Italian Ricotta Cookies

12.01.2018

Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft, moist, cake-like cookies with a sweet and simple glaze. These are so good you can never stop at just one! They’re holiday classic and such a fun recipe to try if you’ve never made them. The dough can be made two days in advance so it’s a great make ahead recipe.

Italian Ricotta Cookies in a gift tin with tissue paper. They are decorated with glaze and Christmas sprinkles.

The Best Ricotta Cookies Recipe!

This is likely to become your go-to ricotta cookie recipe! They’re easy to make and they’re always consistently delicious!

I know I’ve been on a sugar craze here but 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!

Overhead image of ricotta Cookies in rows on a cooling rack.

Ingredients for Ricotta Cookies

This recipe calls for basic ingredients most all of which you already have on hand. You’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon
  • Ricotta – use whole milk
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk

Or Try Them with Almond Extract

These have a nice hint of lemon flavor but you can also use almond extract in place of the lemon zest and juice for delicious alternative. I’d use 1/2 tsp almond extract in the dough and 1/4 tsp in the glaze.

Close up image of ricotta cookies.

How to Make Ricotta Cookies

  • Whisk flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  • In an electric stand mixer cream together butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.
  • Mix in ricotta and vanilla extract then blend in eggs one at a time.
  • Mix in flour mixture.
  • Chill dough 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Scoop chilled dough out 1 Tbsp at a time and shape into 1 Tbsp balls, drop onto lined baking sheets.
  • Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes until underside of cookies are golden, cool.
  • Spread over glaze and let set.

Italian Ricotta Cookies | Cooking Classy

Can I Freeze These Cookies?

These cookies can be frozen or refrigerated for a longer shelf life but keep in mind the glaze may not look as nice. Mind tend to wrinkle up after a few days.

More Delicious Ricotta Dessert Recipes to Try!

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Italian Ricotta Cookies

4.9 from 37 votes

Soft and fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies made with rich ricotta (for moisture and flavor) and finished with a sweet glaze.

Servings: 48
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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**
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 - 6 Tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. For the cookies:
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. 
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

  5. 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).
  6. 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. 

  7. 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.
  8. For the glaze:
  9. 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).

Recipe Notes

  • *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.
  • **You can also use almond extract in place of lemon juice. Start with 1/4 tsp almond extract then add more to taste (then thin glaze with more milk as needed).
  • Recipe source: adapted from New York Times
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Ricotta Cookies
Author: Jaclyn

193 comments

  • Kferragamo: Little confused about the freezing process. Could you clarify for me, is it better to freeze unfrosted and do it after the defrost? Or does it matter! May 23, 2019 at 5:45am Reply

    • Jaclyn: The glaze just might not look as good after thawing but other than that it shouldn’t matter. May 23, 2019 at 7:40am Reply

  • Debbie McCracken: Loved these cookies so soft and tasty. My co workers were fighting over them! I highly recommend this recipe. May 1, 2019 at 3:37pm Reply

  • Patricia Cody: Please clarify the amount of butter to use. 8 oz or 1 cup? April 20, 2019 at 5:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Either or :). Each 1/2 cup stick of butter is 4 oz (the 4 stick package weight should be 16 oz). April 20, 2019 at 7:55am Reply

  • Bridget: Quite frankly one of the best ricotta cheese cookies I’ve Ever made. I did whisk the flour and I believe that my cookie was better because of it. I did not use lemon because I prefer vanilla. The next time I make them I will do a lemon glaze.
    This recipe is great it’ll be my go to in the future! April 10, 2019 at 8:23pm Reply

  • Zoe Lewis: Do you have to use a electric mister ? March 19, 2019 at 11:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It could probably be done by hand with lots of mixing. April 7, 2019 at 11:31am Reply

  • Julia: Can I make these ahead of time freeze them and put the glaze on after ?
    Thank you ! March 8, 2019 at 8:47am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes that would be fine. March 8, 2019 at 11:30am Reply

  • Jane McGovern: I have anise seeds. Could I use them instead of anise flavor or could I use them both together. I love the anise flavor March 1, 2019 at 11:26am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes that would be fine, just grind them up or smash with a meat mallet in a bag if not already ground. March 1, 2019 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Mary: Do you have to refrigerate after baking. Because of the ricotta cheese. February 26, 2019 at 2:33pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I don’t refrigerate these. Unless you want a longer shelf life. March 1, 2019 at 10:15am Reply

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