My Grandma’s Biscotti Recipe

My Grandma's Biscotti Recipe by @browneyedbaker ::

Most of my grandma’s recipes are written like stereotypical grandma-style recipes. There are a list of ingredients and if you’re lucky, most of them will have quantities next to them, but inevitably, some do not. Since my grandma passed away a little over two years ago, my mom and I have taken turns going through her stack of recipes. Her biscotti recipe, in particular, was treasured by everyone in our family. Growing up, I don’t think there was ever a time that I went to her house and her ceramic cookie jar wasn’t filled to the brim with biscotti. If you just so happened to reach in and grab the last one, not to worry… Grandma would tell you to “go over there on the steps and grab the big tin, there are more in there.”

Because, of course there were. That’s how Italian grandma’s roll.

Unfortunately, none of us ever baked right alongside my grandma when she made her biscotti (they always magically appeared!), and her recipe was rather cryptic – no amount of flour, no oven time, no flavoring amount. Last Christmas, my mom and I tackled the trial and error project of getting the recipe as close as we could. After a few different batches, a lot of dough-feeling and experimenting with flavorings, we finally nailed it!

My Grandma's Biscotti Recipe by @browneyedbaker ::

One of the unique things that my grandma did with her biscotti was to use butternut flavoring as opposed to the traditional anise. I personally love anise, but my extended family is split at best on it, and I think more people than not dislike it. Since she always aimed to please, my grandma stopped using anise and adopted the vanilla butternut flavoring, which became her signature biscotti flavor. My grandma would buy the imitation vanilla butter & nut flavoring from the small grocery store in her town, but if you want to amp up the flavor, you could buy pure vanilla-butternut flavor from King Arthur Flour.

The other thing the family had always been split on was nuts. Some loved chopped walnuts in the biscotti, while others wouldn’t touch them if they had nuts. Again wanting everyone to be happy, my grandma would make half of her batches with nuts and the other half without. When you make these, feel free to throw them in or leave them out, or use your favorite nut.

My Grandma's Biscotti Recipe by @browneyedbaker ::

When I was younger, I would often pour myself a half cup of coffee, then sit at the table and dunk, dunk, dunk. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but to me, there is no better way to enjoy a good biscotti than by dunking it in a cup of coffee.

I wish my grandma were still around and we could sit at her dining room table or mine and chat over a plate of biscotti and cups of coffee. One day.

My Grandma's Biscotti Recipe by @browneyedbaker ::

One year ago: Soft Pretzels and Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two years ago: Chicken Noodle Soup and Oatmeal Carmelita Bars
Three years ago: Oatmeal Muffins with Dates, Cranberries & Pecans and Apple Cinnamon Bread
Four years ago: Rugelach
Six years ago: Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Grandma's Biscotti Recipe

Yield: About 6 dozen biscotti

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

My grandma's biscotti recipe - a family favorite for decades!


6 eggs
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon butternut flavoring
8 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add the oil, milk, and butternut flavoring, and mix for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until completely combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour and baking powder, mixing only until just combined. Give the mixture a final stir with a rubber spatula, and fold in the walnuts (if using).

3. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and shape each into a log about 9 inches long by 3 inches wide. Place two on each sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and place the pans on cooling racks for 10 to 15 minutes, or until you can handle the biscotti easily.

4. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

5. Using a sharp knife, slice each log on the diagonal into ½-inch slices. Arrange the slices cut side-up on the baking sheets and return to the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping them halfway through. Allow the biscotti to cool on the baking sheets, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.


56 Responses to “My Grandma’s Biscotti Recipe”

  1. Michelle C. on January 7, 2014 at 12:59 am

    This is wonderful and I can so relate. My grandmother passed in June and we’ve been going through her recipes. I’ve now become the baker of the family, a role I took on over the last few years as my grandma wasn’t able do as much. I have yet to tackle her biscotti or wandies. Seeing you tackle this has inspired me to try her recipe :-)
    PS. Aren’t Italian grandmas the BEST :-)


  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on January 7, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your grandma’s recipe and the stories. My vote would be for vanilla butternut flavoring over anise :) Beautiful job on this!


