Italian Ricotta Cookies are light and soft cake-like cookies iced with a simple smooth vanilla icing. You will love the brightness of the lemon juice and zest, and the melt in your mouth texture of these cookies. These classic cookies are a must-make this Christmas!
If you’re looking for an easy but impressive cookie recipe to include in your cookie tray this year, these ricotta cookies are perfect! They’re super simple to make, and every time I make them, the kids devour them in minutes. So if you decide to try them, make sure that you don’t leave them on the counter and go do other things around the house as no one can resist these cookies!
What’s so special about these cookies is the texture, they’re moist and soft and will remind you of cake! If you think that adding ricotta cheese to cookies is weird, trust me, it’s not. And the cookies do not taste like cheese either. Ricotta adds so much to the texture of these cookies and gives them that rich flavor.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Moist Soft Cookie. They’re like biting onto a small piece of cake that you cannot get enough of!
- Simple Ingredients. The only thing that you might need to hit the store for is the ricotta, everything else are ingredients that you already have in your kitchen.
- The glaze! I absolutely love the glaze on these cookies, it’s sweet but not overly sweet, it’s thick, looks pretty, and sets nicely.
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
For The Cookies:
Ricotta: Use full-fat ricotta cheese, preferably fresh and at room temperature.
Flour: All purpose flour works fine in this recipe.
Baking soda: This is our leavener and what makes these cookies so tender.
Salt: The small amount of salt in this recipe will enhance and balance the flavors of the cookies, and improve texture.
Butter: Use unsalted butter that is left on the counter for at least 30 minutes so it’s softened to room temperature.
Granulated sugar: This recipe uses less than a cup of sugar and the cookies are not overly sweet, so I wouldn’t try and reduce the amount (remember, reducing sugar will also alter the texture).
Egg: One egg binds the rest of the ingredients together. Make sure that it’s at room temperature so it’s nicely incorporated into the cookie dough.
Vanilla Extract: Use high-quality vanilla extract for the best flavor. You could also use almond extract instead.
Lemon: We are using the juice and the zest of fresh lemon, they add fragrant brightness to the cookies.
For The Glaze:
You only need four ingredients to make the best glaze ever!
Powdered sugar: Icing or confectioner’s sugar.
Butter: Might be unusual to add to the icing, but adds a velvety smooth finish to the glaze and you will love it.
Milk: To thin out the glaze, I also tested this with plant-based milk and it worked great.
Vanilla or almond extract: To flavor the glaze. You can also add a little bit of lemon juice if you like.
How to Make Ricotta Cookies
- In a bowl, combine the flour with baking soda, and salt. Stir until well combined and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, using a hand held mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter with sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the ricotta cheese.
- Add in the egg and the vanilla extract, and beat again until the egg is fully incorporated.
- Add zest of half a lemon, and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the batter and mix again.
- Now it’s time to add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and whisk or mix until just combined. I like to use the same hand mixer and do this on the lowest speed possible.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/160°C fan oven, and line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a silicone mat.
- Using a small cookie scoop (1 tablespoon), scoop out dough balls and place on the baking tray 1.5-2 inches apart.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes. The cookies are done with they’re puffed, and golden brown at the bottom. Allow them to cool down on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before adding the glaze.
- To make the glaze, whisk all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl and adjust the consistency by adding more milk if needed.
- Dip each cookie into the glaze, and return to the wire rack. Sprinkle with some colorful sprinkles, and allow the glaze to set.
Measure out the flour correctly, by spooning the flour into a measuring cup and then scrape a butter knife across the top to level the flour. Do not sift the flour before measuring. The best and most precise way to measure out flour is with kitchen scales, you need 270 grams in total.
When adding the glaze, do a dozen then stop and add the sprinkles. If you wait until you add glaze to all of the cookies, the sprinkles might not stick as the glaze tends to set quickly.
Have fun with the sprinkles! I used holiday sprinkles, but you can do any other color or shape.
Storing And Freezing
These cookies keep well if store in the fridge for up to 7 days, however, the icing will become a bit wrinkly with time.
To freeze the cookies, arrange baked or unbaked cookies in a single layer without the icing, and freeze until solid. Transfer to a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
I do not recommend mailing these cookies as the icing does not hold up very well.
If you try these cookies, make sure to share your experience in the comments section below!