Cookies Holidays

Neapolitan Cookies

neapolitan cookies on white parchment

As noted in the headnote of 100 Cookies, this Neapolitan cookie was inspired by Pink Door Cookies owner Mathew Rice’s Neapolitan cookie. I stumbled upon the cookie while searching Pinterest for the color pink; this cookie popped up, and I was intrigued by the pretty colors and flavors of Neapolitan ice cream all rolled together.

Mathew originally shared his recipe here, but he now makes them at his cookie shop, Pink Door Cookies in Nashville, which he opened in late 2020. “Cookies have always been my favorite thing to make,” Rice told the Nashville Scene. “I feel like they’re humble, but you can elevate them in really wild ways. Having been a pastry chef for almost 20 years at this point, I bring a lot to cookies that’s unexpected, and I’m incorporating the components and flavors of plated desserts but in cookie form.”

If you live in the Nashville area, please check out Pink Door Cookies! Along with his Original Neapolitan Cookie, Mathew also has a variety of other flavors: Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Corn, Cotton Candy, Rainbow Brownie, Blueberry Pancake, Cinnamon Toast Snickerdoodle, and classic Chocolate Chip, just to name a few.

Neapolitan Cookie Making Tips:

  • Use black cocoa powder for a darker color.
  • I buy freeze-dried strawberries at Target. The powdered strawberries on their own won’t give a bright pink hue, so I like to add a little food coloring.
  • I also like to roll each individual color of dough into the same color of sprinkles, but you can mix and match however your heart desires. 

How to Make Neapolitan Cookies:

Neapolitan Cookies

Divide the dough into three equal portions (about 320 g each), keeping one vanilla, and then adding powdered freeze-dried strawberries to one portion and cocoa powder to the remaining portion. 

Neapolitan Cookies

Pinch a small portion (about 15 g) of each of the three doughs and separate them into piles. 

Neapolitan Cookies

For more of a striped look (where the colors overlap into each other more) gently press the pieces together and then press the piece into a cookie scoop or roll into a ball. 

Neapolitan Cookies

For a cookie with more distinct flavor sections but slight overlap, roll each different flavored piece into a ball, then gently press together. Place the pieces into a cookie scoop or roll into a ball. 

Neapolitan Cookies

For a cookie with very distinct flavor sections and no overlap, roll the different flavor pieces into separate balls and then gently press together.

Use your hands to gently cup the shape into a circle, and then bake as shown above. 

Neapolitan Cookies

Cookies will differ slightly depending on which method you chose! Cookies can also be rolled in sprinkles or granulated sugar before baking. I used a pastel pink food coloring here for a lighter color, but the strawberry portion can be made more vivid with more food coloring.

Making Cookie Dough Ahead of Time

The cookie dough can be shaped and held overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to cover the dough with plastic wrap), and then baked the next day. If baked straight from the fridge, you may need to add a minute or two to the baking time. 

To make these Neapolitan Cookies, I used my sugar cookie recipe (#6 in 100 Cookies) as a base and came up with this version.

More Cookie Recipes:

neapolitan cookies on white parchment

Neapolitan Cookies

Servings: 15 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Stunning Neapolitan cookies with made with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate dough. A cookie with three flavors in one bite!
Sarah Kieffer
4.95 from 69 votes
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberries, which equals 8 grams (measured before pulsing)
  • 1 cup [2 sticks | 227 g] unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup [350 g] granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 or 3 drops red food coloring optional
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • Sprinkles or granulated sugar for rolling

Instructions

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, pulverize the strawberries into a powder.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
  • Dump the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into three equal portions. Put one-third of the dough back into the mixer and add the powdered strawberries and food coloring, if using. Mix on low speed until totally combined, then remove the dough and quickly wipe out the bowl of the mixer.
  • Add another third of dough to the mixer. Add the cocoa powder and mix on low speed until totally combined.
  • Pinch a small portion (about 1/2 oz [15 g]) of each of the three doughs, and press them gently together, so they adhere to each other, but keep their unique colors. Press the piece into a cookie scoop or roll it into a ball, then roll the ball into sprinkles or granulated sugar. Place 6 or 7 cookies on each sheet pan. Bake the cookies one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the cookies are puffed, 10 to 11 minutes.
  • Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes

*Recipe adapted from Mathew Rice
*Use black cocoa powder for a darker color. The powdered strawberries on their own won’t give a bright pink hue, so I like to add a little food coloring. I also like to roll each individual color of dough into the same color of sprinkles, but you can mix and match however your heart desires. I buy freeze-dried strawberries at Target.
  • Reply
    Cindy
    Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    5 stars
    I made these today, GF and DF. I used King Arthur GF flour and Country Crock plant butter. They came out great! I did use double the amount of strawberries. The only thing I would change would be to add a bit more flour to the vanilla dough so it would have a better consistency, like the other two flavors. These will be on my Christmas cookie list, all GF! Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  • Reply
    Shirley
    Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    I love your book 100 Cookies and I’m obsessed with these cookies. Do you think the dough balls would freeze well? I want to be able to pop them in the oven whenever I feel like eating them.