  3. Harry on January 7, 2014 at 4:08 am

    What can I use instead of the vanilla butter nut flavouring? We don’t get it or even something similar here in South Africa and I don’t even have an idea what it is. Would love to try this recipe.


    • Jenna on January 7th, 2014 at 6:50 am

      you can use plain vanilla flavoring


    • Heather on January 7th, 2014 at 9:58 am

      I too am not familiar with the Butternut flavouring. With a wind chill of -39°C in Toronto today, it is too cold to go out and hunt it down. I am going to try ⅓ Vanilla ⅓ Almond ⅓ Butter extracts, a teaspoon of each.


    • Michelle on January 7th, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Hi Harry, You could simply use vanilla extract.


  4. Judith - Texas on January 7, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I made Biscotti for the first time last week and now I’m hooked (hubby more so!) Just added your Grandma’s recipe to my growing stash of Biscotti recipes; plan on making her’s today. Thanks so much for the touching tribute to your Grandma and for sharing her recipe.


  5. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on January 7, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Oh I just love biscotti and your grandmas recipe sounds amazing! I love family recipes, they always taste the best! Thank you so much for sharing!!!


  6. Wendy B on January 7, 2014 at 7:09 am

    What a lovely story about your beloved grandmother! Thanks for sharing it and the recipe. I always enjoy your blog! :)


  7. Debbie S on January 7, 2014 at 7:16 am

    I love the story about your grandmother. Both of my grandmothers are gone. But, I still have my mom and I am hoarding her family recipes. Those are some of my favorite memories, baking with her when I was growing up. Thanks for the stories. I always enjoy getting your emails!


  8. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness on January 7, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I just made my first biscotti and were surprised at how easy they were! These look like my next batch! Love the butternut flavour addition. My morning coffee is going to love these. But, probably not as much as my belly will!


  9. Ann S. on January 7, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Could I sub almond extract & almonds?


    • Michelle on January 7th, 2014 at 10:23 am



      • Patti on January 7th, 2014 at 11:09 am

        If I use an extract (anise) instead of a flavoring would I still use a tablespoon?


        • Patti on January 7th, 2014 at 11:11 am

          Thanks so much! I’m going to make a batch right now so it will be ready for my afternoon coffee.


          • Patti on January 7th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

            I did make these earlier (w anise) and they are yummy! Enjoyed some with coffee during a webinar training this afternoon. I halved the recipe and still have plenty to gift to some friends I’ll be seeing this evening. Thank again!


        • Michelle on January 7th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

          Hi Patti, If you use anise EXTRACT, yes use 1 tablespoon. However, if you use anise OIL, then I would recommend much less, maybe only ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon, depending on how strong you want the anise flavor.


  10. Andrea on January 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

    I don’t know why, but I’ve never even been tempted to make biscotti, but your story and these photos are wonderful. I think I might give it go!


  11. Lori on January 7, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your Grandmother’s treasured recipe. I am going to give it a try.


  12. nancy k on January 7, 2014 at 8:17 am

    I love making and gifting biscotti. I have a go to recipe that uses 1/4 cup of butter that is cut into the flour/sugar mixture…no mixer needed. I have found it makes for a very different/rustic texture that people seem to love. I have fun with different flavors and combinations of add-ins…toasted pecans and mini chocolate chips seems to be everyone’s favorite. I have tried recipes that have no fat at all but have never tried a recipe with vegatable oil. I am interested to try this one but I think I will have to cut the recipe in half. I could easily overdose on biscotti if i have them in the house! Thanks for sharing this special recipe.


  13. Theresa D on January 7, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Yay! I have been waiting for this one! I have been wanting to make biscotti and every time I would read a post about your grandmother’s I would wonder when you were going to post it. So excited!!


  14. AndreaL on January 7, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I’ve never tackled biscotti but this looks like I can handle them. I love seeing your grandmother’s recipes. Always makes me think of my mother.
    Seeing your comment about the anise made me think of my father. Whenever we made anything with anise, we couldn’t add enough oil, extract or seeds to get it to his point of liking. I’m glad that we can try these without :)


  15. Erin | The Law Student's Wife on January 7, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Grandmas know best! Love your comment about there being more in another tin–that’s how my gma rolled with her cookies too!


  16. Kirsten on January 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing!


  17. Jordan Lynn // Life Between Lattes on January 7, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I’ve never made biscotti, but they seem like the perfect afternoon snack – kind of like afternoon tea, but with biscotti and coffee instead of tea and scones. Looks really good!


  18. Tasha @thatssoyummy on January 7, 2014 at 10:25 am

    This recipe sounds so simple and those biscotti look delightful. Thank you for sharing a little piece of your grandma with us. Beautiful!


  19. Belinda@themoonblushbaker on January 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I adore biscotti, mainly because I am big black coffee drinker. Thank you for sharing such personal recipes; they are always the best ones in my eyes.


  20. Kathy on January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Biscotti has been on my must make list for years and I have never gotten around to it. I need to remedy that soon!


  21. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on January 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    What a beautiful and heartfelt post. I love biscotti. My Italian grandma never made them, but there were always store-bought ones in the house that I’d eat with my grandpa. I will definitely need to make these soon!


  22. Karen Wood on January 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you. You can’t beat having someone’s Grandma’s recipe and these look delicious. I have other biscotti recipes and wondered what was up with the anise in all of them. I don’t like anise as well as a lot of herbs and spices. Glad to know it’s okay to use something else. I always wondered what butternuts taste like too.


  23. Crystal A. (@EatDrinkClev) on January 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve never heard of butternut flavoring but I’m certainly going to be on the look out for it now. I miss my Grammie too – making pizzelles always makes me think of her. Grandparents are so awesome – terrible when they aren’t around any more!!


  24. Nancy Long on January 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    haaven’t seen butternut flavoring in years. My mother used to make a cake with it. Will have to go scouring the stores. We love biscotti and for some reason I haven’t made it in quite a while. Will have to get back to it. Hubby loves my pistachio and dried cranberry ones.


  25. Laurie on January 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Happy New Year from Pittsburgh! Thanks for your thoughtfulness in sharing your grandmothers recipe. I will be honored to make it. I’ve never heard of butternut flavoring so I’m looking forward to trying it as well as other flavors.


  26. Beth on January 7, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I love anise also but no one in my family does. The butternut flavoring is great too. I make a cake in a flute pan with cherries, nuts and butternut flavoring and it bakes for hours. I’m definitely going to try these. They sound delicious.


  27. Betsy @ Desserts Required on January 7, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    This is a lovely post. I bet your grandma is smiling down!


  28. Emilie on January 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    This looks like a great recipe, Michelle. I’ve made biscotti a couple of times and wasn’t “wowed” so am definitely going to give it a try. Thanks so much to you and your mom for figuring it out! And BTW, the vanilla butternut flavor from KAF is SO totally worth it. I discovered it about a year ago and sub a teeny bit of it for the vanilla in many of the sweet baked goods I make. It is an amazing addition!


  29. Farah @everylittlecrumb on January 7, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    What a lovely story…I’m glad you were able to recreate your grandmother’s signature recipe and share it with us!


  30. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on January 8, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I love reading about cherished family recipes. Your biscotti look wonderful!


  31. Ala on January 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Making biscotti is such a treat–I also adore old-timer recipes. One time my aunt shared an old jello cheesecake recipe with me that simply said “3 cups whip cream” and I asked if that meant pre-whipping or ‘whipped’ cream, and she just gave me a funny sidelong look and said, “cream, of course.” D’oh. Still, there’s nothing like it, and I can’t wait to try this recipe–thanks for sharing!


  32. Annamaria @ Bakewell Junction on January 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I love family recipes. I can’t wait to try your Grandmother’s Biscotti recipe.
    I’ve taught my sister how to make my Grandmother’s pizzelle recipe with the same non-electric iron as my Grandmother’s iron. It’s important to keep the memories and traditions in the family.


