Italian Ricotta Cookies

December 1, 2018  ·  Published December 2, 2015

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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!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

4.93 from 55 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


  • 3 1/2 cups (495g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder**
  • 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, see notes**)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


  • 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


  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.
  • **Cookies previously listed using 2 tsp baking soda, but a few have had issues with cookies rising so recipe has been improved to use baking powder instead.
  • ***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

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  • Stephanie Sommovigo

    Is the icing hard enough to hold up when shipping overnight?

    • Mary

      I don’t think they would ship well. I was a little disappointed because the icing did not harden. It was actually moist enough that it caused the color in the sprinkles to run into the white icing. Hoping to find an icing that will harden.

  • Bridget

    I was surprised by one of the post here that said The cookies were bland and doughy. Not the case this is probably one of the best recipes for this cookie that I’ve ever baked (and I am a baker with over 40 years experience). Thank you so much for sharing and all your tips.

  • Tigerlily

    These cookies are really good! I only made half of the recipe and froze the other half

  • Joan

    Looks like a yummy recipe ! If I wanted to add finely chopped walnuts, would I need to add/subtract the amount of other ingredients in order to have correct consistency ?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      It would probably depend on how fine they are chopped, for instant if they are chopped to a powder almost then just the recipe would need some adjusting but if they are just chopped into small bits then no I’d leave everything as is.

  • Sarah Picchioni

    Never made ricotta cookies but these taste awesome! Followed the recipe and they came out wonderful. They made so many and the glaze was perfect! Thanks! :)

  • Veronika

    I am so glad that I halfed this recipe. This was one of the worst recipes that I have baked in a very long time. Bland flavor and doughy texture. I have been baking for retail sales for 20 years, so I have plenty of experience. I ended up cooking them in a pizzelle press, which worked. I will not be making these again

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry to hear that! Something must have gone wrong because I can’t image this dough working well on a pizzelle press if made properly. And as far as being bland there are lot of options to increase flavor like adding lemon zest/orange zest, almond extract, mini chocolate chips, vanilla bean etc.

    • alma nullaney

      I also followed the recipe exactly and found them to be “doughy”. Tried cooking a batch a little longer with no improvement.I’m glad someone else had the same doughy issue.

  • Donna

    If you want to be sure your cookies rise.. ABSOLUTELY add baking POWDER. I made it without baking powder and they were flat. With baking powder they rose very nicely.

      • Emily Fiorentino

        Amazing Cookies. Soft and not too sweet. Can even skip the glaze if you concerned with added sugar. Family Favourite for sure! ❤️
        Can you freeze the dough for future bake?