Soft, tender cake like cookies topped with icing and sprinkles! These Italian Ricotta Cookies with a hint of lemon are the perfect holiday cookie and simple to make any time the craving strike.
Ricotta, in cookies? I know you may be thinking that sounds a little weird. But hey, we use cream cheese in cheesecake and that obviously turned out delicious! These ricotta cookies are an absolute dream. Light with a cake-like texture, these sweet and lemony delights are everything you could ever want in a cookie.
The ricotta makes them moist and decadent, while lemon zest gives them a bright flavor that is addictively good. This lemon ricotta cookies recipe with a sweet glaze will leave you hooked, so it’s a good thing they’re super easy to make! Whip up a batch and give ’em a try. I bet they’ll become a quick favorite.
They are the perfect cookie for your cookie tray! Simply use red and green sprinkles on top to make them Christmas themed.
Ricotta cheese cookies are cake-like cookies, with a hint of lemon that are made with ricotta cheese. They are a popular Italian cookie because they are not incredibly rich and have a lovely light texture. Think of them like a cakey sugar cookie with a touch of lemon!
Why You’ll Love Ricotta Cookies
- Italian ricotta cookies are great to make ahead of time since you have to refrigerate the dough. Take some things off of your plate and make dessert early!
- This recipe makes 60 cookies…yes 60! The perfect cookie to make when you need plenty of sweets for a party or gathering.
- You can easily adapt these cookies for a holiday. Change the color of sprinkles used and voila, a themed cookie!
- This Italian Christmas cookie uses simple ingredients that are easy to find and keep in you pantry.
Ingredients for Italian Ricotta Cookies
- Flour – Use all-purpose flour to make these lemon ricotta cookies.
- Granulated sugar – You’ll use granulated white sugar to sweeten the cookie batter.
- Baking soda – Baking soda will act as a rising agent.
- Baking powder – Since ricotta cheese adds a lot of moisture to this cookie batter, using two rising agents will help to ensure that the cookies are not dense.
- Kosher salt – Use a bit of salt to balance out the sweetness in this recipe.
- Butter – I recommend using unsalted butter in this batter, but if you only have salted butter then omit the kosher salt from the recipe.
- Eggs – Allow eggs to come to room temperature so that they mix better with all of the other cookie batter ingredients.
- Vanilla extract – Add a splash of vanilla extract to this tasty cookie and the glaze topping.
- Lemon zest – Give these tasty Italian ricotta cookies a light lemon flavor by adding lemon zest to the cookie batter.
- Ricotta cheese – You can’t make ricotta cookies without ricotta cheese! Make sure you grab enough for this recipe.
- Milk – Any milk will work to make the glaze that will top the cookies.
- Powdered sugar – This makes a simple sweet lemon glaze is the perfect topping for the sweet and creamy cookies.
- Lemon juice – Use fresh lemon juice to flavor the glaze for the top of these cookies.
- Sprinkles – Sprinkles make everything better, right? Choose your favorites and use them as a topping for each cookie!
How to Make Ricotta Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
- Whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl cream together butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a bowl with an electric mixer. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and add two large eggs, ricotta cheese, vanilla extract and fresh lemon zest then mix until combined.
- Scrape the sides again, and then add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Cover the bowl of completed dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.
- After dough has had enough time to chill, use a cookie scoop and scoop the ricotta cookie dough into small dough balls. Drop dough balls 2 inches apart on the previously prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges are set and have turned golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool a bit on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cookies are cooling, mix powdered sugar, milk, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl until thick and creamy.
- Then dunk the cooled cookies into the glaze and place them onto the cooling rack. Add colorful sprinkles and let the glaze set for 10 minutes.
- Once set, serve and enjoy these delicious cookies!
How to Store Ricotta Cookies
Place cookies into an airtight container or a plastic bag with the air squeezed out of it. Store at room temperature for 3 days.
FRIDGE: These cookies will last a bit longer when stored in the refrigerator. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
FREEZER: Ricotta cookies can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. It is best to freeze them without glaze. Allow to thaw in the fridge.
Since this dough has to be refrigerated, they actually do really well being made ahead of time. You can refrigerate the dough as long 8 hours, or overnight, and then make the cookies the next day.
- When storing, place parchment paper in between layers of cookies that you have to stack to keep them from sticking.
- If you don’t have parchment paper, lightly grease cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray before placing cookies on to bake.
- When you zest a lemon, make sure you are only getting the bright yellow part of the rind. Any of the white part will be bitter and could affect the flavor of your cookies.
Easy ricotta cookies are the perfect party cookie! Light, fun and perfect for all ages.
More Cookie Recipes You’ll Love
- Molasses Cookies are another recipe that may seem out of the box but are actually so incredibly tasty.
- If you’re a fan of Twix candy, then you’ll love these amazing Twix Cookies!
- Jam Thumbprint Cookies are a classic recipe that will put a smile on anyone’s face.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ Tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 Tablespoons milk
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt until combined. Set aside.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream 1 cup of unsalted butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar. Scrape down the sides and add 2 large eggs, (1) 15-ounce tub of ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, and ½ tablespoon fresh lemon zest and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides, add the contents of the dry ingredient bowl to the wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Cover or wrap the dough in plastic and place in the fridge to chill for 1 – 2 hours.
- Once chilled, use a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop to form small dough balls. Place them 2 inches apart on your prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the edges are set and are just beginning to turn golden. Allow to cool on a cooling rack until completely cool.
- While the cookies are cooling, mix 4 cups powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract until creamy and thick.
- Dunk the top of each cookie into the glaze, then place them back onto your cooling rack. Add sprinkles and allow the glaze to set at room temperature (about 10 minutes).