  33. Kira - HealthAble Old Soul on January 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    We make biscotti’s every so often but they really are a treat!!! I am glad your able to share this recipe – biscotti’s are a classic that everyone needs a taste of!


  34. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent on January 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    I really wonder how grandmas did it. Everyone I talk to says that their grandma’s recipes are vague. Maybe there was just more time to remember or experiment, then we have today. I bet it was fun to tackle the recipe with your mom though :)


  35. Dina on January 10, 2014 at 10:24 am

    i never heard of the butternut flavoring. will have to try it. they look great for tea!


  36. Laura Dembowski on January 20, 2014 at 8:46 am

    These look like the perfect classic biscotti. That last paragraph brought a tear to my eye. I wish I could spend more time with her every day.


  37. Sarah on March 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Hi Pam , I tried the biscotti repcie but I found it hard to slice them into thin slices and secondly how do I make them a little less hard and a little more softer ? any tips on that ?


  38. xtina on November 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Definitely gotta use butternut! It really does add the extra something, I’ve been making biscotti off and on for years and lose the specific recipes in between, but I’ve run out of butternut and had trouble finding it again and tried making it without and they just aren’t as good. I was actually about to make a batch now that it’s getting really cold again and I’m back on my hot coffee diet again. Lol….Anyways I came across your post and I was so happy to see your tip on butternut bc most people don’t know about it. I came. A r it by accident years ago making homemade fondant and got a tip to use it to make more of a tootsie roll flavor and have loved it since, I personally favor it more then vanilla now lol.


  39. Galpal on November 28, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I too am from an Italian family that grew up on biscotti’s year round. I’d give ANYTHING to have my grandmother back for even one hour. I love sharing her recipes. Since your grandmother made large batches I wonder if you’d share your ideas about storage of the biscotti. I have found that tupperware storage takes the crispness out of them. I store my pizalle waffles in large tins with covers. I would do the same with biscotti. Care to comment?


    • Michelle on December 2nd, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      My grandma only ever stored her biscotti and pizzelle in tins, never tupperware containers… you’re doing it right :)


  40. April J on February 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I just made a batch of your biscotti. Inspired by your Gramma story, I chose your recipe over several others! I went for the toasted walnut addition due to the fact that I only had regular vanilla on hand for flavoring. They’re not quite cool yet, but was wondering two things? a) is the dough supposed to be so tough that scraping the bowl empty takes two hands? (lol) and b) when complete are they a very dry biscotti or a little bit softer in texture? I am hoping to tweak this to perfection! Tastes great though! (I could not wait to test one). Wonderful stories and very easy recipe! Thank you.


  41. Skye on April 13, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Recipe looks so good! Going to make your biscotti tomorrow with dried cherries and white chocolate chunks. I might paint the bottoms with white chocolate when the are done. A tiny drizzle of the melted chocolate would be so pretty

    Thanks for your memories and recipes. I’ll let you know how thee flavors turn out tomorrow! :)


  42. Sue on June 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I’ve been making and thoroughly enjoying these biscotti for a few months now. I do have a question though. I can only cram 6 cups of flour into the recipe. Should I add more milk? I certainly have no objection to ending up with more biscotti!


    • Michelle on June 5th, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Hi Sue, I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying these! I would add the full amount of flour and if it’s too dry, then yes, adding more milk would be okay.


  43. Chandana on December 16, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Hello Michelle,
    Can you please let me know which brand of butternut flavoring do you use? I have never heard of it until now.
    Thank you!


  44. Rachel on January 8, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Hi Michelle,
    I love your blog and stories, they are wonderful! Can I easily halve this recipe? I love biscotti but 6 dozen is a lot for me and my husband to eat on our own (because we would).


    • Michelle on January 10th, 2016 at 10:20 pm

      Hi Rachel, Aw thank you! Yes, you can halve the recipe without an issue. Enjoy!


Leave a Comment

(Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for your patience! If it is your first time commenting you may want to review the Comment Guidelines.)