Italian Ricotta Cookies

Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft, cake-like little cookies with lovely flavor and a tasty icing on top! They are easy to make and perfect for any holiday – especially Christmas!

Looking for more Christmas cookie ideas? Try my buttery Spritz cookies recipe, these easy gingerbread cookies or these classic snowball cookies.

Pinterest image collage Italian Ricotta Cookies

Italian Ricotta Cookies

If you’ve never had Italian Ricotta Cookies before, it’s definitely a cookie you need to try. It’s funny because if you haven’t had one before, it’s hard to imagine what they would taste like. I mean, does it taste like cheese? Nope!

These cookies actually have a very light, yet wonderful flavor to them. They are very vanilla, but these also have a little lemon zest as well, giving them a wonderfully refreshing flavor. And then with their cake-like texture, it’s like eating tasty little pillows!

I seriously couldn’t stop eating these. They are far too addicting! It’s probably good the recipe makes quite a few. You’ll snag several before these even make it onto your cookie tray – and that will be ok!

Italian Ricotta Cookies on a platterItalian Ricotta Cookies on a cooling rack

Ingredients in Italian Ricotta Cookies

These cookies contain ingredients you should mostly have on hand with a couple exceptions.

  • All purpose flour
  • Baking soda – Some recipes use a combination of baking soda and baking powder, but I must prefer all baking soda. I generally prefer that in cookies and it definitely applies here. I find that it gives a more moist and tender cookie that stays softer for longer. I find that adding in baking powder makes them more dense, which I don’t prefer.
  • Salt, Vanilla extract – For Flavor.
  • Butter, Eggs, Sugar
  • Lemon Zest – While you could leave this out, the cookie flavor might be a little dull without it. The cookies taste ever so slightly of lemon. It’s not super obvious, but it’s there and very tasty!
  • Ricotta cheese – As I said before, these cookies don’t taste like cheese. But the ricotta does lend a light flavor to the cookies and adds to their texture, making them moist and soft.

Cookies with a bite takenItalian Ricotta Cookies

How to make Italian Ricotta Cookies

These cookies are simple and straight forward to make, which is great during a busy holiday season!

  1. Cream your butter and sugar together. You want to do this for 3-4 minutes. You’ll actually notice the change in color and texture. This step helps add air to the cookie dough that’s important for your cookies to rise properly.
  2. Add your eggs one a time. Adding them one at a time helps them incorporate evenly.
  3. Time for the vanilla extract and Ricotta cheese. Mix them into the cookie dough until well combined.
  4. Dry ingredients. Add them to the mix and mix together just until combined. Don’t over mix or you could end up with tough cookies.
  5. Scoop out your cookies and bake them. You could refrigerate the dough if you want to make it ahead, but you don’t need to. The cookies bake great either way. Just be sure to scoop out balls that are no larger than one tablespoon or the cookies could end up spreading too much.
  6. Make the icing. It’s a simple combination of powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla extract. Just whisk it all together!
  7. Dip the cookies in the icing and add sprinkles! Turn the cookies upside down and dip them. Shake of the excess icing, then add sprinkles. The sprinkles do tend to bleed from the moisture of the icing after sitting overnight, so if you want them to look nicer I’d suggest icing and adding sprinkles shortly before serving.

These cookies are truly great for any time you feel like a cookie. While often popular at Christmas, they’d be great any time. You can swap out the sprinkles for any festive mix you like. You could even swap out the vanilla and lemon flavor of these for some almond or coconut extract. The options are endless and no matter how you make them, they are sure to be soft little cakey pillows of awesomeness. I hope you enjoy them!

Italian Ricotta Cookies with colorful sprinkles

Italian Ricotta Cookies Video

Read transcript

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recipe for easy Italian ricotta cookies

Italian Ricotta Cookies

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 36 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
  • Yield: about 48 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft, cake-like little cookies with lovely flavor and a tasty icing on top! They are easy to make and perfect for any holiday – especially Christmas!



  • 3 3/4 cups (488g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (362g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 15 oz (1 3/4 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese


  • 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
  • 45 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light in color and fluffy. You should be able to see the change in color and texture happen and know it’s ready.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined between each addition.
5. Add the vanilla extract and ricotta and mix until well combined.
6. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
7. If you’d like to chill the cookie dough (which makes it a easier to work with), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or up to two days. You don’t have to chill the dough though. It doesn’t really change the outcome.
8. Drop tablespoon sized balls (no larger or they will spread too much) of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and gently shape into a ball shape.
9. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden.
10. Cool cookies on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
11. To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
12. Turn the cookies upside down, one at a time, and dip the tops of them into the icing.
13. Turn the cookies over and add sprinkles. Allow to dry. The icing will crust over, but doesn’t dry hard.
14. Store the cookies in an airtight container. The sprinkles will likely bleed after sitting overnight, so if you want the presentation to be nice, I’d suggest adding the icing and sprinkles shortly before serving. The icing also starts to wrinkle after a day or two. Cookies are best for about 4-5 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 143
  • Sugar: 12.3 g
  • Sodium: 100.5 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.1 g
  • Protein: 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 24.4 mg

Keywords: Italian Ricotta Cookies, Christmas cookies, easy christmas cookies recipe, best christmas cookies

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Recipe rating

  1. Adam

    These are great–very nice lemon-ricotta flavour. Mine needed more like 15 minutes in the oven. I didn’t make the icing, didn’t want to lose the citrus and cream flavor, so just dusted with powdered sugar. Recipe makes way more than 48 though, I’d say cut in half.

  2. Linda

    These cookies are great and the icing is so much easier to work with than the recipe I had.  Can you freeze these cookies

    1. Lindsay

      They should do fine frozen, I might just recommend freezing them unfrosted and frosting them after thawing so that they look nicer. Also, thaw them in the fridge.

  3. Laura

    Totally 5 Stars! These cookies are OMG amazing! By far, THE best cookies I’ve ever tasted. Still can’t believe they’re made with cheese. Wow! And the lemon does add a perfect subtle flavor. I’m so glad I tried this recipe. Thanks for posting it. I was trying out out your soft sugar cookie recipe when I found this one and I was intrigued. I am always on mission to find any soft cookie recipe to make for my 88 year young Mother who happens to be short on teeth, so she loves soft, easy to chew sweets and these were a big hit with her also.

  4. Rene

    These were a big hit at Christmas dinner.. my niece always cooks Italian food so this went right along with it. I had to give everyone the recipe, good thing I bookmarked it

  5. Stephanie Perlman

    These cookies are decorated beautifully! I will be making them today or tomorrow! Your red tree platter is so cute! Do you happen to remember where you purchased it?

      1. Lindsay

        Yes, it’s in step one. It’s 350 degrees F and I use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  6. Cindy Weishuhn

    This recipe is amazing. I made the frosting and added lemon zest to it as well, but didn’t add sprinkles. Took them to work and everyone went crazy for them!!! I have to say that every recipe I’ve tried from this site has turned out perfect and I’ve made quite a few of them.

  7. Erin

    These look really tasty, Lindsay! I love soft, pillow-y, cake-y cookies, so these are right up my alley! And the addition of ricotta and lemon sounds AMAZING, so I’ll definitely have to try these sometime!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29