Italian Ricotta Cookies
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Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft and tender, cake-like cookies with a sweet and simple icing. They have a light lemon flavor and plenty of moisture thanks to the rich ricotta. They’re holiday classic and such a fun recipe to try if you’ve never made them.
The Best Ricotta Cookies Recipe!
Our favorite ricotta cookies! They’re easy to make and they’re always consistently delicious.
They’re so good that you can never stop at just one.
The ricotta cookie dough can be made two days in advance so it’s a great make ahead recipe. Plus it makes a huge batch of cookies so they’re great for celebrations and gifting.
You’ll love their lightly lemony flavor, the melt-in-your-mouth texture and that sweet and simple icing finish. And if you want a little contrast finish them with crunchy sugar sprinkles which also adds a pretty and festive pop of color.
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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 powder
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Ricotta – use whole milk
- Powdered sugar
How to Make Ricotta Cookies
- Whisk flour, baking powder 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 (heaping) at a time and shape into 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.
- Almond extract: Use almond extract in place of the lemon zest and juice for another flavor option. Use 1/2 tsp almond extract in the dough and 1/4 tsp in the glaze. Replace lemon juice with milk.
- Orange: You can swap orange zest and orange juice for the lemon, and add extra zest for more orange flavor (up to 2 Tbsp).
- Lime: Lime zest and lime juice will work well in place of lemon. Use equal amounts.
- Chocolate chips: Add white chocolate chips to the cookie dough or mini chocolate chips.
- Nuts: 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans can be added to the dough.
How to Store Ricotta Cookies
- Container: Store ricotta cookies in an airtight container. If layering be sure to place parchment paper between them.
- Fridge: These will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Freezer: Ricotta cookies can be frozen for 3 months. I do however recommend waiting to add the icing though because it does wrinkle over time.
More Delicious Ricotta Dessert Recipes to Try!
- Orange Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cookies
- Lemon Poppy Seed Ricotta Cookies
- Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Puff Pastry Tarts with Ricotta Cream Filling
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Italian Ricotta Cookies
- 3 1/2 cups (495g) all-purpose flour*
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder**
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 15 oz ricotta, whole milk or fresh (1 3/4 cups)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp butter (salted or unsalted), melted
- 3 1/2 cups (420g) powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 - 6 Tbsp milk
- For the cookies:
- In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder 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 just 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 (don't use dark baking sheets).
- Bake in preheated oven until set, 12 - 14 minutes (bottoms will be lightly golden brown). Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool spoon icing over cookies and return to wire rack, immediately add sprinkles if using.
- Allow icing to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container preferably in a single layer and preferably store in the fridge (bring to room temperature before serving).
- 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.
- Add 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. 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.
- Recipe source: adapted from New York Times