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Friday, July 8, 2022 at 10:09 am

      Hello! I haven’t tested it, but I would think it would be fine in the freezer for 2 weeks. It will need a longer bake time if baking from frozen – a few minutes longer.

  • Reply
    Anthony
    Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    5 stars
    I have made these cookies probably a half-dozen times from 100 Cookies and they are nothing short of incredible, but this is the first time I’ve seen this post (followed the link from Instagram). One thing that has always bothered me is that while the cookies taste incredible, I’ve never been able to achieve the beautiful craggy texture in the cookbook photo. Is it really as simple as putting the pieces into an ice cream scoop, so that when you drop them on the baking sheet, the scoop creates the crags for you?

    I also wanted to ask if you had any advice for coaxing even more strawberry flavor into the strawberry third. I am currently using the eight grams that the recipe lists, but it does not seem like enough. Perhaps I need fresher freeze-dried strawberries. I am curious how much strawberry powder I can add before it becomes too much. (I might test both of these and respond with an update).

    I am a huge fan. Please keep up your incredible work.

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 11:09 am

      I’m so glad you like the cookies. And yes, the craggy texture is from the ice cream scoop! I smoosh the different colored pieces in one and then drop the dough on the pan. And you can bump up the freeze-dried strawberries – I’ve used up to 16 g with no problem.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    5 stars
    This were so incredibly amazing! They look picture perfect and taste straight out of the bakery! Thank you for sharing!!!!!

  • Reply
    Jacqueline
    Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Hi would I be able to use regular cocoa powder or even cacao powder with this?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Friday, April 1, 2022 at 10:02 am

      You could use regular cocoa powder, the color just won’t be as dark brown.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    5 stars
    What a fun cookie to make and eat! Fruity, chocolatey, and buttery sweet. Looks complicated but isn’t. Wonderful and different! Thank you for this recipe.

  • Reply
    Felicity Rafalski
    Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    5 stars
    These are the most beautiful cookies I have ever made, and one of the tastiest. Their flavor is just like good old Neapolitan ice cream. This recipe is definitely going on repeat.

  • Reply
    HR
    Saturday, February 19, 2022 at 1:23 am

    What size cookie scoop, please?

  • Reply
    Natalie
    Monday, January 17, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious!!! Mine did spread out quite a lot and are definitely thin but I love them that way – they are wonderfully chewy inside with a nice crispy edge. Do what the recipe says and only do 6-8 per cookie sheet, that allowed for the spread without them running into each other & getting misshapen. I used black cocoa for my chocolate third which worked great. Even though I weighed out the dough pieces as the recipe lists, my yield was about 22 instead of 15 (no complaints there!). Definitely recommend!!

  • Reply
    Omar
    Friday, January 14, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    5 stars
    So fabulous! Looking at the recipe it seemed like it could be a hassle.. but they were really easy. I just separated equal pieces and joined them together in a ball. Rolled in granulated sugar but wish I had sanding sugar. Not sure if anyone said, These are very popular at Mexican panaderias. Nowhere near as good as yours. My Mexican and Mexican-American family was thrilled.

  • Reply
    Karen
    Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    These cookies are delicious, but they spread out much in the oven and become huge and very thin while baking. The pictures you posted made the cookies look quite a bit fatter. I’m wondering if you did something different. I thought about chilling the dough, but another comment said it didn’t help with the spreading.

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 6:12 pm

      I’m sorry you are having trouble! I didn’t do anything different than what is stated in the recipe. What brand of flour/butter did you use? Sometimes that can cause the cookies to turn out different – each store brand of flour has a different protein content. I use Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour in most of my baking.

  • Reply
    Gwen
    Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    5 stars
    This was my favorite Christmas cookie this year! Perfect chew and each of the three flavors was distinct and wonderful! I prefer the striped look pressed into an ice cream scoop (though I had to clean the scoop between each cookie!) and after scooping, I rolled the whole cookie in organic sugar (which has a bit bigger crystals than regular granulated sugar) and they looked perfect!

