Home » Recipes » Bars » Italian Rainbow Cookies

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Italian Rainbow Cookies

Italian Rainbow Cookies

0 from 0 votes
Italian Rainbow Cookies
5.0 rating based on 12,345 ratings
5/5 (7)
Course: BarsCuisine: Italian, AmericanDifficulty: Medium



Colorful layered bar thought by many to be Italian, but in actuality is an Italian-American creation (see note*, below). They were invented by Italian immigrants in New York, and while they are a staple in Italian bakeries in the US, they are not a tradition in Italy. They’re created with three layers of green, white and red almond cake, with jelly separating the cakes and chocolate on the top and bottom. This gives rise to their other name: “7 Layer Cookies”. They are known by several other names; see note** below. The colors represent the Italian flag.


  • 8 ounces macaroon or almond paste

  • 1-1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs (separated)

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4 drops red and green food coloring

  • 1 (12 ounce) jar of apricot jam or jelly

  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate


  • Grease three 9 x 13-inch baking pans (if you don’t have 3 pans, bake them one at a time). Line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Combine macaroon paste, sugar, butter, egg yolks and almond extract. Beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. With a wooden spoon, fold into the almond mixture.
  • Divide dough into three 1-1/2-cup portions. Add red coloring to one of the portions, and green to another, stirring until mixture is evenly colored.
  • Spread the batter in the three separate prepared pans (keeping the colors separate). Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. (Each layer will be 1/4 inch thick). Remove cakes from pan immediately. Cool thoroughly.
  • Stack layers in a 9 x 13 inch pan, spreading apricot jam between layers (no jam on top layer). Place second 9 x 13-inch pan on top and weigh down with two 5 pound bags of sugar or flour. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Melt chocolate over hot water and spread over cake. Allow to set somewhat. While chocolate is mostly set but still soft enough to cut cleanly, trim edges and cut into small squares or bars.




Name & Location
(example: Sue in LA)
I have been making these cookies for over 20 years and they have always been a special treat as most of my family love them and I consider them a labor of love. Instead of buying a Christmas gift - give a labor of love!
- A Baker
Got this exact recipe from a relative. I have been making a double batch for over ten years at Christmas. I flip the cookies one more time and coat the other side with chocolate. These cookies are also known as seven layer cookies (2 chocolate, three cake and two filling). My family and neighbors would take them all and more. No cookie is more impressive in both looks and taste. The colors represent the Italian flag.
- A Baker
Tough to make...but when done right,there is no better recipe for these cookies
- A Baker
My family loves this recipe! We have been making it for years. I heat the jam in the microwave to make it easier to spread between the layers. Always a hit. the first cookie to disappear from the cookie trays.
- A Baker
Delicious, pretty & great on the christmas cookie plate!!!! Time-consuming cookie to make but ohh so worth it. I also use Apricot as a layer also as another reviewer stated!!! They are a great one!!!
- A Baker
These are my granddaughters favorite cookies. I make them every year for her birthday. Don't have to wait for a trip to NY to enjoy them any more.
- lynn
Excellent cookie, try seedless raspberry on one layer and the apricot on the other -
- A Baker
Supported By: Starfish Reviews

Rate this recipe!

Scan this QR code to return to this page and rate the recipe.

QR Code

Alternately, you can return to this page to write your review: