Italian Ricotta Cookies


Italian Ricotta Cookies | Cooking Classy

Use all the sprinkles!! I love cookies that have funfetti style sprinkles, it just makes them more fun to eat and I’m sure my kids would agree with that 100 percent! Another thing I love are these Italian Ricotta Cookies! They are soft, moist, cake-like cookies and they’re so good you can never stop at just one! They have a nice hint of lemon flavor but you can also use almond extract in place of the lemon juice for delicious alternative. Or better yet, make half of each flavor of glaze!

I know I’ve been on a sugar craze here on Cooking Classy, tis the holidays after all :). I will be adding some savory recipes soon enough but for now I’m just enjoying the baking season. My kitchen has been overflowing with all kinds of desserts lately but there’s definitely no one complaining around here.

This makes a large batch of cookies so you can easily make half the recipe if you don’t need 4 dozen cookies. This time of year 4 dozen may be about right but come January I think I’ll go with 2 dozen – even though they are incredibly delicious, they are just too hard to resist! Try them and you’ll see what I mean!

Italian Ricotta Cookies | Cooking ClassyItalian Ricotta Cookies | Cooking ClassyItalian Ricotta Cookies | Cooking ClassyItalian Ricotta Cookies | Cooking Classy

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Yield: About 4 dozen

Italian Ricotta Cookies


  • 3 1/2 cups (495g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (370g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 15 oz. ricotta, whole milk or fresh (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Glaze
  • 1 Tbsp butter (salted or unsalted), melted
  • 3 3/4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or 1 1/4 tsp almond extract and more milk as needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 - 6 Tbsp milk


  • For the cookies:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy (scrape down sides and bottom of bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing process). Mix in ricotta and vanilla extract then blend in eggs one at a time. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or up to 2 days. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 20 minutes of dough chilling.
  • Scoop chilled dough out 1 Tbsp at a time and shape into balls (if it's too sticky just drop onto sheet using two spoons), drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (I don't recommend using dark non-stick pans for this recipe since the bottoms will already become pretty golden. Dark pans brown more than uncoated pans do). Bake in preheated oven 12 - 14 minutes until underside of cookies are golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool dip tops of cookies in glaze and return to wire rack, immediately add sprinkles if using. Allow glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.
  • For the glaze:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, lemon juice or almond extract, vanilla and 4 Tbsp milk until smooth, adding in more milk 1 tsp at a time to thin as needed (you don't want it to be very thin, it should be quite a bit thicker than a doughnut glaze).
  • *Scoop flour directly from container using measuring cup and level top using a butter knife. Don't whisk or sift before measuring and don't spoon into a cup. I thought I better note that because in the recipe I adapted these from it stated 4 cups flour (480g) but it only took me 3 1/2 cups to get to the weight they had listed and then some (495g). The best option is to use a kitchen scale, I highly recommend investing in one if you don't already have one. I always use mine when baking.
  • Recipe source: adapted from New York Times



  • Bella B: These look so good! I love cookies I’m going to have to try these!! December 2, 2015 at 10:08pm Reply

  • Kathy: These cookies look delicious, but the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter but you say 4 oz of butter which is 1/2 cup of butter or one stock of butter. Can you let me know which is correct. December 3, 2015 at 6:29am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry! I’ve updated this now. It’s 1 cup. Thanks for the heads up! December 3, 2015 at 11:52am Reply

  • Karen: These cookies look delicious and festive. I am looking forward to trying the recipe. Can these cookies be frozen? December 3, 2015 at 7:26am Reply

  • Chels: My goodness these are beautiful cookies. I don’t think I’ve ever tried this kind of cookie and I definitely think I’ve been missing out. December 3, 2015 at 7:53am Reply

  • Linda C: This is a dumb question and I’m probably second guessing myself but the ricotta you’re talking about, is that ricotta cheese? Is that what you use. Thanks. I want to make these for my Italian in-laws. 👍🏻 December 3, 2015 at 8:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes it is. :) They don’t have a cheesy flavor at all though. December 3, 2015 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Natasha @ Salt and Lavender: Oh these are so pretty!! I just love sprinkles. Pinned! December 3, 2015 at 8:25am Reply

  • Jillian: Those leaf and star decorative candies are adorable. Where did you get them? December 3, 2015 at 11:18am Reply

  • Dee Fedor: Is the butter 4 oz, or one cup? They are not the same amount December 3, 2015 at 11:29am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Good Catch! It’s 1 cup. Thanks for pointing that out. :) December 3, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen: Beautiful! I love anything Italian and these would be fantastic as a Christmas present. Love the addition of ricotta. Yum! December 3, 2015 at 1:47pm Reply

  • Victoria M: These are so pretty! I am going to make some I hope mine look as nice. December 3, 2015 at 2:49pm Reply

  • Sarah S: So cute! Do you mind sharing where you got the holly and star sprinkles? December 3, 2015 at 3:33pm Reply

  • Kathleen: Jaclyn these are the most gorgeous Italian Ricotta cookies I’ve ever seen. You put bakery cookies to shame girl! December 3, 2015 at 3:58pm Reply

  • pilla: Looks adorable!
    December 4, 2015 at 7:23am Reply

  • radar: These are very pretty, have them chilling right now. Like Karen I am wondering can these be frozen? Like maybe before I frost and decorate??? December 5, 2015 at 3:24pm Reply

  • dawn: I just made these ! Turned out great. I’ve just now put the glaze and sprinkles on – will the glaze harden? I don’t know what to expect.