  • Reply
    Dszat
    Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 11:00 am

    4 stars
    Wow! This are soooo good! The freeze dried strawberries really pop the flavor. Instead of round cookie I just layered the 3 doughs in a loaf pan, chilled then sliced. It’s was pretty easy and looked beautiful

  • Reply
    Melanie
    Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    I noticed this recipe doesn’t call for baking powder. Should I add a tsp of baking powder so the cookie will rise during baking?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Monday, December 20, 2021 at 9:51 am

      hi! there is no baking powder in this recipe. do not add any.

  • Reply
    Christina
    Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 11:49 am

    What do you mean by rotating them halfway through the baking process?

    • Reply
      Maggie
      Monday, December 13, 2021 at 6:42 pm

      Turning the cookie sheet around in the oven in case the heating pattern is uneven 🙂

  • Reply
    Danielle
    Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    5 stars
    Hi there! ? Have you ever tried to make these vegan? If so what are your favorite substitutes? By the way, these cookies are fantastic! I’ve made them a few times now and they’re always a hit!

  • Reply
    Nancy M
    Thursday, July 29, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    What size is the cookie scoop?

  • Reply
    JR
    Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 8:13 am

    5 stars
    Surprisingly easy to make and absolutely delicious!

  • Reply
    Courtney Pallies
    Sunday, May 9, 2021 at 10:09 am

    5 stars
    I made these cookies yesterday and while making them I realized wow I’m never doing this again they’re a pain.
    Then eating them – they’re my favorite!!
    I mean VERY VERY good!!

  • Reply
    Shilpa
    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    4 stars
    Delicious cookies but they did spread out very thin, even after refrigeration. Love the black cocoa powder which gave the chocolate part an oreo-like flavor.

  • Reply
    Sydney
    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    5 stars
    These not only turned out beautifully but they tasted AMAZING!

  • Reply
    Dot
    Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Maybe but the cookbook for answers to the questions?

  • Reply
    Sam
    Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Can this dough be refrigerated overnight and baked the next day? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Morgan Kenyon
      Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 2:33 pm

      Did you try this? I would like to do the same!

  • Reply
    Susan
    Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 10:33 am

    I have a question on the neopolitan cookies – is it half a cup of freeze dried strawberries before or after they are pulverized? I had already processed the strawberries and used about 2T of the strawberry powder. The cookies came out great but was wondering for next time since they were a big hit and I’ll definitely be making them again. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Kate
      Monday, March 15, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      You should measure a 1/2 cup of freeze dried strawberries and then pulverize them, and use that amount.

  • Reply
    Jay
    Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Can you verify the quantity of flour for the recipe? Is it 308g – 2 1/2 cups and 1 tablespoon or 364g flour?

  • Reply
    Gina
    Friday, January 15, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    I bought rather pricey organic powdered strawberries especially to make this recipe. 1/2 c. of this powder was a lot – probably too much. It increased my quantity of strawberry dough by a third. I’d love to see a picture of what the dough looks like before baking. 15g of each of the three doughs makes a huge cookie and the perimeter does not come out as sharp and attractive as it bakes as your pictured cookie. I tried rolling the dough flat, then cut strips of each dough, and put them side by side, and then cut out cookies with a biscuit cutter to get three stripes and a sharp edged, round cookie. There’s got to be a better, more efficient way!

    • Reply
      Shilpa
      Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 11:37 pm

      It’s not half a cup of powder, it’s half a cup of freeze dried strawberries that you later turn into powder.

  • Reply
    Nasr
    Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    I have question,I live abroad and I only have access to fresh strawberries and strawberry pie filling (the canned kind) I really want to make this, can I make this using fresh strawberries?Please help and thank you.

    • Reply
      Kate
      Monday, March 15, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      Hi! If you look up Matthew Rice’s recipe, on which this one was based, he uses Strawberry Quik powdered milk stuff. Is that available to you?

  • Reply
    sarah
    Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 2:35 am

    I was wondering if the gram measurement for the flour was at typo – 2-1/2 cups + 1 TBSP flour for me weighs more like 308g. Thanks- you rock!

    • Reply
      Julie
      Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      I just realized the difference as well. Did you use 308g of flour instead of 368g?

      • Reply
        laura
        Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 6:42 pm

        I’ve used both the higher and lower amounts (this recipe rocks!) and I think the gram measurement (364 ) is correct.

  • Reply
    Jennyquack
    Monday, November 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Question: do we measure the strawberries first, and then process them? I did the opposite and I don’t think it’s right. They are still good, though, and so pretty!

  • Reply
    Sandy
    Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    I have a question on the neopolitan cookies- is it half a cup of freeze dried strawberries before or after they are pulverized?
    Thanks

  • Reply
    Julie Mastropasqua Pasquale
    Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Do you have a video tutorial for how you got the marbling effect? I would love to have mine come out as beautiful as yours

  • Reply
    Julie Mastropasqua Pasquale
    Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 9:12 am

    I love these Neopolitian cookies.. the first time I made them they spread so this time I froze the dough … it worked much better but still cannot get them to look like yours! How did you create the marbling look, and how do I stop getting thin cookies? Thank you

  • Reply
    Wendy Ginsburg
    Friday, October 2, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    These came out great! I’m using them as my center pretty cookie in my cookie box this holiday season. Eye catching…..

    I’ve been a baker my whole life. I saw you asked what others favorite cookbooks are…

    Tate’s original cookbook…she is a baker out of Southampton, ny. Her bakery is adorable! I grew up eating her cookies at farm stands. Own her original Kathleen’s cookies cookbook which is one of my still go too books…her devils food cake recipe is my favorite! I use it in other chocolate cake recipes…I still find hers always comes out moist and rich. Others have been dry etc. I’ll test…. her chocolate mousse cake is my favorite! Her cream cheese brownies are amazing! Best in fridge temp versus freezer. Her lemon bars. I like her cookies but I’m more thick and chewey for cookies. Her chocolate mousse cake, cheesecake brownies, brownies, lemon bars, devils food cake recipe and pie crust/pies are my still go too favorites.

    I lived in Chicago, Mindys Hot Chocolate …she has a cookie book…I’m a cookie girl. I would buy a box of her cookies 1x a week or month. I didn’t live near her. Her hot chocolate and marshmallows are awesome! Her regular food and breads were also very good! I used to eat at her restaurant…great brunch and cocktails and dinner – homemade pretzels with cheese dipping sauce. Soooo good! Her chocolate chunk cookies, rugelach, peppermint sandwich were my favorite. Black Sabbath in her cookie book…all her sandwich cookies…a lot of steps but soooo good. I also like her ginger snaps…soft and chewy.

    Ina Garten also in hamptons… her coconut cupcakes from her shop were always pretty and a crowd pleaser. I made them mini cupcakes. I love barefoot contessa’s aka ina rugelach. Her baked goods are great!

    Her chocolate chunk and reverse chocolate chunk cookies are great! Versus Mindys chocolate chunk??? Not sure… her brownie recipe I love! I use chips no nuts.

    Pie and cheesecake brownies are tate s bakery. Tate crust is beyond good. It’s her crust! Her chocolate chip pie is special. Any fruit in her pie crust great.

    I own probably 30 baking books…. bouley bakery, jimtown from napa valley… I lived in nyc, chicago…a lot of good stuff in both cities???

    I liked your pan banging cookies. I added to my arsenal. I’m loving the neapolitan…I tried ordering your 100 cookies book…not happening. Out of stock. I make a chocolate chip cookie assortment box. I like the different chocolate chip cookie versions…barefoot contessa, tates cookie, your pan banging style, mindy Segal’s chocolate chunk cookie, reverse barefoot chunk and I do a mint chocolate chunk cookie. Levaine style peanut butter chip chocolate and the chocolate with andes mint chocolates chopped or guittard mint chips and I add my own kitchen sink chocolate chip cookies with skor bar chunks, chocolate chunks, white chocolate chunks and peanut butter cookie with Reeces chunks and a chewy ginger snap to even out. Oreo style with peppermint cream or espresso cream middle…Amy’s cookies in nyc.

    I like a brownie, blondie mindy Segal sandwich cookie cookie box.

    I like molly yeh…

    Milk bar birthday cake from christina tosi is hands down the best funfetti cake I’ve ever eaten. Her lemon strawberry cake is my 2nd favorite. Her vanilla and lemon cakes are really moist! Her cookies I’m not as into…or cake balls.

    I have different blogs I follow…. I try.

    • Reply
      BB
      Friday, April 30, 2021 at 12:26 pm

      Experiment with a mix of baking powder and baking soda if your cookies spread too much. Baking powder helps puff things. If my cookies are spreading too much I start by replacing half the baking soda with baking powder and go from there.

  • Reply
    Strand
    Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    I was not able to print

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