This Italian Ricotta Cookies Recipe is a soft buttery Italian cookie with a hint of lemon and almond and is covered in icing and sprinkles. They’re popular during Christmas and Easter, but can be enjoyed year-round. The dough can be made up to two days in advance for easy holiday baking!
This recipe makes 55 cookies for only $0.16 per cookie. The entire recipe costs about $8.89 to make.
I LOVE COOKIES! Whether I’m making Pink Macarons, Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies with M&Ms, or these Ricotta Cookies. They are great for sharing with friends and family or for enjoying a treat at home.
Italian Ricotta Cookies
You may see these cookies around the holidays, as they are a holiday classic perfect for cookie trays and holiday parties. However, they’re also popular around Easter.
I also feel these are fabulous any time of the year! Swap out the sprinkle colors, and you can quickly be ready to celebrate any holiday or event with these cookies.
These cookies are soft, cake-like cookies. They do have ricotta cheese in the cookies, hence the name, but do not let this keep you from making these cookies.
It may seem odd to put cheese in cookies, especially since they do not taste like cheese. However, the ricotta cheese adds a nice texture and helps these cookies turn out so soft and tender.
These cookies with ricotta taste more like a sugar cookie with a mild lemon flavor. Top them off with a sweet glaze and sprinkles for a perfectly delightful cookie.
The recipe calls for basic pantry ingredients plus the ricotta cheese, so it is a simple recipe that anyone can make and enjoy!
Ingredients and Cost
Per Serving Cost: $0.16
Recipe Cost: $8.89
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour – $0.46
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder – $0.37
- 1 teaspoon salt – $0.03
- 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter – $2.00
- 2 cups granulated sugar – $0.46
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest – $0.04
- 1 ¾ cups whole milk ricotta cheese – $2.39
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract – $2.03
- 2 large eggs – $0.20
- 2 cups powdered sugar – $0.58
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract – $0.12
- 3 Tablespoons milk – $0.21
NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have.
How To Make Italian Ricotta Cookies
- First, using a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Then, using a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest.
- After it is light and fluffy, add in the ricotta and vanilla extract.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
- Chill the dough for at least two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
- Scoop the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes.
- While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze by beating all of the ingredients together until smooth.
- Finally, spread the glaze on the cookies or dip the cookie tops into the glaze and top with some sprinkles.
- Change out the sprinkles to match the holiday you are celebrating or festivity. For example, use red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, rainbow for any day of the year, and red, white and blue for the 4th of July.
- Instead of lemon zest you can use orange zest.
SERVE: These are best served at room temperature.
STORE: Cover and store at room temperature for 5-6 days. You can store them in the refrigerator, but they tend to look their softness in the refrigerator.
FREEZE: These can be frozen, but you will loose some of the texture of the glaze, it will thin out. Also, if you plan on freezing the cookies, do not add the Nonpareils as they sort of “melt” in the freezer.
- Mixing bowls
- Stand mixer or handheld mixer
- Cookie scoop
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wire racks
If you’re going to freeze these cookies, do so before putting on the glaze. I find that the glaze does not do well after defrosting. I personally recommend freezing the cookie dough, in an airtight container, before baking into cookies.
Cookies typically bake at 350 degrees F for about ten minutes on average. These Italian Ricotta cookies bake for 9-11 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking to ensure they bake evenly. You will know they are done when they are golden brown. When you take them out of the oven, allow them to cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes. Then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
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FOR THE COOKIES:
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 ¾ cups 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
FOR THE GLAZE:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla or almond extract **see notes
- 3 Tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream more if needed to desired consistency
- Rainbow Nonpareils or red and green for the holidays
MAKE RICOTTA COOKIE DOUGH:
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
- Mix in ricotta and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until not flour pockets remain.
CHILL COOKIE DOUGH:
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
PREP OVEN AND BAKING SHEETS:
- Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator.
- Move the oven rack to the upper middle and lower middle positions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
SCOOP AND BAKE:
- Scoop dough using a small cookie dough scoop and shape into balls. Place the cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.
- Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking sheets, and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, beat all of the glaze ingredients until smooth.
- Spread the glaze on the cookies or dip the cookie tops into the glaze.
- Immediately top with sprinkles.
- Using clear vanilla extract will help to keep the glaze bright white.
- You can make the dough up to two days ahead of time.