough room between each log.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.

Slice and 2nd bake

  • Remove the logs from the oven and let them cool slightly for 10 minutes. Then, using a sharp, serrated knife, cut diagonally into slices about ½ inch (1.5 cm) thick.
  • Put the cookies back on the baking sheet and bake them for an additional 10-15 minutes, until they are dry and crisp.
  • Remove the cantucci from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack before enjoying or storing them.

Notes

  • Flour: all-purpose flour works best, but you can substitute pastry, plain, or even gluten-free flour with a 1:1 ratio.
  • Sugar: granulated or caster sugar. If you want to use sugar and honey: 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (165 grams) sugar + 1 tablespoon honey.
  • Eggs: use eggs at room temperature. Large eggs are ideal, but medium ones work too. 
  • Almonds: raw, unpeeled, whole almonds.
  • Storage: Store your biscotti in a tin box lined with baking paper, a glass jar that has an airtight lid, or an airtight container. They will last for a couple of weeks.
  • Freezing: you can freeze the cookies for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before enjoying them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cookie, Calories: 79 kcal, Carbohydrates: 13 g, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 12 mg, Sodium: 5 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 6 g
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