    I’m not really a baker, so I am very happy with the results so far! December 5, 2015 at 9:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hi Dawn, the glaze should start to set and harden and create a somewhat shell like-coating – similar to what a donut glaze is like but thicker. I hope they turned out perfect for you! December 6, 2015 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Tara: Thank you for this recipe. Growing up my Italian aunts always made these for weddings & baptisms. So glad I have “my” own recipe now! Question, can I use Part skim ricotta?
    If not, no big deal. It’s just what I currently have in my freezer. December 6, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend the part skim I think the whole milk will give you a better result, also I wouldn’t recommend using frozen (and thawed) as the consistency changes slightly. I hope you try them and love them though :)! December 6, 2015 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Alisha Kinney: I made these cookies last night for a cookie exchange and they were a huge hit! Thank you for another great recipe!! December 6, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear they were enjoyed Alisha! Thanks for your comment! December 6, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

  • Susan: Holy Christmas Cookies….these are soooo good!!! I had recently seen Martha Stewart showing how easy it is to make fresh ricotta, so when I saw this recipe and the use of ricotta, I was very intrigued! I made and used the fresh ricotta (YUM!!) and the cookies turned out beautifully….so light, moist and flavorful with the touches of lemon….perfection! Thank you so much for sharing! I have other recipes found on this site that I am anxious to try as well…so thanks again! December 8, 2015 at 10:03am Reply

  • Joanne: Tara, will these cookies freeze well. Also, I may try using anis flavor. What do you think?? I love to bake and these look so good and very pretty. Joanne December 10, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

    • Jaclyn: My mom just froze some I gave her and she said they froze great – she did take them out a week later but a month in there should be okay. And yes I’ve heard anise flavor is delicious in these, I’d like to try it in the future. December 11, 2015 at 10:44am Reply

  • Joanne: Sorry I got your name wrong 🤔 December 10, 2015 at 11:07am Reply

  • Joanne: My question is, do these cookies freeze well? I will wait to hear from you. Thank you for your wonderful recipes. Joanne December 10, 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Shannon: How many will this recipe make? My old recipe made a ton, but I’ve lost it. December 13, 2015 at 1:33pm Reply

  • Maggie: Great cookies!!! Made them one time before and followed the glaze recipe exactly!! Made them again tonight and followed the glaze recipe exactly only this time no matter how much I wisked it the powered sugar would not dissolve all the way!! Any suggestions?? Thanks so much!! December 13, 2015 at 7:09pm Reply

  • Kalena: Great recipe! I did have to modify as I didn’t have any lemon zest. I also added some cream cheese to the icing. They turned out great! December 15, 2015 at 9:36am Reply

  • Mandy: These are absolutely amazing. I’ve had to make about six batches because they’re such a huge hit. Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe, Jaclyn! December 19, 2015 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Donna: I just made these and they are so puffy and fresh just like a bakery! Can’t wait to glaze and sprinkle! What a great recipe! December 23, 2015 at 8:29pm Reply

  • Emma: Hello! I made these cookies, but the recipe yielded 95 cookies!! I weighed one tablespoon portions of dough- any idea what happened there? Haha. I’m also curious as to their shelf life. The recipe is fantastic! December 29, 2015 at 12:40am Reply

  • Sandy: I saw your cookies and immediately I was hooked. I made these for the holidays and they were absolutely delicious. It would be so easy to sit there and eat an entire plate without hesitation. I gave away some to friends and they said they were the best ricotta cookies they have ever tasted. Again another winner from Cooking Classy. Thank you so much. January 8, 2016 at 4:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you enjoyed them Sandy! Thanks for your comment! January 8, 2016 at 4:44pm Reply

  • Joan Knott: I love all baked cookies. January 27, 2016 at 6:56pm Reply

  • tms: what oven temp??!! February 4, 2016 at 6:14pm Reply

  • Antonio Lui: Delightful, light treats that aren’t too sweet and have a profundity of flavor. I made a couple of substitutions for my taste: utilized 3 tsps of almond extract and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (I cherish almonds). I additionally cut the sugar by 1/3 glass and as opposed to what tops off an already good thing (I didn’t have sufficient time), I moved them in a blend of white and red sugar before preparing to make them more festive. February 10, 2016 at 12:50am Reply

  • SW: I’ve made these (not this recipe though) & Ricotta Cheese cookies,are,delish, you must try them September 5, 2016 at 9:13pm Reply

  • gina: I live at 6300 above sea level. Any changes that need to be made for high elevation? October 24, 2016 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Sentina: I made these tonight and i was so excited to have the recipe! Mine came out flatter than ive had them and from what i see in your picture. I am not sure what i did wrong? Does the dough need to be firmer? It was quite sticky. I followed the recipe to a T…thanks for your help! November 11, 2016 at 8:44pm Reply

    • Sentina: The bottoms were golden but my cookies came mushy as well! I was so disopointed because this was not a cheap recipe. I am an experienced baker and have no idea what went wrong in making these. Any thoughts as to what happened? November 11, 2016 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Susan: Hi, Jaclyn. I’m making these cookies right now and just realized I need clarification: I plan to make 1/2 the cookies with lemon-flavored glaze and 1/2 with almond glaze. For the cookies with almond glaze, do you still recommend using the lemon zest in the actual cookie dough, or is that a weird combination?? My guess is that the lemon zest in the dough is subtle enough that it won’t clash with the almond glaze, but I want to be sure. Thank you in advance! November 16, 2016 at 9:27pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes it that would be just fine to do half and half of each type of glaze. It is a subtle lemon flavor in the cookie but even if it weren’t so the lemon and almond combo is pretty good too :). I hope you love them! November 16, 2016 at 10:46pm Reply

      • Susan Dixen: Jaclyn – thank u for your quick reply! I did just that…put the subtle lemon zest in the cookie dough (which tastes amazing raw, btw ☺️), and will glaze half the batch with lemon and half with almond. I can’t go wrong, I guess! I enjoy your site and will continue to follow. Thx for your info! November 16, 2016 at 11:10pm Reply

  • Beth: I made these and followed the recipe as written. My cookies are flat and cake like. I wonder if I should have used baking powder instead of baking soda? November 22, 2016 at 6:36pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: These are more of a cake like cookie because of the ricotta in them, any ricotta cookie I’ve ever had is cake-like. But they shouldn’t be flat so they probably just needed a little more flour. Sorry they didn’t turn out how you’d hoped. November 22, 2016 at 9:45pm Reply

  • Nadia: Happy Thanksgiving!

    I just made these last night with my family and they turned out perfectly delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Cheers! November 24, 2016 at 7:07am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you liked these Nadia! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! November 24, 2016 at 6:51pm Reply

  • Kim: How wet (or dry) should the ricotta be? I find most store brands rather soupy and when I make fresh I drain well. Maybe a better question is how sticky should the dough be? December 1, 2016 at 6:02am Reply

  • Catherine White: I made these cookies today and they are delicious!! Mine are not as pretty as yours (I should have weighed the ingredients – mine spread a little too much) but they are so good! December 4, 2016 at 1:14pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So happy you tried them and liked them Catherine! December 7, 2016 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Angelique: I am making these the night before a cookie exchange – do I need to keep them in the refrigerator overnight or are they ok on the counter in an airtight container? December 5, 2016 at 8:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I recommend storing them in the refrigerator. December 5, 2016 at 5:19pm Reply

  • laura ward: Hi I made these and they were delicious but I put them in a covered container and put them in my cold garage for a couple days until I put together my cookie trays and they were really wet like the glaze and the sprinkles were runny😱 any tips to keep them fresh December 5, 2016 at 3:57pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Maybe try adding the glaze to them the day you plan on eating them. December 5, 2016 at 5:16pm Reply

    • Susan Dixen: Hi, Jaclyn! I made these and they were delicious. I made the first 1/2 batch for my family and intended to mail the other 1/2 batch to family members out of state – but the cookies were gobbled up too quickly and I never did get them in the mail! I’ll make them again for sure, and ship some off this time to my deserving parents. 😀

      If it makes any difference, I wanted to reply to the woman who kept her cookies in the chilled garage and her icing turned out runny and the sprinkles melted. I wanted her to know that I just kept our cookies on the kitchen counter on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil for a few days. In fact, when I was out of counter space once, I just tucked the tray in the oven overnight and they kept just fine. Still delicious! Maybe not he most recommended approach, but the cookies kept their texture and obviously no one got sick! 😋

      Thanks again for sharing your recipe and tips! December 7, 2016 at 6:51pm Reply

      • Jaclyn: Thanks for your feeback Susan :)! I’m glad you liked them! December 7, 2016 at 10:38pm Reply

      • Mary: I’m going to try that the next time I make ricotta cookies. Someone else I know mentioned leaving them out on the counter overnight. I used a different recipe, but the cookies looked great at first and the glaze was hard, but then I put them in airtight containers, and the next day the glaze softened and all the color from the sprinkles ran all over!!! They looked horrible. I was so disappointed. December 29, 2016 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Rose: Hi Jaclyn, I only have a dark non stick baking pan passed down from my mother. Can I use a throw away pan lined with parchment. December 7, 2016 at 3:12am Reply

  • Leila: Hi, my cookies taste a little bit too salty… December 14, 2016 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Jo Ann: Definitely delicious but definitely need at least 4 cups of flour or more, I chilled these for 4 hrs and the first batch became one big cookie. I added an additional cup of flour to the cold dough, chilled again and still spread but not as much, December 18, 2016 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Heather: So I’ve made these. Let sit in fridge over night. In oven now and they are spreading much more than your picture show…. December 24, 2016 at 6:16am Reply

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